Saturday, December 19, 2009

OK--100 Top Albums of the Decade--IN ORDER

I have been coming under some pressure lately to list the top 100 albums of the decade as chosen by me, so I reevaluated many of the albums that made my favorites list and ordered them into a line. Here goes:

99) PRIMAL SCREAM--Xtrmntr
98) PIPETTES--We Are the Pipettes
97) LUCKY SOUL--The Great Unwanted
96) PATRICK WOLF--The Magic Position
95) YEAH YEAH YEAH'S--It's Blitz!
94) VAMPIRE WEEKEND--Vampire Weekend
93) FROU FROU--Details
92) PREFAB SPROUT--Let's Change the World With Music
91) FLAMING LIPS--Yoshimi vs. the Pink Robots

90) DAVID SYLVIAN--Manafon
89) DAVID SYLVIAN & NINE HORSES--Snow Borne Sorrow
88) DRAGONETTE--Fixin to Thrill
87) JUNIOR SENIOR--Hey Hey My My Yo Yo
86) SCRITTI POLITTI--White Bread Black Beer
85) SCOTT WALKER--The Drift
84) LAST SHADOW PUPPETS--Age of the Understatement
83) SCISSOR SISTERS--Scissor Sisters
81) ROYKSOPP--The Understanding

80) ELBOW--Cast of Thousands
79) NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS--Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
78) JENS LEKMAN--Night Falls Over Kortedala
77) MARC ALMOND--Stranger Things
76) HUMAN LEAGUE--Secrets
75) THOM YORKE--The Eraser
74) ARCTIC MONKEYS--Whatever They Say I Am That's What I'm Not
73) BLACK BOX RECORDER--Passionoia
72) THE PRESETS--Apocalypso
71) CICADA--Roulette

69) THE TEARS--Here Come the Tears
68) AMY WINEHOUSE--Back to Black
67) MOLOKO--Statues
66) A GIRL CALLED EDDY--A Girl Called Eddy
65) BASEMENT JAXX--Kish Kash
64) LILY ALLEN--Alright, Still
63) FRANZ FERDINAND--You Could Have it So Much Better
62) PULP--We Love Life
61) SIGUR ROS--Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilium Endalaust

60) LADYHAWKE--Ladyhawke
59) GWEN STEFANI--Love. Angel.Music.Baby.
58) THE KNIFE--Deep Cuts
57) KYLIE MINOGUE--Light Years
56) KEANE--Hopes & Fears
55) CURVE--Gift
54) IMOGEN HEAP--Speak For Yourself
53) SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR--Trip the Light Fantastic (extended)
52) CYNDI LAUPER--Bring Ya to the Brink
51) DARREN HAYES--This Delicate Thing We've Made

50) GUILLEMOTS--Through the Window Pane
49) LILY ALLEN--It's Not Me, It's You
48) DIVINE COMEDY--Victory for the Comic Muse
47) RACHEL STEVENS--Come & Get It
46) M.I.A.--Arular
44) GRACE JONES--Hurricane
43) BLACK BOX RECORDER--The Facts of Life
42) DARREN HAYES--The Tension & the Spark
41) THE KNIFE--Silent Shout

40) GIRLS ALOUD--Tangled Up
39) THE KILLERS--Hot Fuss
38) DRAGONETTE--Galore
37) MORRISSEY--You Are the Quarry
36) DIVINE COMEDY--Absent Friends
34) KIRSTY MACCOLL--Tropical Brainstorm
33) ANNIE--Anniemal
32) GOLDFRAPP--Felt Mountain
31) ROISIN MURPHY--Ruby Blue

29) DEPECHE MODE--Playing the Angel
28) SIOUXSIE--Mantaray
27) TRACEY THORN--Out of the Woods
26) ROYKSOPP--Junior
25) MADONNA--Music
24) FRANZ FERDINAND--Franz Ferdinand
22) LA ROUX--La Roux
21) COLDPLAY--A Rush of Blood to the Head

20) KATE BUSH--Aerial
19) RUFUS WAINWRIGHT--Want One & Two
18) M.I.A.--Kala
17) RADIOHEAD--Kid A/Amnesiac
16) JUSTICE--Cross
15) GOLDFRAPP--Seventh Tree
14) BJORK--Vespertine
13) CUT COPY--In Ghost Colours
12) PET SHOP BOYS--Fundamental
11) ROBYN--Robyn

10) SAINT ETIENNE--Tales From Turnpike House

These require a little more explanation, as I feel if they were important enough to make it into the top 10 of the decade, they were pretty damn good. While Saint Etienne produced one other exceptionally good album in the 00's (Finisterre), it failed to make the list. So what makes Turnpike House so special? After Etienne temporarily disbanded in the 90's for a couple years, they reunited to make a decidedly acoustic album, Good Humour, followed rather quickly by 2000's experimentally austere Sound of Water. While these albums were quite good in their own right, it took Etienne a few tries to rediscover what made them so perfect in the first place. While Finisterre had many good things going for it--a fantastic lead single in "Action", and lots of electro-clash referencing, it didn't have a solid organic feeling that many of their earlier records did, more like they were trying styles on for size. Tales From Turnpike House (2005) brought all the important elements back together: the catchy melodies, the retro references, the variety of arrangements, and most importantly, the Englishness. Speaking as an American who has always loved many things English, this may be one of the most English records of the decade. Even better is the fact that it plays as a day in the life of an English community, from morning till night. Beginning with the lovely "Sun in My Morning", followed quickly by the epic mini-suite of "Milk Bottle Symphony", only to be followed by the smashing "Lightning Strikes Twice" (a mantra for the band if I ever heard one), the punch of these three opening songs makes it hard to believe that none of them were even officially released as singles. Other standouts would have to be the toe-tappy "Good Thing" (an Etienne single-template if there ever was one), the haunting "Slow Down at the Castle", the stroll-worthy "Side Streets" with its fantastic vocal arrangement, the Carrie Bradshaw-baiting "Stars Above Us", and the superb "Teenage Winter", which has some of the best spoken word lyrics of any pop song, ever. All this closes with the tender "Goodnight", replete with Brian Wilson references. While some people don't approve of the David Essex-crashing "Relocate", the song is rather endearing in a grandfatherly sort of way. Strangely enough (or not), the US edition of this album (which was released nearly a year later), features a completely different running order, and removed "Relocate" (Americans cannot handle Essex's voice apparently), and replaced it with three new tracks, "Dream Lover", "I'm Falling", and the rocky "Oh My", which is more in the tone of "Relocate", and features some great lyrics about Brad Pitt, James Spader, Mozart, M83, Stevie Nicks, and Josie and the Pussycats. What shows the strength of this album best is that, even in its newly mixed-up state, it still shines. What is even best is combining both versions to make an ultimate edition. That is the true test of a good album--it can hold together in almost any configuration. Etienne nailed it here, and now with their recent remaster campaign, I cannot wait to see how they release a definitive version of this album. Even Xenomania produced "Lightning Strikes Twice", and it was NOT a single. Blasphemy!

9) ANNIE--Don't Stop & All Night EP

I don't really know what to say about this album that hasn't already been said, but basically, Annie came up with some fantastic songs over the course of several years, and even with the many producers involved, it holds together quite well in similar fashion to the previously mentioned Etienne album. What sets this apart from her debut, Anniemal, is the advances in writing and production, and basically Annie's refusal to let this project die by persuing every avenue she could until this album had a legitimate release. The songs that were cast aside for the All Night EP were every bit as good as the songs which made the album ("I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me" was even the lead single; "Anthonio" was one as well), and deserved a place alongside the album tracks, hence their inclusion here. The new songs by producer Paul Epworth particularly shine ("Hey Annie", "Don't Stop", "I Don't Like Your Band", "All Night"), but the other songs can hold their own as well, with favorites being "Bad Times", "Songs Remind Me Of You", "Sweet", and "Marie Cherie". It all comes down to perserverence and panache, and Annie had both in spades. It may not set the charts alight, but rarely does that happen anyhow.


Basement Jaxx made a better-than-decent debut record with Remedy in 1999, but really upped the ante with 2001's Rooty, a record which made people beg the question, "Where's Your Head At?" This album was the sound of modern techno-funk in the new millennium, and it was so good, they've been chasing it with mixed results ever since. Kish Kash (2003) was pretty damn good as well, while 2006's Crazy Itch Radio and 2009's Scars were more hit and miss affairs with diminishing returns. Jaxx took a template they learned from the Chemical Brothers by infusing their albums full of songs co-written and sung by many guest vocalists, some well-known, and some unknown. Rooty remains fresh to this day due to the lack of previous expectations, compact song structures (a new rarity in the era of house music), and the sheer joy Jaxx have experimenting with a massive array of styles. "Romeo" opens the record by being one of the catchiest songs of the year, and featuring the diva-esque vocals Jaxx have become so famous for, surrounded by a carnival atmosphere. Daft Punk had made good with their Discovery album a few months earlier, and Rooty was its funky soul-sister, as exemplified by the Prince-inspired track, "Breakaway". I'll never forget the first time I heard this song in the car, and the bass literally slammed me to the floor. In fact, Prince is probably the biggest touchstone for this record, in the way that it has the funk, but also suggestive lyrics verging on nasty, as with "SFM" and "Get Me Off" (an homage to Prince's "Gett Off"?) "Jus 1 Kiss" is euphoric house music with a latin-flair, while "Broken Dreams" goes even further into latin-spiced balladry. "I Want U" and "Crazy Girl" have a bit of the Vanity 6 vibe, while "Where's Your Head At?" sampled Gary Numan to great new-wave effect, and "Do Your Thing" was featured heavily in TV ads as some goofy 1920's flapper tribute. Kish Kash came along next, and featured star turns from many celebs who could keep up with Jaxx vocally, including ex-N'Syncer JC Chasez, Me'Shell N'Degeocello, Siouxsie Sioux, and Dizzee Rascal, but rarely were the Jaxx ever this spontaneously funky again. Still, they have yet to make a bad record, and they have five under their belts.

