Monthly Archives: January 2011

Top 10 Singles of ’10

Like every self-respecting pop anorak I have been doing this for years. Writing lists of my favourite records at the end of each year, that is. Now, at last, the Internet has made it possible for me to share this information with you – the whole world! (Aren’t you lucky?) So here is my Top 10 for the year of our Lord 2010.

And they’re singles, ok, not ‘tracks’.

10. GOLDFRAPP ‘Alive’

Easily the best thing on the rather ho hum I-love-1980 Head First album.

9. JANELLE MONAE  ‘Tightrope’

I could take or leave all the conceptual I am-an-android baggage that came with her album. The single though was a hip-swivvlin’, finger wagglin’ delight

8. TINIE TEMPAH  ‘Pass Out’

One skittling hook, a dash of Auto Tune and that immortal line about Scunthorpe. So good it makes you want to visit Scunthorpe.

7. AVI BUFFALO  ‘What’s In It For?’

Ahh, remember May? Those languid early summer evenings when we still thought England might win the World Cup, it looked like we might actually get a summer and for three weeks Avi Buffalo were the future of indie rock?

6. BIG BOI  ‘Shutterbugg’

The most surprising thing about the Sir Luscious Left Foot album was that people were surprised how good it was. Nice to hear Soul II Soul’s Back To Life referenced too.

5. FUGATIVE   ‘Crush’

I know of no one else who likes this, but frankly it’s the everyone else’s loss. The most insanely, brilliantly catchy song of the year.

4. KELIS  ‘Acapella’

Is it about finding God? Or having a baby? (Ye-uck!) Who cares? Like all good pop songs, Acapella is lyrically open ended enough to interpet as you wish and adapt to your own life. I know I did.

3. MINI VIVA  ‘One Touch’

A single so commercially disastrous it not only sunk the diminutive pop duo but may well have ended its producers’ glittering career into the bargain. Xenomania’s best song not recorded by Girls Aloud.

2. ARCADE FIRE  ‘The Suburbs’

I’d always despised Arcade Fire, largely for the way critics endlessly fawn over their tune-free barrage of misdirected bluster. With The Suburbs though the Montreal septet sounded like they’d finally discovered subtlely. There is a strange dislocated sense of loss and non-specific melancholy to the title track, a faded Polaroid of a song that looks back with regret and doesn’t exactly greet the future with a great deal of hope either.

1. PRIMARY 1 featuring NINA PERSSON    ‘The Blues’

Most pop is too obvious by half. So songs like this (and indeed the Number Two) that nail those confused, incoherent feelings that have yet to coalesce into thoughts are truly worth their weight in gold.  Against motorik drums and what sounds like a distressed clockwork toy Joe Florry and Persson intone wistfully ‘oh it’s me and it’s you, it’s just the blues.’ And sometimes it is, nothing more serious than the ache of time passing, of feelings, friends, life gradually receding day by day, week by week, year by year. No pop record this year, or even perhaps this century, has articulated this so accurately, so perfectly and so beautifully.

Hot Chip/ LCD Soundsystem @ Alexandra Palace 10/11/10

How do you grow old gracefully when you make dance music, a genre that more than any other is predicated on all that is youthful, reckless and carefree? It’s a question that many of us have (and will) continue to ponder, not least these two groups, whose members are all unlikely to see 29 again.

Hot Chip are dance music’s eccentric uncles; five (or six with drummer Rob ‘Grovesnor’ Smeaton) odd-looking fellows who bob excitedly behind their keyboards, sashay around between instruments and genuinely look like they’re having a lot of fun. The Chip template is well worn now and it’s all about grooves. They establish one, gradually build it up, embellish it with nagging little figures until resistance is utterly futile. Tracks like One Life Stand and Ready For The Floor are now as comfy as good pair of slippers and go down as easily tonight as a warm mug of cocoa.

While Hot Chip slip cozily into their dotage, James Murphy has come up with another, rather more drastic solution to impending irrelevance. Split up and leave ‘em wanting more. It’s a courageous move, especially as on tonight’s evidence LCD are still at the top of their game. Murphy complains about his croaky voice, but he more than rises to the occasion. All My Friends is wheeled out early, You Wanted A Hit sounds enormous and Someone Great brings a tear to the eye to many around me. Alas, the 11pm curfew means that whatever grand finale Murphy was planning is cut short and the set ends unsatisfactorily (but perhaps appropriately) with Home. And then LCD Soundsystem are gone, perhaps forever, to whatever afterlife lies out there for sardonic dance outfits.