Wednesday, 7 December 2011

TSP's Top 50 of 2011

It's that time again, when we gather for TSP to hand out the most coveted prize in world music - the David Lee Roth Medal for Song of the Year. A shortlist was compliled from 5 December 2010 to today, and in a year when I struggled to find much new music of any interest just 98 songs were put up for consideration. Is your favourite track missing? Well serves you right for not alerting me to it earlier.

History fans can see the full surviving countdowns from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Sadly the Wayback Machine is unable to find the full '05 count.

Here's how the Top 5 ended each year;

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

1. My Chemical Romance - Bulletproof Heart
2. Goldfrapp - Rocket
3. Lena - Satellite
4. Keane - Stop For A Minute (featuring K'naan)
5. Paul Heaton - Even A Palm Tree

2010 proved to be the most controversial year yet for the countdown. Federal Police agents are still combing the bushes outside of TSP Towers looking for explosive devices and I'm often forced to retreat into a panic room when somebody leaps the fence with a butcher's knife and tries to do me in. So, how may I disappoint you today? Let's find out as we introduce our host for the second consecutive year;

(As always we are legally obliged to point out that the countdown is not actually endorsed anybody called Pete Smith

Also I cbf making these videos open in a new window so right click > open new tab. Unless you're using IE7 then you can swivel).

50. Herzog - Silence
A feedback fest opened by the sample of a football coach yelling at the crowd. That'll do as a start.

49. Beastie Boys - Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win
Fight for your right to scrape into the top 50.

48. Miles Kane - Quicksand
Which is much better than any of the slop off this year's Arctic Monkeys album. 1-0 to the supposed lesser collaborator.

47. Aloe Blacc - Green Lights
Not the last we've heard from him I'd wager. But it is in this countdown. His other big song was already covered last year.
Previous Appearance - #41 in 2010 with I Need A Dollar

46. Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix
Warning - Has absolutely nothing to do with the race held as a Formula One championship round between 1986 and 1992.

45. Stevie Nicks - Secret Love
Community Service Announcement - The inclusion of this song has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I scream GRILF! every time she comes on TV. But it's true. It's a power ballad, what could I do? And yes, yes I would.

44. Keren Ann - My Name Is Trouble
Every possible chance she is actually mental.

43. Wolf Gang - Where Are You Now
In about 1993 by the sounds of it.

42. Kasabian - La Fee Verte
Previous Appearance - #25 in 2009 with Underdog

41. Boots Electric - Boots Electric Theme
Apparently the bloke from Eagles Of Death Metal is involved. I would rather jam skewers into my eyeballs than ever listen to Eagles Of Death Metal.

40. Wu Tang Clan - Black Diamonds
Listener advisory: They may have done this song about 75 times in the last 20 years. Still works but.

39. The Decemberists - Calamity Song
All Panamanian children hanging off the waist of a dowager etc.. Just your typical Decemberists song really.
Previous Appearance - #9 in 2007 with Oh Valencia

38. Toro Y Moi - New Beat
As 80's as buggery. All hushed male voices over electronic bleeps and blangs. And the last 45 seconds is just some guys saying "Don't forget" while more electro wobbles on in the background. Somewhere Fischerspooner are yelling "OI! Give us our gimmick back".

37. Male Bonding - What's That Scene?
According to YouTube they're a "noise pop duo", which almost caused me to throw them out of the Top 50.

36. Sparrow and the Workshop - Snakes In The Grass

35. Sons & Daughters - Rose Red
I was briefly under the delusion that this lot were from New Zealand, which was going to be as close as you'd get to an Australian act turning up. Then they were from Glasgow so bad luck.

34. The Suzukis - Back At The Factory
Do you like songs that shout at you and end at exactly three minutes, presumably so that they're still eligible for the Eurovision Song Contest? If so you'll like this.

Must have been a loud factory but you'll have to take my word for it considering I can't find a video/audio copy anywhere.

33. Drive-By Truckers - Go Go Boots
The master Southern Rock storytellers tell another one. Nothing they've done since has been as good as the 2001 Southern Rock Opera double album (Release date - September 12. Oh dear, goodbye sales) but this tale of sleaze, infidelity and smalltown gossip comes close enough.

32. Spank Rock - Car Song

31. M83 - Midnight City

30. Bleeding Knees Club - Have Fun
Like that bit in a One Day International when nothing happens for a few overs this is the section of the countdown where I can't be arsed doing a write up for some of the songs...

