I an attempt to find out if I'm past it, or still [teen] culturally relevant - I am now going to attempt to listen to the NME's best tracks of the year, and write about them as they play. This mid-music-life crisis has mainly been brought on by the fact that Japanther's grunge post taught me that I'm not the youngest 'Spiller out there....
Listen along here : nme top tunes of 2009
First up, at number one:
"Zero" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs: now I'm a big YYY fan (i had their first EP before anyone else, natch) but I've lost track...The vocal peaks do make me put my hands in the air, and I think if you know this song then you'll get a pavlovian response to it. The dynamic is a simple "build it up then stop" one. Good thing I'm playing it damn loud. Good club track - but is the best of the year?
#2 "Sea Within A Sea" - The Horrors. I went to see these guys play off their first LP, and come showtime their manager ran into the toilets to get them away from their lines and onto the stage. No wonder their singer had such an aggressive stage presence back then. Naturally I was interested in their big re-invention, but being considerably older and having heard more music than them - I couldn't get past the pile of influences they've mashed together for the new LP. Listening again now, there's a nice cold post-punk/motorik vibe but it's unmemorable. Weirdly, I'm now finding this and the YYYS quite similar.
#3: "Dominos" - The Big Pink. Now, as you would have seen from my top 10 LPs - I like The Big Pink, but I ate too much of them and have sickened myself of late. Let's see if this, their worst song, can get me going again after 7+ minutes of Horrors...Nope, still as cheesy as Domino's Pizza. Blleeeugggh. The chorus doesn't have the impact it used to.
#4: "Bonkers" - Dizzee Rascal. BOOOOOOM! Mini McF's fave artist of this, or any, year. This is a banger, and no mistake. Still sounds fresh, especially after the guitar bands. The lack f decent flow on this used to bother me, but now I just think of getting bonkers in the car when this came on the radio. Again, not dissimilar to the YYYS.
#5: "My Girls" - Animal Collective. The indie snob in me held back my enjoyment of MPP, cos suddenly everyone was into one of my bands. Still, "Summertime Clothes" was one of my fave tunes of the year. Still, hearing this now, as it did back in January just made me wish for another Panda Bear solo record. Flip - this song is bass heavy - the room is rocking on the occasional boom-boom-pow. It doesn't transcend however. Shame.
#6: "Empire State Of Mind" - Jay-Z. Now, this is the first tune in the top ten I don't really know....upbeat, pacey flow - but a show tune type chorus??!! The singing sounds processed and flat. Not digging this.
#7: "Let's Go Surfing" - The Drums. I posted this a few months ago, and still like it. Like Factory Records near the beach, I inferred, and stick by it. They have better tunes and probs will be massive in '10. I think both me & Ejay gave props to this, and Steenbeck liked it both times. The noughties have been good for bands stealing Wilson harmonies and welding them to all sorts of backing musics. It works though. As does the vocal break in this song - totally irresistable. Best one so far.
#8: "In For The Kill" - La Roux. Oucha! This is the first one I really don't like. It's actually hurting my ears, like the way the Mosquito Audio Attack annoys teenagers and no one else. La Roux is the inverse-mostquito. I'm now intrigued to know why she's been so popular. I'll go ask my wife...... she puts in down to "people who never lived through the 80s"
#9: "Paparazzi" - Lady Gaga. Not heard this one either; top tune (not as batshit as her other stuff, thankfully), but where is the chorus stolen from? Hmmmm......Duran Duran? No...A Gwen Stefani solo number? It's instantly familiar - which is the sign of GOOD POP. I likey, wanna play it again... And I didn't think I'd be saying that!!
#10: "Die Slow" - Health. I posted both the video for this song, and a video I made using this song on the 'Spill, so it's pretty obvious I really like this tune. It's f-ing irresistable and hypnotic, and had many many repeat plays from me this year. It's shoegaze indebted but filtered through noise and electronica. A heady blend! This is definately the best of the top ten. Oh yeah!
I made a Spotify playlist, which has all ten tunes, as I went along, it's here to hear: nme top tunes of 2009.
In summary then, the NME top ten tunes of the year is 80% aces, good on 'em for letting good music rise to the top rather than the usual advert-selling, in hoc to the music industry shite that they normally peddle. Surprisingly okay.
I also declare myself "officially still with it" - YAY!!