︎     Aimen Rafique–Marsh  ◠‿◠✿

Top 50 Songs 2021!


decembre 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
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⳾ ⳾ ⳾﹡⊹﹡⳾ ⳾ ⳾ ⳾

When times are dark we rely on art to keep us afloat. In what has been a very difficult year, art: music, movies, books, the act of creation itself; has kept me anchored to the mortal plane.

This year’s top 50 is unranked.

I wanna thank every artist for making art ♡ I wanna thank myself for making art ♡ 
I just wanna talk about the songs I love and the way they made me feel ◠‿◠✿ Let’s go?

꧙꧙꧙꧙꧙꧙꧙꧙

Like You (feat. Fluffy) – Komato$e, CCI Midas, Lucas Versace


Theme

Grief, loss, platonic love


Favorite lyric(s)

“Hope that you will always feel love”
“No one like you, no one like you, when the lights go out Ima find you”

“Just kicked all the pigs out of heaven, fuck em right?” :) <3


Why listen?
This song is obviously special to me personally, because of the artists. CCI Midas and Komato$e are no longer with us. Komato$e wrote this song about the loss of his friend CCI Midas, who took their life in 2020. I think this song really honors platonic love, and how we need to love and interact with people while they’re around. It’s about having that one friend who just gets you, across artificial boundaries. I find there is a powerful continuity in acknowledging how much we can miss someone special, while promising to find them wherever we all go. 


Something Comforting – Porter Robinson


Theme

Comfort, hope, nostalgia


Favorite lyric(s)

“If I send this void away, have I lost a part of me?”
“Someone tell me, something comforting”

Why listen?
Porter Robinson’s Spitfire is the reason I got so excited about electronic music (that…and Lady gaygay <3). There’s something so powerful in listening to the same artists work at various points in your life. This song is exactly what the title says: it’s comforting. There’s so much hope in the twinkly music. I think this song helps me acknowledge that sometimes Something Comforting isn’t Something You Can Be Scared Of – you can fear healing but want it deeply. I highly recommend listening to the live version from Second Sky. Get into Porter y’all.



Cicada feat Arca – Sega Bodega


Theme

Sexy, dance, loss


Favorite lyric(s)

“Tell me you knew
How much I cared
To the ends of earth for you”



Why listen?
You know, sad can still be sexy! There’s really beautiful soft whispers and Arca’s glossy soundwork here with a really strong undercurrent at 1:50, you want to play that loud-soft. I love how the lyrics are angsty, for that ‘I can’t get you out of my head’ person and organic; the insect motif weighs down the strappy-heels-I-wanna-dance-in-the-moonlight vibe. It makes me wanna move, but it’s slinky and enigmatic. 

back n forth – ericdoa


Theme

Angsty, fuck-you!


Favorite lyric(s)

“You can’t ever hurt me, boy you don’t deserve me!”


Why listen?
I think that very specific 00s angst is making a real comeback this year. My favorite thing is a deep song with a hype beat.  Get in your (mom’s) car and blare the chorus and sing along. The theme really is ‘I hate everyone and I’m going to set a car on fire!”. Watch the video - he does mess his car up real bad, I admire that. 

Bands x3 – Malick McFly, Yung Davon, Plan Á


Theme

Happy fuck-you!


Favorite lyric(s)

“want these bandz bandz bandz, I ain’t your mans mans mans!”


Why listen?
Y’all don’t love the Arizona rap G.O.A.T. with Smooth Davon voice and the Plan Á beat? This is truly one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. I’m beyond impressed at each verse, the catchy beat, the finesse on this. The transition from cocky-dancy-calm-fuckyou-FUCKYOU! is …beyond. It’s just good y’all, it’s happy.

Token – Roma Radz


Theme

Brokeup, nostalgia, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“Play machine games, play machine games with my heart and my brain”


Why listen?
It’s time to give pop princesses center stage. This makes me feel like I got broken up with in an arcade. I love a good stutter on femme vocals, around 2:05. I think CD Romz is going to blow up y’all. I’m going to EVERY SHOW! (p.s. she was great at Pitchfork if you didn’t go you missed out teebeeH).



Bunny is a Rider – Caroline Polachek


Theme

Escapism, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“bunny is riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiider”
I’m so non-physical”


Why listen?
Listen…00:36 to 00:42…what can I say. Aren’t we all a little tired of being found? I could hide behind some boxes to be honest. I think there’s a real fluidity to this song, and I’m loving how many Alice in Wonderland metaphors this year has inspired (Alice – Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, The Matrix Ressurection). I really think we all feel a little non-physical and could use a little heart unbreaking. This is the perfect summerpop song and I’m a huge fan of the whistle. It’s ethereal, but grounded!



G R O W – WILLOW ft Travis Barker, Avril Lavigne


Theme

Personal growth, nostalgia, angst,healing


Favorite lyric(s)

“GROW! GROW! GROW!”
“I been really searching emotional wealth
Honestly my heart is broke”


Why listen?
Bruh it’s been a really long time since I listened to an Avril Lavigne song. Willow is incredible. Her vision is beyond. This song for me acknowledges how all that cheesy shit people say will help you…actually does (not being alone, affirmations…). It’s saying growth is taking some hits before it gets real Good. It made me feel a whole lot better about feeling so stupidly immature about growing up; it’s cathartic. I also think Willow has her found her sound and I hope we hear a hell of a lot more from her. Who else got Avril on a feature this year?! Mhm.


