Sunday, 12 December 2010

My 50 Favourite Songs Of The Year: 30 – 21

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

A concept album about corrupt capitalist she-dragon Imelda Marcos sounds too camp to be true, but this is David Byrne, so what actually emerges is an ambitious and accomplished musical extravaganza with 22 tracks showcasing some of the most interesting singers around, and no Fatboy Slim grating big-beat-bollocks in evidence. The title track sets the bar appropriately high for the drama and epically catchy pieces that follow.

29. Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground

It was a close call choosing a Bells track, but in the live show this one comes across like a combine harvester to the face so it had the necessary edge. Not all hipster music is complete toilet, sometimes they’re onto a right winner.

28. Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming

Funny to think they’re the old guard now isn’t it? I even saw them at a seated gig last week with full orchestra. Magic. Write About Love is a charmer of an album, not quite The Life Pursuit but still one to keep close to your heart. This, the opener, starts out as simple as a glass of milk. Stuart takes a back seat to some sweet, sweet vocals by a lady whose name I don’t know and then, about three minutes in, there’s a spectacular Bowie-esque middle-eight after which Stuart returns with a backing vocal line that takes you to that whimsical, late-afternoon, heart-busting place where Belle and Sebastian are simply kings. ‘Make me dance, I want to surrender …

27. Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil

Every episode of The Wire condensed into three minutes of slanted soul music. Quietly epic and lifted from one of the most beautifully produced records of the year.

26. The Fall – O.F.Y.C. Showcase

THE FALL-UH! ARE BACK-UH! Yet more new backing blood ensured Your Future Our Clutter could hold its own with the best of their now vast backlist. I nearly chose ‘Mexico Wax Solvent’ for out-Falling themselves with amazing song titles.

25. Villagers – Becoming A Jackal

Another track that shot up the list like a ferret after hearing it brought to life in concert. The diminutive Conor O’Brien fights to keep that unruly and beautiful voice of his in check in the flesh, while here it’s perfectly set into the song like a little emerald in a ring. And if you wonder why you feel like crying a bit, there’s a tiny little melodic motif in there from ‘Bright Eyes’, that’s why.

24. The Hundred In The Hands – Pigeons

A little bit Cut Copy, a little bit Annie, and loads of fun cranked up on your iPod stomping through town with a hangover. The album is full of all kinds of surprises.

23. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change

They’re the band you’d have to put in a time capsule so people in the future would just get us, know what I mean? Half the album was in my top 100 at one point, but this Yazoo meets Flock Of Seagulls vibe kept me coming back for more. Such a sad song too, and those are always my favourite.

22. Zola Jesus – Lightsick

Those deep atmospherics and tense female vocals made the Stridulum II album kind of like this year’s Fever Ray. No surprise they toured together. If you can stop repeating the mountain-moving ‘Run Me Out’ then ‘Lightsick’ is waiting for you at the end of the album, or possibly at the end of the world.

21. Big Boi – Shutterbugg

A DJ set fave of mine this year, neither Big Boi nor Andre 3000 have put much of a foot wrong since OutKast’s Aquemini back in, Jesus Christ, 1998, but BB upped the game considerably with Sir Luscious Left Foot … Son Of Chico Dusty, not least in terms of stoopid names.

Blimey, over halfway already ...

Spotify playlist is here.

See you next week!

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