best of music in 2009: top 100 tracks


18. Jan. 2010, 8:01

100. I Like Watching You (Diamond Cut Remix) – Cinnamon Chasers
99. Sapphire (Escort Remix) – Zombi
98. You’ll Disappear (Munk Remix) – The Phenomenal Handclap Band
97. No Security – Crookers ft Kelis
96. Jungle Drum – Emiliana Torrini
95. I’ll Get You (ft Jeppe) – Classixx
94. Macrobiotic – Mylo
93. Soldier Of Love - Sade
92. Licht (Original Mix) – Rockstroh
91. Fresh Out The Oven – Lola

90. Beat Again – JLS
89. Black Hearted Love – PJ Harvey and John Parrish
88. To Be Love (Mr B Remix) - Bent
87. In For The Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Mix) - La Roux
86. When I Dream of New York - Bogdan Irkük a.k.a. BULGARI
85. Acapella - Kelis
84. One More Chance – Bloc Party
83. Prom Night - Linus Loves
82. Tic Toc – Permanent Vacation ft Kathy Diamond
81. Love Comes – Bananarama

80. Snalla, Snalla - Caroline af Ugglas
79. It’s The Way You Love Me – Kelly Rowland & David Guetta
78. Big Love – CFCF
77. Sunset - Lifelike
76. Exhibit A (Transformations) - Jay Electronica
75. Hyph Mngo - Joy Orbison
74. Equinox (Henrik Schwarz Remix) – Code 718
73. Back Down (Cut Copy Jackmaster Remix) – Munk
72. Don't Turn It Off (Brennan Green Mix) - 40 Thieves feat Qzen
71. Stay (Audiowhores Club Mix) – Audiowhores & Haze

70. Matthew - Kish Mauve
69. I Don’t Like Your Band – Annie
68. This Case Is Closed (Johan Agebjorn Rexmi) – Friday Bridge
67. La Voix – Malena Ernman
66. Memory Of You (Japan) - Girls Aloud
65. My Secret Lover (LifeLike Remix) – Private
64. Bones (House of House Remix) - A Mountain Of One
63. Sex Therapy – Robin Thicke
62. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys
61. Love Don't Dance Here Anymore – Tiga

60. Yellow Moon – Roisin Murphy & Marius Devries
59. Carry Me With You In Dreams - Kejsi Tola
58. The Magnificent – Lindstrom
57. No Reason - VEGA
56. Broken Heart Tango - Cloetta Paris
55. The Disco Dancer’s Dead (Golden Filter Remix) – O Children
54. Alejdandro - Lady Gaga
53. Connections (Ewan Pearson Solo NRG Rmx) – Мооn Unit
52. Night By Night – Chromeo
51. Fun Girl – Jessica Six

50. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence + The Machine

this is a gift
it comes with a price

Florence finished the year triumphant in the three way battle with La Roux and Little Boots for most successful female newcomer in big measure thanks to this track. The Kate Bush comparisons on "Rabbit Heart" are inevitable, what with its medieval tinges and flirt with more experimental sounds, and not lastly Florence's very wail. Surprisingly however it never feels like hijacking. Rather it's unmistakably Florence, who might be an acquired taste vocally, but whose talent for melody here is undeniable.

49. I Won’t Kneel – Groove Armada

i came to see if love can heal
but i won't kneel

Unlike most of their fading contempopraries from the early noughties dance scene, Groove Armada seemingly can do no wrong. On the lead single off their latest release "Black Light" Andy Cato and Tom Findlay team up with SaintSaviour who lays down a gorgeous vocal both tragic and liberating almost overshadowing them in the process. The 80s revival seems to be rolling on in full steam, this time the shimmering synths and pounding beats tell a story of heartbreak, pride, repentance.

48. She Wolf – Shakira

s.o.s., she's in disguise!

Shakira's mainstream success and intensifying wackiness is an unending source of bemusment and pleasure. She delivers another dose of her signature crazy over a tight, distinctly disco beat and although the production is sleek and clever, even all its mad violins can't compete with Shakira's brilliantly ludicrous lyrics.

