All The Best Indie Pop From 2018 In One Perfect Playlist

10.19.18 8 months ago

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I swear, I didn’t mean to make this playlist almost completely absent of straight white guys. It just happened like that. But I think it’s representative of the genre. Indie pop is so exciting right now because of all the diverse voices contributing to the landscape. Some of the biggest pop up-and-comers right now — Aussie YouTube icon Troye Sivan, Mark Ronson protégé King Princess, bubblegum queen Kim Petras — are LBGTQ+, and artists of color have released some of the best albums of the year so far.

I love radio pop, but the most exciting stuff is happening a little bit outside of the mainstream. We give recommendations through word of mouth and Spotify playlists, and discover new artists opening for legends we already love (hi, The Aces!). Some of these artists play evening sets at music festivals and only loosely classify as indie, and we haven’t even covered others on this website before. But this is some exciting, fresh stuff, and a taste of the reason why I love and am so excited about pop music.

Christine And The Queens, Feat. Dâm-Funk, “Girlfriend”

Héloïse Letissier suggests a new name on this song. “Chris” the persona is bold and sexy, confident and uninhibited. The song is all of that, too, and funky as hell.

SOPHIE, “Immaterial”

“I could be anything I want / Immaterial boys, immaterial girls / Anyhow, anywhere, anyplace, anyone that I want / Im-ma-ma-material, immaterial” The fallible, imperfect, not-right human body? Found dead, killed by this bop.

Rina Sawayama

Most of “Cherry” is addressed to a genderless “you,” which in pop music usually refers to an opposite-gendered “baby” or muse, but Sawayama makes it clear in the pre-chorus that this isn’t your typical bubblegum pop song in the pre-chorus — “Down the subway, you looked my way / With your girl gaze, with your girl gaze / That was the day everything changed.” “Cherry” sparkles with promise. Sawayama hasn’t released an LP yet, but you’ll be hearing her name everywhere soon enough.

Mitski, “Nobody”

Be The Cowboy is a rock triumph, but amid the intensely felt, beautifully rendered guitar jams, Mitski gave us an unexpected, perfect disco-pop banger.

Hatchie, “Sleep”

I hadn’t heard of Hatchie until I bought tickets to see her open for Snail Mail and Alvvays. The Aussie singer-songwriter has got Snail Mail’s lyrical clarity, Alvvays’ glittery dream-pop melodies, and a dash of Carly Rae’s sweet-voiced infatuation. Obviously, it’s brilliant.

Kim Petras, Feat. Baby E, “Hills”

The Genius summary of the song just says “a f*cking bop,” and who am I to argue with a genius?

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