Thursday, December 10, 2009

Down Wiv Ver Kids?


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!!


29 comments:

DR said...

You don't have to pretend to hip and with it, everyone knows music reached perfection in the late eighties / early nineties.

I can just about remember the Bowie / Anderson interview - it was a bit (and I say just a bit) indulgent...

And not to be overly negative does anyone actually rate the newer Dizzee Rascal stuff (only got the first record - so am no expert)
but it seems the more I hear it on Car Stereo's the worse it becomes...and some of the lyrics -sheesh.

ShariVari said...

Not a bad list.

It's Blitz has better songs (Skeletons, Runaway...) but Zero is a cracker.

Not a fan of the Horrors but i like the fact that they're trying to be a little more ambitious than their indie-by-numbers debut. I can't get excited about The Big Pink at all.

Bonkers is terrific, as is Die Slow, as is Paparazzi.

Empire State of Mind's a bit of a strange choice though. I know it was Jigga's first US no.1, it has a kind of swagger to it and anything Alicia Keys touches is at least partially made of win but it's still pretty weak by the man's high standards.

steenbeck said...

sorry for the threadjack, MrMcFlah - the A list is up...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/dec/10/readers-recommend-songs-about-meat

But I don't see a new topic yet...

Makinavaja said...

New topic is songs with great intros. I would nom "Baroque Bordello" by the Stranglers but I won't be there.

lambretinha said...

I'll do it on your behalf then, Maki.

Makinavaja said...

Thanks Lambre. It´s a JJ bass thing - he's all over the place. The intro to No More Heroes is short but unbeatable, too. Especially live.

lambretinha said...

It is. It seems it was zedded though (and rightfully so. For hero worship)

tincanman said...

Not to be a party pooper, but did we not have a conversation about Dominos and did I not say it was an annoying twat of a song? (I raise my hand to not seeing immediately how annoying the Ting Tings - is that their name? - would be though.

ToffeeBoy said...

[with more apologies to blimpy for blatant threadjacking ...]

... seems to me that Songs with impressive intros is potentially the weakest theme of all time - I'm not even sure what it means. Well, yes, I know what impressive means but how subjective can you get? And where's the cohesion? I'll tell you where - nowhere, because there is none! Perhaps Paul's intro will be so impressive (see what I did there????) that it'll all make sense in the cold light of day but I suspect I might just be joining CaroleBristol in the disgruntled corner.

tincanman said...

ah, so the topic is up?

And Blimp, I wasn't dissing your post. Hope it didn't sound that way. I'm quite impressed someone could sit and write coherent stuff as they listen to something for the first time. I'm just right so rarely, I have to point out when it happens. I like the rest of Big Pink though

tincanman said...

ah, best intros

1. Earth Wind and Fire, gratitude
2. Link Wray, Live at the Paradisco
3. Big Brother: Ladies and gentleman, four gentlemen and one great great broad...

Makinavaja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abahachi said...

I think this makes me officially old and out of touch. And very grumpy, having attempted to read the RR thread so far. I suppose there's an interesting philosophical question as to whether a topic can reasonably be described as 'intrinsically interesting' if it's also the sort of theme that lends itself to tedious list-making. Blah.

Japanther said...

ah..come on Aba, I thought you'd have a few classic rock intros up your sleeve???
btw, you (that's YOU Abahachi) are directly responsible for giving me one of the best nights out i've had in a long time the other night...full details/review to follow!

Japanther said...

@blimpy - back to topic! - ace reviews, and I wish I could spotify to check them all out.

i'll just comment on the ones I know.

YYY's tune for me is amazing! lack of cash meant I didn't get round to buying the album, but as soon as the secondhand vinyl copies start hitting the secondhand shops next year, I definitely will.

I LOVE the Horrors, "SWAS" is by far the weakest track on what for me is an incredible album.

Bonkers is ace and fully deserving of #4 place. Dizzy rules!

"My Girls" is still ace and MPP is still a great album no matter how many haircut kids buy it!

Can't get into La Roux (or Florence or Little Boots for that matter) and don't rate this tune

Lady GG is ace. Just top pop, wouldn't pay money for it myself though....

ejaydee said...

Zero: i thought it was alright but not more than that, have since preferred the Animal Collective remix.

Dominos: Still love the chorus, the verse is something I have to go through to get to the good part.

Bonkers: Yes. Dizzee has succesfully managed to go mainstream, while still making banging tunes. A very aptly titled song.

My Girls: ONe of my top tunes of the year without a question. It's mostly about the break, the sense of euphoric release it gives me, it sounds to me like what taking some funky hallucinogen would feel like.

Empire State Of Mind: Surprised it's on the NME's list. It's a "big" tune, motivational almost. Not groundbreaking, but I think it'll stand the test of time, as long as it's not used on countless TV shows.

