Such fun! More great music.
40 "What's My Name?" - Rihanna feat. Drake
Rihanna's pop music is so effortlessly sun flecked and so obviously influenced by dancehall that it thaws even the coldest winter day. The stop start beat, relaxed vocal hook and gentle synth chords ooze sex, and Drake's sleazy cameo makes the whole thing feel a little bit guiltier. Rihanna has a hint of the Rude Boy dominatrix about her here, taunting "I wanna see if you can go long time widda girl like me", but she's not got the insecurities of the Rated R lass; The Rihanna of "What's My Name?" only feels effortless confidence. And if there was ever a song that would require hypnosis to get out of your head, it would be this one.
39 "Infinity Guitars" - Sleigh Bells
So much crazy shit to choose from from Sleigh Bells' donkey punch of a debut, but there's something about "Infinity Guitars" that stands out from the others. Whilst tracks like "Kids" and "Run The Heart" are driven by monster robot Hip Hop beats, "Infinity Guitars" lives up to its name, the shotgun toting central riff exploding halfway through the song into a firestorm of distortion in which singer Alexis deliriously jumps all over. It's one of the album's most disarming and memorable sections, and on a bonkers album like Treats, that's something worth applauding.
38 "White Sky" - Vampire Weekend
"White Sky" makes this list on its wordless chorus hook alone, quite simply. No one does unadulterated joy quite like Vampire Weekend, and this gem off brilliant second record Contra is bursting with it. And I don't know if I'm crazy or not, but it sounds like the best Christmas song ever. Maybe it's the ethereal synths and angelic vocals, or just that the whole thing feels like a generous gift to your ears. The happiest song of the year; a real grin inducer, whatever the fuck the song's actually about. Enjoy this video also:
37 "Zorbing" - Stornoway
Another lovely, lovely song from a lovely, lovely band. Oxford's Stornoway are an awkwardly endearing bunch of chaps, and their geeky lyrical allusions (Zorbing compares an unknown extreme sport to falling in love... great chat up line) only make them more charming. But it's the folky picking and barbershop quartet vocals that really provide the charm; and when those trumpets jump eagerly in, you've fallen in love yourself. And yes, it does actually feel a bit like rolling down a steep hill in a transparent plastic ball! (Do your research with Stornoway songs, it's ultimately more rewarding)
36 "One Touch" - Mini Viva
Whilst the rather more famous Xenomania girl group, Girls Aloud, twist the production team’s spacey Eurodance to their quirky, aloof means, Mini Viva make it sound seductive and sexy. It’s no new ground, but Xenomania, led by mastermind Brian Higgins, are at the top of their game, providing a shamelessly 1990s, pulsating Hi NRG tapestry. Mini Viva themselves taunt and tease, with phrases such as “Kiss, kiss, it’s contagious” summing up neatly what makes this track great, and arguably their best single so far.
35 "Any Which Way" - Scissor Sisters
One glance at the cover of Night Work, and you know you're in for a rocky ride. Those buttocks may be clenched tight, but Scissor Sisters are gonna fuck you (oh, excuse me... "funk" you that is) any which way they can. But whatever your apprehensions are, seriously, let them. It's a hell of a lot of fun. "Any Which Way" is camp even by Scissor Sisters standards, and as D-I-S-C-O as they can get away with. Each hook is a guilty pleasure, each clavichord flurry an embarrassing dance move, each snare the sound of a whip on leather. "In front of my parents, I don't give a damn baby, just take me..." Damn. Sex has not sounded this much fun in years. And these guys are gagging for it.
34 "Your Love" - Nicki Minaj
Totally out of the blue this came. The woman known for ranting at breakneck pace, finding absurd rhymes that other rappers wouldn't think of in a million years, well, whaddya know, she's got a soft side? Debut "Pink Friday" showcases a lot of other R&B jams, but the somehow romantic "Your Love" is head and shoulders above them all. That Annie Lennox hook provides the schmooz and although Nicki can't avoid a few quirky Minajisms, see Bruce Willis tribute, she's genuinely subdued and humble here. Who'da thunk?
33 "Cheers (Drink to That)" - Rihanna
"Put it all on my card tonight, Might be mad in the morning but you know we're going hard tonight"
I seriously doubt that Rihanna has to worry about putting anything on her card these days, but her understanding of the poor person's 9-5 mentality is sound. "Cheers to the freakin' weekend, I'll drink to that" she slurs as even the beat stumbles drunkenly on. But everyone is okkkkaaaaay, don't worry, everything's just peachy. It's this laid back attitude that worked on "What's My Name?", but it works even better here, all campfire strummed guitars and drunken mob backing vocals, and even a karaoke section. Genius. And I feel the need to mention the Avril Lavigne sample so here I go: THAT Avril Lavigne sample. Thanks.
32 "Out of Tune" - Real Estate
And now for something completely different. On Real Estate's single "Out of Tune" the spirit of the Beach Boys hovers above, but never quite reaches ground, and so Real Estate's wonderful guitar tones are left floating in space; dreamy and exotic, but also rather lonely. There's a sense of resigned defeat about "Out of Tune", as if each strum of the guitar and murmur about weeping clowns is a brave smile that covers a deep sadness. As the track fades out, despite the sweeping melancholy, you can't help but feel you'd rather be here than wherever Real Estate wanted to go.
31 "Crossover" - Magnetic Man feat. Katy B
Katy B's solo debut "Katy On A Mission" showed her as tough, in control and manipulative, and so her warmth and welcoming on "Crossover" is hard to believe, and thus her silky tones have an air of foreboding about them. She tempts and teases without saying what she really means, offering to "put your every wrong to right", and all this talk of crossing over certainly suggests something of the dark side to me. But of course, none of this great performance would be half as good if it weren't for the eerie clamouring of MagMan's learing grin of a dubby backing track. Synths fly around like fireflies and the bass is subtle but threatening. It's only half a story told, but the track tells more by what it doesn't say.
OK, onwards with Boxing Day my chums! 30-21 tomorrah!