2010: Festive Fifty (Part 1 of 2)

on Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Words: Saam Das

So here it is. My favourite fifty singles and free downloads of 2010, which I guess you can call the "best tracks of the year" if you really want. But that'll only lead to a torrent of abuse when you discover I've left out stuff like 'Fuck You' by Cee-Lo Green. Be a pal Cee-Lo and stop using the n-word. Cheers.

Also, this is only my list and if I'd let the other FG writers join in (as they have done on our "albums of the year" list which will appear soon) then the list would have been somewhat different. Check out the 2008 and 2009 lists too - plenty of hidden gems to discover. As has always been the case, there are no re-releases (hopefully, anyway) and artists/bands can only appear once.

And in a supreme bit of planning, I've just changed my mind at the last minute to chop the list into two. I'm afraid that the amount of embedded stuff might kill any old computers and "death by flash" isn't ideal. The full list will be unleashed tomorrow. Here's #50-#26 though.

#50 Chew Lips - 'When You Wake Up'

DOWNLOAD: When You Wake Up by Chew Lips

This being a "festive" fifty and that, it seems mildly appropriate to have at least one Christmas-related song in the list. Step up the immensely underrated Chew Lips, with a slice of mellow electro-pop. A 21st century Christmas carol.

#49 Wilder - 'Girls vs Boys'

July single of the month. "Coming over all ELECTRO to begin with, 'Girls vs Boys' takes a handbrake turn into more exuberantly poppy territory, ending up a bit like Friendly Fires meets The Strokes. Best use of "HEY!" in a song since The Ramones." Of course, I actually meant "since Arcade Fire".

#48 Operator Logic - 'Logic'

If Kings Of Leon actually had any embeddable versions of 'Radioactive', that may very well have appeared in this position. Their loss. Time to resurrect my love for the shimmering 'Logic', with its funky bassline and punchy chorus.

#47 Weekend - 'End Times'

DOWNLOAD: Weekend - End Times

I'm not normally into the stuff that blog/label Transparent release, even though they're good lads. This is an exception to the rule, coming over as an updated version of the Joy Division classic 'Disorder'.

#46 Tokyo Police Club - 'Breakneck Speed'

"It's good to be back, good to be back, good to be back...". Shame the second album never really took off but this was very much a return to form for the band. For more words and to download, go here.

#45 Willow Smith - 'Whip My Hair'

December single of the month. "Feels like we've been waiting forever for this to actually be released in the UK. Ridiculously silly yet ridiculously infectious and with a motto for the ages: "whip it real good". S'got a dance and everything." She's only ten, for heaven's sake.

#44 Errors - 'A Rumour In Africa'

STREAM: A Rumour In Africa by WeAreErrors

It takes about 40 seconds before the math-poppy guitar line kicks in and then I'm onboard forever more. I don't even know how to describe this really - math-dance-pop?

#43 Sunday Girl - 'Four Floors'

STREAM: Sunday Girl - Four Floors

2011 might just be the year for Jade Williams to crossover into pop stardom. Back in June, I called this "one of the most mesmerising singles of the year". Did I mean mesmeric? Probably. I also called it "majestic electro pop". But I'm definitely sure about that.

#42 The Unwinding Hours - 'Knut'

"A swirling, slow burning post-rock number, 'Knut' is an epic in all senses. Even the sparingly used lyrics become a repetitive motif, both contrasting and drawing attention to the astonishing wall of noise that they are inseparably connected to. Spellbinding." Download from my post here.

#41 Hot Horizons - 'October'

Unsurprisingly released in October, I described it as "dream pop at its best. Contemplative and warm, with a sense of grandeur." Download the b-side here.

#40 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Skeletons'

Like I said in February, "Recalling the fragility of 'Maps' but with a more epic soundscape. Be sure to check out this enrapturing cello cover by Andrew Carter." The cello cover is a must, I promise you.

