Saturday, 25 December 2010

50 Favourite Songs Of 2010: The full shebang

A few honourable mentions, firstly to some amazing songs that didn't quite make the list, either through my forgetfulness or getting bumped in a moment of passion. Teenage Fanclub's 'Baby Lee', Cee Lo Green's 'Fuck You' and Radio Dept.'s 'Heaven's On Fire' for instance. Some amazing bands didn't quite yield that ONE AMAZING TUNE but made some incomparable music, such as Caribou, Vampire Weekend, Salem and D/R/U/G/S, who blew my mind live. And these ...

Remix Of The Year

Those big glitzy pop edits just had it in for me this year. Genius Stuart Price turned Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ into ‘Material Girl’-era Madonna, Manhattan Clique pumped up the Vickers’ near-perfect ‘Once’ into space-station trance, while Starsmith hit full-on poppers o’clock with their edit of Robyn’s ‘Hang With Me’. But the top two slots both belonged to Clock Opera. Their gutting of the Everything’s ‘MY KZ UR BF’ was a sublime bass-and-bric-a-brac delight but even they couldn’t top their own reworking of Marina And The Diamond’s ‘I Am Not A Robot’. Its delayed-orgasm-rhythm-method-don’t-come-yet-build-up makes me yearn to take it again and again, right in the ear. Polishing a diamond indeed. It was flawless.

Cover Version Of The Year

I proper caved in to The Rayees doing ‘Dancing On My Own’ (Robyn overload!) until I heard Passion Pit’s recorded version of live favourite ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries. Then right at the last minute Mum-friendly Karen-Carpenter-a-like Rumer slipped yet another a heartbreaker onto her Seasons Of My Soul LP. Yes, it’sGoodbye Girlby David Gates, and it takes the crown. That little vocal trill she does two and a quarter minutes in should do the trick if you’re still unsure.

Gig Of The Year was of course Suede at the Royal Albert Hall ...

This is it folks, what a year, and you get to keep it all forever and ever. Spotify playlist is right here, minus The Vaselines and (We Are) Performance, both on youtube. Happy New Year!

50. I Am Kloot – Northern Skies
49. Islet – We Shall Visit
48. Erykah Badu – 20 Feet Tall
47. The Vaselines – I Hate The Eighties
46. (We Are) Performance – The Living
45. Hole – Skinny Little Bitch
44. Vit Päls – Odysseus
43. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
42. Drive-By Truckers – Birthday Boy
41. The National – Anyone’s Ghost
40. Ke$ha – Your Love Is My Drug
39. Wild Nothing – O Lilac
38. MGMT – Song For Dan Treacy
37. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Beverly Kills
36. The Black Keys – Everlasting Light
35. Four Tet – Angel Echoes
34. Shearwater – Landscape At Speed
33. The Heartbreaks – Liar, My Dear
32. Ed Harcourt – Lustre
31. Best Coast – Boyfriend
30. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Florence Welch – Here Lies Love
29. Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground
28. Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming
27. Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil
26. The Fall – O.F.Y.C. Showcase
25. Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
24. The Hundred In The Hands – Pigeons
23. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
22. Zola Jesus – Lightsick
21. Big Boi – Shutterbugg
20. Diana Vickers – Once
19. Gold Panda – Same Dream China
18. Crystal Fighters – Champion Sound
17. The Magnetic Fields – You Must Be Out of Your Mind
16. iamamiwhoami – Y
15. Darwin Deez – Bed Space
14. Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi – Tightrope
13. Ratatat – Drugs
12. Kelis – 4th Of July (Fireworks)
11. CEO – Oh God, Oh Dear

10. The Besnard Lakes – Chicago Train
Two and a half minutes of the finest most gossamer Bon Iver falsettos breaks unexpectedly into chugging guitars and somehow the saddest announcement of the year: ‘This is the last train to Chicago …’ I wish I was on it. I wish I had written it. Timeless and wonderful.

9. Yeasayer – I Remember
Best of a profoundly good bunch from the mighty mighty Yeasayer. Giving into the very best of their Visage tendencies, like so many other bands did this year, only Yeasayer do it better than the rest. It’s pretty much all sad songs from here on in, as usual, but I think there is no voice finer in this top ten than Chris Keating’s.

8. Broken Bells – The High Road
Dopey keyboard intro, Gorillaz drumbeats and one of those melodies that feels like it’s been around since the year dot. How could a collaboration between James from The Shins and Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton not be good. This is probably plenty of people’s album of the year but Track 1 is just it for me. ‘It’s too late to change your mind …’

7. John Grant – Outer Space
Part Jobriath, part Reo Speedwagon, if they could have written songs as good as this for Velvet Goldmine it would have been a movie to be reckoned with. A triumphant swirl of dramatic words and psychedelic space-synths rubs shoulders with other truly magnificent songs like ‘Sigourney Weaver’ and ‘JC Hates Faggots’. Ex-Czars singer Grant proves leaving the band is always the right thing to do.

6. Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill
Talent borrows, genius steals. Damien Allbran sussed this much earlier and more comprehensively than most of his contemporaries, except perhaps Stuart from Belle & Sebastian. So, a small debt to The Beatles’ ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ aside, I honestly consider this one of the finest songs Damon has ever penned. He has a knack for happysad that plays out beautifully here in a washed out landscape of dreams and plastic trees.

5. Xiu Xiu – Chocolate Makes You Happy
Jamie Stewart perfects Xiu Xiu’s avant-pop on latest and greatest album, Dear God, I Hate Myself. Not a dull moment to be had throughout, ‘Gray Death’ came a perilously close second. This paean to bingeing and purging is camp and tragic all at once.

4. Band Of Horses – Blue Beard
This, I wrestled with. ‘Factory’, ‘Compliments’, ‘Dilly’ and ‘For Annabelle’ were all high in the running. The album as a whole stands testament to the beauty of male harmony and timeless Americana. Made me dig out Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and the like. Sad things happen, don’t they, all the time. I spent far too long being sad at railway stations this year. ‘I met you at the railroad station, years ago, and something happened on the night I last drank with you, in the neon glow, now I don't see you anymore …’ So long.

3. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
I’ve changed my mind, I want ‘Hang With Me’. I’ve changed my mind again! And again! She had a right old year didn’t she? Gaga’s shy Scandiwegian alterna-cousin proves you can be twice as cool with only half the effort. The best pop ought to be about how things suck and this is just that, and a pop song for all time.

2. Beach House – Zebra
You know you’re gold, you don’t gotta worry none …’ Safe as houses at number 2 and hands-down my favourite ever Beach House song. It feels like only this morning I heard it for the first time, such is the majesty of Victoria Legrand’s black and white horse running up and down your spine while cymbals crash all about you like rain puddles full of petals. ‘Don’t I know you better than the rest…?’ Well don’t I?

1. Everything Everything – Weights

I know how it starts, and now I know, I know how it ends…’

Well we knew how it would end, didn’t we? Reviewing the album Man Alive back in August I wrote: ‘‘Weights’ is probably the greatest closing album track since ‘I Won’t Share You’ saw The Smiths go out in a veil of tears. Thank God this is just the beginning of it all …’ This year’s top spot has the accrued affection of several years in the making. Live show favourite, friendship glue for me and our Katie, and I even had it dedicated to me back in June, in truth there was no other way this list, or the album of 2010, could close. Happy New Year.

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