Montero – Lil Nas X


Theme

Personal growth, inner child


Favorite lyric(s)

“Call me when you want, call me when you need
Call me in the morning, I'll be on the way
Call me when you want, call me when you need”



Why listen?
Remember how much we loved Judas by Lady Gaga? Remember how good Bloody Mary is? Yeah there’s a little TENSION evoked with religious metaphors, and I really love it. This is just pure affirmation, pulling out that ~private into public. It makes you feel seen (and I mean; the music video…packed full of incredible artists). The vibrance of the music video, I can’t tell you enough how beautiful it was. 

acid reflux – io


Theme

Tension


Favorite lyric(s)

“doo doo beep boop”


Why listen?
Uh, it was me. I like songs that feel like your car is speeding and the steering isn’t quite in your control. I like tension. I like a big finish. I felt tense deep within when I made this cuz I had mad acid reflux. The best part is probably that siren, it’s like “uhhhh should I call me an ambulance or find something in this pain I can enjoy?” I went for the latter. It’s a really good interlude to clear the air with. 

1 (feat. Umru, Himera & trndytrndy) – Petal Supply


Theme

Longing, affirmation


Favorite lyric(s)

“Tell me I’m the 1”


Why listen?
11ish minutes of bliss. Petal Supply is so good at creating that glossy-wistful mood. For me, this song is about taking up space, asking for the affirmations you want to hear, and it’s also real nostalgic cause it’s bringin back the 00s trance scene. I like this version of 1 because it hits harder, right where you want it to. I love ethereal married with video-game-PEWPEW. 3:38 to 4:10 is incredibly comforting. Don’t skip. Stay with it.


Check1 – Umru, Tommy Cash & 645AR


Theme

Cocky, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“If she rides automatic then” …my mom reads my blog fill the gaps urself


Why listen?
Grandeur, swagger. big sound. big cocky lyrics to match. It’s theatrical, it’s the bedazzled-at-home leather jacket of music. It’s also catchy, and personally relevant because I can’t drive stick.

Xenomorphgirl – Arca


Theme

Ethereal, transformative


Favorite lyric(s)

“Tell me I’m the 1”


Why listen?
This is the one Arca song I might like better than Brokeup. It’s so beautiful and wistful, but there’s that tension of ‘is this enough’, ‘are we ramped up enough?’. I personally love vocals I cannot understand, so it’s the enigmatic energy here too, I love the fade into oblivion at the end. I’m a girl but don’t I morph? 



Free Woman (Rina Sawayama, Clarence Clarity remix) – Lady Gaga


Theme

Healing, transformative


Favorite lyric(s)

“I’m not nothing without a steady hand”


Why listen?
I’m a free bitch, baby. The original of this song is just as beautiful, but all the more so set against the ladscape of a successful #FreeBritney. I think everyone can find comfort in empowerment, but I would also like to add that Rina not only held her own, she met theatrical and vocal power like Gaga’s. Again, it’s cheesy, but I think this has been the year to find comfort in simplicity of message, true freedom, after all, is the ability to feel cool as fuck while saying whatever you want. Tell me you don’t want to holler the chorus…you do.  She’s a free woMAN//! My choice of fav lyric is purely based on developing hand tremor this year lol. It’s the little things.

Good Ones – Charli XCX


Theme

Angsty, self-destructive


Favorite lyric(s)

“I wish you gave me a reason”


Why listen?
Let me preface by saying this is a better pop song than anything the Dula Peep and the blonde whiney one have put out this year. This is girl becoming woman. However. I have really unpopular opinions about the music video, I hated it!!!!! Before I am a woman, I am a hater, I’m also a Charli stan so go easy on me. I loved the Eurythmics reference, I love the 80’s but I feel like this deserved brighter colors and a slightly more hectic video. It feels a little flat with the aesthetic she pushed, there’s a real mismatch visually, and visuals are important to me. This song is a masterclass in pop music. I’m just kinda mad cause I feel kinda played but it’s also not me being played. Charli really toed the line of sellout and talent here. I kinda love it.


NEEDA HAND – Tony Velour


Theme

Fast, tense


Favorite lyric(s)

“catch up please!”


Why listen?
It’s the way I wanted to feel while listening to DnB, but DnB didn’t quite do it for me. this is IT. I feel like we are popularising asking for help this year, this is on brand. If you haven’t heard this yet, catch up please!

911 (Charli XCX & A.G. Cook Remix) – Lady Gaga


Theme

Tension, healing, personal growth


Favorite lyric(s)

“keep myself in beautiful places
paradise is in my hands”



Why listen?
The 911 original and music video means so much. It’s really about confronting your crazy head on. This remix is almost too good to be true. There’s a real art in keeping the original spirit of a song alive, in being additive and not taking away. I feel like none of us realise how deeply Charli XCX understands pop music, but she really gets it. This is her at her angsty best, elevating Gaga’s raw, honest pop perfection. I love that Charli & AG kept the focus on that high pitched Gaga vocal. If you’re only around for a verse, 1:36 to 1:50 – it created tension and desperation like nothin else. Go on. Pop a 911.



