I couldn't write a list of my favourite albums of the year because I only have 2!! haha However, I did love loads of songs this year, and have whittled my favourites down to the list below and written a little about each of them...
Disc 1 - After Dark
1. After Dark (Feat. Mystery Jets) - The Count & Sinden
Sexy voice and very 'Mothership-py' lyrics... This was a bit of a theme tune for many nights of debauchery this year. I thought I hadn't heard of The Count until a Lily Allen remix and then I found out it's Joshua "Hervé" Harvey. Alias Losers. Pffff. Hmm maybe I should have an alias... ;-)
2. Stereo Love (Feat. Vika Jigulina) - Edward Maya
Since I am mostly completely detached from the media (radio / tv / newspapers) it's good to hang out with someone who knows some of the popular hits out there too - Jesus suggested this track one night in Summer this year and I loved it straight away. There's another version out there that I found on a Ministry CD but this is deffo *the* version. Especially since the other version is shite.
3. Chica Bomb - Dan Balan
I have no idea how I got hold of this track - I think it was through a forum somewhere in Summer. Not having heard of this guy before and quickly typing up the back cover to the CD, I wrote his name as Dan Moran - which is interesting as "Dan Moran Ministries" are, and I quote "working to evangelize people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, to encourage them to discover a passion for God". Sometimes I like typo's, especially when they're so inappropriate lol
4. Eucalypse Now! - Gabriel Ananda & dominik eulberg
I've been buying a series of compilations for a few years now by BuggedOut! and I bought this one early last year (it's not from 2010 though!) and it's mixes were thumping through my apartment nearly every night for a month in January. This is from A Bugged Out Mix By Hot Chip. I had so many favourites from that compilation, it was hard to cut songs out to put on here.
5. Baptism - Crystal Castles
Despite being cut off from civilisation (ahem...sorry Athlone I know you're quite big really....erm) and most of the media, I do spend a lot of time on the internet and the name Crystal Castles was bombarding all the music blogs and review sites earlier this year. Apparently they've been around for a while and had a song on Skins too. I love the beats and bleeps in this. Their first album is meant to be better than Cystal Castles II (the album this track is from) so I need to investigate further ;-)
6. Yeke Yeke (Afro Acid Mix) - Mory Kanté
This song was keeping me good company in the early months of this year. In particular, I love the whopping bass line, the sampled African vocals and the breaks where the music almost stops and then crashes back in.
7. F For Fake - B:Tone
Deffo one of my favourite tracks of the year - 8 minutes of beefy bass lines and wet slurring synthesisers (alliteration not intentional believe it or not!). I know nothing about this guy and when I checked in Summer, I was unable to find anything and wondered if it was incorrectly labelled. However, after a quick Google, I got this page today: http://gotbassmusic.com/blog/2010/06/09/b-tone-ice-cream-wars-ep-to-release-on-june-26th-2010/ So he does exist...yay! AND there's an EP. Nice Pies :-D
8. No Me Puedo Contralar - The Cube Guys
I got this from a CD on a magazine mixed by Chus & Ceballus.
9. Kick The Caty Sack (Damon Paul Remix) - Le Shuuks
I found this track one night when I was lying in bed on my iPhone, browsing through the iTunes store and found it on a compilation called 'Berlin Minimal Underground, Vol. 4'. I bought the whole compilation in the end as there were a few good stand out tracks. As much as I like this song, the real beauty kicks in at about 2 minutes 36.
10. Matter - Kenton Slash Demon
I got into this Danish duo last year from a BuggedOut! compilation (I do listen to other things...honest!!) but i find this track quite soothing - it's a good after party tune for the early hours - when you still want something upbeat but not too obtrusive.
11. Cascade (The Rapture Remix) - Deluka
A wicked track to listen to when you're getting ready to go out - heavy on the reverb synths, female vocal... this would have made me crrrrream back in '05 but it's also got a modern edge to it too. I particularly like the breakdown at 4:11 where the chords change with the same melody and it throws you a little before coming back in with even more power at about 4:35.
