31 December 2009

Tracks of the Year: Part Two

Time to conclude my little rundown...

5. Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream

Though overlooked a little in favour of "Daniel" and "Sleep Alone", "Pearl's Dream" was the quiet gem slap-bang in the middle of Natasha Khan's second album (once again hideously overlooked at the Mercury Prize). It showed all of Ms. Khan's pop credentials while still retaining that alluring mystique that shrouds her work.

4. Passion Pit - The Reeling

Okay, so I was a little dismissive about Passion Pit earlier in the year when the only track I'd really listened to by them was their first single "Sleepyhead". That all changed after I'd been exposed to the fluorescent explosion of joy that was "The Reeling" - the guys from Boston know how to put an infuriatingly catchy pop tune together.

3. Empire of the Sun - We Are The People

It must have been because their album was released in a particularly cold part of the year, but pretty much all of Empire of the Sun's ever-so-slightly bonkers album was enough to thaw the icicles that started forming every day going to and from work. Particularly sunny and heartwarming was "We Are The People". Well, acoustic guitars and dancy synths are enough to brighten anyone's day.

2. The Big Pink - Dominos

Now usually I wouldn't be attracted to slightly odd characters like Robbie and Milo, or slightly yobbish singing as displayed here. Or bad grammar for that matter (yes, for the purposes of this single there is no "e" in "dominos"). So what was so appealing about "Dominos"? Perhaps it's the simple and catchy chorus. Maybe it's that swirly synth sound going on in the background. Or possibly it's just the fact that The Big Pink proved they could do a storming rock tune, far away from "Velvet" or "Stop The World".

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

So how did they do it? Somehow the YYYs managed to move into a more synth-pop direction witout losing any of their punk or art-rock credentials.... And the results were amazing. While everyone seems to think that "Zero" is the best track from "It's Blitz!", "Heads Will Roll", in my own humble opinion, shoved all the competition out of the way. The synths jar just enough to give a disconcerting feel, Karen O yelps madly and has never sounded better, Brian Chase provides dancy drums and Nick Zinner strums away at his electric guitar and gives it all that rocky feel. The YYYs have never been boring... but in comparison to this, their back catalogue is about as fascinating as watching paint dry.

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