Day 24: "Sleek Mystique Reverse"

Johnny BoyYou Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve

Come on, did you really think it was going to be anything else? The best song of the year by a distance of approximately here from halfway to Promixa Centauri. This is a song that comes dressed up in heavy mascara and eyeshadow; that gives you a wink from across the dancefloor, and then rips your heart out. The work of Phil Spector is updated and shoved into the 853rd century, not just a Wall of Sound, but a whole World; fireworks and church bells ringing in a New Order.

And those lyrics. Bitterly cynical and British, blaming a generation of apathy and consumerism for the state of the world today, and yet. And yet. This is the song of romantics, of people who want to remake the world anew. They despair at the current state of affairs, and present Hearts of Ice to the world, but their real thoughts are given away in the first line:

“I just can’t help believing, though believing sees me cursed”

I could talk about it all day. But it’s Christmas Eve, so I’ll spare you. Go to their website, watch the video, and get ready to buy the album when it comes out next year.

currently playing: Stars — Set Yourself On Fire

Day 23: C'mon Baby, You're My Greatest Hit

AnnieChewing Gum

Annie is from Norway.

Annie is the reason why Pop in 2004 is better than 2003, and why 2005 is looking good already.

Annie knows that Kylie is just chewing gum.

Annie wanted to be on Top of The Pops, just like all pop stars.

Annie is a fool for love.

Annie’s Anniemal is the Lexicon of Love of the decade.

Annie begins her album with the words
In the Jungle It was true Where all the anniemals could be sssshhhhhhh! lets start the record!

Annie ends her album with the heartbreaking My Best Friend. Steal a copy from HMV.

Annie is A.N.N.I.E. — Artificial Networked Neohuman Intended for Exploration.

Annie Needs No Irritating Explanations.

currently playing: Art Of Noise — Moments in love (beaten)

Day 22: I Heard It From The Valleys

ElectrelaneThe Valleys

Considering their first album was an instrumental, it was something of a surprise to hear Electrelane bursting with language on The Power Out. The album features songs in French, German and Spanish, but the most powerful track is The Valleys, a hymn delivered by the band with what sounds like a Welsh gospel choir.

It really sounds like a valley. You can envision the small coal mining towns and the vast green spaces, sounds echoing to infinity and back. It’s been cropping up on my playlist since I got hold of the prerelease late last year, so it has had some pretty impressive staying power.

Tomorrow’s update might be a bit late, as I’m heading to London for a taping of an E4 TV show…

currently playing: Young Heart Attack – Starlite

Day 21: Just Know, Thieves Get Caught


Because no rap song this year comes close to having a lyric like:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they’re like
It’s better than yours,
Damn right it’s better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

(and hurrah for The Neptunes, masters of the beat. as well)

currently playing: Tanya Donelly — Fallout

Day 20: Boxpops at 11:10am, anyone?

The Go! TeamThe Power Is On

A glorious mess, combining half-remembered Sundays dreading the start of Ski Sunday on BBC2 with the style and sass of a New York playground. I’ve read interviews with the founder member of The Go! Team; he’s apparently unhappy with how American Thunder, Lightning, Strike sounds. To which I say: bobbins. Part of what makes this record so great is the unexpected mix of different sounds. Unlike, say, Lemon Jelly, who are quite content to stay noodling in their little Oliver Postgate world, The Go! Team rise above simple nostalgia, creating something new and exciting from battered old C90 cassettes.

currently playing: Zwan — Baby Let’s Rock

Day 19: Courtesy of Chapel Hill

Epic 45I’m Getting Too Young For This

I fell in love with this record at precisely thirty-eight seconds after it started. The gradual buildup at the start threatens to give way to a traditional rock ballad, but, at the last second, it turns away and instead heads down the path less travelled; walking on a trail already mapped out by Disco Inferno, but worth further exploration.

As I said last time I talked about this song, it’s the way the vocals are hidden beneath the melody that really attracts me to the bulk of the song, how you get snippets of vocals coming through before they get lost in the mix again. The feeling of gazing off into a sunset on a warm evening. Nice thoughts as the temperature goes Arctic.

currently playing: Dubstar — Anywhere

Day 18: What Will The Neighbours Say?

Girls AloudLove Machine / The Show

Shut up. These are the best two pop songs produced by a UK act this year. Infused with a New Pop sensibility (the two tribes reference is obviously between the sexes, but also a Frankie Goes To Hollywood name-check), dripping in metafiction overtones (and yes, I almost always fall for that), and backed with jaunty electropop tunes. How could they fail?

In an attempt to claw back some credibility, I must admit that I have no idea what any member of Girls Aloud looks like, let alone their names. Along with Toxic and a song yet to come, we have proof positive that Pop Is Not Dead. It was only kidding.

Vilify me in the comments.

currently playing: Britney Spears — Toxic

Day 17: Streets Like The Rest Of Them

The DelgadosThe City Consumes Us

There it sits, lurking in the middle of Universal Audio. It starts with a sad piano. Twenty seconds later, a female voice starts to sing “faces familiar full of regret / I hated this place / And all who came from it”. Escape from the city, trying to get away from the scum of Notting Hill, before realising you’re just the same as them. The city-virus has infected you, and no matter how far you run, you will always hear the beckoning call of the traffic and look wistfully at the streetlamps spelling out words in languages yet to be discovered.

This is that song. A random walk through the city, coming to terms with your fate, and yes, even embracing it. You can disappear and reappear in amongst the back streets and the end of days, melting into the night with a smile on your face.

currently playing: Modern English — I’ll Melt With You

Day 16 — Mr. President? Mr. Senator?


(I know what I said, but I changed my mind)

currently playing: Young Heart Attack — Mouthful of Love

Day 15: One More Day With You

United State of ElectronicaTakin’ It All The Way

Firstly, a moment of silence for our former Home Secretary.


I’m sorry, I’m just in a very good mood right now. Who says that you don’t get what you want at Christmas? And what a tune to soundtrack this evening of rejoicing; indie geeks channelling Daft Punk and getting their dancing shoes on. Vocoders! Washing-machine effects! It’s about going to a city of stars and having a big party! Awesome!

It can be heard: here. Now, go and listen, and dance.

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Wood Cabin