OK – here are ten singles that rocked my world this year. In reverse order and hopefully including the odd surprise.
10. ‘Surrender’ – Olof Arnalds (featuring Bjork). The Icelandic chanteuses teamed up for a mystical ballad, like two dark angels. Men would succumb to their power.
9. ‘The Recluse’ – Plan B. My favourite track off the mighty The Defamation Of Strickland Banks and a corking, spinning piece of old school soul. I love the horn section, I love the scales and I even loved the Pointless Rap© bit.
8. ‘What’s In It For’ – Avi Buffalo. A sun-drenched stoner singalong. Like a Neil Young After The Goldrush-era track rewritten by kids who like Vans and Pepsi Max. Bloody Glorious.
7. ‘Wonderful Life’ – Hurts. Yep, it’s a cheesy pop song and a derivative slice of 80’s electronica. And yes, Hurts are contrived and affected. But, when Theo first sings “Don’t let go / Never give up / It’s such a wonderful life” you know that a slice of pop heaven has arrived. Tell me you don’t like it.
6. ‘My Ways’ – MAY68. Manchester’s newest dancefloor terrorists released this as their first single. It’s a huge juggernaut of HI-NRG call-and-response tuneage. Love it, love it, love it.
And to the Top 5….
5. ‘Liar, My Dear’ – The Heartbreaks. Morecambe’s finest fuse the romance of The Smiths to the balls of the Mary Chain – that is quite some sonic libido. This their first single, was a riot. Much, much more to come from these lads.
4. ‘Worm Tamer’ – Grinderman. “My baby calls me the Loch Ness monster / Two great big humps and then I’m gone.” How we chuckled at Nick Cave’s wit on the this seething, writhing harpy of song. “Comedic?” he said to me when I interviewed him. “It’s not comedic, it’s fucking tragic.”
3. ‘Mr Peterson’ – Perfume Genius. “He made me a tape of Joy Division / He told there was a part of him missing / When I was sixteen / He jumped off a building.” Mike Hadreas’ true story of his childhood seduction by a desperate teacher was beautiful. Really, really beautiful.
2. ‘Tightrope’ – Janelle Monae. Watch the video, find her Letterman performance of the song on YouTube. The new star of 2010 gave us a shit-hot slab of cosmic funk in the form of ‘Tightrope’, and then proceeded to break the song down James Brown-style. Breathtaking.
1. ‘Fuck You’ – Cee Lo Green. It is very rare that a song arrives so perfectly formed that it has ‘worldwide number 1’ written all over it. Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ and Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’ are a couple of examples. So, when the video of Cee Lo Green’s new track began to go viral on YouTube, it was easy to see why. It’s a perfect song; great melody, great sentiment and a pristine production. When it is done this well, pop music takes some beating.