Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Discopop Singles of the Year

Hello! I'm back... and it's time for the annual countdown of my top 10 singles of the year.

It's been a weird 12 months for the singles' chart, with a pretty high turnover of quality songs at number one (Basshunter's Now You're Gone was the only real stinker).

This presents something of a problem for my top 10. Usually, one record stands head and shoulders above the rest as my favourite track of the year - but this time round it's a pretty even field. The chart is compiled using my iTunes play count, and I've done my best to make sure recent tracks get a fair placing. This involves the application of maths - I knew I'd find a use for it one day.

The downside of this system is that I've had to leave Sex On Fire off the list, because I only realised how awesome the Kings Of Leon were about three weeks ago. Shame on me.

1) Goldfrapp - A&E

Goldfrapp ushered in their new acoustic incarnation with this - the prettiest song ever recorded about attempting suicide. True, the middle eight is a bit muddy and the video was a load of nonsense, but the song rose above it all like a dove of peace soaring into the twilight sky. After slitting its throat.

2) Estelle - American Boy

Home to Kanye West's most inspired lyric of 2008: "Dressed up like a London bloke / Before he speak, his suit bespoke". Awesome, even if it nicked the backing track wholesale from a album track.

3) Janet Jackson - Feedback

Heralding what should have been Janet's big comeback, this ended up being the only single released from her underperforming Discipline album. But what a single - three minutes of thumping electronic pop, with those trademark Jackson harmonies and a stonking space cadet video. We'll politely ignore the lyric about her menstrual cycle, though.

4) Goldfrapp - Caravan Girl

The third single from Seventh Tree, this was the moment when Goldfrapp stopped being all spooky and sinister and set off for a Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard. "We'll run away, we'll run away you and me," sang Alison accompanied, for no good reason, by a 12-piece choir. A highlight of their live shows, the only problem with Caravan Girl is that it fades out at least three minutes too early.

5) Girls Aloud - The Promise

I'm actually surprised at how high this has reached. It's certainly not my favourite Girls Aloud song ever (Biology, in case you're interested) but it seems to be the public's - The Promise is still in the top 20 four months after it was released. Hitching a ride on the 1960s bandwagon, the band played to their strengths by channelling the Shangri-Las instead of Aretha Franklin. Now, if only they'd cover Leader Of The Pack.

6) Elbow - One Day Like This

AKA The one that should have been number three. More emotionally honest and joyful than any other single released in 2008, Guy Garvey's tale of domestic bliss is one of those songs that will soundtrack montages of great sporting moments for the rest of your life. But don't let that put you off. Here's their triumphant Glastonbury performance as proof of how life-affirmingly brilliant this song is.

7) Lykke Li - Breaking It Up

With its music hall piano, children's choir and deranged woman shouting down her absent boyfriend through a megaphone - this should have been an almighty mess. But, no, it was one of the most infectiously bouncy, unselfconciously quirky pop songs of the year. Nice remixes, too.

8) Duffy - Mercy

Judging by her performances at the end of the year, even Duffy got bored of this song. But come back to it in six months' time and you'll realise what a timeless piece of pop writing it really is - from the yeah, yeah, yeahs to the cheeky guitar twang that announces the arrival of the final chorus.

9) Elbow - Grounds For Divorce

You know, the one that goes woah-oh-woah-oh-woah-oh-woah-oh-woah-ah-oh-aooooh.

10) Dizzee Rascal ft Calvin Harris - Dance Wiv Me

I've always thought Dizzee Rascal's "unique" rapping style makes him sound like Zed out of the Police Academy films, thereby lending his attempts to chat up some bird on the dancefloor an unintended air of slapstick comedy. Still, you can't argue with that bassline (it's a non-sentient musical concept, you idiot) and even Calvin Harris's singing isn't all that bad. This acoustic version is enormously awesome, by the way:

So that's that. Tell me what your top 10 was in the comments box (or pop in a link to your own blog countdown, if you have one). The albums list comes next...

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