47. Bye Bye Bayou – LCD Soundsystem

evil comes out flying
flying so so low

Disco isn't often deep or dark. In the case of LCD Soundsystem's menacingly intoxicating take on Alan Vega's 'Bye Bye Bayou' it's both. James Murphy's deadpan vocals roll outover a driving, relentless beat, helicopters, rattlesnakes, machines guns, Dead Or Alive beat breaks on this "no wave" cover, ahead of their new album set for release in 2010.

46. Only Here For The Fight - Jenny Wilson

are we here for the fight?
i don't know

She's collaborated with the Knife and is among the forefront of Sweden's music scene fusing indie, soul and dance into a weird folkish old-school r&b, yet Jenny Wilson remains a very well kept secret. Off her second album "Hardships!", "Only Here For The Fight" hurries along over an urgent yet playful piano climaxing in something of a mini-jam session giving the song a live feel. The track's centerpiece however is its profound sadness which although understated can't help but make you wonder if all hope is truly lost.

45. Why Try To Change Me Now – Fiona Apple

let people wonder, let them laugh, let them frown

It might be a cover version of an old Cy Coleman song, but any new material is always welcome from Fiona Apple who has become somewhat notorious for taking her time between studio projects. Appearing on a Coleman tribute album, "Why Try To Change Me Now"serves as another reminder for Apple's penchant for jazz, and perhaps a hint at a new direction, its lazy piano backdrop giving way to her deep, sombre voice to really shine.

44. Slip Away - Get Famous!

The Canadian electronic scene seems to ready to explode big time following the success of Deadmau5 and Chromeo. The sole instrumental track on here, this blissful filter house number by Canadian duo Get Famous! which has garnered them comparisons to the genre's greats Alan Braxe and Fred Falke.

43. Would’ve Been The One (Edwin Van Cleef Remix) – Solange

and we all know
we can't fix him if we tried

The lesser known of the Knowles sisters, Solange actually deserves credit for not only going at it with such vigour, but for actually taking the quirky road and trying something different (to variable success). Edwin Van Cleef reswizzles this brilliantly penned track from her 2008 debut album, giving its quaint and jaunty but loose melody a more focused, sturdy casing, making it both rich in texture and dancefloor ready.

42. The Day We Fell In Love - Appaloosa

oh I would die for this feeling
give all my soul for this deadly feeling of love

Achingly romantic lyrics lead the way across a gentle piano intro into young-love, twinkling, electronic euphoria. This the debut single by pop/electronic duo Appaloosa (Anne-Laure Keib and Max Krefeld), who hit it off in a Berlin karaoke bar a couple of years ago only to open for Cat Power (who Anne's bezzy mates with) this year.

41. 17 Horses – Cortney Tidwell

Most female singer-songwriters seem to mellow down after giving birth, but this is obviously not the case with mother of two Cortney Tidwell. Hailing from Nashville, with a voice that evokes anything from Bjork's forceful howl to Stina Nordenstam levels of delicate fragility, Tidwell currently contributed to Tracey Thorn's new album, no doubt through the Ewan Pearson link. There's nothing delicate on "17 Horses" however - here over a pounding drum Tidwell reaches PJ Harvey levels of bleak desperation and gloom and unnerving unrest.

40. Love Etc. – Pet Shop Boys

you need more
you need more
you need more

It's pretty much back to basics for the Pet Shop Boys, their latest lead single offering the PSBs' signature brand of pop wisdom in the form of a non too pretentious nor preachy dissection of 21st century society - our obsession with fame, our empty vanity and shallow materialism. Focused and melodic, Neil Tennant's sweeter-than-honey voice coos over layers of keys, military cadence backing vocals and lush harmonies, it's pop social commentary for the masses.

39. Symmetry – Little Boots & Phil Oakey

love me
in perfect symmetry

Her attempts at big pop numbers may be pleasant, but ultimately they ring a little hollow and try hard. Little Boots' too cerebral and self-conscious for stuff like "Remedy", but the magic happens when she embraces these very qualities that she seems so intent on sacrificing for big brazen pop songs. On "Symmetry", one of these occasions, she really comes to life, effortless and alluring, perfectly at ease in the company of the Human League's Phil Oakey or perhaps because of it.

38. Little Wildkat - Flashmen

slow and slender

US electronic duo does heavily 80s-influenced new wave electropop, all distorted horns, vintage beeps & blips and listless vocals. Unapologetically raw and playful, it works on different levels.

