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Dave wins album of the year and fellow rappers Stormzy and Tyler, the Creator win best male categories as Capaldi crowns breakthrough year

Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has topped the winners at the 2020 Brit awards, though a strong year for rap music prevented a clean sweep of his four nominations.

Capaldi picked up best new artist and best song for Someone You Loved, which spent seven weeks at No 1 in spring 2019, later topping the US charts and earning a Grammy nomination.

His debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent its title typical of the dry self-deprecation that has won him millions of fans on social media was the biggest seller in the UK in 2019, but it lost the top prize of album of the year to south London rapper Dave and his emotionally fraught Psychodrama.

Dave, who in his performance earlier in the evening called Boris Johnson racist, decried the lack of support for survivors of the Grenfell tragedy and called attention to the disparity in the media treatment of Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, used his acceptance speech to celebrate his fellow south Londoners, and to acknowledge incarcerated Britons including his brother, Christopher.

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Dave calls Boris Johnson ‘real racist’ in politically charged Brits performance video

In September 2019, Psychodrama won the other top album award in British pop music, the Mercury prize. Dave is only the second ever artist to win both, following the Arctic Monkeys wins for their 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, Thats What Im Not. Dave had been this years joint top Brits nominee with Capaldi on four.

Continuing a successful year for rap music, Stormzy beat a strong field Dave and Capaldi, plus Harry Styles and Michael Kiwanuka to be named best British male. His win follows a triumphant year in which he topped the UK singles chart three times, began a five-continent world tour, and played a headline set at Glastonbury that is already regarded as one of the greatest in the festivals 50-year history.

LA rapper Tyler, the Creator added to his best rap album Grammy award with a Brit for best international male, beating Bruce Springsteen and others. In his speech, he taunted former prime minister Theresa May, who as home secretary banned him from coming to the UK for five years. The restriction ended last year.

The rap wins show not only the current depth and breadth of the genre, but also that the Brit awards have adapted following accusations of under-promoting black talent. Following the #BritsSoWhite outcry of 2016, the Academy of voters was diversified to bring in more people of colour, and black British stars including Skepta, J Hus, Kano and Jorja Smith have all since appeared on shortlists.

Those Academy changes also brought in more women to move the gender balance of voters close to parity, but the awards have been criticised this year for not featuring enough women on its shortlists, as well as the longlists from which voters select nominees. Mabel was the only British woman to be shortlisted across 25 slots in the mixed British categories of best song, album, group and new artist. Voters could choose from 86 male artists for best British male, but only 26 women for best British female, while there were only 36 albums featuring women out of the 198 longlisted.

Mabels opening performance at the 2020 Brits. Photograph: JM Enternational/Rex/Shutterstock

The lack of female nominees was a theme of the evening, with host Jack Whitehall skewering the Brits for failing to recognise women, and Foals, winners of best British group an exclusively male category expressing their desire to see more female artists in the category next year.

Joy Crookes, nominated for the rising star Brit award, was among those criticising the ceremony, telling the BBC: You take one look at that list to go theres not enough women on it. Its as simple as that you can tick all the boxes, but [diversity] just isnt there yet.

In the end, Mabel lost out to Capaldi in the best song category, but won best British female. Scoring a UK No 3 single and album last year as well as reaching the US charts for the first time, she is the daughter of another pop singer, Neneh Cherry, who won two awards at the 1990 Brit awards. Billie Eilish won best international female, adding to the five Grammy awards she won earlier this year.

The rising star award formerly the critics choice award had previously been announced, and was won by soul singer Celeste.

Two award categories from previous years, best international group and best video, were cut to make way for more performances at the ceremony a sign that the Brits is attempting to remain a vibrant TV fixture in an increasingly fragmented media landscape, and intent on creating potentially viral performances to be shared online. Other changes include the introduction of three performance stages around Londons O2 Arena where the awards are held, reducing the number of industry tables by 50%.

Performers at the ceremony, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included award winners Capaldi, Dave, Eilish, Mabel, Stormzy and Celeste, plus Harry Styles and US rapper, singer and sometime flautist Lizzo. Rod Stewart reunited with Faces bandmates Ron Wood and Kenney Jones to close the show.

