Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2009: Singles

After the liberal spewing-forth of bile that was our Worst Singles of 2009, we now counter the acrimony with some lovely Christmas arse-kissing in the form of our Best Singles countdown. Sadly, as with the albums list, there was a worryingly low amount of decent material to select from – but that said, we’ve chosen to discount Ash and their A-Z series, as they could easily have taken up half the list.

Special mention must also go to the Noisettes, Animal Kingdom, Daniel Merriweather (for Impossible, most certainly not Red), Athlete, Pink, Skunk Anansie and the Holloways, who all fail to make the cut. We’re sure they’re devastated.

10. Innerpartysystem - Don't Stop
An oversized slice of hefty, synthy juggernaut rock, Don’t Stop was a triumphant transition from remixers du jour to front-and-centre rockband. The Pennsylvania natives may not have set the charts alight over thisaway, but it’s difficult to fault the output – and if Don’t Stop is any indication, Innerpartysystem’s electrifying material will soon be speaking for itself.

9. Alesha Dixon - Breathe Slow
Amidst all the novelty mambo singles, the endless scabloid tattle, and the ill-selected judging role on Strictly Come Dancing, the best thing to ever emerge from Alesha Dixon’s musical catalogue was somewhat overlooked. Breathe Slow, a twiddly electroballad from Soulshock & Karlin, made the Top 3 in February, and underlined Dixon as a formidable solo artist.

8. Absent Elk - Sun & Water
A horribly-underrated track which unfortunately fell on very few ears, but it certainly worked its charms on us. Big, opulent strings and sweeping chords made Sun & Water the kind of classic indie anthem that would’ve turned many a head just a few short years ago when dial-a-rappers and Pixie frickin’ Lott weren’t the be-all and end-all for UK radio.

7. Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
We’re sorry. Really, really sorry. So, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry. Mi dispiace. Je suis désolé. Gabh mo leiscéal. Perdón. Jammer. Desculpe. Yes, we feel thoroughly ashamed to be doing this, but Boom Boom Pow was an addiction too hard to fight. Simultaneously one of the best and worst songs of the year, the Black Eyed Peas have successfully woven whichever evil magicks we’d managed to swerve since Shut Up. Sorry once again. Really.

6. Weezer – (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
The tremendous Pork & Beans topped our Best Singles of 2008 list, and still sounds as awesome today. But no, Weezer weren’t content with that, and elected to craft yet another pop-rock paragon to invoke a smile in every listener. And while ensuing album Raditude may have fallen on the wrong side of gimmicky, this track confirms there’s still many a classic in the band yet.

5. Kings of Leon – Revelry
It may have taken a back seat to both Sex On Fire and Use Somebody as far as Only By The Night’s singles went down acclaim-wise and performance-wise, but Revelry’s soft, moderate melodies coupled with raw sincerity make for overall an incredibly human, engaging piece of music. A stark – and very welcome – reversal from the buzz-riding mulletsmiths Kings of Leon once were.

4. The Boy Least Likely To - Every Goliath Has Its David
The lead single and standout track from the truly splendid The Law of the Playground album, Every Goliath Has Its David may well be The Boy Least Likely To’s greatest song since Be Gentle With Me. Merging a endearing underdog sentiment with a mighty chorus only serves to tell its tale with even greater conviction, and inadvertently brings out the squeeing fan at Sloppy Dog Towers with incredible ease. Marvellous stuff.

3. VV Brown - Leave!
Initial plays of Leave! gave us the impression it was largely a Crying Blood rehash. No bad thing, when you consider the brilliance of Crying Blood, but Leave! soon stood up on its own as a gut-wrenching breakup tale buried within an upbeat, passionate, doo-wop work of art. And although follow-up singles Shark In The Water and Game Over appeared to steer her in another direction, this is VV doing what she does best. Well, that and weirding people out on Twitter.

2. Hockey - Learn To Lose
A risky, but highly effective, fusion of spirited indie and old-school funk, Learn To Lose introduced us to a band that failed to disappoint in 2009. Hockey’s inimitable rock-for-the-dancefloor enchantment was carried throughout their outstanding album and live performances, but the contagious radiance of Learn To Lose was rightly turned into their calling card – something we imagine they’ll be using well into 2010 and beyond.

1. Stereophonics – Innocent
While not strictly a single, given the label’s decision to pull it at the final second, it largely functioned as such, and as a result, makes it to the top of our list. Reinvigorating the Stereophonics’ sound with an infectious, dynamic hook and seemingly some much-improved vocals courtesy of Kelly Jones, it was the perfect taster for album Keep Calm & Carry On, and provided the band with their greatest song since Dakota. And if this is the kind of thing Radio 1 deem too ‘old’ for their playlist, then sod ‘em. Radio 2 all the way, baby.

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