My annual post thanksgiving tradition is with us where I look back at the past 12 months and look at the songs that had a great impact on my life. I returned back to my high school and college years and reignited a passion of male lead vocal synth pop. But this list is all across the map from Pop, to Electronica to RnB so lets get started!
PRODUCER/REMIXER OF THE YEAR: Joe Goddard
From The 2 Bears to Hot Chip to his solo remix duties, this man did not make a single bad record or remix this year. An amazingly talented man who knows how to rework his own tracks and others. Stunning work.
The Top 10 (in no special order)
I knew who muse were, but their music never caught my ear until I was watching VH-1 Europe on a trip to eastern Europe this last fall. What I heard was this post-dubstep rock hybrid redux of George Michael’s Faith sprinkled with Queen/Freddie Mercury harmonies over the top. It was instantly intoxicating, and the “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-mad-mad-mad” was an ear worm that still won’t leave my head
As to why the rest of Usher’s latest album couldn’t be entirely made of avant rNb masterpieces. The song may have a racy title, but the song is anything but. Two lovers have reached the pinnacle of their relationship and there is nowhere else to go but down. Diplo co-produces adding a pseudo dubstep sheen to it without over wobbling. You keep thinking the musical production is going to breakout and go bonkers, but just like the tension talked about in the song, it never goes over the edge.
Ellie Goulding – Lights
Good things come to those who wait..just ask LaRoux and Gotye. It was the ultimate sleeper hit of the year, being made 2 years ago in 2010, released as a single in 2011, and finally climbed its way to the number 1 spot in 2012. (You can tell the record company didn’t think this thing really had legs due to the rather Tron like lighting effects)With its mysterious lyrics(I –think—she’s talking about post traumatic stress disorder insomnia) and a chorus catchier than the strep throat at frat house party, it left the Billboard top 100 enraptured for months.
The Two Bears- Work (Original and Dub Mix)
Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, who I’ve named Producer/Remixer of the year seems to be incapable of doing any wrong, and followed his own spectacular solo effort Gabriel, and 2 Bears debut Bear Hug with this piano house tribute to a strong work ethic. The Dub Mix is just as spectacular where you can really hear the two bears production chops.
Bright Lights, Bright Lights- Feel It
Welchman Rod Thomas has been compared to as the “male Robyn” for his open and honest reflections of love on the dance floor. A self admitting 90s house head, his single Feel It from his debut album will have you reaching for your Z Cavariccis, right from the 90s piano house intro, to the cut up James Brown break beat, to wailing diva vocals to Rod’s desperate cries of lust and love.
Twin Shadows- Golden Light (Original and Lonsdale Boys Club Mix)
Golden Light is a haunting, melancholy steel drum tinged electro pop track about..not quite sure..about love as an illusion. It’s interpolation of Cry Little Sister from the Lost Boys Soundtrack.
Lana Del Rey- National Anthem (Todd Terry Remixes)
The video and the original are epic and the best thing I think she’s done so far, but without Todd Terry’s Reggaeton flavored radio remix and his straight up booty bumping old school house mixes I would have probably looked over it, because, well, there’s just something about Ms. Del Rey that seems too clever by half
Todd Terry Radio Mix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhFHY7PSzLU
Todd Terry In House Mix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVQwtWqlYEE
Hot Chip- Flutes
Sad Dance Music. It doesn’t really make sense. But there is something that reverberates through Hot Chip’s flutes. From its chopped up indistinguishable children’s playground game chorus to Alexis Taylor’s melancholic high tenor voice. The key is the breakdown/outro “one day you might realize that you have to open your eyes”
SBTRKT ft Sampha – Hold On
I don’t know much about dubstep. I think it’s the worst electronic music subgenre since electroclash. But if SBTRKT is dubstep (or post dubstep as some people call it, which means as much to me as Nu Disco) he’s great at it. Lush soundscapes accented with marimba, chimes, and great guest vocalists like Jessie Ware and Sampha. If it all sounded like this, I’d be more on board.
Dubplate Dionysus – Upcoming Legendary
Yeah takes some balls to put your own song up in the top 11, but it was a labor of love between me and my friend music partner Matt Keppel that we worked really hard on. Submersing ourselves in the documentary Paris Is Burning and the music of its time—house, freestyle, electro, it tells the story that ANYONE can be a star.
--No Jessie Ware made the top 10. I’m sorry people. I think she’s incredibly talented, but she just doesn’t rock my world as the white Sade many people want her to be, but she does make it in the “rest of” list so you rest a bit. Like the Scissor Sisters, I find her to be an artist that’s much better remixed than in original form. And no that damn Kiki song did not make in this list ANYWHERE—
Icona Pop- Nights Like Bonita
The Good Natured- Video Voyuer
Jamie XX ft Yasmin- Touch Me
Tracey Thorne – King’s Cross (Hot Chip Remix)
Moullinex and Peaches- Maniac
Hot Chip – Night and Day
Madonna—I’m Addicted, Love Spent, Some Girls
Zebra Katz (ft Njeena Reddd Foxxx) – I’ma Read
The Young Professionals D.I.S.C.O./Fuck Off Berlin
Saint Etienne- DJ
George Michael- Faith (Aeroplane Remix)
Fiorious – 7 Steps
Pet Shop Boys – Leaving (Believe in PSB Mix)
Garcon Garcon – Stay In Touch
Penguin Prison – Fair Warning (Goldroom Remix)
Goldroom – Fifteen
Disclosure- Control (Joe Goddard Mix)
Calvin Harris ft Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
Florence and the Machine – Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix)
Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (Magicians Remix)
Bat for Lashes – All Your Gold (Hercules and Love Affair Mix)
Roisin Murphy- Simulation
Infinity Ink. – Infinity
Wiley- I'm Skanking (The 2 Bears Remix)
Jessie Ware – Running (Disclosure Remix)
Jennifer 6 ft Antony Hegarty- Prisoner of Love
Solange - Losing You
--you can laugh all you want, these songs were indeed overplayed into the ground, but they are brilliant pop songs—
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Selena Gomez and the Scene – Love You Like A Love Song
Take a trip through time and see my selections for the past 8 years