So here, in fact, we are. Number five, number four, number three, number two, and number one. And then I move on, belatedly, to 2009, with a (kind of) new format. Enjoy!
So, in a way, this is why I’ve been bothering listening to lots of singles this year. Has it been worth it? I’m not sure. I don’t think the list produced is dramatically different to what it would have been had I not been blogging all year. Still, I’ve discovered some good things and I’m happy with every one of the tracks in my 50, instead of filling the bottom half with nonsense.
Obviously this is a personal list. I mean, obviously! Nobody voted for anything. Except me. That also means the order is, to an extent, arbitrary. Is this banging electro stomper “better” than this delicate acoustic number? Who knows. All I know is that I like lists.
My usual rule
s apply. Being thus: one single per (lead) artist. They can show up again if they’re collaborating. Hence someone appearing three times. There are other artists that would probably have appeared three or four times, but that would’ve been boring for me. Ho hum.
Anyway, I decided against splitting out each ten, as it’s already January. So here’s the ‘Bottom 40’ of the 50, if you will. That’s 50-11. Behind the click below… be warned for there are lots of embedded videos. Could take a bit of loading. But worth it, oh yes.
Single of the Week: Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire
It’s probably about time something on Modular got my single of the week, given that they’ve produced a pretty solid stream of dark, melodic electro-rock gems this year. As is customary, the vocals evoke Depeche Mode without being a straight rip-off, and it’s backed by a downtempo yet uplifting kind of electronica that alternates between heavy synth stabs and moments of twinkly beauty. A token choice, perhaps, but a decent single to represent a noteworthy 2008 label.
Clicky below for more…
Single of the Week: David Holmes – I Heard Wonders
Initially unassuming, reserved, delicate, this track creeps up on you over multiple plays to reveal a layered, hypnotic beast that builds up to the sort of euphoric explosions that Pulp used to specialise in. Indeed, you could mistake this for some sort of dream collaboration between Jarvis and Kevin Shields. It’s pretty special. And it’s nice to see that the Belfast producer has still got it, after several years off making soundtracks for films that begin with the word ‘Ocean.’
The video version is a bit shoddy, so head over to MySpace for a better listen. Play it loud.
Single of the Week: Lykke Li – Breaking It Up
Third brilliant single in a row, and on the evidence of her live shows this is only the beginning, for my undisputed artist of the year so far. There’s an oddness to her style which some might characterise as twee, but to me Lykke Li is a serious star in the making. There’s a reserve evident on many of the songs on Youth Novels that it seems like she’s itching to break out of. This re-worked version of the more mannered album track could mark the beginnings of that process. Where she goes next is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it will involve translating more of her irrepresible live energy onto record. I’ll be happy whatever, but she deserves to reach as big an audience as possible.
I’ve run out of superlatives, to be honest, so here’s an extra treat. The clip below begins with a bit of Lykke guesting live with Kleerup on their superb collaboration, Until We Bleed (full version without video here). It then segues into another, slightly more well-known Kleerup track…
Oh to have been there! Still, it’s been a good week…
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Single of the Week: The Faint – The Geeks Were Right
I was sorely tempted to simply not bother with a single of the week this week. The singles reviewed below are all competent but in some way lacking. The same can be said of this. The Faint have released some truly, truly great singles which deserved much more mainstream recognition. This isn’t one of them. The verse melody steals from the Killers’ ‘Somebody Told Me’, and overall it kind of plods along pretty aimlessly. But somehow, I’d still rather listen to this than any of the other tracks released this week. And it has a disturbing video. Oh well.
Let’s live in the past and remember how good they were instead via the medium of Old Videos: Worked Up So Sexual, Glass Danse, Agenda Suicide, Southern Belles in London Sing(Unofficial). There we go. Better now.
Single of the Week: Bloc Party – Mercury
Is this a controversial choice? I’m not sure. Is it even a controversial single choice for Bloc Party? Even less sure. I’ve never been a Bloc Party fan in any way, though I’ll admit they’ve had their moments (Flux being my favourite to date), but there’s something about this one that I can’t resist.
There’s no doubt that it’s a sidestep for the band, and some distance away from indie disco staples like ‘Banquet’ and ‘Helicopter.’ But is it really that radical? In the scheme of things, no. Yet it’s worthy of applause because it’s a major league guitar band prepared to branch out, even just a little, and make something that makes you sit up and take notice.
It won’t be my most played song of the year, but its manic fusion of great beats with nonsense lyrics makes it one of the most interesting mainstream releases so far this year.
Little Boots – Meddle
Victoria Hesketh is Little Boots. She used to be frontperson of stylish electro-rockers Dead Disco. She’s now gone solo, and is here to inject some much-needed fun into your Monday morning. ‘Meddle’ is a subtly sweet little slab of bedroom-electro vibrancy, measured yet mesmerising, and Totally Pop. Another great Little Boots track, ‘Stuck On Repeat’, produced by Hot Chip, is competing with the likes of Girls Aloud, Sugababes and Leona Lewis for the prestigious Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize. But for now, Meddle should be more than enough to keep you happy.
Other things that are a bit less fascinating than a tenorion can be found with a simple click below…
There are slow weeks and there are slow, slow, slow weeks…
Single of the Week: The Saturdays – If This Is Love
The Saturdays feature two ex-members of S Club Juniors/ S Club 8, and three other young ladies. The tone and styling of the video leaves you in no doubt as to which other 5-piece girl-band they’re attempting to emulate. It’s based entirely around a sample from an old Yazoo track, and the pre-chorus also sounds a bit familiar. But while Girls Aloud et al won’t be quaking in their boots yet, this is good, honest, dancefloor-friendly pop music like they used to make in the olden days. By my reckoning, we’re about due another decent girl group…
Some more really quite average singles if you click below…