Brit awards 2020 winners in full

Male solo artist: Stormzy
Female solo artist: Mabel
Group of the year: Foals
Rising star: Celeste
New artist: Lewis Capaldi
Song of the year: Lewis Capaldi Someone You Loved
Album of the year: Dave Psychodrama
International solo male: Tyler, the Creator
International solo female: Billie Eilish

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The actor and activist has backed up Harrys desire to protect his family, while Stormzy has said there is no credible reason to dislike Meghan

Hugh Grant has defended Prince Harrys decision to step back from formal royal duties and seek a self-financed life based partly in Canada.

Speaking on Andy Cohens Radio Andy show on Sirius XM, Grant said: Im rather on Harrys side. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now theyre tearing his wife to pieces.

Grant was reminding listeners of the circumstances surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was in a vehicle being pursued by paparazzi, which then crashed, killing three of the four passengers, in Paris in August 1997.

Grant added: I think as a man, its his job to protect his family, so Im with him.

Grant was promoting his new film, The Gentleman, alongside co-stars Charlie Hunnam and Matthew McConaughey. In the film, Grant plays a seedy and unscrupulous tabloid reporter.

Grant has been a vociferous campaigner against press intrusion for nearly 10 years. His activism stepped up after the revelation that the voicemail of murdered teenager Milly Dowler had been hacked by the News of the World.

In 2018, Grant donated a payout from Mirror Group Newspapers to the Hacked Off anti-hacking campaign. MGN apologised to Grant and others for its morally wrong actions in hacking their phones.

Speaking to Cohen, Grant described his relationship with the tabloids as very poor.

Grants defence of Harry again pits him against longtime antagonist Piers Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror with whom Grant frequently clashes on Twitter. Morgan has called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex the two most spoiled brats in history.

Grant won considerable acclaim for his portrayal of the disgraced Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in the Stephen Frears miniseries A Very English Scandal, which was broadcast in 2018. The Gentleman has earned more mixed reviews so far.

Speaking on Tuesday, the musician Stormzy also came to the couples defence, saying there was no credible reason for people not to like Meghan.

In the firing line Stormzy. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, he said: Meghan is a sweet woman, she does her thing and they just hate her.

The rapper referred to a clip of Eamonn Holmes on TalkSport, where the presenter says: I look at her and I think: I dont think Id like you.

Stormzy said that if those expressing such sentiments were made to write down the reasons for their negativity, they would find there was nothing credible to it.

He also discussed the backlash to an interview he recently gave in which he was asked whether he believed Britain was racist, to which he replied Yes, 100%.

The quote was taken out of context by numerous outlets to imply he believed the UK was entirely racist. Its the classic media spin, he said.

They know what theyre doing. Theyre weaponising what I said. A lot of people thought I was trying to incite division but thats what [the media] did, really.

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Sir Elton John, Zadie Smith, Iggy Pop, Dame Judi Dench and others ask Stormzy the questions you might not have thought of

King of the pack: Stormzy lays out his cards. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian


Q: Idris Elba

Do you have any hidden talents that would surprise your fans?

Im very good at poker. Im very good at it. Texas Hold em. Ive got a poker room in my house, and my friends have had some bad nights there over the past two years. Im a proper game-head. Not, like, video games. I love poker, Monopoly, Scrabble, Connect 4. Im a kid, like. I love a competitive game. And pokers like the ultimate version of all skilled games. Love it! If I wasnt a musician, Id be a professional poker player. Proper.

Q: Candice Carty-Williams


How did your orange trousers stay up when you headlined Glastonbury this year?

Well, Candice, they didnt really stay up. I cant lie, thats the one thing about Glasto I watch. Ohhhh, they are really low. My whole bum was out. There was thousands of mums saying, Pull your trousers up young man! Luckily I was in good nick, so it worked in my favour. My trousers needed to be that far down, for whatever reason.

Stage presence: Stormzy takes Glasto. But how did his trousers stay up? Photograph: Timmsy/Backgrid

Q: Kurupt FM Crew


Do you have any plans to do a movie? Because were doing one so technically if you do one now, it means that weve inspired you.

Thats a proper Kurupt FM question, innit. I dont have plans right now. Ive always wanted the movie of my life to be, like, fucking epic. So I got to do some more epic shit, live a little longer. Im only 26. Dont know how much of a feature-length film that would make. When I do get round to it though, Im sure it will have been inspired by the seed that Kurupt FM planted.