37. Elephants - Rachael Yamagata

you can flee with your wounds just in time
or lie there as he feeds
watching yourself ripped to shreds
laughing as you bleed

Released in late 2008, this beautifully depressing ballad by American singer-songwriter and pianist Rachael Yamagata, full of animal metaphors and grandiose strings, is suprisingly touching with its predatory take on relationships. Despite an altogether imposing climax and though she sometimes stumbles dangerously close to childish earnesty lyrically, Yamagata's pensive vulenarability holds the song together.

36. I Didn’t Know My Own Strength – Whitney Houston

i was not built to break

The comeback story of the year was without a doubt that of Whitney Houston, who, battered voice aside, finally produced an album befitting her talent and legendary stature. A classic diva power ballad, "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" might not be the most current or interesting track among an album of a dozen potential hits, but no other has such emotional resonance to her story of triumphs and her spectacular fall from grace. Her current state-of-voice might not allow her the jaw-dropping powerhouse from 15 years ago, but her delivery, full of dignity and savoir-faire, no doubt is that of a true star.

35. H.A.T.E.U. – Mariah Carey

i can't wait to face you
break you down so low
there's no place left to go

Mariah Carey finally drops the good girl act for good yielding probably some of her most intimate and honest material, and certainly her freshest, in years. Produced by The-Dream, "H.A.T.E.U." finds Carey a woman scorned and bitter, trying desperately to cross the allegedly thin line between love and hate, revenge on her mind. It's a delicate ballad in which her much missed lower register makes an appearance alongside her whispery mode du jour to create some beautiful vocal layers and harmonies.

34. Kingdom Of Rust – Doves

it takes an ocean of trust
in the kingdom of rust

A far cry from their early 90s output as dance group Sub Sub, what with its wistful melody and self-exploration. They haven't lost their flair for rhythm or strong melodies however and despite its moody predispostion, "Kingdom of Rust" is uplifting and offers that strange feeling of release that coming to terms does.

33. Pale Horses (Apparat Remix) – Moby

couldn't live without you
when i tried to roam

Apparat strips and slows down the original turning melancholia into desolation, sadness into despair, in what has to be the bleakest, most unnerving track of the year. Moby's signature dreamlike sound is smashed into a nightmare by the pulsating beats, swirling synths and an expansive string section, leaving you battered and stripped of any hope, exposing how truly disconnected and alone we all really are.

32. I Want You – Edwin Van Cleef

Leeds born Van Cleef has a flair for big, boombastic electro dance. From it's opening notes "I Want You" announces its intent to make you dance, a rollercoaster ride off processed synths, which soar and plunge between moments of lucidity and frentic euphoria, over some slamming beats. Irresistably danceable effervescent house with a lone MJ-esque vocal sample that runs after its ups and downs, it's an affair of joyous abandon.

31. Alone (LoveLock Remix) – Dan Black

this endless desire
won't leave me alone

British eletropop newcomer Dan Black was one of the year's hotly tipped artists after setting blogworld alight in 2008 with his questionable mash up cover of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotized" and Rihanna's "Umbrella". The Lovelock remix gives the barmy original mix of "Alone" a tremendously epic remake, injecting it with some much needed drama, underscoring the track's sense of desperation and yearning.

30. Method of Modern Love – Saint Etienne

no rules for foolish hearts
never looking too hard
that’s the method of modern love

This bubbly number, produced by Richard X, was the single new track on Saint Etienne's greatest hits collection "London Conversations: The Best of Saint Etienne". The song's rather romantic observation on our generation's penchant for one-night-standing might not be to everyone's taste, but that still leaves you the shimmering early noughties pop house backing track and layers of Sarah Cracknell softly enticing voice.

29. Hey Hey – Dennis Ferrer

just an ordinary day
til you came around
i had my feet on the ground

Dennis Ferrer delivers a monster house tune which takes us back to the old-school US house scene. The classic sound, however, is completely revamped the sounds are all new, fresh and minimalistic, the production is razor-sharp even adding a pinch of Ferrer's beloved gospel influences to the mix.

28. Intergalactic Romantic - ColoruingIn

you'll find i'm not that
not that
not that
not that easily impressed

London based electronic duo ColouringIn are producer and prominent remixer Tom Neville and opera singer Henry Bennett. The pair's fusion of dreamy pop and vibrant electro-disco, along with Bennett signature delivery, have already secured them slots in a few "to watch in 2010" lists.

