Thursday, December 27, 2012

Discopop Directory: Top 10 singles of 2012

Hello there! Hope you all had a good Christmas. I certainly did, if the number of bottles in the recycling bin are any indication.

Anyway, with the New Year rapidly approaching, it's time for the big TOP TEN of the year. As usual, I've based mine on iTunes play counts (with a little arithmetic to make sure songs released later in the year don't suffer). It's by no means definitive - I seem to have completely ignored some of the year's biggest hits - but if you don't like at least three of the following songs, you're dead in the soul.

10) Cheryl - Call My Name

Old swan dive herself, giving it some welly on a Calvin Harris-produced bum-rattler. "How do you think I feel when you call my name?" she asked. If we used her marital surname, the answer was "very stroppy indeed".

9) Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know

Gangnam Style aside, this is the best pop lyric of the year. Over a plinky-plonky xylophone Gotye spends two minutes whining about being dumped when, all of a sudden, his ex pops up and says: "Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over". Ouch!

They'll be teaching this one at the Brit School for years to come.

8) Kanye West and Jay-Z - N****s In Paris

There's a reason why Jay-Z and Kanye performed this seven times a night on their Watch The Throne tour: They're egomaniacs. But this time, they're forgiven. "Paris", as the radio edit was called, is the sound of two mega-stars goofing off and accidentally creating a hit single. That shit cray, indeed.

7) The Staves - Mexico

The Staves beguiling harmonies are a honey trap. They sound like three chaste handmaidens but take a listen to the lyrics of Mexico, and they're asking to be rogered on their lover's bed. Well, I never.

6) Girls Aloud - Something New
I suspect this made the Top 10 out of sheer relief. That Girls Aloud came back and didn't fumble the first single was a miracle. Sure, Something New has clunky bits (the uninspired rap in the first verse) but it's essentially a distillation of everything that made the band great. Sexy, shouty, stylish, skinny and ginger.

5) Marina & The Diamonds - Primadonna
This isn't a pop song, it just sounds like one. Or so Marina would have you believe. But if we paid attention to every pretentious ambition a pop star had for their "oeuvre" we'd never listen to anything.

Primadonna makes this list for one reason: The bit where Marina's voice drops an entire octave as she sings "I know I've got a big ego / I really don't know why it's such a big deal, though." A moment of melodic genius that stops the song being just another Katy Perry knock-off. The remixes were great too.

4) Little Mix - Wings
A fanfare. Some handclaps. Someone says "shhh" when they really mean "shit". Then it all goes a bit Aguilera. There's an almighty bridge, an astounding chorus. And, what's this? A second chorus. Incredible.

Admittedly, the lyrics aren't perfect. Girl Bands have been peddling the whole "you're beautiful on the inside" line since TLC's Unpretty with diminishing returns. But Wings is saved by that almighty military breakdown in the outro. Best pop moment of the year.

3) Alunageorge - Your Drums, Your Love
If anyone is going to save R&B from drowsy bore kings The Weeknd and Drake, it's AlunaGeorge. Mixing spaceship sound effects with the palatable bits of dubstep and chuffing great pop hooks, they should be getting a call from Beyonce's "people" any day now. This reached a wholly unimpressive number 50 in the charts last October. Seriously, what is wrong with you people?

2) Lana Del Rey - National Anthem
A cautionary tale about a wealthy man who seduces a young ingénue ("you tell me to 'be cool' but I don’t know how yet"), only for her to turn the tables in the second verse ("You said to 'be cool'... I said to 'get real'"). A love story for the new age, it should be the theme to Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby.

1) Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments
Wildest Moments is about a girl who threw a cake in Jessie Ware's face at a wedding.Honestly.

"My nightmare of a best friend," Ware called her in this interview, explaining: "I never fight with people, but me and her fight. That's my girl, Sarah, and that’s what Wildest Moments is about."

A ballad with drums the size of boulders, and a heart that's even bigger, Wildest Moments is neither the most obvious, nor the most original, song on this list. But it is absolutely the best.

Happy listening.

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