29. Nero - Fugue State
Practically instrumental. Deal with it.

28. Hank Williams III - Gutter Town
Grandson of the original Hank in "country as buggery release" is hardly the biggest shock you'll ever hear in your life. Ticks the boxes for my shameful love of classic country. Video looks as if it were shot on a mobile and then edited in Windows Movie Maker.

27. A Plastic Rose - Kids Don't Behave Like This
Yes they do, they're all little shits. Alleged to have been released in 2009 but it was re-released this year so under the arcane rules of the David Lee Roth Medal this is still eligible.

26. Tinie Tempah - Written In The Stars
Massive chorus.

25. Database - Vice II
The sort of dance music that French people have a stroke over. Sounds like the soundtrack to a lost Sega Megadrive game.

24. YACHT - Paradise Engineering
Drips with hipsterism and loses the plot as it goes on but have I ever told you this year wasn't much chop for music?

23. Roxette - She's Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
Who doesn't love 80's pop revivalism for a new decade? About seventeen of us. And if this makes you want to garrot yourself you'll be shattered as to what just randomly happened to come up next in the list...

22. The Human League - Sky
Wouldn't have been out of place in their 80's pop heyday. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to you, personally I think it's marvellous. If you have a problem with this I'll meet you in the carpark of Port Melbourne Coles at midnight for a knife fight.

21. Housse De Racket - TGV
If I spoke French I'd probably like this even more.

20. Young Knives - Go To Ground

Former #1 TSP Top 50 act barely scrape into the top 20. We want another Here Comes The Rumor Mill and we want it NOW. One thing I will give them is that the ability to stream the album through YouTube by clicking the video like a menu is a killer concept.
Previous Appearances - #24 in 2006 with The Decision, #19 in 2006 with Loughborough Suicide, #1 in 2006 with Here Comes The Rumor Mill, #23 in 2007 with Terra Firma

19. The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight

Touch of the Morrissey's about it. Well, if he's not going to do anything good ever again why shouldn't somebody else have a go?

18. Beastie Boys - Lee Majors Come Again

They did 'adult' ruminations, Buddhism and all that. Now this is a return to what they did best, sadly without the accompaniment of a 20 foot high penis on stage "for old times sake".

17. Beady Eye - Four Letter Word

If there were a fire and I could only save one Gallagher brother there's no doubt that I'd leave Liam to fry BUT unfortunately in year's first Brother vs Brother chart battle it's 1-0 to the prospective firewood. This is probably better than anything Oasis has done for years but that's not particularly hard. Sounds more than a bit like one of the lesser tracks off Definitely Maybe.

"Nothing ever lasts forever" he shouts over thrashing guitar. Was he referring to Noel? Do I look like a psychologist to you?

16. The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness

It's generally accepted (around these parts anyway) that The Strokes disappeared up their own collective blurter somewhere shortly after the second album came out. It's been getting worse ever since, leading to this year's album which was decidedly ordinary in all parts other than this song.

Interviews show that they clearly dislike each other these days so might not be much longer for the world. Remember the good times, remember one of the great debut albums of all time and remember the odd cracking track like this one that came from their later work because in six months it'll all be noodling prog-rock solo stuff that nobody will have any interest in listening to. But.....

15. Kasabian - Turkish Acid Bath (Shelter From The Storm)

If the real Oasis are going to be all split up and shit then their understudies will just have to do. Even features the sort of orchestral flourish that Oasis didn't bother with in between Whatever and when we all stopped listening to them.

It's no Club Foot/Underdog/Fire mind you.

14. Justice - Civilization

Like dance music merged with Iron Maiden. Plenty of talk about beating of a million drums, firing of a million guns etc.. Thumping. Was it a success here? Should have been.

13. Luke Haines - We Are Unusual Men

Only one man could get away with making a concept album about the golden era of English professional wrestling. You or I could do it but it would be shit. In the hands of Haines it's magic. Contains the audio from the unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki. Fun fact - I have a picture of Kendo Nagasaki on my wall.
Previous Appearance - #19 in 2009 with 20th Century Man

12. Wu Tang Clan - Laced Cheeba

I think they did exactly the same thing 27 songs ago, just 27 spots not as good as this.

11. Twin Atlantic - Make A Beast of Myself

Ignore for a second that he has the most Scotch accent since Rab C Nesbitt and wait for it to really kick off. Magic stuff, more please.

