'Wow, we've had a good year': Annie Mac reflects on the hottest records of 2018

'Wow, we've had a good year': Annie Mac reflects on the hottest records of 2018

It’s no surprise to find Annie Mac frothing about new music, and when Music Week catches up with the BBC Radio 1 DJ to reflect on 2018, she’s in typically buoyant form.

Mac is reflecting on the 20-track longlist (see the tracks below) for Radio 1’s Hottest Record Of The Year, chosen by the DJ and her team from the 200+ songs she’s aired for the first time on her show. 

“It’s an amazing sum up of 2018,” she says. “When you see the list it’s like, ‘Wow, we’ve had a good year for music”.

Mac highlights the importance of “not just picking the biggest records” and including “records that were culturally important for the scene they represent. She namechecks Peggy Gou’s  It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) and Theophilus London & Giggs’ Bebey (SN1 Road Mix) to illustrate her point.

Annie Mac will reveal the fan-voted Hottest Record of 2018 on air tonight (December 6). Last year’s winner was The Killers’ comeback single The Man. Ahead of the big unveiling, we asked former Music Week cover star Mac to run the rule over 2018…

Tell us about this year’s Top 20 Hottest Records…

“It’s important to make it a fan thing. This is the time of the list and every publication; everyone has their own version of a synopsis of the year or tips for next year. We really wanted to make it about the people who listen. This year, there was an international vote, you didn’t have to register via the BBC website, you could do it on Twitter using hash tags. That was cool, making a it a global thing. We’ve had Post Malone and Calvin Harris posting about it and that’s what I wanted, to reach as far and wide as possible. You want artists to feel happy to be on there and their fanbases to feel passionate about winning. It’s gone really well.”

What does the final 20 tell you about the year in music?

“It’s been really interesting. An amazing year for British music, the big exports like Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Calvin Harris. It’s been an amazing year for British black music, grime and the whole DIY scene and not playing the traditional game. And then a great year for that American trap sound, Travis Scott’s album really went global and became a pop smash. There were loads of really exciting returns too, Robyn, Arctic Monkeys and Florence + The Machine…”

If you look at pop music there aren’t many bands up there that kids love anymore

Annie Mac

The 1975 have also returned and they’re on your list. How impressed have you been with that campaign?

“I find them exciting. They’re a really progressive, interesting band. If you look at pop music there aren’t many bands up there that kids love anymore, it’s all rap, R&B or pop. It’s exciting to have a band at that level that are pop as well as indie and everything else. The new album sounds like Burial in places and Bon Iver in others, it’s really pushing the boundaries of what people expect. Matty Healy is a really amazing frontman, he’s interesting and thinks hard about what he wants his band to look like and to sound like. He really lives it, you know?” 

What does the Hottest Record do for the music industry?

“It’s the one thing we’re the most proud of on the show. It’s that platform for people to come and make a splash. A lot of Hottest Records are returns, anticipated releases from artists who want to use our show as a Launchpad. Because we are the BBC, there’s a trust element there that we are going to do justice to their endeavours. They’re always going to come in and speak to me and we’re always going to get context around the release and get them to talk about their hopes and dreams for it. Getting two plays is really significant on the radio, sometimes it takes that to let a song really sink in. It’s a double stamp of approval. For the newer bands, it’s a real rite of passage, a milestone on their evolution as an artist. Radio 1 is the only place where I can play a record to a mainstream national audience and launch it in that way, you don’t get that in streaming. I love that inclusivity. It’s really important for the music industry and independent labels, to get their music on those platforms really makes a difference.”

The Hottest Record Of The Year longlist is as follows:

Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five
A$AP Rocky Ft. Skepta – Praise The Lord (Da Shine)
Bring Me The Horizon – Mantra
Brockhampton - 1999 Wildfire
Calvin Harris Ft. Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Calvin Harris Ft. Sam Smith – Promises
Christine and the queens – Girlfriend
Drake Ft. Michael Jackson - Don't Matter To Me
Florence + The Machine - Hunger
George Ezra – Shotgun
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel
Mabel Ft. Not3s - Fine Line
Peggy Gou - It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)
Post Malone Ft. Ty Dolla $ign - Psycho
Robyn – Missing U
The 1975 – Give Yourself A Try
Theophilus London Ft. Giggs – Bebey (SN1 Road Mix)
Travis Scott Ft. Drake – Sicko Mode
Twenty One Pilots - Jumpsuit
Years & Years - Sanctify

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