- Home - LCD Soundsystem. I was already falling more and more in love with this, and then saw it live - performed for the first time - at the Wellmont Theater gig in Montclair, NJ. The Murph felt he couldn't do New York I Love You, but You're Bringing Me Down in his home state of Jersey, so they did this instead - utterly perfect. And that was the point where I fell completely and utterly in love with it. And now it's my favourite song of the year, by miles. I love his ability to express doubt and ambivalence and fear and make it what's great about loving someone. I don't think there's anyone else who writes about friendship in quite the same way, and it's perfect on here:
'Cause you're afraid of what you need
Yeah, you're afraid of what you need
If you weren't, yeah you weren't
Then I don't know what we'd talk about
- Turns Me On - Big Boi. A handful of tunes on Big Boi's album could have made this list, but this is by far my favourite.
- Tightrope - Janelle Monae. One of the best videos of the year and, of course, written by Big Boi. But that's not only why I love it - her delivery is delicate and deft, and the result is so delightful - plus, of course, it gets the entire party moving. Brilliant.
- Barbra Streisand - Duck Sauce. Bonkers song, bonkers video, bonkers everything and absolute genius.
- Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do - Robyn. I wasn't as bats for this album as the rest of the known universe, but I absolutely love this. It's not exactly Che-levels of rebelliousness, but it's just great - a perfect juxtaposition of a catalogue of the (perceived) pressures of modern life with thumping beats, and then just a childish but heartfelt reaction. Perfect pop.
- Flash a Hungry Smile - Mystery Jets. I can't help liking them - I don't know quite what it is given that they're quite cheesy, but I do, and the whistling in this just gets completely and utterly stuck in my head.
- Why Does the Wind? - Tracey Thorn. I loathed Everything but the Girl for yonks, assuming they were just another twee band (before "twee" meant what it does now in terms of music). It took the glories of Protection, the single and even better, Better Things off Massive Attack's Protection for me to "get" the charms of Tracey Thorn's voice. I then started listening to Walking Wounded, and it became my running companion in the early 2000s - just glorious. Her voice sounds so simple, but has a wonderful ability to convey emotion without being OTT, particularly a soft, gentle yearning. I really liked her album - it was nearly in my top 10 this year - and this is by far my favourite track off it - just lovely.
- Saturday Come Slow - Massive Attack. I wasn't entirely convinced by this album, but this is just lovely - yearning, and a wonderful use of Damon's voice - it's incredibly like that on Beetlebum, which also provided that low, huskier part of his range without the mockney stuff - which I love too, but this is a strikingly different sound.
- Wile Out - DJ Zinc & Ms. Dynamite. Although I love a bit of Dy-Na-Mi-Tee, my favourite Ms Dynamite is still Booo!, and I just love her toasting - her voice is utterly perfect for it. Always nice to show a little love for DJ Zinc, too, who has managed to move away from drum & bass without much trouble.
- Church - The 2 Bears. There's something of the Ian Dury about the strongly accented vocals, and it's just a joyful tune with bells in the background, the organ throughout, and then the uplifting vocals. It's lovely.
- Sincere - MJ Cole, remixed by Nero. This is an amazing dub version of Sincere, and it's also led to my being reacquainted with the original, which is as classic a piece of 90s garage as one could wish for.
- Starry Eyed - Ellie Goulding, remixed by Penguin Prison. Everybody (quite naturally, given the dubstep fascination right now) went nuts for the Jakwob remix, which I do like, but I love this - so cheesy, but it pulses forward and cuts through the cloying sweetness of her vocals, as well as making great use of Theophilus London's vocals.
- Riot Music - Don'ae - both the version mixed by Skream and also that by Shy FX. Both of these are wicked, frankly. That's all. Expect me to be the only person dancing to this at NYE, but I shan't care a jot, I tell you.