Monday, December 20, 2010

the top 10 singles of 2010

Top 10 singles of 2010, then. Time to acknowledge the year’s finest moments from the guitar, from the dancefloor, and from pop’s mighty cannon. Incidentally, any artist can only be listed in this or the albums list, not both. Here also are the lists from 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

The tenth best single of 2010 is also the remix of the year. Gorillaz – Stylo (Alex Metric remix) takes the original, and adds a drop so head-slappingly joyous, it’s remarkable it took until 2010 for somebody to come up with it. Certain to get people on their feet, and as such, the perfect party track.

In last year’s countdown, Felix Da Housecat came up with the perfect way to start a DJ set. Over the last month, Nero – Me & You has been doing the very same job, whilst also making the wait for the new Chase & Status album more bearable. It’s an announcement of a song, a statement of intent. It’s telling audiences ‘the next two hours is going to blow your mind’. Even if that didn’t happen, the following four minutes certainly did.

From that, it’s a complete change of pace to Foals - Spanish Sahara, the eighth best single of 2010. Hearing this for the first time was a genuine stop-you-in-your-tracks moment. Foals, yeah? Overrated math-rock hype band of 2008? Here they were devastatingly beautiful – both in music and in vocals such as “Now I see you lying there/Like a li-lo losing air”.

At number seven, it’s KT Tunstall – (Still a) Weirdo, essentially a radio friendly adaptation of Radiohead’s Creep. It’s a delicate, quirky theme song for anybody with a quiet side and an outsider complex. Superb.

Number six is Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – Dance The Way I Feel. A gorgeously melancholic disco track, sure, but if I’m honest the emotion of the song took hold some months later, because of the horrific fate of the lead singer, Charlie Haddon. Now the song is a heartbreaking listen, embodied with accidental meanings.

This collective produced two great hits this year, but a guest turn from Tinie Tempah just about lifts Swedish House Mafia - Miami 2 Ibiza to number five in this countdown. Over a typically accomplished SHM beat that peaks and drops as well as you’d expect, Mr. Tempah’s contribution is an addictive, light-hearted ode to hedonism. An album now, please.

WTF? Feat. Dead Prez – It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop UK is the forth best single of 2010. A retooling of the Dead Prez classic, WTF? threw dubstep basslines in the tracks’ direction so it became that rare beast: a re-version that improves upon the original. As a result, it destroyed every dancefloor it came near.

To the top three then, and the stone-cold classic Cee Lo Green – Fuck You. The naughty genius of this song, I presume, doesn’t need explaining. But it’s the kind of track that comes along and becomes all you listen to for a fortnight. You’ll start singing it whilst at the gym and be anxious to get home to play it again. You’ll want to tell near-strangers about it in supermarkets. Then get thrown out the supermarket for accidentally singing ‘fuck yooooou’ in the direction of the checkout assistant just before it’s your turn to be served. A definitive 2010 track.

Also responsible for the loss of a fortnight this year was our runner-up: Robyn – Dancing On My Own. An outright pop classic, you’d occasionally find yourself entirely lost in the 2am heartbreak laid bare here, whilst lovely electro-riffs made you simultaneously want to dance, and cry a bit. Congratulations Robyn, you went and created the perfect pop song.

And so, to the winner. The best single of 2010 was: Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit). It was the most inventive reworking in years, crossing cinema’s finest moment with inventive dubstep beats, to produce a concoction that gelled together perfectly.
Alright alright, just kidding. Our actual winner is Chemical Brothers – Swoon. It sounds like the spiritual successor to Daft Punk’s Da Funk, and it certainly borrows the template: take a genius three second hook, and loop it over and over, whilst expertly building up a heady cloud of delirium around it. Achingly simple, brutally effective. A winner and a half.

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