As the roller coaster that was 2018 finally powers down, it’s time for Merry-Go-Round Magazine to take a look at the best that the world of music had to offer. Below, take a look at who we believe to have burst onto the scene in the strongest way.
Even if you are a part of such a reputable roster as Tiny Engines’, it’s easy to get thrown to the wayside in the emo genre these days; there’s an influx of sad misfits, with the Lil Peep’ers at one end and the Joyce Manors at the other. Immediately standing out with an album title that tells the mid-aughts emo and pop punk trends to hold its beer, Shannon Taylor and the rest of San Jose’s awakebutstillinbed manage to back up the heaviness that is WHAT PEOPLE CALL LOW SELF-ESTEEM IS REALLY JUST SEEING YOURSELF THE WAY THAT OTHER PEOPLE SEE YOU with a collection that is equal parts wrenching as it is fun. What started as a solo creative outlet during her time in another band, Jr. Adelberg, has now evolved into its own entity; it’s one of those totally serendipitous things where emo fans got not just what they wanted, but what they needed, and it all came so close to never happening. Taylor took the risk and it’s paid off in spades. As the sole songwriter she provides diaristic lyrics we should all be grateful to be privy to, and as the lead vocalist, she has a cadence that effortlessly clinches a top spot in the canon with its ability to project graceful and fragile just as quickly as it can project blood-curdling and broken. It’s easy to dismiss another hyped emo band, and maybe it’s even hurtful to most who get pegged the next big thing, but with awakebutstillinbed’s tendency to experiment with the mathier and poppier areas of the genre coupled with Taylor’s personality, which stands as its own faculty favoring the band, the case for longevity is easily made. In an interview with chorus.fm she shows certitude in transcending their emo label, “It feels kind of limiting to me a little bit, just because there is a lot of stuff outside of the scope of emo on the record… It’s not that I reject it, I just feel like there’s more to it,” and an infectious excitement about the future that can only come from a wunderkind such as herself: “Thank you to everyone who’s listened to it. It’s fucking amazing. It feels overwhelming in a really good way. It feels really special.” No, thank you, awakebustillinbed! I know many others and myself can’t wait to see what’s in store. [Nick Funess]
Any artist who can turn Lebron James’ living room into a hype party and concert environment has officially made it in my eyes. Yet somehow, that might not even break into the top five things that Sheck Wes did in 2018, a list headlined by the explosion of his song “Mo Bamba,” named after his childhood friend and current Orlando Magic center Mohamed Bamba. Originally released in June of 2017, it took about a year before the track started to take off. Viral videos of the song being blasted anywhere from the club to traditional weddings swept the internet, and turned it into a party classic. There was a two- or three- month stretch that every evening out would REQUIRE at least one listening to “Mo Bamba,” and when people think of 2018 they’ll have to mention that viral track; the song created a cultural stronghold that is usually reserved for the likes of the Drakes and Kendricks of the world.
But all of that came to a head with the release of his debut album, MUDBOY, an album as unrelenting and aggressive as the hit single. A new style of mosh pit rap music birthed out of the new wave SoundCloud generation, Sheck Wes’ music stands out amongst most of his peers by the stylistic diversity. A mixture of chaotic melodies and experimental production makes for something that feels fresh and rejuvenating. Sheck Wes certainly is a driven kid, working on his jumper just as much as his flow, and he’s got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps taking chances and engineering new ways to further his craft. [Mohammed Ashton Kader]