#39 Victoria & Jacob - 'With No Certainty'

Victoria & Jacob never quite took off in the way I was hoping but I very much enjoyed this "hypnotic beat-laden pop" track earlier in the year.

#38 Disappearers - 'Everything Straight Lies'

DOWNLOAD: Everything Straight Lies by Disappearers

"'I wish for a million wishes', said a smart arse kid on the hill". remains one of the best lyrics of the year. And I still like the "vibrant boy-girl vocal interplay" which reminds me a bit of Belle & Sebastian, despite the rest of it not really sounding like them. Read more of my musings here.

#37 Broken Records - 'A Darkness Rises Up'

In the October singles round up, I said: "Often touted as the British version of Arcade Fire, this single may just have proved just that. Epic, pulsating and anthemic".

#36 The Good Natured - 'For The Widows In My Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti'

DOWNLOAD: The Good Natured - For The Widows In Paradise (Sufjan Stevens Cover)

I'm still massively cringing about the tagging error I carried forward from the blog who originally posted this up but the track remains very much one of my favourite offerings from The Good Natured. A wonderful cover of an utterly ridiculously titled track from Sufjan Stevens.

#35 Spark - 'Revolving'

STREAM: Spark - Revolving

Released on the Neon Gold label that has propelled several careers already, Jess Morgan can expect to receive more mainstream plaudits come 2011. Especially if she can match this "brilliantly bombastic electro pop offering."

#34 The National - 'Terrible Love (Alternate Version)'

Despite being burnt twice before for writing about The National with copyright infringement notices (one extremely unfairly, the other was a bit more of a grey area), I'm going to brave the internetz and go for broke. This version in particular shows up the album version, and recaptures the goosebumps I had when I first heard the track on Jimmy Fallon's show.

#33 Mystery Jets - 'Show Me The Light'

STREAM: Mystery Jets - Show Me The Light

I hadn't been that impressed with the 2010 output from Mystery Jets but this single made me rethink everything. "Starting off sounding a bit disco, it pretty much ends up as a souped up melancholic ballad".

#32 OK Go - 'White Knuckles'

Back in October, I enjoyed the funkiness of 'White Knuckles' which captured "the essence of Space Cowboy's 'I Would Die 4 U' as well as delivering a 'Digital Love'-esque solo." The video's not bad either, just the 8 million odd views.

#31 Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - 'Love Turns To Hate'

STREAM: The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Love Turns To Hate

And now for something a bit different. A welcome return to form for a band I've somehow seen about 4 times despite never even listening to any of their albums properly. A snarling anthem.

#30 Jukebox The Ghost - 'Good Day'

Single of the month back in March but in an interesting turn of events, one of the singles it beat at the time is actually #1 in this Festive Fifty. Find out which one tomorrow. Do enjoy this "joyously effervescent piano-pop" though.

#29 Stairs To Korea - 'All Of Your Friends'

Wot I sed many a moon ago: "A joyous brand of gloriously tangled bedroom pop." I think it's even better now.

#28 Foals - 'This Orient'

In the May singles round up, I mentioned how nice it was to hear Yannis actually sing. I also called 'This Orient' a "hyperactive joy", with Animal Collective being one obvious but favourable comparison.

#27 Seerauber Jenny - 'Push It Away'

STREAM: Seerauber Jenny - Push It Away

I've only just realised I spelt Seerauber Jenny's name wrong when awarding them the title of September's single of the month. And that's ignoring the umlaut that I can't quite figure out how to magically produce on the computer. Anyway, "imagine looking out the window on a rainy day, thinking about what could have been. Then along comes 'Push It Away' to give you a comforting hug and a warm cup of tea, and just makes everything better." Beautiful and beguiling.

#26 Clock Opera - 'Once And For All'

This was November's single of the month, where I warned you to "prepare yourself for five shimmering minutes of utterly hypnotic "chop-pop"." Here's hoping the eventual debut album is full of brilliant tracks like this.

The complete list will appear tomorrow. In the meantime, get your teeth into these.

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