On Your Mind – DOSS


Theme

Got someone on your mind


Favorite lyric(s)

“On Your Mind”


Why listen?
This is Doss’s year. Their remix of Enigma is also sublime. This is a solid standalone.



Summary feat. Lucas Versace – Komato$e


Theme

Reality, loss, hope


Favorite lyric(s)

“broke a couple hearts, healed a couple hearts”
“blah blah blah”

Why listen?
There are some songs honest enough to make you want to d*e. The chorus really is, the Summary. The worst part of this song is that I released it posthumously for Komato$e, in some grotesque way, was it a Summary? For me this song is about meeting myself where I am. This takes you all the way to the brink before revealing that it doens’t matter, right at the end (there is hope, it always gets better…unless?).


Sine From Above (Chester Lockhart, Mood Killer & Lil Texas Remix) – Lady Gaga


Theme

Catharsis, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“healed my heart, heard a sine”

Why listen?
This life is ephemeral. I think this song speaks to a real isolation and pain as a signal (well, duh). For me this is about finding delight even in the darkest moments. It’s about believing in utopia and light when you can’t see it, and listening to pain because it’s trying to get your attention for a reason. ALSO can I just say…there’s SILENCE, there’s a SINE WAVE, completely unrelated sax and then there’s the hardest I’ve ever heard a song go right at the end. Lil Texas didn’t have to, but he obliged, I’m grateful. More Gaga X Lil Texas pls.

Drama feat. Charli XCX – Bladee & Mechatok


Theme

Being a little toxic for fun


Favorite lyric(s)

“Crying in Prada, in the Bahamas, stand up for drama”

Why listen?
Sneaky vibes. Slightly toxic-for-fun vibes. I really really love Mechatok’s sounds.

The Steps – HAIM


Theme

Feeling misunderstood but standing up for yourself


Favorite lyric(s)

“I can't understand
Why you don't understand me, baby”


Why listen?
The perfect balance between being self-indulgent and standing up for yourself. HAIM really brings back that Jojo-type angst for me and I love it. If you’re feeling misunderstood…and tryin ‘ to grow…this could be for ya!

Unisil – SOPHIE


Theme

SOPHIE


Favorite lyric(s)

“HEY! HEY!”

Why listen?
This post - what more can be said about SOPHIE.

Unlimited Ammo – namasenda


Theme

Mutual toxicity, but knowing you are done


Favorite lyric(s)

“Feeling high, dopamine
Crushing like I'm 17”


Why listen?
This is Namasenda’s best work, it’s a bop. I just really like pop songs about relationships, especially if there’s toO muCh fEelinGs.


100 Boyfriends – Alice Longyu Gao


Theme

The disposability of men


Favorite lyric(s)

“Life is too short to not be kissed
That's why I keep hot boys on my wrist”


Why listen?
Alice Longyu Gao is so creative and resilient. This is one for the themmes, femmes, maybe hims. Life is short, you have the power. The beat is very Missy Elliot and I personally love whispers in songs.

Need You – Lil Texas & Kayzo


Theme

Catharsis, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“yo0o0uu nana”

Why listen?
I realised how powerfully cathartic hardstyle music was this year thanks to Lil T. This is gentler than his other work, much more grounded in THE FEELS. But it’s high energy, who says you can’t party when you’re sad? If you have ADHD, do yourself a favor and listen to this.

Bloody Mary – Lady Gaga


Theme

Out of Touch With Reality, Angst


Favorite lyric(s)

“We are not just art for Michaelangelo to carve,
He can’t, Rewrite the aggro of my furied heart


Why listen?
I could write an entire blog post about this song. Yes, I realise Born This Way came out a decade ago. This is from the re-edition so it counts. For me this song is about romanticising your life and giving yourself the space to be as theatrical as you want, if that empowers you in what you’re living through. Again, I love a good TENSE religious reference, she really made the most of this Mary Magdalene motif here. ‘Rewrite the aggro of my furied heart’ is one of the best pieces of songwriting I’ve ever seen. This song is ultimately about outlasting pieces and parts of your life – you are the focal point. It’s also about losing yourself in love to the point of dissassociating from reality; becoming almost religiously involved with someone. Just go listen to it man.  

Look at the Sky – Porter Robinson


Theme

Healing, hope


Favorite lyric(s)

“Look at the sky, I'm still here
I'll be alive next year
I can make something good, oh
Something good”


Why listen?
Nostalgic, but open air. If you haven’t touched grass in a while. If you haven’t looked directly up at a blue sky in a while. If you’re feeling a little musty, a little stifled, a little too indoors. You can still make something good, you’re still you. Porter’s entire album is true to the title, Nurture really is heady comfort. This was personally comforting to me because while my friend wasn’t still here, and wasn’t alive this year, isn’t he still here? I’m still here! What is grief if not love living past the object of its affection?


Telefang – Komato$e & Lucas Versace


Theme

Yes. None. All.


Favorite lyric(s)

I feel amazing in the limelight

Why listen?
Driving late at night in my feelings, thinking about something everything. Been there? Listen to it. Soothing. Gentle powerful voice. The opening sounds like Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv. LOL. I love the artist. I really love him so much. Talent. Also, fuck Lucas Versace.

