Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2006: Singles

In spite of some of the downright sickening discharge to seep into the charts this year, there’s also been an immense assortment of terrific music. Which undoubtedly is a good thing, but it made our final selection process all the more difficult.

Just a few of the magnificent tracks missing out on a placing include The Fratellis, We Are Scientists, Pink, The Upper Room, Amy Winehouse, Zero 7 and Lostprophets, but after much scrupulous forethought, we found our ten. Behold!

10. All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
Dismissed by many as part of the ominous emo influx, the same way they were dismissed a couple of years back as a post-Wheatus keg-rock cabaret joke, the All American Rejects power through regardless, transcending the lazy pigeonholing to make a contented, lively, casually genius work of art.

9. Outkast - Morris Brown
The fact that this breezy hip-pop lullaby didn’t even scrape the Top 40 is frankly preposterous. Nonetheless, Morris Brown is yet another envelope-pusher for Big Boi and Andre 3000, further proof that Outkast stand alongside Muse as one of the most ground-breaking, gifted and plucky acts in current music.

8. The Delays – Valentine
The mythological curse of the second album was all but obliterated by The Delays, replacing their grey echoes and wistful gazes into middle distance with a mightily ballsy pop album. Leading the charge was the awesome Valentine – overloaded with catchy hooks, brandishing a thumping bass, and headed up with soaring vocals, involuntary hip-jigging was invoked in anyone with functioning ears.

7. Arthur Baker & Tim Wheeler – Glow
This had the honour of being our Single of the Week twice in a row, and surprisingly not due to our own ineptitude (a postponed release date was the actual culprit). The harmonious handiwork of Tim Wheeler complete with added jet fuel made Glow one of the pivotal rock songs of 2006. And with the next Ash album due in Spring, we’re putting down the proverbial plastic sheets with excitement.

6. Beyoncé – Irreplaceable
Widely regarded amongst urban circles to be the worst thing she’s ever done, but since we don’t exactly have a residency at one of Oakland’s premier hip-hop venues, that shouldn’t be a problem. Between this and Ring The Alarm, Beyoncé Knowles has created the two greatest tracks of her solo career so far. Incidentally, if anyone happens to bump into MC Harvey over the holidays, feel free to serenade the tosspot with a verse or two of Irreplaceable. To the left, horse-fucker.

5. The Feeling - Fill My Little World
Given that 2006 was owned by The Feeling, at least one example of their finely-crafted musical perfection had to make an appearance here. It was an incredibly tough choice between this, Never Be Lonely and Sewn, but the rock sensibilities, jangly sunbeams and cordial longings of Fill My Little World eventually won out. We fully accept responsibility for any degree of overkill that may be on the horizon.

4. Phoenix - Consolation Prizes
Tuneful, handclappy pleasantry peppered with bursts of sober rock, Phoenix have crafted their ongoing labours into their finest creation so far in Consolation Prizes. It’s a wonder how so many of this year’s greatest tracks – Consolation Prizes included – went largely unnoticed, while some unspeakable tripe saturated playlists and ruled the charts. But we’ll save our bile for the Worst Singles list...

3. Guillemots - Trains To Brazil
Despite being lifted from the most depressingly disappointing album of 2006, Trains To Brazil is a man-sized portion of pure enchantment. Its initial release went over our heads, but luckily we were snagged second time around. It might be higher up our chart had it not encouraged us to purchase the puny album, but perhaps the untamed grandeur of this single is to blame for the rest of the album’s major inadequacies.

2. Cerys Matthews - Open Roads
Far from pioneering; boldly simple; uncharacteristically temperate; and a million miles from the vigorous, Cymrucentric, finely-tuned Catatonia. But when you’re presented with the most captivating, amiable, honest music ever to come out of the mastermind that is Cerys Matthews, you realise all of the above were mere quirks. The picturesque Open Roads set the benchmark for all female artists this year.

1. The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me
And finally, we arrive at the topmost track of 2006. Not content with putting in an appearance in our Albums list, one particular jewel in the crown of The Best Party Ever gleams ever so slightly brighter than the rest. From the bashful twinklings that open proceedings, to the merriment-heavy melody, to the adorably magnetic lyrics, to the screwball electro-country breakdown, Be Gentle With Me is, by an extensive margin, the greatest song of the year.

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