Hello again! More amazing taste.
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The Vaccines' record was by far the simplest, most straight up indie rock record of the year, and backed by the carefree, catchy teen-angst of the song writing, there was even something of the punk about it. Clocking in at a mere 1 minute 38 seconds, "Norgaard" sums up everything the band are about. It's short, it's sweet, its energy is mind-numbingly infectious and it's a crowd pleaser. Such is the onslaught of teenage hormones in this track that a second longer and the track would not be. Luckily, the Vaccines know what they're doing. And what they're doing is not much; they know they don't need to.
M83's "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" was a whole new kind of 80s collosus, a record that wasn't afraid to be epic, it was afraid not to be, and this track (much like all the others to be frank) holds a strong argument for the most dramatic thing on here. On the life-affirmingly bright "Reunion", guitars clang and echo like U2 and the melody hits the Chesney Hawkes rock anthem nerve like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. Sound awful? Maybe it is, but by god I love it.
M-83 Reunion by ProjectX1
"The Greatest Light is The Greatest Shade"
The Joy Formidable
TJF's debut, "The Big Roar" lived deliciously up to its grand title, rocking mid-tempo like it was the 90s, but the real treat lies at the end of the record with "The Greatest Light...". Battering ram guitars and a hypnotic hook give this track a truly euphoric stomp that is the perfect way to round off such a satisfying record.
Somewhat out of the blue, like a female Hurts, Charli XCX quietly flew the flag for romantic goth-pop in 2011, almost single handedly with this haunting track. Industrial beats and emotionally wrought vocals recall The Cure, and an eerie melody that nods towards Kate Bush, this girl has a lot to live up to after this debut single.
"Que Que" (feat. Maluca & Diplo)Dillon Francis
One of the most enjoyable dance music EPs of the year, Dillon Francis' Moombahton EP "Westside" was fresh sounding and irresistible, honing down everything addictive about the genre. Female latin rapper Maluca lays down some sharp verses, and Diplo's presence is heard in the piercing synth sirens that ride a bass-heavy Reggaeton beat. Too quirky to make it mainstream, but this is a crying shame, as it's one of the best dance tracks of the year.
Don't do hallucinogens before watching the video by the way.
"Wildfire" (feat. Yukimi Nagano)
Unusual and understated, "Wildfire" is the classiest dubstep track of the year, in no small favour to Little Dragon singer Yukimi Nagano, who's shimmering, eerie tones provide this track with it's magic. Though this is not to discredit SBTRKT however, for the simple groove and niggling bass line prove to be slyly addictive.
"Last Friday Night"
Yes, it was released last year on "Teenage Dream" the album, but Last Friday Night really came into its own when it was released as a single, as it was always meant to be. Leaving it as a secret weapon for 2011 turned out to be a great idea, a moderately entertaining extended video only aiding its success, and reminding us why we loved Katy Perry's music in the first place. It's irresponsible-message pop, but Katy Perry's big doe eyes and sugary country-tinged belt make it all seem like good fun. Even when she vomits in a shoe in the video. But "such an epic fail" - still cringey.
Although it's string-laden drama-hop strongly recalls Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy", Emeli Sande's "Heaven" has an emotional urgency rather than a melancholy, in no small part down to Emeli's aching vocal. Emeli is only 24, but she sounds like a woman in conflict with herself, and she feels every word of phrases such as "Will you recognise me? When I'm lying on my back, something's gone inside me, and I can't get it back", and especially as she yelps "then I'm gone" repeatedly at the close of the song. As a singer, Sande has a maturity beyond her years, and especially beyond the expected abilities of a new talent. The melody is pretty beautiful too, which helps.
As opener's go, "Lion's Share" is hardly an attention grabber. But then again, none of "Smother" is. That's the beauty of it. Calming down slightly with every record since their debut, their third record opens with their most haunting song to date. It's dark and seductive as ever, a pulsing synth and romantic piano being the only needed backing for Hayden Thorpe's cabaret croon. His voice is delightfully toned down (comparatively), and the sheer beauty of the spiralling melody for "Boy, what you running from?" is all the more for it.
"Call It What You Want"
Foster the People
Foster the People understood the need for party music in 2011, and although "Pumped Up Kicks" is the perfect teen anthem, there's something even more rebellious about "Call It What You Want". "What's your style and who do you listen to? WHO CARES." goes one lyric, quite possibly one of my favourite of the year. Piano led, funky and thoroughly catchy as always, Foster the People aren't 'cool' in the traditional sense (like floppy haired indie boys making dance music are ever cool, Friendly Fires being the exception) but on "CIWYW" they are telling you, very fleetingly mind, that they don't give a fuck, and they just want to dance. And when they make tracks like this, who can blame them?
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TOMORROW, #30-#21, Arrivederci!