Enigma (DOSS Remix) – Lady Gaga


Theme

Transformation, self-belief, dance


Favorite lyric(s)

“We could be anything we want”

Why listen?
That Mysterious Girl, Who is An Entire Girl! Doss really brought the tension, energy and a continuity to what was already such a beautiful song. Doss also brought a little challenge to Gaga’s raw power – give yourself something to believe in! I realise half of Dawn of Chromatica is in my top 50 this year, but…have you listened to it?


Don’t Rob The Plug – Yung Davon feat. Malick McFly


Theme

ouid, troll


Favorite lyric(s)

“Never mind”
“The revolution will never be televised, I’m hella high”
“In a hypothetical situation if I really did sell weed…”

Why listen?
Davon’s style is unique. Malick voice deep. COUGH COUGH COUGH adds a lot. It’s a solid song, I just really enjoy it.


Black Ops 2 – Namasenda


Theme

Winning!


Favorite lyric(s)

“Look at me winning now”

Why listen?
Are ya winning son? You could if you listen to this cute song. Not all music has to be deep, I love a superficial banger. I’m personally made of 99% cringe so I find this motivational. That’s just me baby.

Xcxoplex– A.G. Cook


Theme

Winning!


Favorite lyric(s)

“Body got no weight, gone without a trace”

Why listen?
God, Charli has that very specific brand of high pitched depth nobody else does. This is my disassociation soundtrack. I think it’s about floating above everything, especially at PARTIES and CLUBS!!!! This music makes me feel truly free, sadfree, carefree, out of reach!

Replay (Dorian Electra Remix) – Lady Gaga


Theme

Fighting, despair, dance!


Favorite lyric(s)

“Never stop like a song playing and I can't escape
On rewind, on repeat, incessant, all day
Spinnin' it like you're a DJ, torture me on replay”


Why listen?
Replay the original: angsty dance pop. Replay the remix: screaming at a festival, pure euphoria, I don’t care! This truly is about letting your (little) Monsters free. I didn’t expect Dorian to go so Sum41 hard but I mean…it’s Dorian. I feel like the embellishments really brought this song together – the gasping, the raw, the raspy whispery. Gaga’s growl has been a source of comfort since 2009. Dorian not only matched that growly freedom energy, they elevated it. I swear I hear Tom Hiddleston’s Loki somewhere in here though.

The Void pt 3 – Malick McFly


Theme

Cocky, growth


Favorite lyric(s)

“Some people’s biggest fear is their thoughts, my biggest fear is these THOTS”

Why listen?
Short and sweet, a Malick classic. He just gets better every single song.


Kanpai – Alice Longyu Gao


Theme

Cocky, dance!


Favorite lyric(s)

“Everybody’s drinking about me”

Why listen?
I felt cooped up. I want to CLINK GLASSES WITH YOU. I want a good damn time! So I play Kanpai!



I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett


Theme

Loving deeply, platonic love


Favorite lyric(s)

“I’ve got you under my skin, like a tattoo, under my skin”

Why listen?
Some people really weave themselves into the fabric of your being. There’s a song for that feeling. This entire album is not the kind of music I’d have listened to if not for the obvious reason *cough* lady gaygay. I’m glad I did, it brought me a lot of joy to see black abundance celebrated, to see Tony Bennett breaking through Alzheimers with music – it really did feel magical. It’s festive too! I also think it’s healthy not to give a shit about genres and find what you love wherever it sits.


Ram It Down (feat. Mood Killer, Lady Mariko, Lil Texas) – Dorian Electra


Theme

Family values


Favorite lyric(s)

“Keep it locked up tight, ah
Oh, what you do at night, ah
Just don't bring it out into the daylight”


Why listen?
Take it literally. Firstly, listen because Lil Texas – do you not enjoy endorphins?!  I don’t know if I feel good below 120BPM anymore. Secondly. Because. What you love. Ram it down the metaphorical throat of everyone and anyone! Thirdly. Hey Man, sounds a whole lot like Dorian is calling my name. I choose to really enjoy that.

boys wanna txt (feat. ericdoa) – daine


Theme

Teen angst


Favorite lyric(s)

“Feeling so impulsive
I just want your cold grip, but you ignore my text”


Why listen?
That feeling when everyone is blowing up your phone, except the one person you really want to hear from. I am a compulsive triple texter, which kinda makes me love this all the more. Again, ericdoa…get into it.

Queer (feat. planningtorock) – Arca


Theme

Power, transformation


Favorite lyric(s)

“Queer fire, shower in power line
Tears will shower in my time
Like magic”


Why listen?
Title.

Freedom – Christine and The Queens


Theme

Healing


Favorite lyric(s)

“So please don't give me up (freedom)
'Cause I would really, really love to stick around”


Why listen?
There’s big and loud theatrical. Then there’s Christine and The Queen’s almost poetic theatrical. There’s soft power in this song. It might be a little dramartique but I welcome this. 

Dick (feat. Doja Cat) – StarBoi3


Theme

Take a wild guess


Favorite lyric(s)

“She not with him tonight, she not with Jim tonight, she in the gym tonight!”

Why listen?
Listen, you need to find 4 goofy friends, a car, and play this out loud. Everyone needs to scream the chorus.This is one of those cute short-lived pop songs. I LOVE IT. (I also love Doja Cat, she is definitely a Little Monster tbh).

