Thursday, 21 January 2010

1. CALVIN HARRIS: Ready For The Weekend




Because it was the record we played most; because he is Scottish; because when you've travelled from death to life "I'm Not Alone" says all.


(Lena's 2009 list-as-story to follow very shortly indeed!)

2. THE BLACK EYED PEAS: The E.N.D.


The moral of 2009 was: count NOBODY out. Especially not the Black Eyed Peas - of all groups - who best redefined what pop music could mean.

3. THE HORRORS: Primary Colours


You thought they were a joke; well, the joke's on you. Helped by Geoff Barrow, they took British rock to places it hadn't foraged since JD.

4. JAY-Z: The Blueprint 3


He changed the air of 2009; too many impatient babies bawling for instant Christmases but Hova's wisdom wins through; bifocally mindblowing.

5. BAT FOR LASHES: Two Suns


Flo got the machines but Natasha has the truth; whisperingly tragic and unutterably groundbreaking. Flo loses Sydney; Lashes gets the Bush.

6. THE-DREAM: Love Vs Money


The greatest turnaround, perhaps of the decade, occurs midway between parts 1 and 2 of the title track; the man who held this year together.

7. STAFF BENDA BILILI: Tres Tres Fort


Musician of 2009: Roger Lumba, for doing things on the guitar no one had heard before. Breezy yet profound - new horizons for group musics.

8. ELECTRIK RED: How To Be A Lady: Volume One


Saturdays Aloud behelled; THIS is the future of girl group pop - DREAM-ily dynamic, fisting tomorrow like a tank full of chancellors. NOW!

9. DIRTY PROJECTORS: Bitte Orca


The Black Flag exorcism done, they (he?) were (was?) free to reinvent a true, animated collective with enough invention to get us to Uranus.

10. NEKO CASE: Middle Cyclone


She dashes off but she'll wait to hear you before responding with a laugh and a sighing kiss. A wise and worldly pop record, her sun arose.

11. ANNIE: Don't Stop


The most important and influential female pop artist of her decade? How many followed in her footsteps last year; she was still ahead, too.

13. MAXWELL: BLACKsummersnight


Speaking of which, catch the ghost of "Ghosts" in "Pretty Wings," the year's finest and sultriest ballad? Two more sisters to come as well!

14. MARIAH CAREY: Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel


Pinter told Antonia he was loopy about her. Mariah's rejoicing album loops the loopy - wow; it's so surreally happy you'd kiss the booklet!

15. DAVID SYLVIAN: Manafon


About the last survivor of New Pop Mk I still interested in the adjective "New"; the dots are serenely joined to reveal pulmonary violences.

16=. LINDSTROM & PRINS THOMAS: Lindstrom & Prins Thomas II/LINDSTROM & CHRISTABELLE: Real Life Is No Cool




Best use of the Picardy third in noughties pop in the first; coolest (as in iciest) pop since Grace Jones in the second. Let there be drum.

17. THE SLEW: 100 Percent


Kid Koala and his bi-turntable machine guns, the first and better Wolfmother rhythm section, the year's best "rock" album. 1987 - remember?

18. RIHANNA: Rated R


Recombinant, rage, red, righteous, rock, rationale, rabid, ravens, ruination, rebirth, resurrection, raving, ridicule, roulette, reasons, R.

19. ART BRUT: Art Brut Vs Satan

One of the greatest groups of the decade; three classic albums and the first to appear on any of our lists. Better Argos than "Argos," hmm?

20. YEAH YEAH YEAHS: It's Blitz!


One of the greatest groups of the decade; three classic albums and the first one to appear on any of our lists. Better late than "late" eh?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

21. ROBBIE WILLIAMS: Reality Killed The Video Star


"Bodies" was the generational sequel to and resolution of "Snobbery And Decay"; elsewhere Robbie and Trevor view the stripped sunset, ready.

22. TINCHY STRYDER: Catch 22


New Pop in practice - move the music forward by moving it towards the centre. "You're Not Alone" an unanswerable coda for this plural year.

23. WILD BEASTS: Two Dancers


A year where British "indie" music found new routes, and new voices too - theirs, perhaps the most remarkable since Kitchens of Distinction.

24. MUSE: The Resistance


Georgist (Monbiotite?) pop! We're all for it! "Uprising" might be the song of the year; David Cassidy sings Slade and Meek's ghost smiles.