Q: Jessie Ware

Greggs Yum Yums still? Or are you a Greggs vegan sausage roll man now?

You know what, I love a vegan sausage roll, but disclaimer! do not mistake me for a vegan. Still love a Yum Yum though. The sausage bean and cheese melt has been a favourite recently. Sausage steak bake; sausage, bean and cheese melt; or, in the festive season, you really want to get the turkey and cranberry one. Thats a good pastry.

Two pack: Greggs bestselling vegan sausage rolls. Photograph: Pat Tuson/Alamy

Q: Sir Elton John

Ive been hugely impressed with the way youve used your success to establish the Stormzy Scholarships at Cambridge University. What was the response from Cambridge like? Did you encounter any resistance to the idea of a pop star setting up a bursary?


Elton! I have a lot of respect for Cambridge. When we came in, they just held their hands up and said, Yep, weve got a problem. Of course! The stats were right there. They said: We have a problem, lets fix it. And thats what were working towards now. Since weve started working with them theyve been nothing but brilliant. Super supportive. Whatever ideas weve got. Whatever we do. They know theyre way behind in terms of bridging the gap of whatever injustice was there, so they let us do whatever we need to do to make this right.

Do you know what I really respect? Theyve been unapologetic with the use of the word black when talking about the problem. They havent shied away from it. They havent used terms like underprivileged. They know its a black problem. Full praise to them.

There was resistance to a pop star setting up a bursary, but not from Cambridge. A lot of people said that the scholarship Id set up, which is for black students, is racist. It cant be just for blacks, youre racist! I remember that on the day it was first announced I ended up feeling a bit sad. I thought I was doing a really good thing, and we put it out in the world and then the arrows came from everywhere. I spent the whole day replying to people in their DMs, because there were people who genuinely did not understand. You had the idiots who were just angry. And then you had people who were saying, Hey Stormz, really love your music, really love everything you stand for, but how come this is just for black students? So there was an education that had to happen.

First step to success: candidates for the first Stormzy Scholarship in partnership with Cambridge University

A lot of the argument was that there are underprivileged people from all backgrounds. There are underprivileged white people, Asian people Yeah, of course! So there is this umbrella of underprivileged that everyone falls under, but beneath that we have being black as well. Being black, youre under-underprivileged. A lot of people dont understand racism because they dont even know its happening. They dont know what being black means. The lack of opportunities. Theyre not privy to it. So I took my time and I explained.


Q: Zadie Smith

Top five?

Rappers, right? Jay-Z. Kendrick Lamar. Kanye West. Wretch 32… Whos my fifth? Do I give it to Drake? I think it would be Drake. Jay-Z first, and everyone else can battle it out for the other four spots.

Man of the moment: Jay-Z performs at Bercy stadium in Paris. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Q: David Beckham


You are such an inspiring artist for so many people, what are your hopes for the next generation of young grime artists in the UK?

This is going to sound clichd, but my hope for them, honestly, is that they go further than weve done. Thats all the elders should want for the next generation. I watched Wiley do that. I have a lot of love and respect for Wiley, because he wanted me to fly. Fly, Stormzy. Take this genre further than we could ever take it. Thats all we can do. We have to say to the next generation, Whatever weve done, go and trump it.

One day, when Im 50 or 60, I hope to be in my kitchen, looking at some kid on the telly, some little black boy or girl, thinking, Rah! Thinking, I had that at Glasto at 26, but this kids 17, and he or shes three albums deep! Watching them and thinking, Woah, we could never have done that. We didnt have the capacity. And here this kid is. Go and fly. Take it where we didnt. Make it bigger and better. I want to watch a kid and think, Fuck it, hes better than us.


Q: Usain Bolt

We love music in Jamaica, especially reggae and dancehall. Which artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Whaaaaa. Usain! I am the top boy! I am the gaffa! Its gotta be Vybz innit, and Koffee. Koffee is hard. And theres a wicked new artist called Stalk Ashley, who I love. Shes from Jamaica. Shes brilliant.

Koffee is hard!: one of the artists who Stormzy would love to collaborate with. Photograph: Sony Music

Q: Dame Judi Dench


Having set up the wonderful Stormzy Scholarship at Cambridge, what would you have chosen to read had you had this glorious opportunity?

