So we’ve counted down for 50 to 11 so far and we’ve seen and heard some seriously good stuff. Here’s a quick recap (please feel free to imagine Yellow Pearl playing in the background as John Peel and Janice Long intone the following):
50 Fionn Regan – Protection Racket
49 Human League – Night People
48 Hot Chip – Brothers
47 Marina and The Diamonds – Hollywood
46 British Sea Power – Can We Do It?
45 Crystal Castles Feat. Robert Smith – Not In Love
44 The Coral – 1000 Years
43 Jonsi – Go Do
42 I Am Kloot – Northern Skies
41 Patrick Wolf – Time Of My Life
40 Laura Marling – Rambling Man
39 Count and Sinden Feat. Mystery Jets – After Dark
38 Clinic – I’m Aware
37 John Grant Feat. Midlake – I Wanna Go To Marz
36 Zola Jesus – Night
35 Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep
34 Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming
33 Caribou – Odessa
32 Yeasayer – O.N.E.
31 Clogs Feat. Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden – We Were Here
30 Sufjan Stevens – I Walked
29 School of Seven Bells – I L U
28 Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Bittersweet
27 She and Him – In The Sun
26 Scissor Sisters – Skin This Cat
25 Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill
24 Cee Lo Green – Fuck You
23 Goldfrapp – Dreaming
22 Villagers – Becoming a Jackal
21 Rihanna – Only Girl (In The World)
20 The Drums – Best Friend
19 Antony and The Johnsons Feat. Bjork – Fletta
18 Kelis – Acapella
17 Arcade Fire – Ready To Start
16 Perfume Genius – Mr Peterson
15 Frankie and The Heartstrings – Tender
14 LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
13 Everything Everything – MY KZ UR BF
12 Robyn – Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa
11 M.I.A. – XXXO
All fabulous. But now it’s time for the best of the best. Enjoy:
10 The National – Conversation 16
Oh the terrible tussles I had in my mind over which song to put in this list. I finally decided on this one, because they make a song that contains the repeated refrain “I was afraid I’d eat your brains” sound beautiful and moving.
9 Gorillaz Feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack – Stylo
Ever since Yazoo, it’s been a truth universally acknowledged that the most effective contrast to the icy precision of synthesisers is a powerful soul voice. And they don’t get much more powerful than Bobby Womack. From an album whose environmental overtones proved particularly timely this year.
8 Janelle Monae Feat. Big Boi – Tightrope
An effortless piece of 21st-century soul from arguably the best female artist around right now. Make no mistake, her album The Archandroid will (or should) be regarded as a classic in years to come. And frankly, that hair is to die for.
7 Beach House – Lover of Mine
I could have picked pretty much any song from Teen Dream. But I chose this one. It wraps itself around you like an oversized cardigan on a cold summer’s day, whilst making more than a nodding acquaintance with Foreigner’s Waiting For A Girl Like You.
6 Warpaint – Undertow
There’s a creeping menace to this song that makes it at once beautiful and terrifying, like a seductive kiss from a sworn enemy.
5 Rufus Wainwright – Zebulon
The final, emotionally draining song from All Days Are Nights. It’s the sort of quietly devastating number that leaves you needing to wallow in silence for several minutes after the record has stopped. Because that’s when the world needs to catch up with you, not the other way round.
4 Best Coast – Boyfriend
Has unrequited love ever sounded so utterly perfect and spine-tingly? Probably not, at least not until Camera Obscura put out another album.
3 Everything Everything – NASA Is On Your Side
The highest placed non-single on my list, a beautifully touching and gorgeously arranged ballad, proof that even with all that restless invention stripped away, Everything Everything are still a very fine band indeed.
2 Lady Gaga Feat. Beyonce – Telephone
And so here is the best Number 1 single of the year, even without a ridiculously inventive video that redefined the parameters of camp (this version is sadly without the sweary bits). All together now: “Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it’s broke, but you can still see the crack in that motherfuckin’ reflection.” Too true Honey B, too true…
1 Robyn – Dancing On My Own
But here is the best single/track/whatever from the entire year. This is the 21st-century version of How Soon Is Now, about feeling more invisible than Simon from Misfits, no matter how hard you try to get noticed. Like Morrissey in that place you’d like to go, we’ve all been there and all gone home. You cry, and you want to die. And then you listen to this and you feel just a bit better.
And so that’s it, boys and girls. Robyn is this year’s Number 1. You may not agree – if you don’t, then tell me what was top of your pops in 2010. In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed this musical review of the past year. Hope you all have a completely fabulous Christmas – and here’s to some more fabulous music in 2011!