27. Ulysses - Franz Ferdinand

so sinister
so sinister
last night was wild

The lead single of what was supposed to be Franz Ferdinand's dance record (it wasn't), is another slice of Franz Ferdinand's sleek and catchy tuxedo indie. The chorus' beats and melody wonderfully disjointed to match the lyrics' semi-consciousness, this is the perfect soundtrack to a drink-heavy, hedonistic night out.

26. Please Don't Touch (The Golden Filter Pop mix) - Polly Scattergood

please don't touch touch
cause it makes me jitter

Polly Scattergood got off to a promising start with her infectious indie number 'Please Don't Touch' generating internet buzz which has yet to manifest into radio play and commercial success. One of many tracks the Golden Filter gots their remixer paws on this year, they completely overthrow the original's happy clappy inclinations in favour of their blend of dark, bass-heavy nudisco and majestic synths, injecting Scattergood's voice with some proper spook for what easily becomes the most awkward vocal performance of 2009.

25. Wait Your Turn - Rihanna

i'm such a fucking lady

Announcing her return in the aftermath of her highly-publicised smack down with Chris Brown, "Wait Your Turn" gave us a glimpse of the final phase of Rihanna's metamorphosis from pop sweetheart to a mature young woman with history. Reflecting her new found self-confidence and revelling in the darkness she's overcome, the track touts a gritty sparse beat and deep bass, Rihanna even adopts a tough girl faux-Jamaican accent for the verses which bounce their way into a surprisingly melodic chorus. All the way through, Rihanna is the star of this gritty, playful track, from the menacing "the wait is over"s to the flawless flow of the chorus.

24. Diva – Beyonce

i'm a diva, best believe her, you see her, she getting paid
she ain't callin' him to greet her, don't need him, her bed's made

In her most divisive single so far, Beyonce reinvents the term "diva" for a whole new generation all to her liking in this hard-hitting, almost-feminist, urban anthemn. Hiding behind her Sasha Fierce alter-ego Knowles half-raps her way through this mission statement over tough, jumpy beats and a backing track that squelches and sizzles, the casacde of noises thrusting their way into a melody - it's a song you either love or hate.

23. Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

while our blood's still young
it's so young, it runs
it won't stop til it's over
won't stop to surrender

A surprise smash hit by Ozzie indie band the Temper Trap, "Sweet Disposition" was released in late 2008, but gradually picked up speed in the second half of 2009, its ubiquitousness these days spread to seemingly every commercial and movie that's on. Little wonder really with its soft opening falsetto/guitar sequence that pulls you into a flurry of exhilirating guitar riffs and pulsating beats, both instant and memorable, drawing fair comparisons to early U2 stuff.

22. Mindless Boogie - Agneta (ViLLA Edit)

make love to me now
like never before

A pretty faithful edit of the 1983 classic "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" by ABBA golden girl Agnetha that inspired Kylie's "The One" that, together with "Tina" and "Anita" it's part of ViLLA's diva edits for Mindless Boogie. Clocking up almost nine minutes, in effect ViLLA deliver an extended mix of the song playing it up with tiny ornaments, giving the strings an even more expansive quality, letting it unfold luxuriously into a joyous, almost religious hymn of 100% pure, romantic love.

21. Pretty Wings – Maxwell

one day they'll be no remnants
no trace, no residual feelings within you
one day you won't remember me

2009 saw the long overdue return of one of our generation's greatest vocalists Maxwell. The highlight of his acclaimed comeback "BLACKsummers'night", "Pretty Wings" is vintage r&b, its rich, gentle melody enveloping Maxwell's saccharine falsetto. It might be a love song, but it's a devastatingly sad love song about letting go, moving on from love gone bad - the struggle to let go and forget, the heartache, the regret and, finally as the song progresses into its horn-heaven climax, the release.

20. My Tears Electro - Heartbreak

loud and clear
speak to me
don’t change your voice

Hot on the heels of their glorious italo revivalist debut “Lies”, came Heartbreak's 2009 EP “Deceit” (get it?) featuring remixes from the album and three new tracks. Electrifying and high-octane, unashamedly throwing every 80s' trick in the book in its mix, 'My Tears Electro' is loud and busy, like a spinetingling 6-minute train of consciousness with a heavy dose of theatrics courtesy of super frontman Sebastian Muravchik, ever faithful to his overemotional mad scientist persona.

