Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most prestigious night in international music. The TSP Top 50 for 2010. Which act will walk away with this year's David Lee Roth medal for song of the year? And here's tonight's host...
My lords, ladies and gentlemen. Before we start a quick recap of the top fives of previous years. Full counts from 2007, 2008 and 2009 if you're into that sort of thing and broken YouTube links.
Everything else was lost in the Great Blog Hosting Debacle of 2006. '07 was even extended to a top 100, the folly of which is now shown by the fact that nobody can remember how 3/4 of the songs from 51-100 went.
1. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
2. Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
3. Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
4. The Killers - Somebody Told Me
5. Bloc Party - Helicopter
1. The Young Knives - Here Comes The Rumor Mill
2. Giant Drag - This Isn’t It
3. Silvia Night - Congratulations
4. Lily Allen - LDN
5. Joey Negro - Make A Move On Me
1. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
2. New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
3. The Teenagers - Homecoming
4. Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent
5. Jack Penate - Spit At Stars
1. Lethal Bizzle - The Come Up
2. Neon Neon - Luxury Pool
3. MGMT - Electric Feel
4. Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
5. Fryars - Olive Eyes
1. N.A.S.A - Spacious Thoughts (featuring Tom Waits and Kool Keith)
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
3. Boy Crisis - The Fountain of Youth
4. Bat For Lashes - Daniel
5. Low Fidelity All Stars - The Good Times
As we can see no artist has ever made the top five twice. Most of them have released a follow-up album of three but never managed to scale the heights of their TSP award winning performance. BUT, this year somebody breaks that trend. Who will it be? Sadly for all of us I can confirm that it's not Silvia Knight.
Before we begin, a short explanation of how we got here. Throughout the year tracks are dumped into one big f'off shortlist until December 1 when the list is culled of all the "how desperate was I to get something on the list?" selections and the remainder are pitted against each other in Thunderdome style combat to see what will crack the final fifty. This year's list opened at about 175 and was knocked down to 110ish before the final field.
The usual rules apply. Maximum of two songs per artist and no covers allowed. In the event of a chosen song later turning out to be a cover of an obscure track that nobody has ever heard of I reserve the right to leap from my 11th floor window. Alright Mr. Copperart, let's do it.
50. Savoir Adore - Sarah's Secret
Sounds like a $2 Shop Arcade Fire, but rattles by in 2.42. Given the amount of albums that their soundalikes have sold it's no shame to be the second division version.
49. The Vaccines - Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
Even better, just ninety seconds worth. Coming on like a multi-gender, pop Ramones the Vaccines have been touted as the next big thing which should mean you never hear from them again.
48. Naive New Beaters - LA Trumpets
The sort of thing that you'd never get away with if you weren't French. Another ninety seconds worth. Prepare for 13 minute dirges later in the countdown to make up for this.
47. Everything Everything - Suffragette Suffragette
The song that brings us the immortal line "who's gonna sit on your face when I'm gone?" Who indeed.
46. SIA - Clap Your Hands
Forget Channel 10 buying the rights to this and then using it for every single promo for about six months and forget the fact that she's a seemingly insane Max Sharam for the 21st century. Most importantly try to forget the amazing similarity to 1979's Get It Up For Love by Tata Vega and concentrate instead on its undoubted pop qualities.
45. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - I Should Have Known It
He's still alive. You'll never get another Free Fallin' or American Girl though.
44. David E Sugar - Party Killer
David E Sugar is not a party killer. The Manson Family were party killers. There's a touch of the hipsters about it if you're touchy on that sort of thing.
43. Lissie - In Sleep
The first time I heard this it was dismissed in the first few seconds, but I got distracted and came back halfway through to discover I'd been dropped in the middle of a Fleetwood Mac reunion. If Stevie Nicks were dead I'd suggest that Lissie were her reincarnation.
42. Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation
In which the godfather of Mod tees off on Facebook and advises Britain to fire up. Not without some justification too.
41. Aloe Blacc - I Need A Dollar
40. Gonzales - I Am Europe
Containing all sorts of bizarre metaphors for Europe. You'd think there was something sensible and artistic about the whole thing if it wasn't being sung by the same guy who once performed a track called Cum On You.
39. Minitel Rose - Heart of Stone
More French people. God forbid Phoenix could ever do anything half as good as Too Young ever again they'd wipe the floor with the rest of the Gallic contingent. Don't hold your breath.
38. Juliana Pasha - It's All About You
But for those of you who are bored of the French, here's an Albanian straight from this year's surprisingly quality song heavy Eurovision contest. After a few years of disappointment Europe delivered this season. Stand up and applaud Enver Hoxha fans everywhere.
37. Grinderman - Heathen Child
Nick Cave scares the children
36. Shit Browne - Artifice
You'd have to be French to get away with a name like that. Video doesn't show up anywhere on YouTube and you'd be advised to turn ON safe searching before looking for it on Google.
