The 10 best synthpop songs of January 2024

Counting down my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of the month.

Here are my favorite songs of the month in synthpop, futurepop, darkwave, and adjacent genres. If you want to follow my music discovery this year, subscribe to my 2024 playlist on Spotify. New songs are added every Friday. Sort by “Date Added” to see new tracks appear at the top of the playlist.

10. Klonavenus – “Revelation”

Rome’s Klonavenus returns with a new song called “Revelation” that offers a masterclass in sonic tension. It takes nearly two minutes for the track to coalesce into a proper song, but what a dark and mysterious mood it establishes in the buildup.

9. Vogon Poetry + SCALA – “Hope of Heading Home”

When two great bands get together, great things happen. Swedish bands Vogon Poetry and SCALA join forces for “Hope of Heading Home,” a lovely, melancholic track full of enchanting melodies. Like much of Vogon Poetry’s catalog, the song’s lyrics draw from science-fiction, but they do so subtly, leaving space for personal connection.

8. E:lect – “Secrets”

Swedish duo E:lect continue to release outstanding singles in preparation for their next album. Latest track “Secrets” opens with tranquil beats, soothing piano, and languid vocals that remind me of Pet Shop Boys. Then it blasts off into an electrifying jam that’s all E:lect, complete with a memorable chorus of “This moment, the secrets. Is this the moment you’ve been waiting for?”

7. Poison Point – “Mysteries in Fire”

French project Poison Point drops the first single from his forthcoming new album, Wandering Echoes. “Mysteries in Fire” delivers a haunting sound that lands somewhere between coldwave and noir synth. The project’s Timothée Gainet sings of “meeting the beast” atop a progressive beat that recalls Sydney Valette’s captivating track, “Station Stop.”

6. Beyond Border – “Let’s Just Live”

Some of the most startling moments on Beyond Border’s Gathering LP reference self-harm. One track ends with a dramatic gunshot. “Let’s Just Live” offers a celebratory, life-affirming counterpoint that showcases the elegant synths and emotional lyrics we’ve come to love from Beyond Border.

5. ManMindMachine – “Propaganda”

We last heard from Danish project ManMindMachine in 2020 with a soaring, melodic anthem called “RetroFuturist.” They head toward darker territory with a new song called “Propaganda” that embraces throbbing beats and the shouty vocal stylings of classic EBM.

4. Tobias Bernstrup – “And the Smile”

Swedish synth maestro Tobias Bernstrup is working on his seventh studio album. We’ve already heard two tracks, “Chiaroscuro” and “Legend,” but new song “And the Smile” is my favorite of the pre-release singles we’ve heard so far. Tobias swaps the dark Italo synth patter he’s known for with echoey pads straight outta synthwave.

3. Color Theory – “Thoughts Can’t Hurt You”

California project Color Theory makes a number of unexpected twists on turns on new single “Thoughts Can’t Hurt You.” While singing of intrusive thoughts, the project’s Brian Hazard changes tempo, drops the beat, and introduces new synth lines throughout the song’s running time. This is dynamic songcraft that’s refreshing and captivating.

2. White Noise TV – “Deep Waters”

You may recall that White Noise TV released a cover of VNV Nation’s “Forsaken” last year. VNV is a crucial influence for the act, and you can hear their impact in the melodies and lyrics of new single “Deep Waters.” Yet White Noise TV overcome easy comparisons with strong songwriting and distinct vocals.

1. MATTE BLVCK – “Vows”

“Vows,” the title track from MATTE BLVCK’s forthcoming sophomore album, officially dropped in January following an accidental appearance on streaming services last year. It’s an absolute ripper. You can still detect a hefty dose of Depeche Mode in MATTE BLVCK’s sound, but that’s merely a reference point. The California trio inject their own unique sound, especially their powerful percussion.

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