OMG! OMG! OMG!!!!11±!!!
10. Jennifer Hudson: Spotlight
We shall try to divorce this track from the horrific events that beset Hudson’s family and take the track for what it is: a slinky, understated, effective, slow-burning piece of soul-pop heaven. Until last week, I would never have imagined that this track would have even made my Top 40, but therein lies its power. It slinks around in the background, never drawing attention to itself by being vulgar or tricksy; some may never notice it, but those who suddenly do look at it and say, “Why, Ms Spotlight, you’re beautiful” as it removes it’s glasses and shakes it’s hair loose in slo-mo.
9. Moto Boy: Young Love
I know nothing about this person other than what some ethusiast, perhaps Moto Boy himself, tells us on last.fm:
Think boy choir, David Lynch, Jeff Buckley, with a Russian winters hat and a hard rock guitar playing selected high tones without distortion. Moto Boy, whose real name is Oskar Humlebo, is a guy who performs with only his black heavy-metal guitar and fantastic voice, dressed in high heels and make-up he’s got his own style!
And I am none the wiser frankly. This track though is a total find. It reeks with an androgynous vibe which is startlingly un-annoying; it feels like a contemporary Bowie if Bowie were to have begun in the naughties. And had remembered to include tunes.
Available for free – Free!
8. She & Him: This Is Not A Test
Ah, The Word magazine, how much do I enjoy thee? You cater for a heterosexual almost-grumpy nearly-40 male demographic and yet I return to you month after month. I can’t stand your podcast and your forum contributors’ need to trumpet Richard Thompson and Elbow – two acts I can’t get passionate about because they will never have the words ‘sonic wizardry’ feature in any of their reviews.
Yet every month, The Word has a CD strapped to the cover and invariably it is a good listen with about four or five fantastic tracks and always one that is totally amazing. In this case, actress Zooey Deschanel and the annoyingly talented M Ward team up for a rousing toast to us weirdoes in an existential moment: “No, this is not a test/ No, this is not a test ’cause you can have it if you want it anyways”.
But do we want it? Deschanel’s surprisingly emotive delivery would suggest that we are a tad ambivalent. Fair enough.
7. Adele: Chasing Pavements
This year I moved to London to live with the ball and chain. It has been a period of some adjustments, not least having to live with a television for the first time in about five years. While I totally got it for the last two weeks of X Factor, I am also now exposed to plenty of, em, stuff. I saw some very mediocre British comedian imitate Adele recently and found myself annoyed. The comedian was mocking the contrast between the soulful way Adele sings and the supposedly common-as-muck way she speaks, and I was left asking myself why this was funny.
Have I got to an age where I start to write to the BBC, signing myself off as Disgusted of EC1? Or was this fat lass just a bit useless? Every time I hear Chasing Pavements, despite its having reaching No 1 and radio ubiquity, I hear a little more in it. It’s one of those strange songs that darts to the top of the charts but probably shouldn’t have. It’s Sleeping Satellite and Adele will probably never trouble the Top Ten again but will do very well thank you as a recording/live artiste, with respect and interesting collaborations with Elvis Costello and maybe even His Holiness Richard Thompson.
That fat lass on the telly though is unlikely to be around this time next year.
6. Sonny J: Handsfree (If You Hold My Hand)
Ms Donna Hightower is now an octagenarian in the USA, and many years ago she released a track called ‘If You Hold My Hand‘. A groovy enough track, it has, however, been largely forgotten.
Sonny J allegedly sparked a bidding war a couple of years ago when his stupidly catchy ‘Can’t Stop Movin” was ‘found’ on MySpace. Alas, despite critical acclaim, it failed to ‘do a Fatboy Slim’ even after the record company released it twice. The follow up, ‘Handsfree’, sampled Ms Hightower’s track quite liberally, upping the pitch and the BPMs and yet fared even worse by not troubling the charts at all.
What have we learned? The song is destined to remain in obscurity? People have awful taste? Or, Paul McCartney is right and EMI are shit?