7) GOLDFRAPP--Supernature

Or the album where Goldfrapp cemented their mass appeal pop-status. Supernature was a special record, because, as with every Goldfrapp album, it took them to the next level creatively and in notoriety. Featuring a fantastic cover shot of Alison Goldfrapp's bare back and a dress made of peacock feathers against a glittery stage curtain, Supernature was the kind of album that exuded class and elegance while exploring sounds of the past in challenging new ways. The electro-stomp of "Ooh La La" was glam updated for a new generation, featuring silly lyrics to an incessently driving beat. Kylie Minogue would copy this a few years later with "2 Hearts" (single AND video), but Alison was there first. In fact, much of Supernature feels like the album Kylie Minogue has been trying to make for a dozen years, not that her albums are bad, they just don't feel as authentic. Prince is a similar touchstone here, with "Lovely 2 C U" and "U Never Know" being particular reference points. "Ride a White Horse", one of the great singles of the 21st century, is definitely glam-inspired (T.Rex in many ways), but has the heartbeat of disco. "Koko" and "Beautiful" seem Numan-esque, while "Satin Chic" updates electro-cabaret to new levels. Of course, it wouldn't be Goldfrapp without lush ballads, so "Let It Take You" and "Time Out From the World" are rather seductive John Barry-ish offerings. The real stunners on Supernature may be two of the best singles, "Fly Me Away" and "Number 1", being two of the most direct and emotional lyrics Alison has ever delivered from paper to microphone. They are wonderful, concise songs that would continue to influence her songs like "A&E" and "Caravan Girl" from the follow-up, Seventh Tree, another great album in a completely different style, which just shows that if the material is good, it can withstand many transformations. Supernature was super on my stereo in 2006.


Another 2009 album I feel I have already said a lot about (just look back at my past reviews), but let me say that choosing to work with star producers like Xenomania after doing an album with star producer Trevor Horn was an inspired choice, one which they hoped would bring them more mainstream appeal (it didn't really). However, it was the best album they made in nearly 20 years, and while some may quibble with that statement, I feel it was their most consistently well-produced and uplifting album in a while. That does not mean I don't think Fundamental was brilliant (I mean, it is #12 here), and Nightlife and Bilingual great as well (maybe Release less so), but what's not to love here? "Love Etc." is a catchy little earworm that won't let go (and does that disaffected irony they do so well), "All Around the World" has THAT Tchaikovsky sample (talk about a big-sounding song), "Beautiful People" has that element of "are they serious?" while still managing to be touching, "Did You See Me Coming?" is a play-on-words euphoria with kick ass melody and Johnny Marr on guitar, and "Vulnerable" has that spinning melodic quality that Neil harnesses so well with his turn of phrase. And that's only side 1! (Yes, I own the vinyl). "More Than a Dream" is their best radio song in a while that didn't get played, "Building a Wall" both comical and scary simultaneously, "King of Rome" their most beautiful melody since Behaviour, "Pandemonium" a song Kylie would (or should) kill for, "The Way It Used to Be" one of their best dance ballads EVER, and "Legacy" brainy only in the way that Neil Tennant puts things together--epic. Add in the throwaway bonus track duet with Phil Oakey, "This Used to Be the Future" (this album's "Fugitive"), and what else can be said. Perfection.

5) MADONNA--Confessions on a Dance Floor

Madonna hired Stuart Price has her tour band leader a while before plunging into studio work with him on Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005), her best album of the decade. Madonna had a serious pop comeback of sorts after Evita with Ray of Light (1997) and Music (2001), being known for always pushing the envelope visually, and becoming known moreover for sonic exploration. Apparently Mirwais was good for a couple singles, but having him produce virtually all of American Life (2003) sent Madonna's career spinning. The singles tanked, and while a critical success on many levels, for somebody who built their career on selling records, this was a big problem (the album struggled to reach a million copies in the US). Call in Price, a guy becoming famous for his Thin White Duke remixes of many pop records, and hot new producer extraordinaire. What Price did with Confessions was to put the fun back into Madonna, and remove much of the self-conscious political posturing present from the previous album. COADF plays as a continous party album from beginning to end, with no breaks and no letdowns. Most know this album for the ABBA-raping "Hung Up" sample for "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!", but what makes it special here is the way it becomes integrated into the music, not content to simply act as a hook. One thing this album also became known for is the popularization of that "underwater" effect with everything getting soft and muffled before gradually building into an explosion of frenzied dance music, and "Hung Up" as a track displays this perfectly. Followed by "Get Together" and "Sorry", two of the best singles of that period, Madonna recaptures the excitement she had from the opening three songs from the Music album ("Music", "Impressive Instant", "Runaway Lover"), proving that the excitement is back. Here, she keeps the energy going with the "I Feel Love" sampling, Indian off-beat melody of the drifty, pulsing "Future Lover", the lyrically batshit-crazy "I Love New York" (why wasn't this a #1 hit Jay-Z?), and the string-y, reflective "Let It Will Be", wrapping up the first half. The second half features Madonna's second song (and the better one) to be called "Forbidden Love", Pet Shop Boys-inspired "Jump" (another fantastic single which got little love), electro masterpieces "How High", "Isaac", "Push", and the defiant "Like It Or Not", closing the album up in a fantastic box. In retrospect, while much of the songwriting here is quite good, the songs from her recent Hard Candy album may be nearly-or-as-good, but the Timbaland and Pharrell arrangements just killed it. Madonna does best when surrounded by the extraordinary, and desperate grabs at a hip-hop audience don't do her any favors. COADF put her back on top with sales and image (less leotard now please), and was an avenue she would be wise to travel close to again.

4) DAFT PUNK--Discovery

While I hesitate to laud praise on this duo--I mean, this album came out almost 10 years ago, and they've been milking it ever since, it is an absolute classic, and set the stage for many other albums that followed it. All the more depressing that since its release, they have made one bad album, (Human After All, 2005), a bad movie (Electroma), a great live album from a great tour (2007), and lended many tracks to Kanye West for his electro-raping tendencies. However, no exceptionally good music for nearly a decade is hard to dismiss, so let's look back on the brilliance that was Discovery. At the time, Daft Punk were considered just another techno band, the French equivalent of the Chemical Brothers, but less dreamy and more house-y than Parisian counterparts, Air. Daft Punk really took a leap on Discovery, looking back to classic disco for inspiration, while giving it a shiny new electronic sheen. Some of it became a bit repetitive (an idea they exploited too far on the next release), but it was mostly a fantastic flash of color and rhythm in an otherwise teen-pop era. From the killer opening of "One More Time", a party anthem if there ever was one, to the ten-minute closer of "Too Long" (not really), Discovery is infused with the sounds of the 70's anew--hell, top notch single "Digital Love" even sits somewhere between Supertramp and the Buggles. "Aerodynamic" became famous for its keytar solo, and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" for its appearance in commercials and West association. What pulls this album together is its flawless segues and consistent energy throughout, mixed with an ebuillence they need to locate again. There isn't a duff track here. Even the under-two-minutes interlude of "Nightvision" is a lovely 10cc homage. Brilliant--I'm gonna go play it now!

3) GOLDFRAPP--Black Cherry

I think I've already touched on my love for this duo, but let me say this is their cornerstone so far. Goldfrapp's first album, Felt Mountain, was mostly quite dreamy, and felt like it was made in some desolate Swiss chalet. Even the singles, "Utopia" and "Pilots" had a somewhat cold and clinical sensation--the former being some operatic electro-anthem, the latter a lost James Bond theme. So when Black Cherry opens with the hard electro-thump of "Crystalline Green", it comes as a bit of a shock. If that weren't shocking enough, the twitchy analog glam that is "Train" makes one wonder if these were even made by the same people. "Black Cherry" is possibly the most beautiful, lush ballad of the decade, fractured and direct, it comes from a place of real heartbreak. "Tiptoe" seems rather naughty, and is quite dark electro which came along during electroclash, but seems more inspired by bands like Cabaret Voltaire whom Alison cite as an influence. She even sounds very masculine at the beginning of the song as well. "Deep Honey" and "Hairy Trees" follow (very sexual titles, no?), and seem like very uneasy electro ballads, with buzzy vibrating synths in the background, and somewhat intentionally garbled lyrics. Two of the best, and I mean THE BEST singles of the decade follow: "Twist"--carnal carnival electric disco, and "Strict Machine"--Kraftwerk meets Bowie in electro glam heaven. Just when you think it cannot get better comes "Forever", and incredible electro ballad, and then the album closes concisely with the dada-esque grind of the mainly instrumental "Slippage". Goldfrapp also had some great B-sides in this era (notably their cover of "Yes Sir I Can Boogie"), and also had some wonderful songs that were never released on album, although it did seem as though a bit of time had passed between the first and second album, and they didn't really seem content with revisiting any themes from the past here. Black Cherry was definitely the album that moved Goldfrapp forward, and it became a trademark of theirs to always expect the unexpected, something they have maintained over four albums in a decade. The fifth releases in early 2010. Will they be able to keep the momentum?