19. Baby I Can’t Stop (Aeroplane Remix) – Lindstrøm & Solale

i go crazy
i can’t stop

Arguably the best remixers of the last few years, Aeroplane redo (Norwegian national treasure) Linstrøm’s track with on/off collaborator Solale (a.k.a. Christabella) into a vigourous disco funk dancefloor monster. It starts off in a somnambulist haze - steady beats, ethereal backing vocals and cosmic synths, only to pull you out of blissful sway with a burst of woozy organ funk that's amplified and distorted each time it revisits. It’s like an adrenaline hit in the arse until it recoils back into its moody beginnings flamenco guitar strum et al. The song to dance to in 2009.

18. Burning Feeling - Lovelock

when i’m near you
my pulse begins to rise
the deepest parts of me come live

Steve Moore is a man of many guises, creating music under various aliases – Gianni Rossi, Zombi, etc. Under my favourite of his incarnations, Lovelock (where he even does his own vocals) he’s delivered four amazing electro disco tracks and a remix for Dan Black featured earlier on in this very countdown. From the opening thuds of bass of “Burning Feeling”, the starkest and most powerful of the lot, you know you’re in for a treat. Then the synths start to twitch, a second track of them laying down a moody base, another adding an eerie higher pitch to the background, and it explodes in all its glory. The sound is distinctly 80’s now, the synths are epic and the beat pounds like there’s no tomorrow.

17. Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Mix) – Gossip

it feels alright
but never complete
without you

French house god Fred Falke turns on the engine on Gossip’s “Heavy Cross”, wrapping it in synth, completely remaking its melody and turning the track’s unlikely tribute to love and companionship from statement to declaration. Still it's Beth Ditto who commands this vivid, anthemic track thanks to a top-notch turn, her almost gentle oohs counterbalancing her no-bull-shit, high pitched grunt.

16. Wonderful Life - Hurts

but there's something in the air
they share a look in silence
and everything is understood

Owing more than a little sonically to Depeche Mode’s 80s heyday comes “Wonderful Life”, the debut single by British duo Hurts who are poised to leave a big mark on 2010. But while it mght sound like it’s straight from the 80s, there’re more to deja-vu to Hurts who cut a sound that, like their styling, is as powerful as it is sleek and simple, perfectly tailored. And while the lyrics might too seem unassuming on first glance they are refreshingly straightforward and vivid in their portrayal of a man who’s lost the will to live only to find comfort in love.

15. Untitled Love – Still Going

our future is love
the future is love

On the flipside of Still Going’s relentless, piano driven house frenzy “Spaghetti Circus” rests this surprisingly mellow cosmic disco tune. “Untitled Love” plays out over eight minutes, slowly but surely like a vintage disco classic. As on the a-side Reggie Watts is on vocal duty on here too, this time dishing it out low and high, all seductive and smooth, to match the track’s lush texture and romantic sensibilities.

14. Hazel (Ewan Pearson’s House Mix) – Junior Boys

with every move and every stance
every wink and every glance
you get caught up in another night
and then hit me with those hazel eyes...

UK’s Ewan Pearson is easily one of the greatest producers of the decade; not only for his precision, but also for the way he channels it to subtly build intelligent, quirky sounds and melodies. His House Mix of Canadian electronic duo Junoir Boys’ anxiously yearning “Hazel” mesmerizes with icy production and crystalline sound, progressing gradually and spaciously with an almost mathematical logic and beauty.

13. The Chameleon (Johan Agebjörn Remix) - Glass Candy

it can be suicide
not to hide

Agebjörn, the man laregly responsible for Sally Shapiro’s melancholy but romanctic synth sound, must have been in a particularly dark place when remixing Glass Candy’s 2007 take on Dark Day’s “Chameleon”. While the Portland electropunk duo’s version was never even close to light, the remix takes a song and creates a monster – an amorphous mindgame, that’s more of an experience than a listen. The song’s backbone, a plinky video game-like riff, mutes and protrubes over a sedating, eerie synth and Ida No’s muffled, ghostly lines - it a right claustrophobic trip.