I might actually go to uni. Something to do with literature. English. I always used to say political science. Could never tell you what the fuck that was, but I always said it because it sounded brilliant. But now: English. Something to do with books. Something that can have me lost in words. Poetry. Creative writing. None of that stiff literature.

Poetry in motion: Yrsa Daley-Ward

In the past couple of years Ive started reading poetry again. Yrsa Daley-Ward, shes the one, she really got me back into poetry. Raps an art form. When Im writing music I see it as poetry, and I never forget Im a poet myself. But that pen-to-pencil poetry, the meanings in it, the sentiment I just think: Wow, this is the shit that I love!

Q: Iggy Pop

How does the session go down for a track like Shut Up? And what do you eat, drink, sniff or smoke on a session?


Iggy Pop. Hes a mad hatter! Shut Up wasnt even a studio session. That was a freestyle in the park. The instrumental I used on that is a legendary grime one. And that was me just writing, taking it back to when I was 13 years old, writing over grime beats. And then I just went to the park with my friends. That was it. I was just doing what I wanted to be doing, and it turned out Id done something special. I knew it was good. I knew it was sick. But I didnt think it was going to turn into something iconic, I didnt know it was going to become what it became.

When were in the studio, theres no girls, theres no alcohol. There might be a little bit of weed sometimes. But if you come to one of my sessions, youd have a great time. You could get your laptop out and do some work. Its pure. Its all about family. We sit down, we talk a bit of shit, we tell jokes. People pop up. And then we just work. And as soon as my brains gone dry I pack it up and go home. That might be 7pm, or 4pm, or 4am. Sometimes well be up until 7am.

Im in service to the art. When my brain stops, I call it a day. And then Im back in the next day. Its a rapper thing to do nights in the studio. But thats crazy. Im old, man. I need to walk my dog. Drinking in the studio? Thats raving every night. Fuck that! My body cant take that shit. So I treat it like my beautiful job.

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Former Smiths frontman and supporter of far-right party For Britain has criticised the UK newspaper in the past

Morrissey has performed in Los Angeles wearing a vest with the slogan Fuck the Guardian.

The former Smiths frontman wore the top during a concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, weeks after he described this newspaper as the voice of all that is wrong and sad about modern Britain.

The 60-year-old singer, who has repeatedly expressed support for the far-right party For Britain, has increasingly been lashing out at the Guardian in recent months.

Writing on his personal website in May, Morrissey claimed he was the victim of an inexhaustible hate campaign by the Guardian, imploring his supporters: Please do not buy this wretched hate-paper, whose every 2019 utterance echoes the late Mary Whitehouse.

During a May performance on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Morrissey decided to wear a For Britain badge. In June, he reaffirmed his support for the party in an interview with his nephew, published again on his own website.

Earlier this month he ejected an anti-far-right protester from his concert in Portland. The protester had been carrying two posters, one which depicted the logo of For Britain struck through by a red line, while the other read: Bigmouth indeed.

Writing in the Guardian in July, comedian and former Morrissey fan Stewart Lee said he found the best way to deal with the singer was to simply stop listening to him. Suddenly, I just didnt want Morrissey in my home any more. And I couldnt imagine any circumstances under which I would ever listen to him again, he wrote.

The same month, Billy Bragg condemned Morrissey for sharing a video from a YouTube channel that argued that the British establishment was using Stormzy to promote multiculturalism at the expense of white culture.

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May didnt see performance but said Grenfell tragedy should never be allowed to happen again

Downing Street has defended the prime minister after comments from Stormzy at the 2018 Brit awards, where the south London MC attacked Theresa May for her response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

The prime ministers spokesman said the government had committed millions of pounds to the community in the aftermath of the blaze at the west London tower block that killed at least 71 people in June last year.

Closing his Brits performance with a freestyle performance, Stormzy asked: Theresa May, wheres the money for Grenfell? adding that the government just forgot about Grenfell, you criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages. We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.

The Downing Street spokesman said May had not watched the performance on Wednesday night and said he was not aware of any plans to reach out to Stormzy.

However, the spokesman said the prime minister would listen to anyone with concerns about how the funds allocated to survivors and community services were being spent.

The PM has been clear that what happened at Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy, which should never be allowed to happen again, Downing Street said. She is determined the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been ignored for so many years.