2) LADY GAGA--The Fame Monster

I believe I said everything I wanted to say about this album in my recent year-end 2009 post, naming it #1. You can read about it in the following post below.

1) ROISIN MURPHY--Overpowered

Some may find this a bit of a surprise that this was #1 for me for the entire decade, but this album not only rocks, it rocks my world. It came along at a time when there was some turmoil at my job and things were somewhat chaotic in my personal life, so it was an album I could always escape to. That being said, I believe Roisin is a true star and icon, and although she would probably not admit to that as she seems so humble and rather nice, I think she has an amazing talent for somebody with no real formal training when it comes to writing, singing, and performing. She is fearless when it comes to pursuing what it is she wishes to pursue, and Overpowered was both a reaction to the lack of sales success of her solo debut, Ruby Blue (2005), and her new deal (although possibly short lived) with EMI. If she never makes another record with EMI, at least she has forged some tremendous musical alliances which should carry her for quite a while. She had a baby last week (congratulations!), which is probably her #1 release of the decade(!), and she's got a new album waiting around the corner containing one crazy cut-n-paste funk jam we've already heard, "Orally Fixated". But this is about Overpowered.

First of all, the music. The title track opens the record with its rather understated sequenced squishy synth against a ticking metronomic rhythm. Her voice rides like a soothing mantra atop the waves of chimes and spooky electro--a song so thoroughly modern and in debt to retro at the same time. "You Know Me Better" follows, a song deserving of so much more attention--Madonna wishes she had done this. "Checkin' on Me" is more funky, sorta like some Lisa Stansfield blue-eyed soul funk, but Ro's vocal is absolutely effortless and flawless. This leads into one of her best vocal performances ever, and one of the greatest songs of the decade, "Let Me Know", which opens with a tentative vocal over tinkly piano fills, only to explode into disco/house grandeur. "Movie Star" is a fantastic driving electro song, channeling Annie Lennox in her glory days (if Annie would only do things like this more often). "Primitive" is the quirky kind of dark electro-soul ballad that simply simmers in Roisin's hands. The second half of the album is no less filled with excellent material: "Footsteps" is fun and Prince-y, with a bit of bounce and some great vocals, "Dear Miami" is almost hip-hop, with it's jittery guitar and sparse electronics, "Cry Baby" positively chugs a disco cowbell for 6 minutes, "Tell Everybody" is a rather underrated funk ballad with some shades of Timbaland, and "Scarlet Ribbons" ends proceedings as a lovely soul-reggae ballad dedicated to her father, sharing some similarities with Grace Jones' "I've Done It Again". If that weren't enough, two bonus tracks follow which blend seamlessly with the album--the funky "Body Language", and the brooding electronica of "Parallel Lives", produced by Richard X.

It is also a testimony to Roisin at the amount of great songs which were either released as B-sides or demos, or not released at all, that show what an immense sense of self and grasp of her talents she possesses. Additionally, there were an amazing set of photos used for Overpowered, which included putting Roisin in fantastical fashion creations, mainly Viktor & Rolf designs, in ordinary settings--a park, a diner, a streetcorner. Many of these themes also carried over into the music videos. The title track featured her riding a bus home after a show in a couture gown, only to sit on the toilet and go to bed in it. "Let Me Know" turned a diner into a disco, where she wore some crazy outfit she could dance around the patrons in. "You Know Me Better" depicted her almost like a shut-in in a house full of couture clothes and wigs, and was beautifully shot almost like portraits. The final clip, "Movie Star", was like a John Waters casting couch gone insane, and featured a motley cast of cross-dressing ghouls and a big red lobster with an appetite. All of these elements add up to what was undoubtedly the best album of the decade, with not one single weak song, B-side, or video. Far from the biggest selling album of the decade, it deserved so much better. But then again, it's kind of fun keeping her as a bit of a secret. If I keep layering praise like I am here though, people might eventually get the hint. Some want a Moloko reunion, and while I liked Moloko for what they were, I think Roisin can do many things on her own, and doesn't really need that situation again. She can do whatever she wants--the world is her oyster (or lobster).

Happy now haters? (just kidding)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: 2009 Edition

I hope this isn't premature. After all, the magazines have started issuing their picks for albums of the year. Ususally I am a bit later, but this time I wanted to compile and collate all on my own without the outside influence of other...influences. In other words, let me guide you through the waters that were the rough & tumble of the past 12 months, including some of the best pop (and decidedly non-pop) music ever made. Let's just say that a global recession breeds harder-working popstars.

Without further ado, here is your guide:

1) LADY GAGA--The Fame Monster

This may come as a shock, but I really didn't care for LG much until about two months ago. I suddenly came to the realization that she is just about the hardest working woman in showbiz. Then "Bad Romance" leaked--a song that made her international smash "Poker Face" seem like child's play. Nonsensical rhymes, booming drums, buzzing synths, a chorus ABBA could have written, and the best video of the past decade... all came together. The Fame Monster, originally intended as an answer to her debut album, The Fame, was a mere 8 tracks whipped into shape to be sold as bonus tracks for The Fame re-release. Wisely (in America, anyway), Gaga campaigned (aka fought) her record label, liberating The Fame Monster as its own entity (you could still purchase it with the debut for a fraction of the cost). These songs could more than stand on their own...they tell a concise story, devoid of filler, as Gaga puts her best feet forward to show just how far she has come. A 35-minute album may seem short by today's standards, but with the limited attention span of the modern listener, Lady Gaga has single-handedly redefined what an album can be in the 21st century (well, along with Maxwell's new 37-minute offering). If anything, this goes back to the length of early albums from the 50's and 60's, or art-school albums from 70's artists like Kraftwerk and David Bowie, who would sometimes only feature 6-8 songs per album. Even into the 80's, early Madonna records would only feature 8 or 9 songs, Like a Virgin in particular featuring only one song reaching just over the 5-minute mark. Only when the CD was introduced as a format did musicians think they needed to fill out every corner with material nobody really wanted to revisit (yes, I am talking to you Tori & Alanis). Now that downloading seems to have taken hold, the definition of "album" has once again been defined by Lady Gaga, as we now can excise those songs we do not care for from our iPod playlists.

Now, about the music. "Bad Romance" is the biggest sounding record I heard all year. RedOne's production has grown by leaps and bounds, as he was able to bring his year of growth and experience back to camp Gaga as well. The spoken bits are great too--no lyrics about soy lattes aloud. Even the edited version is funny, with "bitch" being replaced by "bit", making me think of bits and bytes, and how Gaga is some kind of computer-generated version of Stefani Germanotta. This was followed by "Alejandro", my favorite non-single single of the year, and definitely a candidate for one. If ever a song screamed Ace of Base (by way of ABBA) meets "La Isla Bonita", this is it. Latin speaking fans will go nuts! "Monster" completes the head-scrambling tri-fecta of the first three songs, all 80's 808's and Lisa Lisa riffs, aided in the chorus by Gaga-speak ("ma-ma-ma-monster"). There's also something very sinister about that Eurythmicized synth-bass--it kills me every time. Speaking of killing, "he ate my heart and then he ate my brain" is a decidedly horrifying yet simultaneously humorous image. Rounding out "Side 1" is "Speechless", a rock ballad that might feel out of place to some, but to me, I feel like I've just heard the first side of my favorite new record, and what an excellent glam-ballad to end it with. Let's not forget the top-notch performance Gaga turns in as well--one could go so far as to say that, throughout The Fame Monster, she has finally found a voice with some character, an affliction suffered by The Fame's more simple, more generic construction. The Fame was pleasant, FMonster grabs you by the throat.

"Side 2" kicks off with the delicious "Dance in the Dark", a morbid, gothic dance-track to set the Twilight fans alight. A spoken-word middle-8 name-checking dead women from Princess Diana to JonBenet Ramsey is startling as well, yet somehow, this song makes you feel good. "Telephone" is already a huge hit on the internets, with Beyonce's bit a fun little addition--not one which would have been missed had it not been there, but still fun. "So Happy I Could Die" is more reflective, and a bit sad, but still has a foot on the dancefloor. The final song, "Teeth", manages to do in 4 minutes what it took Christina Aguilera an entire double album to do--even the vocals are a bit reminiscent of Christina's more melismatic style, albeit with more menace (what is "bad girl meat" anyway?). By the time the album ends, we are left wanting more. When is the last time you could really say that about an album? I'd rather be left wanting more than wanting less.

In conclusion, this is not a passing fad. Germanotta has transformed herself into the persona Gwen Stefani wanted to be, but was afraid to upset her No Doubt fans (funny how "Stefani" is in both of their names). The Fame Monster was far more deserving than a set of bonus tracks, and now Gaga has set the bar quite high to match this for her next release, supposedly coming in the next 12 months. Hopefully she has learned something about what can make a successful album as well. Does the woman ever take a day off? (Her recent admission to Jay Leno that the most disturbing internet rumor she had heard about herself was that she was from Yonkers had me rolling, especially since nobody believes her age (23), or that she's not a man).