Solar Power – Lorde


Theme

Healing, love


Favorite lyric(s)

“Turn it on in a new kind of bright
It's solar (solar, solar, solar)
Come on and let the bliss begin
Blink three times when you feel it kicking in”


Why listen?
This is my favorite Charli XCX song. LOL. It’s about finding your own genre of power. I have to be honest, I hated this song so much when it came out. I HATE the summer. I HATE yellow. I deeply dislike sand, self-reflection, slow songs. It really grew on me though, it is classically Lorde. TBH, I also would like to throw my cellular device into the water. This song and Bunny Is A Rider are sisters – don’t ask me to explain further. I don’t understand music.


Butter – BTS


Theme

Butter


Favorite lyric(s)

“Ooh, when I look in the mirror
I'll melt your heart into two
I got that superstar glow, so
Ooh (do the boogie, like)”


Why listen?
Look, I’m a simple woman of Persian heritage. I love butter and I love BTS. I think they make truly feel good music. I think we need that. Also, THEY ARE SO CUTE LOL!!!!

mememe – 100 Gecs


Theme

Angst


Favorite lyric(s)

“But I'll laugh too fucking hard, you probably think I'm so mean
But I don't even know you, and now you'll never really know”


Why listen?
Do you want to be kinda mysterious, but know deep inside you are way too cringe to achieve true enigma status? For some reason this song validates That Specific Part of me. It’s also very 00s Simple Plan.

strangers – ericdoa


Theme

Growing Up


Favorite lyric(s)

“She like everything about me, I'm the one that she adore”

Why listen?
ericdoa. very teen early-are-we-talking-dating-relationship vibes. no more parties in LA reference.



Rainbow (make it double Oklou remix) – Bladee and Mechatok


Theme

Joy, seeking

Favorite lyric(s)

“Night wrap me in a black velvet blanket
I could've had it all, I didn't wanna have it
You don't believе it, how can I work the magic?”


Why listen?
Bladee and mechatok are always ethereal. There is some beautiful textural songwriting matched by twirling sounds here. The Oklou remix is even more JOYFUL than the original I also just love the metaphor of looking for rainbows. I love spoken word bits in songs. This is just a really delicate, beautiful piece of music - it is like delicate elderflower meeting liquid chrome.


Exact – Tony Velour


Theme

Growing Up


Favorite lyric(s)

“All my trust, how much to be exact?”

Why listen?
This is one I think I’ll be listening to for a looooooong time. I like it a lot, I’m not sure why yet. It’s groovy.



SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE – Tyler The Creator


Theme

Relationships


Favorite lyric(s)

“But God gotta know he might have peaked when he made you
The cosmos' only mistake is what they named you?”


Why listen?
I love extra long, not quite cohesive songs. Tyler is really exploiting sugary metaphors, but I love a high calorie diet. A song that shifts and gives me a little more than I thought I’d get.


The One – Hyd


Theme

Relationships


Favorite lyric(s)

“The world is yours
For you to decide
No use in hiding
Your next self-design?”


Why listen?
When I first heard this, which was live at Pitchfork, it blew my mind. There ar every few songs that can walk the tightrope of twinkling-starlight-ambience and ANGRY-METALLIC-BOOM in the same way. It really is cathartic, and again, I love a song that shifts. Marrying the elegance of quiet vocal with CLANG CLANG gets me.


⳾ ⳾ ⳾﹡⊹﹡⳾ ⳾ ⳾ ⳾



ideally bandcamp / buy but if you must, listen on apple music & spotify




What if you actually listened to every single song on this playlist and found your new favorite? ay.


LV & KOMA VOL. 1 OUT NOW EVERYWHERE!



TRACKLIST

(EXEC PRODUCER LUCAS VERSACE)

1. BRA$$KNUCKLES FT XATURN
2. HUNNIT K PLAYS
3. IF YOU FT. DJ KILLA C
4. MURDER ON MY MIND
5. SUMMARY
6. LIKE YOU FT. TRAPLORD MIDAS

7. TELEFANG


Part 1



Lots of people I know have lost loved ones in this shit season of Earth 2021: Pandemic Reloaded. We’re going through some sense of loss for our old lives. I’ve seen the term ‘collective grief’ floating around. In late 2020 I heavily identified with it and found myself complaining (ironically…to Maxy) about how sad I was at the possibly permanent loss of nightlife and live music.


Well. When real grief hit, let me tell you the ~ collective grief of not being able to go to restaurants, or the club paled in comparison. Losing Max feels permanent, cruel and relentless. It’s the kind of experience that really makes you feel like one iota of stardust in a vast universe. Not in the best way.


Anyway. I don’t want to make an in memoriam post.


I feel like Max is too vast a presence to be condensed into one-off remembrances. Parsuite, j’ecris part 1.




——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——




2017 was a pretty difficult year personally. Max visited London to see my sister, at the *peak* of my 21 year old angst, and his visit was full throttle joy and happiness.


I’m shy and painfully awkward – I mouth breathe and I’m kinda stressed about eating in public so hanging out with new people can be weird. I felt zero awkwardness with Max. My sister and I speak in our own strange language of surrealist ethnic internet jargon and Max just got it straight away – no explanations needed.


Many highlights: taking him to Nando’s, our pre-flight Sainsbury’s run that was basically a game of Supermarket Sweep: Flight Snacks. Going on a double decker bus. Asking for his social security number. Sitting on a sticky black leather couch in a really downtempo (kinda garage band??) bar and squeezing all of us in for our only photo of the trip, because we honestly never stopped living in the moment.