No 10 said 58.29m had been provided by the government so far in the aftermath of the fire, though the total sum was what had been committed, rather than what had been spent so far.

If there are any concerns being raised about that, we will of course look at those, the spokesman said. Wherever there is more that can be done, we will look at that too.

The sum included 28m announced in the budget for mental health and emotional support, 15m towards rehousing, 6m to survivors through the discretionary fund, 7.7m for the Bellwin scheme for emergency services to compensate them for the additional costs as a result of the disaster, and 2.2m for local community projects.

No 10 acknowledged there was still concern about the initial response to the fire and said that was something the public inquiry, led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, would examine.

The prime minister did say that the initial response was too slow and that is something for the public inquiry to look at, the spokesman said. Im not getting into responding to individual comments Im pointing out the gravity with which the PM is taking this.

Stormzy has long been a supporter of the survivors of the fire and featured on a charity single to raise money for the victims.

At Glastonbury festival, the MC said he believed the official response had been weak and those responsible for the conditions that led to the tragedy had been left unpunished. We urge the authorities to tell the fucking truth, first and foremost. We urge them to do something. We urge the fucking government to be held accountable for the fuckery, and we aint gonna stop until we get what we deserve, he said.

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St Vincent tops our countdown of this years most outstanding sounds, from complex rap to moody rock, alt-R&B, inventive grime and more


St Vincent Masseduction

A kind of teasing irony is detectable on Masseduction, a musical striptease on which Annie Clark who performs as St Vincent exposes herself on her own terms. The results are spectacular: full of drama and gratifyingly bizarre sonic choices. Clark makes a rock-star power play by embracing thrilling glam traditions while producing something strange, new and unequivocally moving. Read the full review


Kendrick Lamar Damn

Damn is a hit in every sense, earning hundreds of millions of streams and seven Grammy nominations, but its true success is the complexity of its vision. With an incendiary beginning and deeply personal social commentary, Lamars fourth album reveals an artist at his real and metaphorical peak. Read the full review


SZA Ctrl

Honesty is often seen as the holy grail in pop, but when its served up as nakedly as it was on Ctrl, Solna Imani Rowes debut album, it can stop you in your tracks. This is the perfect year for a record with such a defiantly female point of view, from decisions over leg-shaving to stark admissions that she cant open up emotionally. It seemed intimate but never one-note, and signalled an artist in complete ctrl. Read the full review

SZA. Photograph: Victoria Will/Invision/AP


Lorde Melodrama

If Melodrama looked on paper like the work of an artist whod had her head turned by success, it turned out to be anything but. The songs on Melodrama that depict the messy entanglements of early 20s life are as incisive, perceptive and shudder-inducingly familiar as the sketches of teenage suburbia on its predecessor. Read the full review


Perfume Genius No Shape

On his most sumptuously realised work, Mike Hadreas merely wants to be unbound, to hover with no shape in part, as a consequence of living with Crohns disease and the binary that exists around gender. Magnificently, his inventive score and dramatic arrangements more than live up to the challenge, as Hadreas swaps forms, time and again. Read the full review


LCD Soundsystem American Dream

American Dream, for all its declarative intent, didnt so much chronicle the state of the nation as James Murphys place in it now; the middle-aged cool guy in a middle-aged cool band, lamenting relationships and heroes, love and ageing. It is exquisite. A moody, pulsating epic that wears its references Berlin-era Bowie, 80s Talking Heads, the entire first decade of DFA Records output without being wearying. Read the full review

Moody and epic James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for FYF


The War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding

A Deeper Understanding contains an air of overwhelming but vague melancholy, yet for all Granduciels well-documented problems with anxiety and depression, it never threatened to tip over into anything more disturbing. Instead, the War on Drugs summoned that most delicious of moods: autumnal, slightly hungover, just a little sorry for oneself. Read the full review


Thundercat Drunk

When the world outside is weird, lets hear it for an album that processes it with absurdist humour and George Clinton-shaped surrealism. Drunk is the third release by LA jazz dude Steve Bruner, AKA Thundercat, and has finally taken him from being a kooky bass-playing Robin to super-producer Flying Lotuss Batman all the way to headline solo artist and one of this years breakthrough names. Read the full review