While this may come as a shock to some, Yes was a great album. A really great album. Containing nine pop songs of varying moods and colors, Pet Shop Boys rarely disappoint these days (maybe Release). "Love, Etc.", "Did You See Me Coming", and "All Around the World" were three of the best singles of the year. Add great album tracks like "Pandemonium", "More Than a Dream", and "The Way It Used to Be", and the album is one strong song followed by another. Matching that was the great visual campaign (used to much better effect than Depeche Mode's similar Sounds of the Universe cover), and great visuals on the tour, the best they've done in nearly 20 years. This is one more jewel in their crown. Where are their O.B.E.'s?

3) ANNIE--Don't Stop

I purposefully waited to include this album until 2009, as I never heard most of the leaked 2008 version, and I felt Annie needed an official validation. Thankfully, Don't Stop does not disappoint. While there may have been a couple songs that hit the cutting room floor bewilderingly (in particular, the singles "I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me" and "Anthonio"), Don't Stop's mix of producers still manages to produce a streamlined perfect pop record. Highlights include Richard X's "Songs Remind Me Of You" (candidate for song of the year), Timo's haunting "Marie Cherie", Xenomania's energetic "My Love is Better", "Bad Times", and "Loco", and (especially) Paul Epworth's three new contributions, the rousing "Hey Annie", the insistent "Don't Stop", and the even-better-than-"Girlfriend", "I Don't Like Your Band" (like "Chewing Gum" with balls). After being delayed a year, this album has been more than worth the wait. Next, please...

4) LA ROUX--La Roux

Elly & Ben together as La Roux created one of the most electrifying debuts of 2009. Once the listener acclimates themselves to Elly's sometimes strident vocal acrobatics, there are some real moments of touching electro-beauty, and a depth not present in many other youthful debuts. There is something akin to a brittle Yazoo-ish quality in these proceedings, especially on "Bulletproof", one of the best singles of the year. Even songs like "Tigerlily" seem to combine a creepy "Thriller"-ish vibe with an 80's Yazoo feel. Sometimes La Roux can even channel something tender, such as on the lovely "Cover My Eyes", featuring a gospel choir over glassy synths, locating a heart in the machine. A great debut, one which makes me excited to see what they come up with next.

5) ROYKSOPP--Junior

What a great album this was. Robyn, Karen from the Knife, Anneli Drecker, Lykke Li...all incredible Scandinavian artists, all wonderful additions to Junior. Supposedly there was an additional album of slower material recorded that has yet to surface. No matter. This album can stand fine on its own. A bit more synthy and less sample driven than previous efforts, this is an excellent electronic record that is also an excellent pop record. "Royksopp Forever" features no vocals, yet is a lush, orchestral highlight.

6) DRAGONETTE--Fixin to Thrill

If there were any reservations about Dragonette being able to follow up Galore with a worthy succesor, those fears were dashed with this great album. It seems horrendously unfair that Dragonette are not sitting on top of the world right now--I imagine if this album had come out 8 years ago, it would have been released by a major label, had millions spent on videos, and gotten onto dance as well as rock radio stations. While you can hear bits of influences throughout Dragonette's sound, whether it be No Doubt, Daft Punk, or Pat Benatar, they remain entirely original. Much of this is down to Martina Sorbara, a magnetic front-woman who morphs effortlessly from the driving intensity of the title track, to the country-romp of "Gone Too Far", to the electro-throb of "Liar". Add another notch in Dragonette's belt--now the world needs to hear them.


What can be said about Florence that hasn't been said already? She's won many awards for her blustery brand of orchestral pop, laced with tribal beats and twinkly harp. "Kiss With a Fist" remains a bit of a red herring, not really representative of what lies within. "Rabbit Heart", the first official single, was much more worthy of inclusion here, so much so that the newly assigned Sugababes V4.0 covered this song acoustically as one of their first promotional moves. There are loads of great songs here--"Howl", "Drumming Song", "Cosmic Love", "Hurricane Drunk", and the cover of "You've Got the Love" being particular highlights. What shines above all else though is that incredible voice. The US needs to wake up and about lungs...

8) LILY ALLEN--It's Not Me, It's You

Ah, Lily. You were angry this record did not come out in 2008 when it was completed, so you let us hear some of the songs in rough states months before the release. I am happy to report that her sophomore effort did not disappoint upon arrival, with songs like "The Fear" being even better in their finished, polished state. That being said, "Fuck You" was a particular highlight, slamming the Bush administration, "Everyone's At It", and "Back to the Start" jittery electro-anthems, and "I Could Say" and "Chinese" being rather grown-up reflections on facets of love. One criticism that gets placed on this album is Greg Kurstin's reliance on computerized beats, but I felt they supported Lily's vocals effortlessly and were more modern sounding, and Lily proved she was more than able to navigate the ska-less waters. A definite step forward.

9) CICADA--Roulette

I think many who heard Cicada's wonderful Roulette album when it came out early in the year have now likely placed it aside. Why do I believe this? Because it seems like people don't generally take Cicada seriously as a band. They began as a group of DJ/remixers, doing some wonderful work for artists like Depeche Mode and Client, but when Heidrun Bjornsdottir joined as a go-to singer, things really changed for them. This is their second album featuring Heidrun as the primary vocalist (once in a while somebody else steps in, such as Tom Smith from the Editors on "Executive"), and even though Heidrun is currently on hiatus to have a baby, the music that Cicada makes with her is quite special. "Love Don't Come Easy" and "Don't Stare at the Sun" are two particular favorite songs of mine from this year, and "Metropolis" and "Psycho Thrills" also made great singles. The album operates in a similar realm to the Royksopp album, but a bit more dance driven. Don't forget about them, or the fact that Heidrun also co-wrote all of the new Paul Epworth tracks added to Annie's Don't Stop.


Poor Little Boots. She has been raked across the coals for not being indie enough, not being pop enough, too contrived, too safe, and too boring. I beg to differ. Victoria Hesketh is a talented young lady who is still trying to find her singular voice, but she did turn out a stunning electro-pop album in the process. The very personal "New in Town", with its funky electro beat, may seem at odds with "Stuck on Repeat"'s glitchy robo-pop, but they are really two different angles on the same face. "Remedy" was a Greg Kurstin production that was also one of the catchiest songs of the year (America will get this track pushed more in 2010). "Earthquake" was quite Gary Numan-esque, while "Symmetry" is the second-best Phil Oakey duet of the year (and quite a coups for Boots as well). So give Little Boots a break. She made a damn good debut record--one hundreds of other artists would KILL to make.

The rest:

11) GOSSIP--Music for Men How can so few people make so much noise? Deserving of so much more attention.
12)DAVID SYLVIAN--Manafon Companion piece to Blemish, this one outdid that through sheer beauty and audacity. A staggering piece of art.
13) PREFAB SPROUT--Let's Change the World With Music Paddy wanted to change the world in 1992--it would take another 17 years to do it.
14) ARCTIC MONKEYS--Humbug Bah, this is a rifftastic album!
15) IAN BROWN--My Way Apparently his way does not include a Stone Roses reunion and does include a Zager & Evans cover. All the better...
16) EMILIE SIMON--The Big Machine What an amazing talent, she should be much more widely known. Ladies & gentlemen, meet the new Kate Bush (no, SERIOUSLY...)
17) BAT FOR LASHES--Two Suns Comparisons to Kate Bush and Bjork nonwithstanding, Natasha Khan speaks with a unique voice of her own. Brilliant Scott Walker cameo too.
18) PALOMA FAITH--Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? Unfairly slagged for lacking cred, Paloma is the full package--great looks, great songs, great voice. What's not to love?
19) YEAH YEAH YEAH'S--It's Blitz! Or where Nick Zinner declares his boredom with indie rock. Their best album yet (sorry purists...)
20) FILTHY DUKES--Nonsense in the Dark DJ collective makes a song-based album that is catchy AND well-written. Nice to know it is still possible in 2009.
21) CALVIN HARRIS--Ready for the Weekend Harris' sophomore effort is such an improvement from his first album, I don't even think it needs comment. And hey, he can be a charming vocalist too.
22) DAVID MCALMONT/MICHAEL NYMAN--The Glare Creating an entirely new genre by singing news stories over repetitive classical figures, McAlmont's search for new and stimulating forms of song are ever-expanding. Not to everyone's taste, but brilliant nonetheless.
23) YUKSEK--Away From the Sea In a year devoid of music from Daft Punk or Justice, Yuksek filled the void nicely...some might say handsomely, and to better effect. A fantastic debut album.
24) MARY ONETTES--Islands The 80's live! Mary Onettes succeed at Scandi-melancholy mixed with Bunnymen ambience, like a bigger sounding Shout Out Louds. If you ever liked Echo or the Cure, you really should hear these guys.
25) THE MUMMERS--Tale to Tell Singer Raissa takes chamber pop to new levels with full on band & orchestra arrangements to beautiful tunes of escapist melodrama. Amazing results.
26) POSTMARKS--Memoirs at the End of the World Florida's own have grown by leaps & bounds in just a couple of years, marrying old-school noir arrangements to little girl lost vocals. Scott Walker would have been proud.
27) MUSE--The Resistance Matt Bellamy & Co. get their full on Queen-via-classical music. Big, bold, pompous, pretentious, and irrepressable, this is not music for wallflowers. And yet, it works.
28) MARC ALMOND--Orpheus in Exile Thankfully Almond did not completely abandon his Russian song exploration before this fine album too shape and found a release. A beautifully personal collection of songs that would have been lost on the western world.
29) A-HA--Foot of the Mountain Returning from a long break, only to announce they are breaking up, A-Ha managed to come up with their finest full album in 25 years. Mining the electronic style they began with, at a simple 10 tracks, there is no filler here.
30) EDITORS--In This Light & On This Evening Guitar-goths hit the synthesizer highway in this delicious and dark new effort. The songwriting remains in place, but the music has more buzz and beat than it used to.
31) CAMERA OBSCURA--My Maudlin Career Camera Obscura operate like Belle & Sebastian fronted by Tracey Thorn, and on this latest effort, they are in very fine form. One of their best efforts, this is the sound of melancholic 2009.
32) LUKE HAINES--21st Century Man Bile never tasted so good. With odes to Peter Hammill and Klaus Kinski, Haines expresses his disdain with the lack of respect awarded to the 20th century as well as citing many hangovers we are still feeling. Another great album from one of the sharpest pens around.
33) SALLY SHAPIRO--My Guilty Pleasure One might not put Italo-disco and Sweden together, but maybe one should. Great sophomore effort from reclusive indie-dance maven & her producers.
34) THE HORRORS--Primary Colours Produced by Portishead's Geoff Barrow and (of all people) video director Chris Cunningham, the sophomore release from the Horrors was truly one of the pleasant surprises of 2009. Gone were the gothic punks, in were Can and Joy Division. One of the best examples of bootstrapping in a while.
35) EMPIRE OF THE SUN--Walking on a Dream Funny that it took these Australians to unite over some modern dance beats to make an album worthy of both of their talents. Silly but fantastic cover images sealed the deal. Hopefully they will make another???
36) JACK PENATE--Everything is New Similar to the Horrors' story, Penate scored producer Paul Epworth to help with his sophomore album, and what an improvement it was. It didn't sell loads, but it should have. Bringing African and tropical influences to the proceedings made this play like the less punky sister to Vampire Weekend.
37) ZOOT WOMAN--Things Are What They Used to Be Finally Stuart Price's band has made an album worthy of his name. Producer extraordinaire (Madonna, Killers, Seal, etc.), Zoot Woman always seemed a bit second rate until now. Great to see them finally get some recognition after three albums and nearly 10 years of work.
38) ROBBIE WILLIAMS--Reality Killed the Video Star After going away to find himself, apparently Robbie found a much calmer, more reflective soul. Trevor Horn lends big production, yet the songs seem very personal. Not his catchiest effort, but an interesting step.
39) FEVER RAY--Fever Ray Not for the faint of heart, Fever Ray is basically the side project of Karin from the Knife. Herein lies many songs about everything and nothing--songs that can soothe and songs that frighten. Uncompromising and monochromatic.
40) BASEMENT JAXX--Scars Jaxx have been entertaining for the better part of a decade now, and this latest effort is no exception, returning in some ways to their club-based roots. Guests include Sam Sparro, Lightspeed Champion, and a 76-year-old Yoko Ono. You can't accuse them of being lazy...
41) RAVEONETTES--In and Out of Control How could a band that writes a song called "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)" be anything less than incredible? Their catchiest effort to date.
42) ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS--The Crying Light I cannot help but be sad every time this album comes on. "Everglades" is simply heartbreaking. This is the kind of music Antony was made to sing.
43) GLASVEGAS--Glasvegas Really a 2008 album that wasn't released stateside until 2009, there was something mightily endearing about Glasvegas epic style of guitar pop. Another incredible debut.
44) MARSHEAUX--Lumineaux Noir A couple Grecian girls do some of the best English-speaking electro-pop of the year, simultaneously making it damn hard to actually get a physical CD. Still, this was a special surprise.
45) ENGINEERS--Three Fact Fader Or where said shoegaze-y band returns from beyond the grave. I was wondering what Engineers were doing in the four years since their great debut. Now I know they were working on creating an even better followup. Parts make me long for a Cocteau Twins reunion--love that guitar work.
46) LEAVES--We Are Shadows Another Icelandic band that used to release CDs with regularity. Two albums ago, Breathe was released in the US, the last one only in Europe, and their latest is currently download only, with physical copies being available from a special internet store. Shame, really, as there is no excuse this album should not be outselling the latest Coldplay release. Imagine the Elbow fronting the Beatles with "Aeronaut"--hear "Planets" and "All the Streets Are Gold"--it doesn't get much better than this.
47) PARRALOX--State of Decay Yet another record available as a download, but apparently they only made 1000 CDs, available exclusively from them. Why are all of these great bands not getting heard more by the masses, or reaching the sales they should be? Because the world sucks and people are generally vipers who suck the lifeblood away from these artists' future careers. That said, this is an excellent album--a bit like old-school Madonna meets the Human League.
48) THE BIG PINK--A Brief History of Love Another great band arrives out of nowhere. A great mix of rock, electronics, and sheer nerve, Big Pink make a sound that wouldn't be so unique if they didn't write such great songs. The combination is their ace in the hole, and "Dominos" is an excellent single that is just the tip of this iceberg.
49) FRANZ FERDINAND--Tonight: Franz Ferdinand There was so much expectation placed on this record, and after over three years of toiling, we got an album that basically sounded like (drumroll, please)...Franz Ferdinand. Add a few licks from a keyboard here, a slightly reggae-fied beat there, this was still the Franz show, and was another very good album in a career with no discernable lows.
50) NOISETTES--Wild Young Hearts Another great sophomore album from a band who could have easily been written off as one trick ponies. Quickly taking things to the next level, this band made one of the most listenable and most easily revisited album of the year. Plus, Shingai Shoniwa is a fantastic live singer, who can do justice to just about any song. Excellent.

Other Honorable Mentions:

DOVES--Kingdom of Rust
I AM X--Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
BRENDAN BENSON--My Old, Familiar Friend
RICHARD HAWLEY--Truelove's Gutter
WENDY & LISA--White Flags of Winter Chimneys
RUMBLE STRIPS--Welcome to the Walk Alone
CRIBS--Ignore the Ignorant
WHITE LIES--To Lose My Life
THE VEILS--Sun Gangs
PHOENIX--Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
BWO--Big Science
MADNESS--Liberty of Norton Folgate
PATRICK WOLF--The Bachelor

Most disappointing:

ZERO 7--Yeah Ghost
AIR--Love 2
U2--No Line on the Horizon
MIKA--The Boy Who Knew Too Much
MORRISSEY--Years of Refusal
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO--Temporary Pleasure
DEPECHE MODE--Sounds of the Universe

Really, there weren't many true disappointments in 2009, and even these albums have some bright spots. I really hate calling out Imogen Heap because she is a musical genius, and I felt like I was one of her biggest fans when Speak for Yourself was released, but Ellipse just feels like she spent so much time obsessing over details that the energy was sucked straight out of the record. While the sleeve was great, the first video was a bit disappointing (especially after Es Devlin's fantastic work on the Pet Shop Boys tours), and there weren't enough songs with the weight to pull you back for repeated listenings. One to admire then. Unfortunately the Mika album experienced similar issues, and it doesn't help that he refuses to grow up. I mean, how long can you go on being a 7ft. string-bean singing like a castrato dancing around in your "bedroom" in overalls? Not quite the artistic leap we were all hoping for, and certainly not the hit he was the first time around. Will he survive as an artist if he makes another like this? Who will take him seriously? America has Adam Lambert now...time for a rethink.

The Morrissey had some rather excellent moments like the interesting "When Last I Spoke to Carol", the lovely single, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", and the epic "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore", but much of it came off rather ham-fisted and lacking in the grace or elegance he once maintained so effortlessly. (I am very sorry Mr. Morrissey...I know you don't like critics or criticism, but take solace in the fact that I truly love most of what you have done...this one just wasn't for me.) The Simian Mobile Disco had some great tracks, especially "Cruel Intentions" with Beth Ditto, but the rest just lacked the punch of their debut, which is odd considering how in demand James Ford is as a producer for hire.

Air cut some of the electronic elements, and unfortunately lost some of the sonic wonder that made them so special. The other problem this created was their exposure to a lack of lyrics expressing any sort of depth, showing them to be extremely thin on the songwriting side ("Be a Bee"? "Sing Sang Sung"?). Zero 7 didn't fare much better in their quest to distance themselves from Air's shadow. They flung themselves further into R&B territory, creating a rather unfocused effort that didn't seem to appeal to anybody, really. Maybe excising all the known and liked vocalists (Sia, Mozez, Jose Gonzalez, Tina Dico, Sophie Barker, etc.) has left them with little identifiable stamp. Three years on and it looks like it's back to the drawing board.