35. Janelle Monae - Tightrope
The video, and her hairdo, is baffling but the track is a triumph. 21st century soul without the need for Autotune.
34. Elton John and Leon Russell - It Wasn't For Bad
Yes, it's Elton but come back it's not fruity prancing on the beach a'la I'm Still Standing or playing a piano dressed as Donald Duck. Will almost take the taste of Candle In The Wind '98 out of your mouth. But not quite.
33. Cee Lo - Bright Lights, Bigger City
Ten times better than the more famous, filth friendly track that you know and love. Does not contain gratuitous obscenity. That would be shithouse.
32. Goldfrapp - Alive
It's not my fault that six months after I'd heard it and decided to like it that Channel 10 would use it in the promo for their new station. Get amongst it in its full version. Or watch SBS.
31. Comanechi - Crime of Love
The sort of low-fi as buggery, sung by women stuff that Kurt Cobain used to whop off over before topping himself. For added effect it ends with the young lady shouting WANKERS! WANKERS! WANKERS! at us for the last twenty seconds, and for that we are all winners
30. Plan B - Stay Too Long
Motown/rap crossover from a concept album about a man in prison. It doesn't end well for him. More news at 11.
29. Hera Bjork - Je Ne Sais Quoi
The other Iceland Bjork, as seen on Eurovision 2010 with her belting eurodance ballad. Have I ever told you how much I love belting eurodance ballads?
28. Egyptian Hip Hop - Moon Crooner
A bunch of English kids with what sounds like Casio keyboards coming on like a 21st century Happy Mondays. Achieves and suggests better is to come in the future. No actual hip-hop or Egyptian behaviour included.
27. Brandon Flowers - Magdalena
The bad news for the rest of The Killers is that this sounds exactly like one of their records but without any of the personnel. We wish the rest of the band well in their future endeavours on the Theatre Restauraunt circuit. Continues to tread the same faux-country path of the last Killers album but without the trouble of having to split up the money. Problem solved and it's hello Centrelink to old mates 1, 2 and 3.
Previous Appearance - #4 in 2005 with Somebody Told Me (as The Killers)
26. The Winter Olympics - Feeling European
Your standard English stodge rock but with interesting European metaphors for shagging and going through your nothing to declare aisle etc.. No passport required for EU citizens. No video available so here's an inferior single of theirs. Warning - he looks like he sort of hipser you'd want to kick in the plums.
25. Ali Love - Smoke And Mirrors
Italo Disco fever! MORE PLEASE.
24. Klaxons - Flashover
"Nu Rave" possible users of hallucenogenic substances add crashing guitar with surprisingly positive effects. Sounds like the Jonestown Massacre - the real one, not the band
Previous Appearance - #26 in 2007 with Golden Skanks
23. Hadouken! - M.A.D
The frantic sound of your car being broken into somewhere in the dodgy part of North London.
Previous Appearance - #73 in 2007 with Superstar
22. Grinderman - Palaces of Montezuma
Nick Cave's hirsuite new band give the world a tender love song where the spinal column of JFK is offered up as a token of affection. Everybody wins.
21. Chromeo - Night By Night
Proof that you can use distorted vocals and Autotuney shit without sounding like Believe by Cher or any of the 500 songs Kanye West has done since he stopped being good.
20. Chanee and n'evergreen - In A Moment Like This
Regular readers will understand my long held fetish for power ballads. Therefore I make no apologies for the Norweigan Eurovision entrant finishing so high in the list. It's like REO Speedwagon cloned as a woman and married to itself.
19. Big Boi - General Patton
The non-Hey Ya portion of Outkast meets what sounds like the Russian Army Choir in the world's foremost rap/choral mashup
18. Manic Street Preachers - A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun
Still angry, and despite diminishing results overall this is the standout from their latest album. Not much left in the tank I'd suggest.
17. Aeroplane - My Enemy
This year's Ghosts 'n Stuff. No lyrics required. Like waking up in a modern Sega Megadrive
16. Keane featuring K'naan - Looking Back
What's this doing here? I hate Keane. Roy, Robbie and the band. But sadly it's my duty to report that they released two tracks this year that were half decent and didn't end up on rotation in every wine bar between here and Western Europe. More to come.
15. Chromeo - Hot Mess
Hello, I've just gone into a Sam Tyler-esque coma and suddenly it's 1987. I'm absolutely thrilled by this turn of events.
14. Electric Six - The Newark Airport Boogie
You'd have gotten 1000-1 on the people behind Dance Commander ever making an appearance in one of my top fifties again last year. The only thing we'd heard from them since was a putrid cover of Queen's Radio Ga Ga, but against the odds here they are.