Kelela Take Me Apart

In revealing vulnerability, Kelela shows she is no longer interested in the cool pose of alternative R&B. She continues to work with avant-garde collaborators, but her main musical touchstone for Take Me Apart was Janet Jackson. Yes, the sub bass remains, as do the icy synths, but these future sounds are put to the service of classic structures, and powerful pop songs are the result. Read the full review

Future sounds Kelela. Photograph: Alice Chiche/AFP/Getty Images


Richard Dawson Peasant

There was something in Peasants detailed vignettes of dark ages beggars, weavers and prostitutes that felt unexpectedly resonant in 2017, a timely work from another time. Read a full review


Jane Weaver Modern Kosmology

Icily clear vocals provide a satisfying foil to the spacey psych-revivalism of Liverpool-born singers newest album the latest chapter in a three-decade career that has taken in Britpop and folktronica. Modern Kosmology is at once earthbound and otherworldly, with mesmerising vocals balancing on a whirring undercurrent of steadily throbbing synths. Read a full review


Wolf Alice Visions of a Life

Nobody has disrupted the death of indie narrative quite like Wolf Alice. The London foursome released an accomplished debut in 2015; now their second album proves their ability to fashion thrillingly modern music from the sonic customs of shoegaze and noisy 80s alt-rock was no fluke. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell skips between sotto voce spoken word and a feral screech, while the bands tinkering with the indie-rock formula means theres never a dull moment. Read a full review

Never a dull moment Wolf Alice. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian


Tyler, the Creator Flower Boy

The enfant terrible of hip-hop returned this year with a surprisingly gentle record, on which mellifluous melodies and gently piping synths along with the dulcet tones of Frank Ocean, Kali Uchis and Anna of the North softened Tylers abrasive flow. Whether or not this was in fact the rappers coming out album (something its lyrics hinted at), it was undoubtedly a lovelier one than anybody expected. Read a full review


J Hus Common Sense

This was a bumper year for J Hus, who reached the Top 10 thanks to an irresistible blend of grime and Afrobeats. As Common Sense proves, its not just his infectious take on African sounds that have propelled the London rapper into the big league its also his witty, inventive and refreshingly self-deprecating lyrics. Read a full review


The Horrors V

Southend outfit the Horrors were never an average indie band: instead of meat-and-potatoes guitar-pop, their 2007 debut bristled with nightmarish garage and goth rock. A decade later, theyve produced their most celebrated record yet. V swings from busy post-punk to languid electronica, with the morose new wave of closer Something to Remember Me By providing a gratifying climax. Read a full review

Not your average indie band Faris Badwan of the Horrors. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage


Father John Misty Pure Comedy

Ever since his 2015 album I Love You, Honeybear, Josh Tillmans wry surveys of contemporary America have felt increasingly indispensable. Clever, funny and usually despairing, his scabrous social commentary takes on a less arch and more heartfelt tone here, with acidic lyrics cushioned by gorgeous strings and calmly plodding piano. Read a full review


Drake More Life

Very much not an album, according to Drake instead this playlist gave him an opportunity to show off his taste by teaming up with his favourite artists. Baritone London rapper Giggs makes multiple appearances, as does silky-voiced Brum singer Jorja Smith. Thanks to solo tracks like Passionfruit, More Life is also proof that Drakes tropical-tinged blend of rap and R&B is as seductive as ever. Read a full review


Stormzy Gang Signs and Prayer

Effervescent grime meets an unexpected digression into R&B and gospel on Stormzys debut. While songs like Cigarettes & Cush showcase an impressive British spin on rap/R&B fusion, the grime-centric tracks lift the record into another league. With infectious production by the likes of Sir Spyro, songs such as Bad Boys and Big for Your Boots rival the master lyricists beloved previous singles. Read a full review

In another league Stormzy. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images


Laura Marling Semper Femina

The Brits sixth album is a gorgeous collection of lightly folky fare – more pop friendly than her recent records, but as characteristically poised and lush. The title, based on a poem by Virgil, roughly translates as always woman, and the record pairs lyrics about femininity, friendship and sexuality with heady, sensual production. Read a full review


Sampha Process

After years spent lending his vocals to tracks by Kanye, Drake and Frank Ocean, this years Mercury winner created a stunning debut. A collection of heart-rending ballads and sublime electronica, Process puts Samphas velvety voice front and centre, the beauty of its tone belying the albums heavy themes, including the fallout from the death of his mother. Read a full review