U2 split their fanbase with an album that didn't really embrace much of anything excepting what they do best. Horrifying lyrics like "Get On Your Boots" (we don't care what it means, Bono--it just sounds dumb), a single called "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" (Morrisey would throw that out immediately), and an amorphous stadium single with no real hook ("Magnificent"), add up to an album with no real staying power on the airwaves. Add in a bunch of songs with lyrics about the God and the Middle East (heck, one even cribs the melody of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"), and you've got a letdown of an album that many of their fans wouldn't even buy. It's obvious they painted themselves into a corner with the last two albums, being SO U2, that they had to begin painting themselves out, and forgot to write any hit songs in the process. I would say they don't care if they have hits or not, but they would probably enjoy the boost on tour that a hit song can provide. Desperate cries from camp U2 began leaking soon after the album's release, saying they had enough material left over for part 2 (no, please, no). I think U2 has a similar problem to that of Imogen Heap and Zero 7, where they took so long making an album that it sounded overworked and dull. They would be wise to release things more often in the future, without so much time spent reworking things.

As for the Depeche Mode, it is not overworked or dull. It is also not lacking in lyrics, nor does it lack their usual grace. What it does lack is melody. Martin Gore is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation (I firmly stand behind that statement), and while in the pursuit of the "Depeche" sound, some songs from Sounds of the Universe just feel half-written, while the best songs are scattered throughout with some filler inbetween. If they had cut "Hole to Feed" (sorry, terrible single--what's with that thwacking drum riff?), "Little Soul" (not feelin' it), "Come Back" (Dave's weakest lyric effort, and better as the demo), and "Miles Away" (Dave's vocals feel forced and strident), this could have been one of my favorite DM records ever (oh, I just realized three of those were Dave's writing contributions...sorry. I loved "Suffer Well"!). Instead, it feels like it goes on too long (even certain songs like "In Chains" have too much intro), and the mood doesn't vary enough. On top of that, while "Wrong", "Fragile Tension", "In Sympathy", "Peace", and "Corrupt" all make great album tracks, none are really strong enough to break through as hit singles like "Precious" did from Playing the Angel. I think the problem may lie with producer, Ben Hillier. He did bring them out of their clinical sound a bit after Exciter, but never have two consecutive DM albums sounded so similar, that it feels like they are treading water. Here are some suggestions for next time: Flood, Gareth Jones, Will Gregory, Ben Langmaid, Guy Sigsworth, Nellee Hooper. I know you guys don't want to admit you need to move on, but you should, even if it means working with an old ally who brought the best out of you. Personally, I think Will Gregory would be a great choice--look what he's done for Goldfrapp, and he would be in-house at Mute. Langmaid would definitely be a wildcard, as he is half of La Roux, and it would be interesting to see what he could bring to the table.

All this ranting and I have to admit that none of these albums are really bad. In fact, they are quite good in places. Even the Black Eyed Peas couldn't make a 100% bad album this year (but could you please stop now?), yet I do hope from listening to thousands of hours of music, I know what appeals to me and what does not. Take it or leave it.

Now, on to 2010!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Thanksgiving is once again upon us and the party is wrapping up. The last year of the first decade of the 21st century is here, and "most" of the best songs of the year have presented themselves. Anything from here on out will generally be considered a 2010 venture, so without further ado, the best songs of 2009 are below (album list will be posted in a couple weeks):

1) SAINT ETIENNE--"Method of Modern Love"
A winner of a pop tune, this Richard X collaboration came early in the year along with their London Conversations greatest hits box set. While not originally written by the band, their winsome pop helmed by Sarah Cracknell's optimistic and never over-the-top vocals created sheer magic. And the lo-uh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-uh-uh-ove was SO Carpenters!

2)ANNIE--"Songs Remind Me of You"
A quite difficult choice as this was actually a song from 2008 that came along with many other wonderful songs from Don't Stop, this was the crowning jewel in said album's crown, even after new tracks were added. Thank God this Richard X production was not removed like it's earlier sister single, "I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me". This should-have-been-huge hit just shows that sales don't matter when it comes to great music, but in a perfect world...

3)LA ROUX--"Bulletproof"
Arguably the catchiest song of the year from one of the most strident vocalists, La Roux created absolute magic with this song that was somehow inherently linked to synthpop past a la Yazoo, yet was undeniably a product of 2009. Big in England, ignored in the US (of course), an amazing debut from a band that will surely leap forward with project #2.

4)LADY GAGA--"Bad Romance"
Who would have thought when 2009 started that this seemingly trashy fame whore would rise to the top of the crop with some of the best music and performances of the year? Bad Romance is not only one of the best songs of the year, it is also one of the biggest. With crashing synths, edgy lyrics, a choir of chanting Gaga-lytes and her most powerhouse vocal performance, Lady Gaga has finally arrived. Where could she possibly go from here?

5)PET SHOP BOYS--"All Over the World"
When this song got its official premiere at the Brit Awards in February (with Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers in tow), this song was a highlight in a career of songs spanning 25 years. It was so important they gave it a tweak late in the year courtesy of Marius de Vries, a welcome addition, yet not compulsory. If this song does not eventually catch on in some way, shape, or form, there is no longer justice in this pop world. For now, we shall bask in its Nutcracker glory!

6)LITTLE BOOTS--"Remedy"
Another Redone production, Boots could have easily fallen below the thick production he usually gives to Lady Gaga. Instead, this was one of the most insistently catchy singles of the year, and one which she would be more wise to follow. Caught between hipster cool and pop explosion, Little Boots hit the nail on the head here, and hit where she needed to. The best single from another arresting debut.

7)GIRLS ALOUD--"Untouchable"
Although featured on their 2008 Out of Control album, this song was released as a single in mid-2009, and was their first in over 20 singles not to hit the UK top 10 (it made #11). Too bad for Britain, as this ranks as one of the girls' best singles, and one of the best of the year. In its full, nearly 7-minute glory, it seems as though time is standing still. Nicola simply sparkles.

8)BASEMENT JAXX--"Raindrops"
The return of the Jaxx with this thick & groovy dance track with spaces in all the right places. Instead of going for the guest vocalist here, they supply their own vocals, and it still makes for a great single. This is a fine addition to any list of best songs for the summer.

9)ANNIE--"I Don't Like Your Band"
Technically the first new track leaked from v.2 of Don't Stop, brings all that makes Annie special into one great song, with a slamming bass, cut-n-paste synths (courtesy of producer du jour, Paul Epworth), coy melodies, and snarky lyrics. Annie should really work more with Epworth in the future, as he really brought something special to the new tracks offered here, including "Hey Annie" and the title track. Not an official single (yet), but it should be.

This 80's-inspired new-wave monster came out early in the year, and never seemed to leave my playlists. Karen O serves up her best pop vocal yet (she would get more accolades later in the year with the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack), and here she absolutely shines against the buzzing background, in which the goal was to make the synths hum like electric guitars, and the electric guitars morph into synths. Layer this over a driving beat, and you've got one of the best singles of 2009.

11)FLORENCE & THE MACHINE--"Rabbit Heart" Epic renaissance fair music
12)FILTHY DUKES--"Messages" Uber-catchy pop single from DJ collective
13)SALLY SHAPIRO--"Love in July" Scandinavian electro-beauty with a warm heartbeat
14)ROYKSOPP--"The Girl & the Robot" Robyn guests on this fabulous electro ballad
15)PET SHOP BOYS--"Love, Etc." The boys take on commercialism and greed in sharp tones
16)LILY ALLEN--"The Fear" 2008 leak gets a better makeover for another take on the above
17)EDITORS--"Papillon" Goth-y guitar band gets retro and synthy..."sleep twitch" anyone?
18)BLAKE LEWIS--"Heartbreak on Vinyl" Ex-Idol runner-up rules with excellent pop single
19)EMPIRE OF THE SUN--"Without You (Single Mix)" Wistful 70's FM lite gets a makeover
20)DRAGONETTE--"Pick up the Phone" Would make Debbie Harry proud
21)A CAMP--"Love Has Left the Room" Quite possibly the best rock ballad of the year
22)LADY GAGA--"Pokerface" Dominated radio in 2009--rightly so
23)CICADA--"Love Don't Come Easy" Heidrun Bjornsdottir wrote more great songs-Hey Annie
24)ANNIE--"Anthonio" Best non-album single of the year...Hey Annie!?!
25)PARRALOX--"Hotter" Retro-electro with a lyric twist, sharp and catchy too
26)LITTLE BOOTS--"New in Town" Life in L.A. must be really tough for visiting Brits...
27)MARSHEAUX--"Destroy Me" Highlight song from their sophomore, Lumineaux Noir
28)FRIENDLY FIRES--"Kiss of Life" Paul Epworth produced post-LP single--tribal...
29)ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS--"Crazy in Love" Best cover of a Beyonce song this year
30)PALOMA FAITH--"New York" I usually hate lyrics like this, but this song just WORKS...
31)IAN BROWN--"Stellify" Abuse arrest aside, a more positive development for Ian in 09
32)VAMPIRE WEEKEND--"Horchata" Exciting lead single from album 2...maximum afro-beat
33)WHITE LIES--"To Lose My Life" Epic lyric meets brooding youths--to be continued...
34)LADYHAWKE--"Magic" Addictive song from 09's answer to Kim Wilde (aside from Kim)
35)ROBBIE WILLIAMS--"Difficult for Weirdos" Not an official single, what Rudebox should've been
36)AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT--"Sometime Around Midnight" Best late-night bar ballad of 09
37)THE BPA--"Toe Jam" Most upbeat David Byrne lyric since Talking Heads demise
38)LA ROUX--"In For the Kill" Strident vocals over an uncompromising new wave anthem
39)CUT OFF YOUR HANDS--"Happy as Can Be" Retro epic Spector-inspired winner from Kiwi
40)CALVIN HARRIS--"Flashback" Synth whiz-kid makes good by making good music
41)BANANARAMA--"Love Comes" If love hasn't come by now, it never will...
42)GLASVEGAS--"Flowers & Football Tops" You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...
43)PHOENIX--"1901" How come all I can think of is car commercials?
44)FRANKMUSIK--"Vacant Heart" Best song from talented kid w/big mouth--more to come?
45)RIHANNA--"Russian Roulette" Her heart may beat in her chest, but this song is a killer
46)PASSION PIT--"The Reeling" Great music, but could somebody teach this guy how to sing?
47)DEPECHE MODE--"Wrong" Divisive single takes no prisoners and pleases in good ways
48)MORRISSEY--"I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" Most melodic single of his in 09
49)ZOOT WOMAN--"Lonely By Your Side" A song worthy of their talents
50)ROISIN MURPHY--"Orally Fixated" She doesn't envy Lady Gaga--I love this madness!