12. Tomorrow - Lisa Shaw

maybe the one you love ain’t around
maybe the time will never come down

Toronto born Lisa Shaw is one of our greatest contemporary vocalists, her voice deep and oozing with warmth and a coy sensuality, so far dedicating herself to the US soulful house scene and lending her skills to various dance music producers. On “Tomorrow”the lead single from her otherwise uptempo second solo album “Free”, Shaw does Sade better than Sade. The track is a lazy number, that relies as much on her earthy tones as on a gorgeously slumberous piano and timbal backdrop.

11. Favourite Things - The Golden Filter

new york
these are a few of my favourite things

Already having made an appearance with a couple of remixes, this original Golden Filter track is the b-side to my favourite single of 2008 “Solid Gold”, which got its official release in February this year. It’s electro disco that’s sleek and perfunctory and really quite camp with a too-cool-for-school beat and shimmering synths that burst into an old-school riff that could be mistaken for the Beverly Hills Cop Theme for the finale. ”Favourite Things” is really a shameless execrise in style over substance by the NY based band, designed specifically to tingle your senses into a little dance as vocalist Penelope Trappes half-whispers her way through lyrics about cute boys and sweet girls and vodka and whiskey in a nod to “The Sound Of Music”.

10. Why R U? – Amerie

wasted all my time
and here i am
still crying over you

Even though she seems perpetually stuck under the radar, Amerie continues to deliver albums worth of her fantastic blend of r&b, a fusion of old and new. Boasting a sample from 80s hip hoppers Ultramagnetic Mc's' "Ego Tripping", the comeback single from Amerie failed to set the charts on fire, but not for lack of quality. Over the raw, vintage beat she gives her raspy best, singing her heart out over the kinda bad love you just can't get over.

9. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

off with your head
dance, dance, dance
till you’re dead

Indie darlings Karen O and co stormed into 2009 with album number three “It’s Blitz!” splashing loads of synths onto their sound, to much acclaim. Sporting an aggressive disco beat and soaring guitars “Heads Will Roll” is the otherwise subdued album’s dancefloor stormer, eclipsing stiff competition from lead single “Zero”. Hell-bent to make you move, the track energentically builds around driving guitar riffs, shimmering synths and O’s spunk into an explosive chorus and by the time it reaches its sweaty climax , dance decapitation don’t seem as abstract a notion.

8. Miracle – Sally Shapiro

i know it's illogical
but i can't help think
we had something magical

Italo disco’s poster girl for heartbreak Sally Shapiro returned in 2009 for another fix of bleak, romantic melancholia with the duo’s follow up album “My Guilty Pleasure”. Leading the way for the release was the dramatic break-up song “Miracle” which came with an equally beautiful video. When it comes to love the heart and the mind can never seem to agree and “Miracle” finds Shapiro picking up the pieces after a failed romance, she’s given up looking for rational explanations of love, her realization wistful yet contained. At the production helm Johan Agebjörn once again wraps turmoil in soaring synths, brewing an over-the-top thunderstorm for the finale.

7. If I Know You – The Presets

clever liar
fooling us all
never thought i'd work it out

Released as the fifth single off “Apocalypso” in early 2009, on “If I Know” Presets’ frontman Julian Hamilton switches sides to deliver a stirring tale of betrayal and break-up from a woman’s point of view. Hamilton revells in the ambivalence and his performance is becomes the centerpiece on this pulsating synthpop track thanks to his masterful, scathing delivery which strikes a powerful balance between shielded vulenrability and fragile resolve literally making your hair stand.

6. This Must Be It - Röyksopp

if i survive
i’ll worship the moon
or something

“This Must Be It” is an exhilirating mash of house, trance and pop from Röyksopp’s “pop” album “Junior”. The self-descibred two-headed Norwegian monster teams up with Karin Dreijer-Andersson (half of the Knife and all of Fever Ray) in another attempt to turn sound waves into gold following 2005’s epic “What Else Is There”. They don’t stray too far from the previously covered subject matter tackling existential interrogation and discontent, but rather speed it up more than a notch, adding a rattling drum section, and throw some pagan mysticism in the mix. Dreijer once more helps elevate the song into otherworldy territory, her high-pitched ghostly chant highlighting the lyrics' ritualistic vibe. It works and it doesn’t feel like a retread, managing highlight status on an album full of hits.