13 - Scissor Sisters - Night Work
I expect this is the sound of loading up on Amyl Nitrate and going for it openly in San Francisco in 1979. Would have been destroyed like all their other songs if it had been a hit.
12 - Plan B - Welcome To Hell
Right, so now he's in jail and to put not too fine a point on it is in deep shit. Thanks to the album shifting a few copies (which by today's standards was probably about 75) the story is scheduled to continue on the next album. Episodic music. Why not, nothing else is working for them.
11 - My Chemical Romance - Scarecrow
Previous Appearances #55 and #45 in 2007 with I Don't Love You and Mama
Ok, so I'm a moderately ashamed MCR fan. Wanna fight about it? Doesn't mean I'm going to see them in concert, sit on the steps of Flinders Street Station looking like a fuckhead or wear a black trenchcoat and kill my parents. And thankfully neither are they, because the poster children for emo have gone stadium rock and it's glorious.
10. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance The Way I Feel
Feel free to ignore the messy end that came to the lead singer when he jumped off a tower at a Belgian festival (!?) and concentrate instead on what will go down as their crowning achievement, a perfect slice of pop that didn't even lose its appeal when the radio stations picked it up.
9. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
I might be the only person in the world not to have gone wild for their first two albums but there's absolutely no doubt that the latest is a solid gold cracker. This is the not the last of them you will see in this countdown.
8 - Angus and Julia Stone - On The Road
An album track that I heard quite by accident in somebody else's car. Sure the rest of the album doesn't stack up and the guy looks like he could do with a wash but this is sublime.
7 - Arcade Fire - Modern Man
This reminds me of something that I can't quite put my finger on despite having listened to it plenty of times in the last week. Whisper it quitely but there's something Hall & Oates-ish about it. Despite that, or in fact because of it, it dominates. There's something sinister about this, like there's a subtext to it that is only told in the music and not the lyrics. Consider me converted to their cause.
6 - Chew Lips - Karen
I have absolutely nothing to say about this other than that it's a top tune and whoever's house they filmed it in needs to put in new carpet.
5 - Paul Heaton - Even A Palm Tree (audio only)
In a year when I rediscovered the genius of The Beautiful South a new Heaton solo album came just at the right time. Against classic era South this would be practically undetectable as a new solo track, and that's a good thing.
4 - Keane - Stop For A Minute (featuring K'naan)
Well there you go. I never thought they'd make it into the top 100 let alone the final five, but finally after all these years somebody finally inserted a rap bit into their song which made sense and contributed positively to the overall project. This is no shonky K. Minogue Shocked By The Power rap section, it delivers the goods. In fact it steals the show so much that they should swap it around and have it as featuring Keane.
3 - Lena - Satellite
Even though I only had it second on the night, trying not to be populist, there's no doubt that this is the best Eurovision track since Silvia Night telephoned god and called him "dawg" in 2006. Almost the perfect pop song. So perfect that if it had been done by say... Kate Nash I'd probably have decried it as slop and kicked the television in. Her wonky German accent is what sends it to the next level. Deserved more.
2 - Goldfrapp - Rocket
Previous Appearances #3 in 2005 with Ooh La La, #46 and #39 in 2008 with Cologne Cerrone Houdini and Happiness.
The 'frapp did the right thing on her latest album and came over all Italo Disco.. and got nothing from the punters. This is a gem though. Perfect Eurodance magic which spent pretty much the whole year as favourite to take home the DLR before a last minute intervention knocked it out of pole position. Ladies and gentlemen, take up thy bottles and assorted garbage because I'm about to make what will undoubtedly be the most controversial #1 selection since Clive Waterhouse. I give you this year's winner *ducks*
1 - My Chemical Romance - Bulletproof Heart
There are two reasons I almost didn't make this #1. Firstly I've spent the last twenty years mocking the Triple J Hottest 100 for always turning up top songs that were released about fifteen minutes before voting started, so how much of a hypocrite does it make me to say a song that I first heard a week and a half ago is my favourite for the year.
The second reason for concern is the blatant grab for stadium rock that they're going for. Usually that should be decried and they should be bottled from the stage a'la Daphne & Celeste at the Reading Festival, but in this case it is absolutely fantastic. Like U2 when they were good injected with glam Bowie and just the slightest hint of their depressive past.
I've got a good feeling that I'm not going to look back in a year and think "oh christ, what was I doing?" Now that the controversy is out of the way let's go back to our Master of Ceremonies.
A toast to the winners and we'll see you next year for 2011's glittering prize. With REM and The Strokes both threatening to release albums they go in as early favourites, but the prospect of a shock in-studio Libertines comeback could blow the market out of the water. Exciting times ahead. Pete Smith speaking*
* TSP accepts that the actual Mr Copperart had nothing to do with this countdown because we couldn't afford him. The role of Pete was played by the former Atlanta Braves pitcher of the same name.