CRESTS OF WAVES (Volume 01) – The Best of Modern Pop

I inaugurate with this post a new series of mixtapes with the best pop songs that have been published in the last few months. The series is called “Crests of Waves” and I expect it will soon become a regular appointments of this blog. Similar initiatives will be launched shortly for all the other musical genres that we typically talk about on this site.

This first entry of the series features recent songs by The Mountain Goats, The Cranberries, Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode, Thunder Dreamer, Clock Opera, and Cigarettes After Sex. Additional details about the songs and the artists are provided after the widget. You’ll notice that Volume 1 of Crests of Waves is also built around a beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda (“Puedo Escribir”), which tells us of a desperate man who has lost the love of a woman he once loved.

 

The first song of the mixtape has been picked up from the incredible first full lenght album released by the American ambient pop band Cigarettes After Sex.  The album (self-titled) was released on last June 9, 2017, and contains 10 delicate and elegant tracks based on simple but beautiful melodies. The song selected for the mixtape is the track which opens the album, named K. (which stands for Kristen, as we may understand from the lyrics of the song)

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The second track of the compilation is Changeling, a song contained in the last album released by Clock Opera, which is a British quartet based in London and formed in 2009. Their most recent work, named Venn, was published in February 10, 2017, and is characterized by an interesting blend of electronic and indie pop. Changeling was the first single taken from the album, and an early versions of the song circulates since 2015.

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Third track of the playlists comes from Ghots, the last album from The Mountain Goats. The album was awarded here on last May with the title of best indie pop release of the month. The Mountain Goats are one of the most prolific bands of the American indie scene. Their leader, the singer-songwriter John Darnielle, has written more than 600 songs now, and the band, with their latest album has reached the impressive number of sixteen studio LPs in 23 years of career. The song selected for the mix is Shelved, which is not only one of the most beautiful moments in the album but also one of the greatest pieces that Darnielle ever wrote.

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Just in the middle of the playlist sits St-Malo, a song extracted from Capture, the last album by Thunder Dreamer, a dreamy rock band from Indiana, in the U.S. The album was published on last May 26, 2017, and follows their debut work released two years ago. The songs of Capture seem to reflect all the main elements from the Midwestern heartland from where these guys come from, and their work stands out actually as one of the best indie songbooks released in the last few months.

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In the last part of the mixtapes we go definitely beyond the boundaries of the indie scene, since I selected a few tracks from three mainstream albums that have been recently arriving on the shelves. The first entry of this group of songs comes from Something Else, the last album by The Cranberries which collects the acoustic versions of their classic hits (with three new songs), all featuring a string quartet from the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Differently from their previous Greatest Hits album (Stars, dated 2002), the new work indulges on the most poetic and delicate side of the band, as represented here by the song Ridiculous Thoughts which shines in its acoustic rendition.

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Next track is one of my favourite songs of the year, across all genres. This song is Ocean from Silver Eye, which is the seventh studio album by English electronic music duo Goldfrapp, released on 31 March 2017. The album signs a nice comeback of the duo to synth-pop, after the recent of excursions in the areas of electro folk and glam pop. This is also one of the albums whose value improves with repeated listens and it will stay for long among the best pop releases of the year. Ocean is the closing track of the album, and according to an interview that the band made some time ago, this little gem was created by the duo during a morning session and built from a very small and basic improvisation. Simply fantastic.

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The mixtape is closed by a band which this blog has definitely overlooked with respect to their fame. I’m talking about the Depeche Mode, the best-selling English electronic synth-pop giants from Bristol that released on last February their fourteenth album, Spirit. Unfortunately every recent work from the band has to deal with their glorious past and this makes it difficult to fully appreciate their latest releases. Even their latest album, in fact, didn’t receive any particular appreciation and I somehow share this opinion. Nevertheless, there are certainly some interesting pieces even in their latest album and I decided to end my mixtape with the opening track of their work, the nice but polemic Going Backwards.

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If you didn’t play the widget at the beginning of my post, here you have another opportunity to enjoy the full playlist, together with the beautiful words from Pablo Neruda.

 

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