There’s so much more to Maltese music than Eurovision and X Factor. This small island has countless artists, bands, musicians and producers who work tirelessly on perfecting their craft and refining their sound, and they don’t always get the credit they deserve. 2018 was yet another great year for listeners and lovers of local music. So it’s time to sit back and lend an ear to Malta’s most impactful songs of the year, all home-grown and sensational.
Before we get to the Top 10 though, here are a couple of honourable mentions that I couldn’t possibly leave out.
‘Surfin’ Up’ – The Busker
Made famous thanks to a summer advert for a certain ice cream brand, this catchy number from The Busker is a pleasant balance of retro and fresh.
‘Power’ – Amber
Sampling Charlie Chaplin’s iconic speech from ‘The Great Dictator’, the Maltese warrior queen continued exploring different genres this year, and will be most remembered for this motivational anthem.
‘Let’s Go Suki’ – Cryptic Street
Head-banging feminism has never been this effortless. Punk girl band Cryptic Street revamped their sound recently, and we’re definitely not complaining.
‘Darling’ – Alexandra Alden
It seems like no one knew her before she appeared as a judge on X Factor Malta, but Ms. Alden has been a flourishing singer-songwriter for several years, and ‘Darling’ is a true testament to her artistry.
‘Mur Imma Mur’ – Manatapu
How the members of this band are not actually Maltese is beyond me. Manatapu love how unique our language is, and that’s how this reggae-influenced banger emerged.
…and now onto the Top 10!
10. ‘Right Here’ – Red Electrick
Joe Roscoe had big shoes to fill coming in as the new frontman of one of Malta’s most loved bands, but he certainly made a good impression on the nation with the release of this feel-good track.
9. ‘One In A Million’ – Ira Losco
It isn’t a list of the best music Malta has to offer without mentioning Ira. Despite her success with other singles like ‘OMG’ and ‘Hey Now’, I believe ‘One In A Million’ is definitely a stand-out from her recent repertoire.
8. ‘Ilkoll Flimkien’ – The Travellers
With just one album, this Gozitan band have become an indisputable local phenomenon, performing Maltese lyrics with conviction and passion. Inspired by legendary poet Oliver Friggieri, this song is one of their most powerful efforts yet.
7. ‘Mine’ – Aidan
Becoming a household name after placing high at the Malta Eurovision final in early 2018, youngster Aidan debuted the track ‘Mine’ at his X Factor Malta audition. A refined and mature sound when compared to his earlier material, I am really into this new musical direction Aidan is taking.
6. ‘Candy’ – Fuzzhoneys
To me, no other local band or artist comes close to being as unapologetically badass as female duo Fuzzhoneys. ‘Candy’ is fierce, fun and genuine. And the music video for it is absolutely insane, in the best possible way.
5. ‘Losing Faith In Humanity’ – Luke Chappell
Another rising star, and currently a favourite amongst the X Factor Malta contestants, 15-year-old Luke is as talented as they get. I had the pleasure of stumbling upon this dark track a few months before he appeared on X Factor, and I was hooked instantly. Can’t wait for the album!
4. ‘Big Love’ – Bark Bark Disco
With a funky name like that, you would expect the Maltese version of Daft Punk. That’s where you’re wrong. ‘Big Love’ is one of the most heart-wrenching tracks I’ve heard all year (not just locally), and it’s done so naturally that I’m drawn in every single time I listen to it.
3. ‘Sitarcika’ – Tribali
2018 was a peak for Tribali, reaching a new level of epicness thanks to the glorious vocals of their current lead singer Eliza Borg. ‘Sitarcika’ is that track you want to hear when you feel like being transported into another dimension of unfamiliar instruments and sky high emotions.
2. ‘Lie Liar’ – The New Victorians
Leaving these talented sisters at number 2 actually made my heart hurt, but I honestly cannot praise them enough. Their ‘Silence’ EP was stellar, and this particular track signifies an even brighter future for The New Victorians. Also, be sure to listen to their most recent release ‘Me & You’, and while you’re at it grab a box of tissues…you’ll need it.
1. ‘You Try’ – I Am Willow
Seeing her perform live at Notte Bianca in October was one of the best nights of my whole year. And I love the fact that many of you have probably never even heard of this astounding singer-songwriter whose real name is Carolanne Busuttil. I related so much to ‘You Try’ from the very first listen that I almost cried when I heard it live. And that’s why it grabs my number 1 spot.
Please YouTube and Spotify all of her stuff if you want to discover, and simultaneously fall in love with a creative genius.
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.