——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚˚☽˚⁀— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——



2020: Year of the Reunion. I have never in my life laughed so hard before. The night Max was due to meet up with my sister, my husband and I were winding down for a fun night at home. I thought I’d see them two at the weekend and catch up, and I wasn’t sure what Max would be like cuz we hadn’t seen each other for years at this point.

They rang us early because they’d hired a manual car and Max only drove auto, so my sister was like “Can y’all come teach us to drive a manual vehicle”. Michael and I couldn’t stop laughing – Max and Anoshe were literally looking up YouTube lessons on driving a manual, and when we got there they’d managed to get from KX to…the next street over…still in KX. Surrounded by some very amused youths. It loses so much in translation but this saga was probably the most we’d laughed in 2020. Again, when we met up there was no awkwardness, just cackle and love. The auto manual mixup was such a classic youth blooper, which just made it sweeter and funnier. I’m so grateful to Michael for that drive we all got to enjoy.

We managed to squeeze in one dinner for the four of us. Max gave Picantés his seal of approval, mans got taste.



——- * ❃·゚: *✧·゚˚☁˚⁀— *:·゚❃:·゚✧ ——




This is the most painful collection of memories.


Max was in my home the 29th of Dec (lockdown purists chill it was for a minute – we needed extra coats so we could hang out in the streets). I showed him my new KORG midi controller and he stood right in front of my (redundant) second TV stand. In the same place I sat for his vigil.


Kensington’s been my happy place since I moved to London, and the tail end of HSK is where we laughed and talked for ages cause we couldn’t properly hang out. Portlands on HSK has like the second largest collection of Arizona iced tea flavors in London, we hung out by there for a while.


The Xmas Eve last minute grocery run for Max and Anoshe was probably the most fun I’ve had shopping for chicken (they had kebab for Xmas dinner though…smh). We hung out with Max and Davon outside Burger King for ages in 1 degree weather. Lit.


We were meant to work on our collab piece but didn’t get to. At this stage the UK government’s coronavirus strategy was heavily inspired by the chorus of Unlock It by Charli XCX (“Lock it lock it, unlock it, lock it lock it”) – we were thrown into Tier 4 pretty last minute.




——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——




Friday 15th Jan, I was finishing up the artwork for a lead single off of the compilation album Max was working on. We were really inspired by similarly chaotic, vibrant art and music at this point. I sent him my final draft at like 12:21AM UK time, and he really liked it. His last text to me was 04:30 AM UK time telling me he loved it and would ask Lucas to finalize. We’re now working on releasing the album in his honor, I know he wanted it out by March. 

I don’t really remember much of the next few days. I know my friends were kinder than I could’ve imagined and they took care of me. I know I was there for my sister when I needed to be, but I’ll never know if I did enough.

Maximus meant more than a brother in law. He’s a true friend and we really were on the same wavelength. He’s my little big brother – he’s always been a huge vibrant presence.




—-* ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —☁* ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* ——-




I don’t always remember – so it’s a jolt when I realize. Even now, I find something funny that I know only he will cackle at in the same way. And I’m about to text him because I forget.


The love Max had for Anoshe, his family and his friends is palpable. I see my golden friend’s loving nature in everything: his Mothman sweater he gave me, his technical review of Tempest, the smiles we have in photos, voice notes and memes.


Sometimes I’m in the grocery store feeling like I’m forgetting something or like we need to do something urgently. It’s difficult to realize there’s nothing urgent to do. SOPHIE’s passing amplified the senseless loss of Max’s potential. I don’t have any poignant commentary on grief. It was difficult. After SOPHIE, it got harder. It never really goes away – as Michael said it just becomes less urgent in the moment.


Sometimes I’m mid conversation at work or with people I love and I remember something hilarious he said. And I have to hold back the laughter. More so because they’re usually inside jokes with dark humor others probably won’t get. Those are my favorite moments. It was an honor to share this realm with him.


Me and Anoshe laugh at things we really shouldn’t even now. We made jokes that are probably not in great taste or intelligible to everyone he knew. Initially we didn’t know how to feel about being able to laugh, but then we found this text from Maxy saying “Please joke about me when I die. Not like mean stuff, but laugh”.

xoxo




















Top 50 Songs 2020


decembre 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣


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1. Thos Moser – gupi and Fraxiom


never do i cry to music, but this song moves me to tears. living in the moment is a 2020 necessity, this song is joyful and sad IN the NOW. also the highlight of my musical career this year was taking music lessons from gupi.

2. anthems – Charli XCX


i think the best xcx songs are the pre-party moods (cc Next Level Charli from 2019’s Charli). if u want to be driven to a concert by a slightly risqué uber driver in a prius…play this on the way. anthems is GROUNDING and TENSE and very much my state of mind march to dec.

3. hand crushed by a mallet (fall out boy remix) – 100 gecs


just like my 14 year old self, i couldn’t go to parties this year, i couldn’t scream at gigs  and i played a lot of emo music. so i mean. when u can do HARDCORE POP x EMO why not…dose of serotonin baby

4. Xxoplex – A.G. Cook


when u want to scream into the void but electronically. this was an excellent interstitional at one of the online fests this year. i think pop crypt??? none of us have a working memory anymore sorry.