Did your favourite make the list? There's a lot to come on the horizon in 10--can't wait to see what it brings!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

You're simply the best...

As we come crashing toward the end of another decade, I thought it fitting to list my favorite...oh I'll just say it...the best pop songs of the past decade. There were a lot of songs and this is a long list, and if your favorite does not appear, I am sorry...maybe you could comment on what I am missing. I feel it is important to get these lists out of the way and clear the way for the best of 09 lists, so here is the full horror below (in alpha order--it's just easier that way):

A-HA--Summer Moved On
ABC--The Very First Time
ADELE-Hometown Glory
AIR--Cherry Blossom Girl
AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT--Sometime Around Midnight
ALL SAINTS--Pure Shores
AMY WINEHOUSE--Back to Black/Rehab
ANNIE LENNOX--I've Got a Life (Eurythmics)/Into the West
ANNIE--Heartbeat/Chewing Gum/Songs Remind me of You/Anthonio/I Don't Like Your Band/I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me
APPLETON--Don't Worry
ARCADE FIRE--Neighbourhood #3/Intervention
ARCTIC MONKEYS--I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor/505/Flouerscent Adolescent
BANANARAMA--Love Comes/Look on the Floor (Hypnotic Tango)
BASEMENT JAXX--Romeo/Where's Your Head At?/Plug it in/Oh My Gosh/Take Me Back to Your House/Raindrops
BAT FOR LASHES--What's a Girl to Do?/Moon & Moon/Daniel
BELLE & SEBASTIAN--Dear Catastrophe Waitress/Step Into My Office, Baby
BETH ORTON--Bobby Gentry
BEYONCE--Crazy in Love/Naughty Girl/Irreplaceable/Ring the Alarm/Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)/If I Were a Boy/Sweet Dreams/Halo
BIG PINK--Dominos
BIRD & THE BEE--My Fair Lady/Diamond Dave
BJORK--Pagan Poetry/Unison/Undo/Triumph of a Heart/Wanderlust
BLACK BOX RECORDER--Facts of Life/These Are the Things
BLACK KIDS--I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
BLAKE LEWIS--Heartbreak on Vinyl
BLUR--Out of Time
BPA--Toe Jam (w/David Byrne)
BRAVERY--An Honest Mistake
BRITISH SEA POWER--It Ended on an Oily Stage
BRITNEY SPEARS--Toxic/Gimme More/Piece of Me/Womanizer
BWO--Sunshine in the Rain/Give me the Night/Destiny of Love
CAMERA OBSCURA--Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken/Careless Love
CAMILLE--Money Note
CARDIGANS--Song for the Leftovers (A Camp)/For What It's Worth/Love Has Left the Room (A Camp)
CICADA--Love Don't Come Easy/Don't Stare at the Sun
CLIENT--Don't Call me Baby
COLDPLAY--Trouble/The Scientist/Clocks/Animals/White Shadows/Talk/Speed of Sound/Viva la Vida/Life in Technicolour ii/Lovers in Japan
CRAIG ARMSTRONG--Wake Up in New York (w/Evan Dando)
CURVE--Gift/My Tiled White Floor/Signals & Alibis
CUT COPY--Out There on the Ice/Lights & Music/Hearts on Fire/Far Away
CUT OFF YOUR HANDS--Happy as can be
CYNDI LAUPER--Into the Nightlife/Echo/Grab a Hold
DAFT PUNK--One More Time/Digital Love/Music Sounds Better With You (Stardust)
DANNII MINOGUE--Put the Needle on it/I Begin to Wonder
DARREN HAYES--Unlovable/Pop!ular/Who Would Have Thought/Step Into the Light/Casey
DAVID BOWIE--Slip Away/Never Get Old
DAVID SYLVIAN--Ride/Wonderful World (Nine Horses)
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE--Brothers on a Hotel Bed/Meet Me on the Equinox
DELAYS--Valentine/Love Made Visible
DEPECHE MODE--Freelove/Precious/Martyr/Wrong
DIDO--White Flag
DIVINE COMEDY--Absent Friends/Happy Goth/Lady of a Certain Age
DOVES--Pounding/Caught by the River/Black & White Town/Kingdom of Rust
DRAGONETTE--Take it Like a Man/Jesus Doesn't Love me Anymore/Pick up the Phone/We Rule the World
DUFFY--Rockferry/Warwick Avenue
DURAN DURAN--Sunrise/The Valley
ED HARCOURT--She Fell Into My Arms/You Only Call me When You're Drunk/Rain on the Pretty Ones
EDITORS--Munich/Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors/Papillon/No Sound But the Wind
ELBOW--Newborn/Fugitive Motel/Sounding Off/Leaders of the Free World
ELVIS COSTELLO--45/When I Was Cruel no. 2
EMMA BUNTON--Crickets Sing for Anamaria
EMPIRE OF THE SUN--Walking on a Dream
ENYA--May it Be
ERASURE--Breathe/Here I Go Impossible Again/I Could Fall in Love With You/Sunday Girl
FEIST--1234/My Moon My Man
FISCHERSPOONER--Emerge/Never Win/The Best Revenge
FLAMING LIPS--Do You Realize?/Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
FRANKMUSIK--Vacant Heart
FRANZ FERDINAND--Take Me Out/Michael/L. Wells/Ulysses
GARBAGE--Bleed Like Me/Tell Me Where it Hurts
GEORGE MICHAEL--Freeek!/Amazing
GHOSTS--The World is Outside
GIRL CALLED EDDY--Heartache/Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside/Golden/People Who Used to Dream About the Future
GIRLS ALOUD--Biology/No Good Advice/The Show/Sexy! No No No/Call the Shots/Girl Overboard/The Promise/The Loving Kind
GLASVEGAS--Flowers & Football Tops/Daddy's Gone
GOLDFRAPP--Lovely Head/Pilots/Utopia/Black Cherry/Strict Machine/Twist/Ooh La La/Ride a White Horse/Fly Me Away/Number 1/A & E/Caravan Girl
GORILLAZ--Feel Good, Inc./Clint Eastwood
GOSSIP--Heavy Cross/Men in Love
GRACE JONES--William's Blood/Corporate Cannibal
GUILLEMOTS--If the World Ends/Annie, Let's Not Wait
GWEN STEFANI--What You Waiting For?/Hollaback Girl/Hey Baby (No Doubt)/Hella Good (No Doubt)/Underneath it All (No Doubt)/Cool/Early Winter/Wonderful Life/The Real Thing
HOOSIERS--Goodbye Mr. A
HOT CHIP--Ready for the Floor
HUMAN LEAGUE--All I Ever Wanted/Love me Madly
I AM X--President
IAN BROWN--For the Glory
IMOGEN HEAP--Hide & Seek
JARVIS COCKER--Cunts are Still Running the World
JENS LEKMAN--Sipping on the Sweet Nectar/Into Eternity
JOSEPH ARTHUR--In the Sun/Honey & the Moon
JUNIOR SENIOR--Move Your Feet/Shake Your Coconuts/Take My Time/Can I Get Get Get
JUSTICE--D.A.N.C.E./DVNO/Phantom 1/2
KAISER CHIEFS--I Predict a Riot/Everything's Average Nowadays/Addicted to Drugs
KANYE WEST--Love Lockdown
KATE BUSH--King of the Mountain
KEANE--Everybody's Changing/Bend & Break/Bedshaped/Spiralling
KELIS--Finest Dreams (w/Richard X)/Milkshake
KELLY CLARKSON--Since You Been Gone
KILLERS--Mr. Brightside/Somebody Told Me/All These Things That I've Done/When You Were Young/Read My Mind/Human
KIM WILDE--Perfect Girl
KIRSTY MACCOLL--Mambo de la Luna/In These Shoes?/Treachery
KLEERUP--Longing for Lullabies (w/Titiyo)
KNIFE--Heartbeats/Silent Shout
KYLIE MINOGUE--On a Night Like This/Disco Down/Light Years/Your Disco Needs You/Can't Get You Out of my Head/Love at First Sight/In Your Eyes/Slow/Secret (Take You Home)/I Believe in You/In My Arms/The One/Wow/Carried Away/White Diamond
LA ROUX--Bulletproof/Quicksand/Tigerlily/Cover My Eyes
LADY GAGA--Pokerface/Lovegame/Paparazzi/Bad Romance
LADYHAWKE--Magic/My Delerium/Paris is Burning
LADYTRON--Runaway/Destroy Everything you Touch
LAST SHADOW PUPPETS--Age of the Understatement/My Mistakes Were Made For You