12. Dancing On My Own - Robyn
My friend Adriano recommended this album to me (Body Talk Pt. 1) earlier in the year, singing it's praises of pure pop. I wasn't keen on the first track (Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do) but warmed to her feistiness. There are some top tracks on the album though and I completely agree - such a good Pop album. This one is my favourite track though - aside from having a catchy melody and prominent bassline (always winners for me), the lyrics are kind of sad but positive at the same time, you feel sorry for her watching her love canoodling with someone else in the club (plus, I can't work out, is she singing about another girl?!) and yet she still continues dancing away, determined to enjoy the night. Everyone's been there at some point. And when I listen to this track, it makes me want to go to that club, buy her a drink and take her somewhere else for shots and dancing where we can have a great night and she can forget about the evil wench/cocksack. Plus, the snare at 3 minutes 8....Oooooooo! Yes. Please.
13. Something Bigger, Something Better - Amanda Blank
Diplo merged one of his own/Major Lazer's songs (Pon De Floor) with this track of Amanda Blank's and created this. I'd got her album previously and was sorely disappointed but this track reminded me of the beauty of remixes. I went a bit crazy on remixes last year so had to have a rest for most of this year...lol
14. Dance or Die (Feat. Saul Williams) - Janelle Monáe
So many ace tracks from this album that I didn't know which one to choose...but I like the rhythmic/rap vocals to this and the general innovative sound of the song.
15. Baby Can't Stop (Aeroplane Rmx) - Lindstrøm & Christabelle
I'm noticing a bit of a theme this year with the tracks so far, I seem to be really into bass lines. It's only a simple bass to this, but it drives the whole song and the sliding synths are the other thing I love about it.
16. Rollerskate - Matias Aguayo
This is one of my sneaky tracks that isn't actually from 2010. I bought this album from a records store in Brooklyn in New York before Christmas last year - it had a little write up on the shelf saying something about it being kind of weird , innovative, individual... I did like the album, but this was a standout favourite for me!
17. Who Knew? - KeKe Wyatt
My friend Aittor posted this track on Facebook early in the year and after watching the video I couldn't get the chorus out of my head. I love it that despite R&B never seeming to dominate any of my listening habits, there's always at least one burning track every year for me - and this is such a sweet song too... Sung in a thoroughly modern urban way: "Who Knew? It would be you changing my plans, stealing my heart? Who knew? You were the one just like me. Snatch a sista up and wifed me." lol
Disc 2 - Aşk
1. Ouroboros - Oneohtrix Point Never
My memory of this song is from when I was catching a flight to Istanbul in December this year. It was during one of the periods when Gatwick Airport was closed. I had stayed in London the night before in a Hostel and the airport was due to open at 6am the next morning. I was so worried about whether it would re-open and kept checking the website on my iPhone for updates - every time I refreshed the page, it seemed that more and more flights were cancelled, but luckily mine didn't seem to be. It reached the point where the flight was still running so I made my way to the airport. It was absolute chaos there - both passengers and staff throughout the airport looked stressed and tired. We were lucky with my flight though as it didn't get cancelled but you could tell everyone was on edge and feeling a little low on tolerance. People were pushy, anxious and just wanting to get on the plane. Hardly anyone sat down to wait for the flight before, we were all queuing from the moment we got to the gate, and I was watching people start to run when they saw the queue lol. As they checked out tickets and let us past the gate, the 2 queues were merging and people were still pushing past each other to get on before everyone else. As I walked down the stairs, I saw that there were 2 mini-buses waiting for us. I laughed to myself, because we'd all been queuing all that time to get a better seat on the plane and we'd all been pushing and shoving one another and in the end none of it mattered because we all had to get on the bus and the order of us getting on the plane would change again. And I smiled because I thought to myself at the time, 'Why am I pushing like everyone else?', because in the end, none of it matters: our flight is leaving, we're going on our holidays, we're all going to go, just like we wanted to. What about all the people who have had the their flights cancelled - they are in ther majority. So I was listening to this track as the bus took us from the airport gate to the plane and I was looking at everyone - and at that moment, I totally felt like everyone, on some level, had a similar feeling to me. They were hugely relieved the flight was on, feeling a bit silly for queuing and pushing, but above all, thankful to whatever fate had brought us here. It was one of those cheesy moments where you feel at one with everyone around you - all so different, yet all the same.