25. TIGA: Ciao!


Marginally less "pop" and more "hardcore" than his previous one but his colours, well THEY are fine, and the curves and leeways ineluctable.

26. LADY GAGA: The Fame Monster


She Runs Pop, Part Two: true, she was here last year but the revision gets her back in, higher, and are Propaganda our generation's Velvets?

27. MAJOR LAZER: Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do


King Midas Sound was considered, nocturnal, but this was a lighter and warmer take on where reggae might now be taken; its colours are fire.

28. TAYLOR SWIFT: Fearless


She Runs Pop, Part One: saw off SuBo for the 2009 championship and leapfrogged Kanye all by virtue of being....virtuous, and heartfelt, etc.

29. MICACHU AND THE SHAPES: Jewellery


Boots and Roux opened the door and this poured out; back to atonal perks, forward from 1979 to somewhere where the Slits, not Journey, rule.

30. FUCK BUTTONS: Tarot Sport


VANGELIS?! But with a tighter and lighter propellor; this keeps building and building and BUILDING remarkably; it's some kind of cathartic.

31. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Working On A Dream


"Pete, you think you've changed, but you have not." Can you hear me? "We cannot undo these things we've done." Can you hear me? Pardon?

32. EMPIRE OF THE SUN: Walking On A Dream


"Can you remember and humanise? It was still where we’d energised. Lie in the sand and visualise...like it's '75 again." Are we peopled?

33. LED BIB: Sensible Shoes


Oh it was great to see Chris and Pete howl n' honk just like the old Windo/Watts days at the Mercury. Less politesse is the watchhook, yes.

34. CIARA: Fantasy Ride


Love and sex and magic; not quite the album that was promised but still a satellite's pitch from the inconvenient gaps others left unfilled.

35. CHARLES SPEARIN: The Happiness Project


Glenn Gould's heirs listen...to the talk, the conjectures, the shadows nudging and secretly sustaining the sun. There is a summer, but how?

36. LEONARD COHEN: Live In London


Trust a Canadian to explain the mysteries of the universe. The answer? Not 42, but "doo dum dum dum de doo dum dum." The hat, the warmth.

37. DAVID GUETTA: One Love


Ah, France, you embrace us as Britain seems no longer able to do. Triumphant, euphoric, insolent revved-up pop; the post-Pro Plus age here.

38. SONIC YOUTH: The Eternal


Well of course they're going to sound like Pavement! In our world that is a Good Thing and helped us connect with them again. How long...?

39. TINARIWEN: Imidiwan: Companions


Warmer and marginally more Western than its predecessor but full of sparky space and the preserved interdependent nexus of playing together.

40. RICHARD HAWLEY: Truelove's Gutter


The adventurous record he had always been threatening, and by a minor distance the darkest; long, dissolute meditations on ungrounded loss.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

41. ALICIA KEYS: The Element Of Freedom


Some of the most beautiful singing and songs from anyone this year; rippingly heartfelt and never, ever going away or giving up. No, never.


(The list resumes from #40 tomorrow)

42. GREEN DAY: 21st Century Breakdown


Not a shock at all, but a lot of us had been waiting a long while for the next chapter; the story continues and society doesn't quite split.

43. THE HIDDEN CAMERAS: Origin: Orphan


Now this was a genuine shock. Theatre of Hate, anyone? Grinding 1982 post-punk epics of hurt wonder? From the Hidden Cameras? Hail 2009!

44. PAOLO NUTINI: Sunny Side Up


Took us a while to get this, but hell, he got to do what he wanted and how he wanted it. Boy, does the Paisley boy sound like Alex Harvey!!

45. MICHAEL BUBLÉ: Crazy Love


His "Cry Me A River" was strikingly new; his essential fine humour apparent everywhere. He crooned bubblegum, was ready for anything. Yay!

46. MELODY GARDOT: My One And Only Thrill


Again, it's all about not being seen to try. She just stood there, didn't have to underline what she'd lived through, and sang to be alive.

47. MONSTERS OF FOLK: Monsters Of Folk


Remember the supergroup? As with Blind Faith, you'll be surprised at the concentration, the focus, and above all the odd air of celebrants.

48. AMERIE: In Love & War


Not enough people noticed. She was growing up, getting harder and angrier, and creating some bewitching tomorrow pop. Time for her notice.

49=. DEMI LOVATO: Don't Forget/Here We Go Again




Prolificity. We could do with a lot more of it. And quite a lot more of this cheekily adventurous, utterly untouched pop of someone's now.