5. Love Love Love - Agnes

the moment i saw you
my whole world started to change

The perfect pop song packed in a three minute package by Sweden's newest radio darling Agnes who might have failed to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest with this song, but had the last laugh picking up a surprise hit single in all Europe with "Release Me" proving the demand for pop music which radio constantly seems to try to forget. "Love, Love, Love" rather predicatbly is all about the rush of young love, its impatient desire and overwhelming intoxication, elevated by doe-eyed Puerto Rico-born, US-raised, Swedish Music Idol-winning Agnes Carlsson into something that's best described as a Disney fairytale power pop stormer. Terribly uplifting and irresistibly romantic, it’s a big and blissful slice of shameless pop joy.

4. The Rough Half (Don’t Stop) - House Of House

telling… about my love

The disco revival that’s been gaining momentum over the last few years showed no signs of slowing down in 2009. Dragged to the forefront of the music scene by pop and indie acts, the resurgent genre was, of course, most exciting away from the mainstream where it indulged in italo and soul and funk influences creating exciting, full and rich sounds.

The man to beat in 2009 was without a doubt Olivier "Liv" Spencer, both as one half of Still Going and as one half of House Of House - acts that delivered layered and vivid dance tracks with as much soul as rhythm. „The Rough Half” is the mellow disco/funk b-side of monster house anthem “Rushing To Paradise (Walkin’ These Streets)”. Like the latter it’s a track that takes its time to get where it's going, shifting gears over a 10-minute run, its irresistible groove woven together by a playful piano riff, grand beat breaks and snares, cosmic synths and layers of Saheer Umar’s thick voice. Full of soul and immaculately detailed, it’s a feast for both the mind and the body, uplifting, delightfully escapist and utterly fulfulling.

3. Obsessions – Marina & The Diamonds

you never told me
what it was
that made you strong
and what it was
that made you weak

Marina is the girl to watch in 2010 and this is the song kick started it all for the soon-to-be pop superstar, ever since it surfaced on the blogs a year ago. Born to a Greek dad and Welsh mother, Marina Diamandis knows a thing or two about living between two worlds. Having tried singing her way to fame in a talent show and, perhaps fortunately, being rejected, has probably also helped forge her not only as a person, but as a musician, her sporadic online fits of anger at the "ïndustry" she's trying to crack, almost as interesting as her music. Similarly full of contradictions “Obsessions” is deep but light, kooky but relatable, smart without being pretentious. You can immediately tell Marina has an undeniable knack for catchy melodies and beautiful harmonies, but what she's managed here is to create that special bittersweet quality that makes a good pop song great. The end result is surprisingly stirring and really quite magical.

2. When I Grow Up - Fever Ray

when i grow up
i want to be a forester
run through the moss in high heels

As Fever Ray, Karin Dreijer Andersson continued the Knife's inward journey, staring at the psyche, submitting to the subconscious. "When I Grow Up" unfolds like a train of thought, like the scream of a higher state of consciousness that's crippled by disillusionment with modern day life. Dreijer's proposed escape is going back to basics - a return to nature's fertility and the comfort of a god. Fittingly, the track bubbles primordially throughout under a tribal chant until it explodes into a liberating flurry. And like with god much of the production's magic lies under the surface, in the details, revealing itself slowly and rewardingly. What's obvious though, from the chilling opening lines to the cathartic release of its disjointed synth finale, "When I Grow Up" is as epic as they come.

1. Et s’ill fallait le faire – Patricia Kaas

jusqu’à n’être plus rien que l’ombre de tes nuits
jusqu’à n’être plus rien qu’une ombre qui te suit

Beautifully written and flawlessly performed, “Et s’ill fallait le faire” is a straightforward yet stirring love song that was the counterpoint to all else in 2009. Lifted from Patricia Kaas’ 1930’s-inspired record ”Kabaret”, it represented France in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest where it finished in the lower echelons of the top 10. Singing onstage since the age of 13, Kaas is a performer above all and she truly elevates a remarkable song to the next level. Accompanied by a majestic piano riff, Kaas gives the performance of her life. She bares her heart fearlessly with the kind of guts and unmatched passion that cannot fail to move, her love selfless and life-affirming. A love song of staggering proportions, its definitive version is a five minute live take that can be found on "Kabaret Live".


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