2. Conjoined - Demdike Stare
I also bought this album (LP1 & LP2 (aka "Symbiosis")) in New York in late 2009 and I started listening to it properly in January 2010. I have a little pleasure department somewhere in my brain that is devoted solely to drums and percussion. I don’t really like playing drums, but I LOVE listening to them, programming them, changing them, listening to the progressions... I remember one night in Jan/Feb/March when The Sran's (hihi) were away organising their wedding, I played air drums to this entire song to Jesus - it was one of those nights! haha Air Drums was cool though. At the time. You had to be there.
3. Orapa - Birol Topaloğlu
I went a little crazy for this song earlier in the year... I thought it was Turkish at first until I asked Beko what he was singing about and found it that it wasn't Turkish, but another language spoken in the very north of Turkey. I love everything about this song though - the middle eastern strings, the lead and the backing vocals, the drums (obviously!!), and the subtle acoustic guitar plucked gently in the background.
4. Makin' Woopee - Rigmor Gustafsson & Radio String Quartet
I like the word Woopee. That's not why I like the song though. But you have to admit that Woopee is a cool word. Anyway, woopee aside... I bought this album "Calling You" but it wasn't all to my taste, a bit too classical overall but I love strings on this... but the thing that attracts me to it most is the section in the middle where it breaks down and Rigmor and the string quartet seem to have a little play with each other (none-woopee type play I might add!) where the strings play something and Rigmor copies it after with her voice. It makes it sound like a jam - I guess the arrangement came from a session when everyone was on good form. She sounds most confident and cheeky on this song too.
5. Kuzu Kuzu (Akustik Version) - Tarkan
Beko sent this song to me - the original is from my favourite Tarkan album but I'd never heard this rare acoustic version before and I LOVE it. His voice sounds brilliant on it and there's wonderfully alluring use of percussive instruments in the background that build up throughout the song. I'd heard Tarkan before 2010 but this year he went from having about 20 plays to having 1,842 in my Last.FM library. Kind of a high climber... lol
6. Me And The Devil - Gil Scott-Heron
Paul Forster / Paul Glasto :) recommended a little something to me when he came to visit last year, which was a kind of album club organised by Rough Trade where you pay a certain amount of money and they send you a new shiny album every month for a year - plus reviews of up and coming albums and artists and a bonus disc for each album of the month too. The best album I got from this was I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron. This track isn't very representative of the album as the other tracks contain lots of narrative and lots of jazz. If you like that kind of thing though, go buy it, it's my second favourite album of the year.
7. Numbers Don't Lie - The Mynabirds
I've been itching to send this track to Mark (Lees) / Lulu but wanted to wait until the end of the year as I knew it would be on this list. It's so catchy, soothing and kind of Americana/Country. There's another great song on the album called Let The Record Go. I wouldn't recommend the album though, just get these 2 ACE tracks instead and buy Mr. Scott-Heron :-p
8. Aşk (live & feat. Demir Demirkan) - Sertab Erener
Aşk means 'love' in Turkish and Sertab co-wrote and is singing this live with her boyfriend Demir. Her voice is amazing. I remember playing this a lot in my room throughout the Summer and Tarni would walk past and ask about it :-) This is another artist that Beko got me into this year – one of his favourite artists of all time I shall say (I’m pretty sure I’m not mis-quoting here ;-) )
9. Your Neighbour's Trampoline - Raina Rose
There were a couple of tracks from her album "When May Came" and I couldn't choose between them - the other one was called Nashville if you want to check it out. This song is more poignant and just suited my mood more for autumn and winter.
10. Long Road Home - Sheryl Crow
I don't know where it was along the line of history that Sheryl Crow accidentally recruited so many 'haters'. I'm tired of hearing a consistently talented songwriter, wonderful vocalist and genuinely good person be discredited. If you don't like someone, don't listen to them - but leave the people who love her to enjoy that love. I remember back in 1998 when Alanis was really big for me during her Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie period and I held both Sheryl and Alanis in such high regard (Sheryl was on her "The Globe Sessions" album at the time), and I couldn't decide who I liked more. Obviously, me being me, it was important for me to be able to chart one of above the other for my own peace of mind haha. But since then, Sheryl has changed, adapted, made a few mistakes, come back stronger, made another few mistakes and taken safe options then taken more risks - she fights! I've always been a fan, since Tuesday Night Music Club but after this year, she's turned into an artist that has much more respect in my eyes. I wasn't sure of her album this year at first ;100 Miles From Memphis', but it's grown to be my favourite album of the year now. Other tracks to listen to: Stop, Sideways, Our Love Is Fading.
