Top 50 Singles 2009 (20-11)

by MV

And so, after some delay, we hit the top 20. In it, there’s pop, and there’s stuff that sounds pop in my head but might not be. There are lots of excellent songs though, which I guess is the point of this thing, right?

Clicky below. And click back a few entries for parts 1-3. Yes!

20. The Bird and the Bee – Love Letter to Japan

In brief: Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Little Boots writer/producer) and the beautiful voice of Inara George come together again for an ever-so-slightly twee but utterly loveable pop ditty.
They say: ““Love Letter to Japan” is really just a love letter to Japan. They were the first country to really take a shine to our first record… so we thought it was fitting to devote a song to them.”
Best Bit: Kicks in again at 2.12
See also: An oldie, but if you haven’t heard Again and Again you really should. Also, here’s the Official Video for Love Letter – embedding disabled blah.

19. Jamie T – Sticks ‘n’ Stones

In brief: Jamie trying on all his best voices in an exuberant romp through pop’n’roll.
He say: “It’s based on real life. It’s the idea of: ‘I remember you smoking weed in the park and now you’re working in the city. What’s going on?’ I don’t really know any stockbrokers, but then again, when you’re writing songs, you can make things up.”
Best Bit: That cheery vocal shift into the chorus at 1.27ish.
See also: Official vid is definitely worth a look. Also good is this Ben Bones mix of Chaka Demus.

18. Little Dragon – Blinking Pigs

In brief: A coy, teasing few minutes of Swedish electro-weird-pop. An album which hasn’t really clicked for me, but it’s the inviting chorus that sets this track apart.
They say:”I think even if it feels like we are in our own bubble we are still very influenced by the Swedish music scene. There is a lot of great electronic music in Sweden and of course pop music that inspires us. But we try to do something that we never heard before so hopefully it doesn’t sound like what they’re doing in the studio next door.”
Best Bit: The chorus eases its way in at 1.05

17. Girls Aloud – Untouchable

In brief: Girls Aloud released a single this year so it’s bound to be there or thereabouts. (It’s actually rather ace – especially in the extended album version above)
They say: Oh, loads of stuff. Really. I’m sure you’ll hear them somewhere.
Best Bit: All of it really
See also: Nothing! An otherwise Girls Aloud-free year. How about some Mini Viva? No? OK then.

16. Peaches – Lose You

In brief: Weird video, surprisingly straightforward (if subtly creepy) song. Often out there for the sake of it, this is Peaches doing minimalist pop, and doing it very well.
She say: “I wanted to make sure that on the first album that I wasn’t pigeonholed as a singer. I knew the minute I sing then all my other points would go away, like being a producer and a songwriter and all those things. But yeah: now I can let out my secret weapon!”
Best Bit: The start, which in this bizarre vid comes at about 1.36.
See also: Brodinski & Yuksek remix

15. The Juan Maclean – One Day

In brief: DFA hipsters doing a fairly straight Human League-esque pop song. Boo to those who say it sounds like the Younger Younger 28s. Anyway, why’s that such a bad thing? Ahem.
Best Bit: Soaring chorus hits – 1.02

14. Pictureplane – New Mind

In brief: In all honesty, I don’t know what this. Last.fm reckons its my most played track of the year though, and who am I to argue? Disconcerting… almost danceable/ almost seizure-inducing… kind of pop but kind of miles away from pop. Bloody great.
He say: “I am kind of making pop music, but I don’t consider it to be anything except the stuff I am making. It is very personal. There’s no difference between what I am doing sonically and just drawing in a sketch book.”
Best Bit: Another bit of song shuffles in from nowhere, out of sync with the first bit, around 1.50ish.
See also: Goth Star, which does Bad Things to a Fleetwood Mac sample.

13. Fever Ray – Triangle Walks (Rex the Dog mix)

In brief: Only song to make it in here on remix alone. Rex turns this track from a moody little thing moping in the corner, to an aggressively moody beast rampaging around the dancefloor.
Best Bit: 2.24 onwards, but you need the build…
See also: Rex performed a similar magic trick a few years ago with the Knife’s Marble House.

12. Royksopp ft. Robyn – The Girl and the Robot

In brief: Royksopp had a handful of really good singles this year – this was probably the closest to great. Largely due to Robyn’s perpetually aching vocal chords, which sprinkle stardust on everything they brush up against.
They say: “Usually, producers sit behind glass, judging singers, or singers shy away from the dealing with producers directly, but with Robyn, it was different. She was hovering over our keyboards, trying to see if we had that studio swing. She auditioned our nervousness, and our nerdiness. We were just about nervous and nerdy enough.”
Best Bit: I like the little ‘oohs’ around 2.06
See also: Happy Up Here and This Must Be It.

11. Kyla – Do You Mind?

In brief: I’m really surprised that this sort of thing wasn’t all over the charts this year. Anyway, it’s funky house I guess and it’s really a Crazy Cousinz song but it’s Kyla’s smooth yet vulnerable vocals that sell it.
She say: “I’m not just a funky house singer. If I’m feeling a beat I’ll just write to it.”
Best bit: All lush, but the last 20 seconds or so are extra lush.
See also: Downbeat cover from The XX; Kyla’s summery Daydreaming

Only 10 to go… next week!

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