Strap yourselves in. Here are the best ten tracks of 2010 (apart from the ones I forgot).
10. It Is Not Meant To Be – Tame Impala
In all honesty, I don’t have a hope in hell…
OMG sonic masterpiece from Australians (what is in the water there lately?). The album, Innerspeaker, is a magnificently coherent slice of psychedelic modern pop and this track manages to be sonically innovative while spelling out a few home truths. Well done all.
09. Jona Vark – Gypsy & The Cat
MORE AUSTRALIANS! If Fleetwood Mac had a contemporary sunkissed Australian incarnation, it would be this. Wordplay, melody, inventiveness. There really is nothing wrong with this song.
08. 4th of July (Fireworks) – Kelis
Kelis had continued to baffle me until I saw her live in London. To me, it seemed like a record company had just told her to keep doing stuff until something stuck. This track is so confident and strong that I can’t imagine her not wanting to do it. It kicks ass and set up the ravey template for that amazing gig she did on a cold December night in London. She made sense….
07. In The Sun – She & Him
M. Ward is a genius (I think I’ve set out my stall before). His partner in She & Him, actress Zooey Deschanel, reveals herself to be a fine songwriter and superb performer. Is this a track that is devoid of knowing irony? And yet good? (Hint: ‘Yes’)
06. Cold War – Janelle Monaé
Her tweets may be a tad unbearable, but who cares, in The Archandroid, she reveals an ambition that is matched by talent. The pundits may plump for Tightrope as representative, but for me it’s this poignant, understated 3.5 mins of emotion.
05. Gold Dust – DJ Fresh
I know nothing about DJ Fresh but this track just makes me giddy with excitement. All you really need to know is ‘running and you running and you running away… away’. There’s a purity in its insistence. And it fucking rocks and has a ridiculously pointless train noise at the end. Result!
04. You Overdid It Doll – The Courteneers
Possibly quite drab Manc indie band write a moralistic tale about the perils of, well, overdoing it. It could have been balls but they bring in a ‘dance sensibility’ to great effect. ‘You never know when to stop – you carry on til the day that you drop…’
03. I Am Not A Robot – Marina & The Diamonds
A Marmite voice if ever there was, somehow the lyrics of this cut through a lot of the bullshit and actually meant something. It certainly meant something to me.
02. Paper Romance – Groove Armada feat. Saint Saviour and Fenech-Soler
The great rehabilitation of Groove Armada continued apace. They brought in lots of younger talent and created they best music of their already-pretty-decent career. It’s a pretty flawless piece of contemporary pop/dance music.. Really.
01. We Use To Wait – Arcade Fire
They are an albums act. Their last album was a bloated pile of dull self-importance – where a stadium-filling sensibility crossed with too much expectation. How amazing, bizarre and wonderful that they reigned it it for the third album without sacrificing their vision. The enormity is in the everyday. They went on to write an album that is understated, poignant and relevant. No one is more surprised than me that they managed to release a single that not only represents the genius of the album, but is an flawless single by any criteria. Kudos for that. (Oh, and there’s no video – they experimented with an online, interactive thing and someone had the foresight to record it for the video above. You can have a go yourself at www.thewildernessdowntown.com/)
iTunes Ping (god knows if it works or not)
That’s it for 2010. Thanks so much for your support this year- I really appreciate your being here. Have a wonderful end of year celebration and see you in 2011 for more slinky pop thrills!