Following Jack's top ten tracks of 2011 and Simon's top eleven, here are my top ten songs from last year. Listen to them all in the YouTube playlist below, including tracks from Tribes, Glasvegas and Cut Copy.
10. Katy B - 'Broken Record'
Katy B was one of the few British 'ones to watch' from 2011 that truly delivered on their potential. This single demonstrates why she was dubstep's major breakout star, melding a pop nous to electronic beats which packs an emotional punch with her affecting vocal.
9. Toddla T - 'Watch Me Dance'
Featuring the brilliant MC Roots Manuva, 'Watch Me Dance' is a infectious, fun slice of UK urban dance. No party playlist is complete without it.
8. Nicola Roberts - 'Beat Of My Drum'
Nicola Roberts has by far produced the best solo album by a member of Girls Aloud. This opening salvo from her debut 'Cinderella's Eyes' was as much brilliant as it was surprising, a thrilling pop single with a fantatically bratty chorus. It's a shame therefore it's not received major commercial acclaim -perhaps it's a result of cynicism around whether this is her really her own sound but who should care when the songs are this good?
7. Miles Kane - 'Rearrange'
Often maligned as the junior partner to Alex Turner, Miles Kane's debut 'Colour Of The Trap' was his opportunity to showcase his songwriting abilities. While not a perfect album, it's clear Kane knows his way with a melody and there are many tunes you find yourself humming along to with the retro, 60s feel of 'Rearrange' my favourite.
6. Glasvegas - 'The World Is Yours'
Glasvegas's second album contained too much empty bluster but this track is the exception, where they realise their epic, widescreen ambition. Like all the best songs, 'The World Is Yours' manages to be euphoric and heartbreaking (pun intended) in equal measure, as James Allan sings “If I’m your world/Then the world is yours”.
5. Joan As Police Woman - 'The Magic'
I must admit I hadn't heard of Joan As Police Woman before hearing her latest album 'The Deep Field'. A mature affair, the record is full of soulful insights although on occasion verges too close to MOR. Lead single, the sleek, funky, 'The Magic' avoid this, as Joan searches for the emotional, giddy rush of a relationship.
4. Tribes - 'Sappho'
I'd read a lot about Tribes before hearing this single, mainly about the band reviving the sound of Britpop. As someone who grew up during that period, this peaked my curiosity and 'Sappho' was no disappointment. While, yes it is clear their sound harks back to the likes of Suede and Oasis, there is also a grunginess a la Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and of course Nirvana which gives their sound a different dimension. What the chorus lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up with its effusive, gaudy singalong refrain.
3. Lady Gaga - 'Judas'
After the letdown of title track 'Born This Way', many of the sceptics were looking to say Lady Gaga was already running out of ideas. It seemed she was taking herself too seriously and the album is muddled but 'Judas' demonstrated what she is best at - disposable, catchy pop songs with melodies that get their slippers off and take up residency in your head. A cousin of the all-conquering 'Bad Romance', the song has a sweet, 80s-pop chorus which is undeniable.
2. The Strokes - 'Under Cover of Darkness'
The Strokes returned with this superb comeback single, their first release in almost five years. It has all the elements which saw the band reinvent indie rock in at the start of the noughties together with a lovely, vulnerable chorus as Julian Casablancas sings “Don't Go That Way/I'll wait for you”. It's a shame the album didn't live up to this track.
1. Cut Copy - 'Need You Now'
I'm a huge fan of Cut Copy and while 'Zonoscope' didn't quite match the overall standard set by 'In Ghost Colours', it has moments which not only equalled but surpassed their earlier record. Opener 'Need You Now' is one of those songs, as its hynoptic beats slowly builds into a stunning peak as Whitford's pleads grow more desperate and aching, recalling Bowie's 'Heroes'. The genius of Cut Copy, like their musical forefathers New Order, is they know exactly when to make a shift in a song or add a new element to keep the listener guessing. Simply put, a brilliant song.
Listen to the playlist in full in the embed above or at YouTube. For other FG playlists, click here.