Let's Go Surfing: Still a big yes.

In For The Kill:The Skream remix is the one to look out for. I really liked Bulletproof wen I first heard it but it stops there.

Paparazzi: I like the idea of Lady Gaga, but the only song of hers I found myself humming is Poker Face, another chorus that sounds very familiar. I like that she's making extravagant videos like the ones I remember from my youth. That's what mainstream pop should look like.

So there's two songs I need to listen to properly, the Horrors for the first time, and Health which I overheard watching the video you made Blimpy (was that the one with the archive footage with a kid with a in clown make-up at school? I meant to ask what the footage was originally)

bishbosh said...

Blimpy, I think seeing as you seem to have been familiar with all the obscure bands/tracks on the list and less so with the likes of Jay-Z and Lady Gaga and La Roux, you are most DEFINITELY still with it.

I'm with you on La Roux, btw. She makes the most horrid noise 'singing'.

Abahachi, know what you mean about all the lists on this week's thread. Very dull. But I was most chuffed by my 'honourable exceptions' shout-out!

bishbosh said...

Or even 'chuffed with'. I shouldn't be trying to communicate today. The ability to do so in English has clearly deserted me.

saneshane said...

I love the YYYS - having got the first EP ten minutes before you - but this track is too Numan in the break..
the rest of the Album kinda gave me a new take on the '80s influence and updated it mixed with my favorite bits of Slinky culture (hysteric played loud gets a great E buzz)
un-like the rest of the '80s copyists... that I'd say in an old man stylee 'they didn't have to cope with this shit first time' but then I'd defend some of it (80's electro tuneage) to bits...because I had to then, so... waffle waffle waffle blah blah

Blimpy said...

@shane, yes i remember clearly now, LENDING you that first YYY EP, the one that Karen O personally handed to me at a gig, back when it was just a cd-r....

Blimpy said...

thanks for reading and commenting guys! much appreciated!!

saneshane said...

she sat in my room when she wrote the words to the songs Blimp.. back when the EP was an idea on a piece of paper......... but thanks for the borrow of the cd-r... although I had moved on by then..

the memories.. eh?

Blimpy said...

i did once say to KO, "dude quit that folk shit, the world needs a balls-out disco-art-punk star right now" and look what happened....course by then I was into digi-baptist-soak rock and wasn't paying attention....

saneshane said...

digi-baptist-soak rock was just preaching to the corrupted.. had been there abused that.. was sniffing the lines from the furrowed brow of the disenchanted disco divas from Danmark recycling future freak beats by then..


... LOOK HOW THEY TURNED OUT.

Japanther said...

actually, I DID see Karen O, pre-YYY's.....maybe! Liars played the tiny Freebutt in Brighton and i'm sure I saw her there with Angus, well he had a girlfriend there who had black hair.....
I loved YYY's just by the flyer before they had released that first EP....and when I heard Art Star, I thought it was just about the best song I had ever heard! I used to drop it into my DJ sets just to confuse the punks!

FP said...

Love that photo so much that I've put it as my backround photo on the i Paq - er, yes, I still use one of those...

barbryn said...

Thanks for this. Most of the tunes, if not the artists, were new to me.

Animal Collective (which I know through the Taken By Trees cover) was far and away the pick for me. I've still don't quite get them, or Panda Bear, but when the strange noises suddenly coalesce into perfect pop like this, it's irresistable.

The YYYs sounded familiar, not sure why... I've never given them much attention, but will try to do so (now that I know Blimpy, Shane and Japanther basically taught them everything they know). Liked the Horrors, Drums and Health; more than happy for mainstream pop to mean Jay-Z (and Alicia Keys), Dizzee and Lady Gaga; still ambivalent about "Dominoes"; not having La Roux or her hair, though I was quite impressed with an acoustic take she did for the BBC's Glastonbury coverage.

Still, not a patch on the NME's top 10 from 1991:

1. Higher Than The Sun - Primal Scream
2. Justified & Ancient - The KLF
3. Losing My Religion - REM
4. Starsign - Teenage Fanclub
5. The Concept - Teenage Fanclub
6. Get The Message - Electronic
7. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
8. Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack
9. Pearl - Chapterhouse
10. Size Of A Cow - The Wonder Stuff

(Spotified playlist here: http://open.spotify.com/user/barbryn/playlist/4G8JhOZTZSGNrFMrZYTS9M)

DarceysDad said...

I declare myself well-and-truly WAY PAST "with it"! But that's OK, life's good out here on the sunny expanses, rather than living in the NME's dingy little hollow.

Makinavaja said...

Maki is quite definitely over the hill! I didn't know any of these - not one. Being in Spain probably has a lot to do with it. I suppose that at my age being out of synch with the NME (my bible in the late 70's) isn't that surprising.