It's the time of year when end-of-year lists start clogging up your feeds (yeah, yeah, we're guilty as charged.)
While these sort of lists can be an enjoyable way to look back at the year, they can also be a little stress-inducing or overwhelming; it's easy to feel like you're being left behind or have missed out on hearing this, that or the other album.
With that in mind, we've put together a different kind of end-of-year list – the best Irish songs that may have passed you by. While the likes of Hozier, Dermot Kennedy and Fontaines DC were dominating the charts, these are five gems that might have slipped under your radar for whatever reason.
1. LYRA – 'Mother'
Alright, so you may actually have heard this song many times if you own a TV, as it's the soundtrack to Virgin Media's current ad. But did you know she was Irish? And not Florence and the Machine? The Cork native clearly bears some similarity to Flo's epic pop sound – but this tune, an sweet ode to her mum, is such a banger that she gets a pass. Besides, her other songs (which you should also check out) are all quite different. Watch her fly in 2020.
2. RUSHES – 'Glimpse'
Irish r'n'b? It's not only a thing, but with songs like this, it's in good hands. From the same studio/label as the brilliant Soule and Jafaris (Diffusion Lab) comes the enigmatic Rushes, whose soulful blend of r'n'b evokes comparisons with the likes of Frank Ocean in places. This track, taken from his debut EP of the same name, is a dreamy, woozy, slick-as-all-hell affair. Now, if we can only figure out who the hell he is.
3. ROBERT JOHN ARDIFF – 'So Free'
You may have heard Robert John Ardiff's band Come On Live Long; they've released two albums that have earned a couple of Choice Music Prize nominations. Ardiff's solo stuff is generally a lot more understated and sparse-sounding, but his recent 'New York City Chaps' EP was really quite lovely, with piano numbers rubbing shoulders with laidback indie-pop fare. This tune, a scuffled little summery song caught somewhere between Dan Auerbach and Sufjan Stevens, is the pick of the bunch.
4. AE MAK – 'Intro; Release Yourself'
We have a feeling you'll be hearing more of Aoife McCann aka AE Mak in 2020. The Dubliner's idiosyncratic approach to pop music had us hooked with songs like 'I Can Feel It In My Bones', but this recently-released experimental number is seriously intriguing. It pitches her somewhere in the midst of the quirkiness of Mikachu and the glassy synthpop of The Knife and we can't wait to hear what she does next.
5. BANTUM & LOAH – 'Summer of Love'
This isn't the first time that Cork producer/musician Bantum and neo-soul artist Loah have collaborated, but it proves that they're a creative match made in heaven. This track - the second collaboration of theirs released this year - may have 'summer' written all over it (literally), but its arms-aloft vibe will keep you dancing right through the coldest part of the year. In fairness, we could listen to Loah sing pretty much anything.