Cigarettes After Sex Cigarettes After Sex

This Texas band was propelled into millions of living rooms across the world earlier this year when their spellbinding 2012 song Nothings Gonna Hurt You Baby was used in the TV adaptation of The Handmaids Tale. Their debut album, released in June, proved just as haunting and hypnotic. Backed by gently foreboding dreampop, frontman Greg Gonzaless delicate voice is reminiscent of Belle and Sebastians Stuart Murdoch. Read a full review

Gently foreboding dreampop Cigarettes After Sex. Photograph: Ebru Yildiz


King Krule The Ooz

Few contemporary artists sound as much like themselves as Archy Marshall, who seems to have bagsied a whole set of sadly chiming chords to go with his jarring baritone. His sonic sphere is so overwhelming that it often feels like another planet the space-age desolation of Czech One and serotonin-depleted jazz of Lonely Blue float in a hinterland between this world and another, while the monochrome punk of Dum Surfer takes rock tropes to a parallel universe. Read a full review


Vince Staples Big Fish Theory

Big Fish, the almost-title track of Staples second record, seethes at injustice over amusingly bouncy synths that blend old-school rap with bleeding-edge electronica. Staples takes this kind of combination to great heights on the album, which climaxes with the staggeringly brilliant Yeah Right, on which tinny trap entwines with bizarre pop parody by producer Sophie (listen for a guest spot by Kendrick Lamar). Read a full review

Genre-blending Vince Staples. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian


Protomartyr Relatives in Descent

Gothic post-punk is fuelled by a blast of fury on the Detroit rock bands latest. Vocalist Joe Casey airs his disgust at contemporary life I dont want to hear those vile trumpets anymore backed by a heavy, unyielding rhythm section that is satisfyingly cathartic. Read a full review


The National Sleep Well Beast

Music designed to soundtrack a midlife crisis was injected with unexpected exuberance on the Ohio bands seventh record. From Turtlenecks gnarly guitar-shredding to the breakneck tapestry of beats backing Ill Still Destroy You, Matt Berninger and co transformed the sorrows of middle age into something strangely rapturous. Read a full review

Strangely rapturous Matt Berninger of the National. Photograph: Mat Hayward/WireImage


Paramore After Laughter

The perpetually feuding emo band returned last spring with a surprisingly jovial collection of tropical house-tinted powerpop. Revelling in the funky guitars and frantic synths of the 80s, the trio channelled their emo roots into the lyrics, which retain the raw drama of their previous work and share stories of romantic tension and torturous experiences with depression. Read a full review


Marika Hackman Im Not Your Man

Opening with the frisky but superbly droll Boyfriend, the second record by the Londoner saw her expand on the bewitching folk of her first album and journey into more startling and direct territory. As its arty cover suggested, Im Not Your Man offered a compelling self-portrait, with Hackman frankly discussing her sexuality and her flaws. Read a full review


Slowdive Slowdive

The Reading shoegazers last released an album in the mid-90s, when the genre was blighted by backlash and mockery. But the music world is again embracing spacey guitars and wispy vocals. Not that the band are resting on past glories: their fourth album unexpectedly ups the game, feeling more accomplished and engaging than anything theyve done before. Read a full review


Alvvays Antisocialites

This Canadian crew channel the spirit of C86 with their jangly tunes yet on their second record they embrace the slickness eschewed by their predecessors. Antisocialites might be a paean to indies formative years In Undertow features Teenage Fanclubs Norman Blake; Lollipop (Ode to Jim) is directed towards the Jesus & Mary Chains Jim Reid but it is also a blast of fresh air. Read a full review

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In the year the albums power eroded, we collate the 100 best songs of 2017 as voted for by Guardian critics and put them in a giant playlist

Many listeners are still in love with the album: a piece of work that allows a musician to fully sketch out their current worldview. And well be counting down our favourite 50 albums of the year over the next three weeks.

But others have made a decisive shift away from albums and towards playlists on streaming services often curated by Spotify or Apple themselves. We explored the phenomenon here as well as how albums are mutating in response and started our own monthly playlist.