11. I Love You Forever - Jewel
I think I am a positive person myself but some of Jewel's positivity in the past has been so potent, it's made me feel a little sick. However, there's a song on this album called "Fading" where she's talking about losing her faith in the 'good' in the world. For me, it is so sad. I felt guilty for ever getting sick of someone trying to be positive, with such strong faith, now that they are questioning it themselves. The album sounds very much like the Jewel of recent times - it's very formulaic and some of the tracks actually sound way too similar, but this one in particular "I Love You Forever", was a song that really touched me. It's not going to re-recruit old Jewel fans but I guess I never left her completely.
12. Bright Lit Blue Skies - Aerial Pink's Haunted Grafitti
I read a review of this somewhere on the internet and whoever wrote it was having a good old rave - so I had to get it! I have to admit to not listening properly to the whole album, but I kept playing this song! It sounds a little 60's-esque to me - there's a guitar part on it that sounds like it's stolen from The Beach Boys' 'Then I Kissed Her" too.
13. Walkabout (Feat. Noah Lennox) - Atlas Sound
I loved the style on the first album, but hearing this coming from Atlas Sound was so refreshing.
14. When The Chips Are Down (Feat. Ani DiFranco) - Anaïs Mitchel
I like the concept of this song. You can spread happiness, kindness and wealth when you are in abundance of each, and I feel good because I know that I do when that is the case. But that's easy. What the song is asking is what are you going to do when you are in short supply of one of those? Do you still look after the stranger, your lover, your family or will you just look after yourself? Or do you even go one step further and actually harm others in order to obtain more for yourself? "Help yourself, to hell with the rest, even the one who loves you best". It made me think about how I'm terribly anti-social at work sometimes because I'm too stressed or it's too busy, but even when you're having a bad day (or a bad year lol), you should still take the time to 'spread some joy', however it is that you do it. Because if everyone submitted to the everyday stress of their lives, would anyone be talking to anyone anymore?!
15. Beautiful Mother - Dirty Projectors + Björk
I was soooo pleased when I heard this album. It's like Björk, because the style is Björk, despite not being written by her, but actually being sung mainly by her. I love Björk and her willingness to partake in projects like this.
16. Where Are You Driving - Laura Veirs
I was originally going to include a different song from the album called 'I Can See Your Tracks' but this song suddenly grew on me with it's gorgeous chorus. Her voice has matured too, she has tamed it a little with more gentle tones which I think this benefits her style of music.
17. Hey Gidi Karadeniz - Şevval Sam
Ooo this track is haunting... Karadeniz means 'black sea' and she is singing about how terrible it is, the strong sea and it's powerful waves. I bought this from a record store in Istanbul this Summer – it took me a while to get into it but I love it now.
18. How Come That Blood - Sam Amidon
For some reason, this track reminds me of living in the 'Mothership' House in 2004/05. I think I can imagine Lucy/June and Geez liking this track as we probably shared music of a similar genre/with similar feeling at the time. I got the album too but I couldn't find another track that came close to this one - I'll be happy if anyone can recommend other tracks I should try harder with though!
19. The Crazy Cries Of Love - Joni Mitchell
What a beautiful song. This is one I sneaked in that’s blatantly not from 2010, but it was new for me this year... And it's so lovely. She's singing of young love, happiness, smiling with your entire face, making love on a train bridge, kissing sweet and strong and dancing in the rain with your lover. I bought the album thinking it was going to be terrible and for me, it's the best album she'd released since Don Juan's Reckless Daughter - she just sounded 'herself' on it - a little experimental, a little pretentious but very centred in feelings, words and personal concepts. Long live Joni. And can we have the second album from your current deal please??!