5. forever – Charli XCX


before u play that turd of forkturd and everpoo listen to the first song from the OG quarantine album ok. my husband doesn’t like this as much as other XCX music idk why

6. detonate – Charli XCX


shimmery electronic sounds really hit me in the FEELINGS. i think this was a good summary of what it feels like to just EXIST CONSTANTLY in small spaces. 

7. Oracle – A.G. Cook


i think a lot of us felt fearful this year so like…maybe i’m a bit fear-fear-fearful tell me if you’re not fear-fear-fearful oooOracle aAhhahhh 💟
A.G. knows how to do sadcore bedroom computer pop.

8. nothing more to say – io


firstly please turn up your volume because i mastered this with airpods*. i am sorry. i made NMTS extended mix in a really sad place, because i literally had nothing more to say. i think it’s a top 2020 song because it’s patient, tight, angry and bubbling all at once. it’s also nice background white noise ignore while u work I GUESS

*a public apology to all sound engineers



9. superstar (live at secret sky) – A.G. Cook


secret sky was a 2020 highlight (online festival set up by dj porter robinson). porter robinson is one of the earliest true EDM artists i listened to. the curation and QUALITY of sets @ secret sky…poetic cinema. reminded me why i got into music that is just sounds and feelings. superstar is very secret sky.

10. ringtone (umru remix) – 100 gecs


when you see (umru remix) just know you’re getting SNARE…the opening says umru…the vibration at the end always gives me mad anxiety because i feel like i’m getting a phone call …just GOOD


11&12. Gentleman & M’Lady – Dorian Electra


panny D gave us some breathing room so lots of people felt FREE to EXPERIMENT with CONCEPTS OF PERFORMATIVITY in GENDER. this is king Dorian at his best with duelling personas and good f*ckin music. these are separate songs but for me i like them b2b


13. 4ÆM – Grimes


i know f*k notch f!ck musk and i’ll p^ss on zedd but grimes musk did sample  Sanjay Leela Bhansali here. I am a big fan of bolly crossovers. I am patiently waiting for an A.R. Rahman x A.G. Cook collab (sorry but IMAGINE)


14. gec 2 Ü (remix ft. Dorian Electra) – 100 gecs


fake hotline…Dorian COUGHIN into the mic what the heck else do u want from a song…also i spent a lot of time feeling like i was sittin’ all alone when u call me on da phone and say i need luv can u gec 2 me now



15. Windows – A.G. Cook


7G is the magnum opus every producer dreams out but won’t actually throw out there. windows is a great shoegazey electronic dream. delicious lyrics include ‘see in pink & red’


16. movinglikeazombie (umru remix) – dante red


watching this live on halloween was like the portal scene from avengers. just when you think the best artist has delivered the best verse ANOTHER ONE POPS UP. also special place in my heart for the kiss me thru the phone verse <3


17. Quarantine Rly Sucks (gupi remix) – Alice Longyu Gao


what do you not agree with here really


18. Oh Yeah – A.G. Cook


apparently i developed a passion for disassociating on the toilet in 2020 and this was a very good soundtrack for my newest hobby. very Everytime Britney x Shania Twain vibes



19. stupid horse – 100 gecs


listen to this @ 80dB after something utterly SHIT happens. its like when u go tell ur friend ‘yo life is garbage’ and they have an ever more atrocious misfortune to share. gecs init. also if u can’t relate to the I NEVER HAVE ANY MONEY lyric lol congrats


20. SOUR CANDY – Lady Gaga and BLACKPINK


the culture owes lady gaga everything sis was HYPERPOP before HYPERPOP. blackpink is sublime & we love a bilingual pop moment in this haus. delicious lyric: I’M HARD ON THE OUTSIDE BUT IF YOU SEE INSIDE INSIDE INSIDE bop i s2g


21. oohu – A.G. Cook


this is most similar to what i like to make & listen to. the idea of gazing out a rainy window as a femmebot going ‘doo dooo ooohu’ is cool?  chaotic electronica is cathartic and sigmund freud should’ve spent more time investigating that instead of all that oedipus nonsense 💢


22. Edgelord ft. Rebecca Black – Dorian Electra


we live in a society where rebecca black is making a comeback in a big way. as a child of the 00s internet i approve. kiNG DORIAN has had a fantastic year tho for real a niche of their own


23. Rich Bitch Juice (Dylan Brady Remix) – Alice Longyu Gao


most delicious lyric: IM F*CKING TIRED DON’T TELL ME BE HAPPY DON’T YOU DARE TALK TO ME . this remix brings the bff vibe of original rich bitch juice into a whole other, angrier, CURRENT dimension. also mood of the damn year: I’M F%CKING TIRED…EXHUASTED!


24. Alice – Lady Gaga


pop art, art pop, just SOLID POP


25. Mos Thoser – gupi and Fraxiom


you know when the sequel movie is somehow as good as the first one…???? this part 2 is perfect. delicious lyrics  Y’ALL KNOW GOD IS TRANS SO LETS PRAY TO HER AND STREAM TROPHY. you know i think frax is our nxt pop princess.


26. Cool - Dua Lipa


very good angst pop, a little bit Vacation Club Music but really honestly nICE


27. Violence ft. i_O – Grimes


dj i_O very sadly passed away this year. imo his best work. this song is like when you give yourself a monologue pep talk in club bathroom then walk out looking very ambient and mysterious


28. Nasubi (ft. Starman Deluxe) – Komato$e


my very own friend and solid artist Komato$e with one of his best wavy gnarly sounds. collab dropping 2021 once i scrape myself off the metaphorical floor.


