2009: Songs of the Year

I’d love to have the energy to make end of year lists as wonderfully detailed as the mighty XO London. Unfortunately I’m full of a stinker of a cold and generally distracted by everything else. This year I’ve been a little rubbish at listening to as much music as I should do. There’s a whole back-up of albums in my LISTEN TO ME folder on spotify, so this may well be missing some corkers. Like I’m sure Fever Ray and Metric would be likely candidates for my favourite albums had I actually listened to them more than once or twice. I need to catch up pronto.

Anyway my favourite songs of the year:


1. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
Simply for packing as much joy and celebration as possible into just under 5 minutes. It’s utterly infectious and I’m even more convinced this is my song of the year after feeling just how amazing it was to both play it and watch others enjoying it at Popstarz NYE last night.

2. Daniel Merriweather – Water & A Flame
I’m not entirely sure what I think about Daniel Merriweather but his album surprised me. Red grew on it to a manic extent but this later released single is without doubt the heart-achingly gorgeous highlight. It’s one of those moments that could make me cry so hard I start to feel sick (see De-lovely, last 10 minutes of ‘Doomsday’, Mr Shue & Emma on Glee etc.)

3. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
It was tough to choose between this and Pokerface, but again Popstarz last night tipped this one as best. It was as if I could have played it on repeat for 4 hours solid and no one would have minded. Paparazzi was my favourite video of hers this year, but the first 2 seconds even of Bad Romance absolutely smash it. The decade’s most exciting popstar.

4. Royksopp – The Girl and The Robot
A bleak surprise song from Robyn. I interviewed the band earlier say everything I could possibly need to (600 words worth) over here.

5. God Help The Girl – Musician Take Heed
I’d not heard of this album until Colin stuck his iPod on loudspeaker at a late summer BBQ and the brilliant God Help The Girl album came out. It’s a teaming up of Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian with various female vocalists. Just pipping Perfection As A Helper, this song showcases why I love the album, full of gorgeous, melancholic harmonies.

6. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
I know some people (hello Naomi) fully despise Cheryl, but I’m happy to be swept away with the hype of loving her. Hooray for her pipping Nadine to a solo album. FFTL was unexpected and provided the opportunity for a wide range of new, fascinating dance with your fist type moves from the Talia camp.

7. Jack Penate – Be The One
When Jack released his first album I wasn’t particularly interested in the jingly-jangly nature of it all. Who knows what happened before the release of album #2 (a long holiday in Ibiza?) but it’s euphoric, Balearic sounds were the surprise of the year. A blissfully uplifting song that featured the best use of trumpets since Mark Ronson got his hands on the instrument, and provided a brilliant moment at Wireless in Hyde Park.

8. Shirley Bassey – Apartment
I have absolutely no idea what this song is about. Written by Rufus Wainwright for the latest Shirley Bassey album, it’s entirely nonsensical. That said, the spanish guitars and a roaring vocal make it a quirky and utterly memorable oddity.

9. Rumble Strips – Daniel
I think I should have listened to the latest Rumble Strips album more but this is the song that stuck with me the most. That’s probably because I have a friend called Daniel and when we’re talking about him I like to belt this out. I feel like I want to sing it while standing on a windswept bridge in the rain. Dramatic and dastardly.

10. Lily Allen – Not Fair
A funny, silly, even stupid little song that captures everything we first loved about Lils. It causes a regular barn dance each week at Popstarz and provided a very odd moment with a bride and groom dancing and singing it to each other when I, retrospectively inappropriately, played it at a friend’s wedding.

Special outside the top 10 loving goes to Never Forget You, Bulletproof, Flashback, Empire State of Mind, Battlefield, Warm in The Shadows & Heads Will Roll.

Marina & The Diamonds

Marina & The Diamonds

Landfill indie is dead (save those terrible Brit nominations) – 2009 is undoubtedly the year of the the leftfield pop girly and we’re already overwhelmed with possibilities for the success stories of the year.

Marina & The Diamonds somehow avoided being mentioned in the BBC Sound of 2009 list earlier this year. She has, however, just joined the winner of that poll, Little Boots on Atlantic Records subsidiary, 679, and looks set to be releasing her first big single before the summer is out. First though, comes Obsession a strictly limited release on the uber cool Neon Gold label, out on Valentines’ Day.

Despite the name, Marina is a solo artist, and to crudly compare her to someone else she sounds like Regina Spektor doing a dance of the seven veils with Kate Bush. Half Welsh, half Greek, I certainly think she’s going to crap all over Florence & her similarly mythical Machine’s expected party, never mind the concern it might cause Kate Nash’s forthcoming 2nd album.

Normally Marina’s banging on the piano, but her label have just sent out a gorgeously dreamy new remix of ‘Obsessions’ drenched in synths and creepy italo disco soaring which you can get for free right here

Download: Marina & The Diamonds – Obsessions (Pink Stallone Crush Remix) [Free MP3]


Isn’t Pixie Lott a brilliant pop star name? Coming out of Mercury Records in 2009, Pixie is a 17 year old singer songwriter who was plucked from stage school and sent to American to make amazing soulful pop with the likes of Darkchild and Babyface. Is this a formula for an instant diva?

Pixie’s songs have an instant American hit quality to them, with the Ryan Tedder-eque ‘Without You’ a reminder of something like Jo-Jo’s brilliant ‘Leave Get Out’. The soulful ‘Mama Do’ sounds like it was originally destined for Mutya (are Mercury re-using a song perhaps?), ‘Boys and Girls’ is super cute and ‘The Fall’ showing off a less annoying version of Natasha Bedingfield. 

Interesting to keep an eye on, there are big bucks behind this project and you’ll no doubt be hearing her all over the radio come summer. File next to Leona rather than Amy.

Listen to Pixie on her myspace (def. Mama Do!)

(props to Ben!)