10. Adele - Rolling In The Deep

Wait, don't start threatening to murder me yet. I would rather have boiling oil thrown over me than ever listening to any of the other gash songs that she put out this year AND would gladly take every copy of Someone Like You and throw it in the same giant sized landfill that now houses all the unwanted CD singles of Wise Men by James Blunt BUT I still can't help but feel that this was a cracker of a single.

As the first single off the album which would ultimately sell about 20 billion copies off the back of soppy, heartbreak singles it made me think "oh, this is actually quite good. Maybe she's not just the Cockney Duffy or Amy Winehouse without a .010 BAC". But then the rest of the singles came along and the only thing that differentiates here from the other two now is that a) she hasn't ruined her career by starring in a Diet Coke ad and b) she's still alive.

Just like how Lady Gaga has done nothing of interest to me since Poker Face I expect that now she's made millions with watery ballads that Adele will never doing anything that appeals to me ever again.

9. Luke Haines - Inside The Restless Mind Of Rollerball Rocco

It's no wonder that Haines can pull off a gimmick like this, afterall this is the man who got a whole album out of the Baader Meinhof gang. An album which, incidentally, is an absolute solid gold CORKER which you must listen to it night and day as I do.

8. Urge Overkill - Effigy

Mid 90's revivalism is sadly non-existent. Give it a few years. When it does come along and people start clamouring for the hits that they remember from that part of the decade it won't be Hootie & The Blowfish that they'll be calling it'll be Urge Overkill and I can't say I blame them.

This couldn't sound any more 1995 if it tried, and as somebody who owns an Urge Overkill single purchased in 1995 I'm comfortable with that. That this is their first single since that year says it all. It didn't chart, surely nobody expected to but it was a welcome comeback.

Trivia buffs will also be thrilled to learn that this was the first song I shortlisted for the countdown way back in late December 2010.

7. Portugal. The Man - Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)

Like a non-disco, dance around your handbags, version of Scissor Sisters with some balls about it. They sound as if they're all off their chop. One of the great band names too you must admit, possibly connected to the general off chopness of the entire enterprise.

6. Yuck - Get Away

About as lo-fi as you can get but don't hold that against them. Or the fact that they were all about 15-years-old when it was released. If The Strokes had released this people would have whopped off over it.

5. Calvin Harris and Kelis - Bounce

How to get me to like a modern pop song.
a) Make it sound like 80's Italo Disco and/or the soundtrack to a long forgotten 80's arcade game.

And you're done. Also doesn't hurt that I've been hot for Kelis ever since she stomped down the street and yelled about how much she hated us right now all those years ago.
Previous Appearance - #24 in 2007 with Acceptable In The 80's

4. Dutch Uncles - The Ink

If I'd just seen the video without hearing this song I'd have succumbed to the 10% of my brain which says "I HATE THIS SONG" rather than the rest which has an irrational nature of it. In fact if you've never heard it before don't click on the above, download it, pretend it's a woman singing and enjoy it ten times more.

3. The Strokes - Taken For A Fool

... one last moment of greatness was on the agenda. Forget the dodgy video which seems to indicate that they briefly thought they were MGMT and was probably filmed with the band in separate rooms so they didn't kill each other. This is magic. Would still only just sneak onto Is This It but it tonks everything else they've done since then. If they removed head from clacker and made more tracks like this I'd be thrilled.

2. MEN - Credit Card Babies (Stereogamous Remix)

Usually I wouldn't have a bar of remixes but this is significantly better. Cracking track and political statement about gay couples having kids Key lyric "We got holes, places to stick our poles".

I expect if this was blared out across parliament during the vote on Same Sex Marriage then even Tony Abbott would rise to applaud and possibly crack a semi.

1. REM - Discoverer

It's not a going away present to one of the world's most popular bands (albeit one who were being thumped by the law of diminishing returns for the best part of 20 years) this is legitimately the best thing they've done in years.

Two of the songs off their last album were pretty good, and 2003/2004's Bad Day and Animal were fine songs but the balance of their output this century - and pretty much everything since they committed commercial suicide by releasing E-Bow The Letter as a single (top track but) - is well and truly tipped in negative balance. Ironically the rest of the Collapse Into Now album was a bit naff AND this wasn't even a single. Trust them to be wilfully uncommercial.

It makes absolutely no sense, but then again what REM song ever has? At least now you can understand what they're saying for what it's worth.

Ahh, the old "brief return to form then fold" manoeuvre. At least they'll always have the 2011 David Lee Roth Medal to comfort them. And millions of dollars.
Previous Appearances - #40 in 2008 with Accelerate, #10 in 2008 with Supernatural Superserious