A little later than usual, following an extended break for eating and drinking too much, here’s number 30-11 in my best of 2011.
Spotify playlist so far is here
30. Labrinth (ft. Tinie Tempah) – Earthquake [*]
I think the synth riff which runs through this song became ingrained in my consciousness for a few months earlier in the year. Kind of infectious, this.
29. Those Dancing Days – I’ll Be Yours
Such a shame we lost these guys this year. At least they went out with a really lovely album. Adorable video too, particular the segments from last year’s Bowlie ATP.
28. Patrick Wolf – The City
Patrick back to doing amazing pop music, complete with beach frolicking video and sax solos. There’s also a good Richard X mix of this.
27. Win Win (ft. Lizzie Bougatsos) – Releaserpm (Nadastrom Mix)
Eh, it’s a moombahton thing that has Lizzie from Gang Gang Dance on it. What’s not to love?
26. Jennifer Lopez (ft. Lil Wayne) – I’m Into You
Yeah, so On The Floor was the big one and everyone was inexplicably obsessed with it. This is far better. Amazing chorus.
25. Slow Club – Two Cousins
Even if the second album was (for me) a bit underwhelming, this alone was a massive leap forward for Slow Club. A really quite addictive one-note piano riff conceals a lot more going on below the surface. Is very lovely.
24. Cher Lloyd (ft. Mike Posner) – With Ur Love [*]
Possibly the best, punchiest pop album of the year. Hard to pick a highlight but this remains pretty addictive and has a great video.
23. Firefox AK – Boom Boom Boom [*]
Few better choruses than this in 2011. Swedish electro-pop perfection.
22. Johan Agebjörn (ft. Lake Heartbeat & Le Prix) – Watch The World Go By
Staying in Sweden, and with electro-pop, here’s a highlight from Johan Agebjörn’s guest-studded (and excellent) Casablanca Nights album. There are also excellent tracks on there from Sally Shapiro and (especially) Queen of Hearts, but I think this dreamy, summery beauty edges it.
21. Zambri – Heather
I’ve long had a soft spot for New York sisters Zambri. Their 2009 EP Bang For Changes was solid gold, and they also won favour with me by covering one of my favourite songs. This year’s wonderfully-titled Glossolalia EP saw them took a turn for the weirder, but this standout track showed they still had that magic.
20. Nicola Roberts – Lucky Day
I think 2011 was the year I finally realised that most things in pop that I love are doomed to be massive failures. Oh well. It’s the mainstream’s loss that they are no longer interested in wonderfully exuberant, fun and catchy pop music like this. My only challenge was picking a favourite from an embarrassment of riches.
19. Metronomy – Everything Goes My Way
My opinion of Metronomy prior to 2011 was a bit blah – decent live shows and the odd good tracks. And then they went and made The English Riviera, which is bloody brilliant. Every track is a winner, but this sparsely elegant beauty featuring Roxanne from Veronica Falls stood out.
18. Chrome Sparks (ft. Steffaloo) – All There Is
This is a thing of great beauty which I’m not sure too many people will have heard. Please give it a listen. Music box prettiness with added cut-up samples from a 20-year old kid called Jeremy.
17. Neon Indian – Hex Girlfriend
I really liked Neon Indian’s shift towards a more widescreen sound on second album Era Extraña. OK, perhaps he lost a bit of individuality in the process, but when you’re confronted by the infectious battering ram verses and swirling fairground choruses here, it’s hard to care too much.
16. Valentina – Heart of Glass
Magical and beautiful piano-led ballad. I listen to this sort of thing sometimes, too. But only when it’s this incredible. Bright future ahead for this one I suspect.
15. M83 – Midnight City
I probably don’t have anything to add on this, since it’s on every other list this year. That’s for good reason though. Pretty addictive, right?
14. Icona Pop – Manners
SO it’s another slightly leftfield electronic pop song by attractive Scandinavians. Big shock, right? Yes. Awesome, in any case.
13. Cookies – Summer Jam
I don’t know much about this song except that it’s by some people from New York and is bloody great. If it’s not twee enough for you already, here is a small child singing it. Thanks YouTube.
12. Mates of State – Sway
Ah, lovely Mates of Statesies. Slighty oddball video (if ultimately quite likeable) but the song is them doing wistful and happy and sad and fun all at the same time like nobody else can.
11. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Synchronised
Another year, another criminally ignored Sophie record. Within that, a beautiful mid-paced track with some actually lovely lyrics. Give it a shot even if you’re normally not interested – it’s a bit different to her usual output. Would make a really good single, if you ask me, but I guess that’s not going to happen. SHAME.