LES RYTHMES DIGITALES--(Hey You) What's That Sound?/Sometimes
LILY ALLEN--Smile/LDN/Nan, You're a Window Shopper/The Fear/I Could Say/Fuck You
LITTLE BOOTS--New in Town/Stuck on Repeat/Remedy/Symmetry
LUCKY SOUL--Add Your Light to Mine/Lips Are Unhappy
LUKE HAINES--Going Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop
M.I.A.--Galang/10 Dollar/URAQT/Bird Flu/Boyz/Jimmy/Paper Planes
M83--Kim & Jessie/Graveyard Girl
MADNESS--NW5/Liberty of Norton Fulgate
MADONNA--Music/Don't Tell Me/Impressive Instant/Runaway Lover/Die Another Day/American Life/Hung Up/Get Together/Sorry/Jump
MAPS--I Dream of Crystal
MARC ALMOND--Glorious/Under Your Wing/Lights/When It's Your Time/Love in a Time of Science/Monoculture (Soft Cell)/The Night (Soft Cell)/Last Chance (Soft Cell)/Divided Soul (Soft Cell)/So Long the Path/The Storks/Redeem Me/I Have Lived/Way You Walk/Suicide Saloon/Kill Me or Make me Beautiful/Weakness for Roses/Boulevards of Magadan
MARK RONSON--Valerie (w/Amy Winehouse)
MARSHEAUX--Destroy Me/Summer
MARY ONETTES--Slow/Void/Puzzles
MASSIVE ATTACK--What Your Soul Sings (w/Sinead O'Connor)/Prayer for England (w/Sinead O'Connor)/Live With Me (w/Terry Callier)
MATINEE CLUB--Jane Falls Down
MAXIMO PARK--Apply Some Pressure
MCALMONT (DAVID)--Falling (McAlmont/Butler)/Bring it Back (McAlmont/Butler)/Back 4 Good (McAlmont/Butler)/Snow (w/Craig Armstrong)
MELANIE C--I Turn To You/Northern Star
MELODY GARDOT--Who Will Comfort Me?/Your Heart is as Black as Night
METRIC--Sick Muse
MGMT--Kids/Electric Feel
MISSY ELLIOTT-Get Ur Freak On/Work It/One Minute Man/4 My People (Basement Jaxx Mix)
MOBY--We Are All Made of Stars
MOLOKO--Familiar Feeling/Forever More
MONACO--I've Got a Feeling
MORRISSEY--Irish Blood, English Heart/I Have Forgiven Jesus/First of the Gang to Die/You Have Killed Me/Dear God, Please Help Me/I'm Throwing my Arms Around Paris
MUMMERS--Lorca and the Orange Tree
MUSE--Butterflies & Hurricanes/Supernatural Black Hole
N.E.R.D.--Truth or Dare (w/Kelis)
NENEH CHERRY--Twisted Mess (w/Craig Armstrong)
NEON NEON--Raquel/I Told Her on Alderaan
NEW ORDER--Here to Stay/Crystal/Krafty
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS--Nature Boy/There She Goes, My Beautiful World
NINE INCH NAILS--The Hand That Feeds/Capital G/Discipline
NOISETTES--Never Forget You/Don't Upset the Rhythm
N-SYNC--Bye Bye Bye/Pop
PALOMA FAITH--New York/Stargazer
PASSION PIT--The Reeling
PATRICK WOLF--Accident & Emergency/Magpie/The Sun is Often Out
PET SHOP BOYS--Home & Dry/Birthday Boy/Miracles/Flamboyant/Integral/Minimal/The Sodom & Gomorrah Show/Casanova in Hell/Fugitive/Love, Etc./Pandemonium/All Around the World/Did You See Me Coming?
PETER GABRIEL--Growing Up/Sky Blue/More Than This
PINK--Just Like a Pill/18 Wheeler/Family Portrait/Who Knew/U + Ur Hand/Please Don't Leave Me/I Don't Believe You/It's All Your Fault
PIPETTES--Pull Shapes/Winter's Sky/Judy
PORTISHEAD--The Rip/Threads
POSTMARKS--No One Said This Would Be Easy/My Lucky Charm
PREFAB SPROUT--Ride/Angel of Love
PRESETS--This Boy's in Love/If I Know You
PRIMAL SCREAM--Swastika Eyes/Miss Lucifer/Deep Hit of Morning Sun/Glory of Love
PULP--Bad Cover Version
R.E.M.--Imitation of Life/I'll Take the Rain/Living Well is the Best Revenge
RACHEL STEVENS--Some Girls/Crazy Boys/Negotiate With Love/I Said Never Again (But here we are)/Nothing Good About This Goodbye
RADIOHEAD--Everything In It's Right Place/Idioteque/Pyramid/Knives Out/Life in a Glass House/Weird Fishes/House of Cards
RAVEONETTES--Love in a Trashcan/That Great Love Sound/Last Dance/Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)
REX THE DOG--Bubblicious
RIHANNA--Umbrella/SOS/Don't Stop the Music/Shut Up & Drive
ROBBIE WILLIAMS--Rock DJ/Lovelight/She's Madonna/Feel
ROBYN--Be Mine!/Handle Me/Who's That Girl/Konichiwa Bitches/With Every Heartbeat (w/Kleerup)
ROISIN MURPHY--If We're In Love/Sow Into You/Ramalama (Bang Bang)/Overpowered/You Know Me Better/Let Me Know/Movie Star/Primitive
ROYKSOPP--Only This Moment/You Don't Have a Clue/What Else is There?
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT--Oh What a World/I Don't Know What it is/One You Love/Memphis Skyline
SADE--By Your Side/King of Sorrow
SAINT ETIENNE--Action/Stars Above Us/Good Thing/Lightning Strikes Twice/Side Streets/Teenage Winter/Milk Bottle Symphony/Method of Modern Love/This is Tomorrow
SALLY SHAPIRO--I Know/Anorak Christmas/Love in July/Miracle
SAM SPARRO--Black & Gold
SANTOGOLD (SANTIGOLD)--L.E.S. Artistes/Lights Out/I'm a Lady
SARAH NIXEY--The Collector/Strangelove
SCISSOR SISTERS--Take Your Mama/I Don't Feel Like Dancin'/Mary/Laura/Filthy Gorgeous/It Can't Come Quickly Enough
SEAL--Amazing/My Vision
SHOUT OUT LOUDS--Tonight I Have to Leave It/Impossible
SHRIEKBACK--Hooray for Everything
SIA--Breathe Me
SIGUR ROS--Svefn-g-englar/Gobbledigook
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO--I Believe/It's the Beat/Cruel Intentions
SIOBAHN DONAGHY--Don't Give It Up/So You Say/Medevac/Goldfish
SIOUXSIE--Into a Swan/If It Doesn't Kill You/Here Comes That Day
SKYE--Tell Me About Your Day
SNEAKER PIMPS--Lightning Field/Curl
SOLANGE--Sandcastle Disco/I Decided
SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR--Murder on the Dance Floor/Music Gets the Best of Me/Catch You/Me & My Imagination/China Heart/Supersonic/Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer
SPARKS--Suburban Homeboy/Good Morning/Dick Around/Perfume
STEVEN LINDSAY--Skywriter/Let it be Love (w/Craig Armstrong)
STROKES--Last Nite
SUGABABES--Freak Like Me/Caught in a Moment/Ugly/Hole in the Head/Push the Button/About You Now/Every Heart Broken
TEARS--Refugees/Lovers/Love as Strong as Death/The Asylum
TEARS FOR FEARS--Closest Thing to Heaven
TEDDYBEARS--Yours to Keep (w/Neneh Cherry)/Punkrocker (w/Iggy Pop)
TEMPOSHARK--It's Better to Have Loved
TEXAS--Can't Resist/Getaway
THOM YORKE--Analyse/And It Rained All Night/Harrowdown Hill
TING TINGS--That's Not My Name/Shut Up & Let Me Go
TOM WAITS--Flower's Grave/Lost in the Harbour/Table Top Joe/Coney Island Baby/Day After Tomorrow
TORI AMOS--A Sorta Fairytale/Gold Dust
TRACEY THORN--It's All True/Raise the Roof/Hands Up to the Ceiling
U2--Beautiful Day/Elevation/Vertigo/Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own
VAMPIRE WEEKEND--A-Punk/Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa/Bryn/Horchata
VEILS--Under the Folding Branches/Pan/Calliope!/Sit Down By the Fire
VENUS HUM--Hummingbirds/Montana
WENDY & LISA--Invisible
WHIP--Dubsex/Sister Siam
WHITE LIES--To Lose My Life/Death
YEAH YEAH YEAHS--Maps/Zero/Heads Will Roll/Soft Shock/Hysteric
YELLE--Ce Jeu/Je Veux te Voir
YELLO--Planet Dada/You Better Hide
YUKSEK--Tonight/So Far Away From the Sea
ZERO 7--Destiny/In the Waiting Line
ZOOT WOMAN--Lonely By Your Side/Living in a Magazine/We Won't Break

Enough 4 ya? And these were just the best...