29. true (umru remix) – Hannah Diamond


UMRU SAID WE’RE CUTE. i like true a lot, i like Hannah Diamond a lot. meeting her last year was a definite highlight, and the vulnerability she brings stands in contrast to the electronic perfection of her visuals / sounds. CRISPY song and pls someone give thanks to umru for all the results he is getting in 2020


30. Vortex – GRRL


IS THERE A BETTER ELECTRONIC ARTIST THAN GRRL RIGHT NOW. no single dose of dopamine ever delivered more elegantly than in the Odyssey and Marathon albums. GRRL’s sets this year have been impeccable and the one balm soothing my lack of actual rave energy. get your endorphins. listen to Odyssey.


31. Strange Journey – GRRL 


where Odyssey is drum therapy, Marathon is more of a targeted spookathon experience. this is an incredible song and words fail to describe just use ur ears


32. UGH! – BTS


i love BTS. i love songs named UGH! 


33. @@@@@ – Arca


there are some songs worth spending 1:02:21 listening to


34. Nonbinary – Arca


she’s BACK and collaborating with fire artists left right and center. this is a progressive sonic exploration, tinny and spoken wordy. delicious lyric: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DEALING WITH COS UR NOT DEALING WITH COS THERES NO DEAL (like brexit init)


35. skater boy – That Kid


i do not think we are prepared for that kid’s impact on our culture


36. Ocean of Tears (umru remix) – Caroline Polachek


caroline pola was the last artist i saw live, along with sega bodega wahhh. umru’s remix is always a different world to the original. its incredible. for some reason Nintendo Smash Bros vibes.


37. People, I’ve Been Sad – Christine and The Queens


there is a tootimetootime cover by charli and chris on bbc radio 1 that should be mandatory listening for us all. anyway who hasn’t been sad this year? delicious lyric: IF U DISAPPEAR THEN I’M DISAPPEARING TOO, U KNOW THE FEELING (YOU KNOW THE FEELING)


38. PIZZAWALA – Baauer


i love when ethnic sounding music


39. STFU! – Rina Sawayama


in this year of pandemic-induced extra strength east asian racism, do yourself a favor and STFU!!!!!


40. Voicenote – Himera


himera has been all kinds of amazing this year. voicenote is twinkly, and delicate and that synth saw…


41. Aquaventura – GRRL


i have never heard a song that made me feel sharkboy and lavagirl until now


42. The Steps – HAIM


relevant lyric:  EVERYDAY I WAKE UP AND I MAKE MONEY FOR MYSELF </3


43. Dynamite – BTS


ARMYs would send death threats if this wasn’t on top 50 pls oh god also it’s pretty good ngl BTS just want to have fun ok


44. Lifetime – Romy


i think this song is for that one specific individual who asked me to play intro by the xx at a 90’s night. very cascada mood, good song.


45. Boyfriend In Every City – Roma Radz


this is her debut…like this is how good her DEBUT is. pop princesscore. an excellent song with an excellent music video that P.S. I worked on!!!!! this song made me nostalge for loggin in and out of MSN for attention


46. WAKING UP DOWN – Yaeji


i love yaeji but i have the luxury not to feel like yaeji is stealing from my culture. while rnb appropriation is a strength of hers – so is a bilingual bop. delicious lyric: I GOT WAKING UP DOWN I GOT HYDRATING DOWN (because i most certainly did not lol) 


47. iPhone - Rico Nasty


this song references iPhone and masks…Gen Z VIBING


48. Don Dada – Cakes da Killa


so unfair to drop this in the year of no clubs. i would LOVE to put this in a spicy vogeuy mix honestly


49. If You’re Too Shy Let Me Know – The 1975


i remember sitting in my bedroom fully performing SadGirlMainCharacter to Robbers and this is peak 1975. WE LOVE THE 1975.


50. EAST – Earl Sweatshirt


why don’t more rap songs use the very specific sad kind of middle eastern music we ate dinner to? anyways earl sweatshirt excellence


LISTEN ON APPLE MUSIC AND SPOTIFY🆒 ⬇️




“Curation gives you an opportunity to pull your head out of your own echo chamber / butt”


“CloserOS”


The Essential Operating System to Bring You Closer
aug 2020


A sneak peek at CloserOS™ ☻

We are all Closer; Digitally.

CloserOS™ brings essential, high-performance, distance-optimised technology to make cyberspace connections FeelReal®.

Coming Soon To A Machine Near You. CloserOS ™ asks if you are gonna cross the line. We are 6 feet apart, but always Closer with CloserOS ™.

Extremely Limited Release Coming Soon On An Undisclosed Friday Not Far Into The Future. cc Rebecca Black.



The design of CloserOS embraces what brought us joy in our early online lives. CloserOS understands that we want to be Closer at a distance. We live in a society that is hyperconnected, and CloserOS wants your connection to FeelReal® while maintaining a safe distance.

CloserOS asks you to cross the line, bridging your cyberreality with the physical. Above all, we hope you enjoy every Friday, waking up in the morning, getting your bowl and getting cereal.

⊱ ━━━━━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━━━━━ ⊰