Now, after culling votes from more than 50 Guardian writers and critics, weve collated our top 100 tracks of the year in a single giant playlist, featuring everything from rap to pop, vocal jazz and shoegaze. Use the widget below to subscribe to it in either Spotify or Apple Music its been sequenced so that it runs smoothly from style to style, rather than in order of popularity. The actual top 10, ranked after we collated all of our critics votes, is below.

You may have your own particular beef to air with the selection personally Im outraged that Migoss Get Right Witcha is in there but T-Shirt isnt so comment below with songs you think have been overlooked.


10. Paramore Hard Times

Paramores passage from tortured emo teens to tortured soft-rock grownups continued with this irrepressible single from their album After Laughter. The gulf between the perkiness of the backing and the torpor of the lyrics is impressively vast Hayley Williams sings of emotional cruelty and breakdown over Chic-style guitar licks.

9. Drake Passionfruit

Adding to Drakes growing canon of anti-commitment R&B jams was this lithe, nimble number powered by beautifully melancholy production by Londoner Nana Rogues (and a nice cameo from house legend Moodymann). It was also a great illustration of the democracy of the streaming age after his More Life album (OK, playlist) dropped on to Spotify, it was Passionfruit that was sent up the singles charts by the publics sheer love for it.

8. Stormzy Big for Your Boots

After wooing the entire nations youth, Stormzys debut album was hugely anticipated and discussed. Would he dilute his scornful flow and go for poppy choruses? Lead-off single Big for Your Boots showed that he didnt need to do either: he was as withering as ever, and the quotable bars and musicality of his delivery meant that big top lines werent even needed.

7. The Horrors Something to Remember Me By

The years best breakup song seemed to blend every bit of a failed relationship: the regret, the resignation and, in the Ibiza-level backing, the raging bacchanalia. Lesser bands would have produced it in a much more basic, immediate way, but the Horrors aided by Paul Epworth folded it into a psychedelic, whirling world of multitracked synths.

6. Perfume Genius Slip Away

Mike Hadreas gets more ambitious, robust and clear-headed with every album, and Slip Away is gigantic the chorus arrives like a wrecking ball, with stabbing bass and crashing cymbals leaving sonic mess everywhere. But the melody twirls through it unperturbed, creating a huge pop statement and a rough-edged sibling to our number one pick.

5. Future Mask Off

That Mask Off pairs a sample from Selma, a musical about Martin Luther King, with a lyric that celebrates drug use, gun violence and bland materialism, arguably highlights the moral gulf at the heart of rap in 2017. But Futures track is also intensely beautiful in its very emptiness, the sound of someone endlessly chasing thrills without knowing why.

4. Selena Gomez Bad Liar

With just a few fingerclicks and drums, and the bassline from Talking Heads Psycho Killer strutting beneath her, Selena Gomez rejects the maximalism of so much modern pop. Just as David Byrne used the basslines tripping gait to suggest dangerously unpredictability, Gomez is similarly troubled, unable to duck her romantic feelings. Idiosyncratic and fresh, it earned 200m views on YouTube.

3. Kendrick Lamar HUMBLE.

Kendrick trades on his generally agreed-upon greatest alive status by boasting about money, expensive booze and getting paged by Obama. But even amid what is essentially a track about how great he is, he still finds space for a little social commentary, rejecting Photoshop in favour of something natural like ass with some stretch marks.

2. Charli XCX Boys

With its witty video that reclaimed objectification for a hipster female gaze, salivating over diverse internet-famous cuties with Charli herself in the directors chair, Boys is a modest and perfectly written pop classic. Every element, from the Mario coin sound to the resolution after the middle eight, is a songwriting bullseye.

1. Lorde Green Light

With this barnstorming anthem dispelling any remnants of her one-hit-wonder reputation, Lorde showed again that she is as adept at savage detail (She thinks you love the beach, youre such a damn liar) as she is at the unifying power of a simple chorus. The desperation for a green light that will let her speed off from heartbreak is horribly, powerfully tangible in her utterly unselfconscious delivery. Shes a star who can do one of the most valuable things in pop articulate and clarify the feelings of millions and the most exciting thing is that, as she is 21, there is likely so much more of it to come.

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Also this week: Katy Perry gets deep, MIA spots something about Barack Obamas name and Sia forgets to write lyrics for once

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Rapper woken by police smashing down door of his London home after reports he was burgling it

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