It’s nearing that time of year where we all begin to look back through photo albums, tumblrs, blogs, twitters and ipods to find out how we spent the last year that seems to have whizzed past quicker than we can remember. One thing that is very personal to someone and that can really shape the nights you spend with your friends or the moments you spend alone is the music you choose to consume and I really feel it can say so much about a person that you may not otherwise feel comfortable expressing or may otherwise not know how to express. I really think this is one of the best things to look back on the year with, too. I’ve had a truly fantastic year, I don’t need to really dwell on it too much because you’ve been there with me every step of the way and I don’t want to bore you again – but one thing you’ve not known is what songs i’ve soundtracked my year with along the way and I hope some of you might agree, some of you might find a new favourite or may just even enjoy reading this so without further ado, here’s my top ten singles released in 2011 and why:
Not only is Ben a truly fantastic guy, a scholar and a gentlemen, he writes fantastic songs too. This one is most ironic *har har har* because it is actually a massive singalong and it’s brilliant. It’s sarcastic, it’s dry and it’s totally Ben. This video was filmed when I was on tour with Frank Turner and Ben supported, so it’s a video full of memories for me. I have loved this song since Ben started playing it live and it’s totally captured that moment of the gig on record. This song always has me up the front bobbing along and I think it’s message is so simple it can resonate with everyone.
I owe loving this record to Del, because Del heard it and instantly said “this song will soundtrack our summer” – and it absolutely did. It’s very catchy, very upbeat and I really dislike Patrick Wolf actually so to like this was a big surprise. This is a big hit and will make you feel good as soon as you put it on. It’s that piano riff that gets me – love it! When I know I like a song, I can keep putting it on out of the blue and it wont annoy me, or make me groan. Everytime I hear that opening riff of this song a little smile pops on my face – and that’s how you know it’s a tune.
Dana split this year and we attended their last ever London show at KCLSU back in the autumn. If we’re being super pedantic this isn’t my favourite Dana song but def the best off the newest and final album in my opinion. It’s so catchy, has everything you’d expect from a Dana tune but also is unique in it’s own right. At KCLSU this got a massive reception and had everyone up on their feet dancing (and Del who spilt an entire pint of Snakebite on me and actually made my skin pink…grr)!
I couldn’t really not include Frank as he’s always been a part of my music somewhere. (!) This song resonated with me the most out of England Keep My Bones and it always seems to get the crowd going. I heard it the first time Frank played it live, wobbly, with his guitar by himself and telling the crowd the lyrics so we could participate and I liked it then and there. I heard early demos and spent time chatting to Frank as he was writing and recording the album and it makes me so happy to see this song now being sung by millions all over the world, people with tattoos of the lyrics and meeting the people who say it’s changed their life. How could you not warm to it really? Again it’s a simple heartfelt message that will make you feel great once you hear it and will have even the most hardened square up on their feet shouting ‘I still believe!’
Del and I, back in the summer, visited Kingston University one Sunday afternoon to sing about horses over and over with the Tangled Hair boys (and WAGs!) and had no idea about what the track would sound like. When Tubelord released Romance later in the year we knew the ‘horse’ track would be a belter and it’s great. Definitely my favourite of the album. I love how Joe’s voice sounds, I love the bouncy upbeat music and I think this is something a lot of people will enjoy listening to. I can just hear Del’s voice in the ‘horses’ bit (he’s got a loud voice) and every time it makes me smile loads! I will never forget that day and Del and I often walk around the flat singing ‘hor-ses, hor-ses..’ haha.
Del and I both have to eat humble pie on this one as we remember earlier in the year listening to The Vaccines on one of XFM’s late nighters and both hating it. To be fair, I still hate that song in particular, but when the album was released we had to pick it up to add to our DJ set as we kept getting requests for it. My personal favourite from the album is definitely Norgaard, punchy and short it’s enough to get you dancing and works perfectly to build into the next song usually of the same nature and tempo. It’s definitely obvious they owe a lot of their sound to a lot of older band sounds (most notably The Smiths) but this is a belter of a modern tune. And I love Jay Jay Pistolet so…
I know a lot of people pen this as one of Examples’ worst songs actually but I really like it. There’s something about the grimey slow beat in the chorus that I love, and i’ve always been a fan of sounds like The Streets – and I can hear the influence in this song. There’s so many different melodies happening if you break it down and more than anything the production values on this track are amazing as well as the dark lyrics and general vibe. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – Del thinks this is one of the worst songs Example has ever done – but something about it is calming for me and it’s always the first song that goes on when I turn on my iPod/phone. Watch the video too because it’s made by one of my oldest friends, Adam Powell.
Seriously I LOVE this song. How stupidly catchy is the melody after the chorus? I’ve lost count of how many times i’ve listened to this song but it just doesn’t ever get old at all. It’s always on every single DJ set and it’s generally one of my favourite songs ever. I’ve only gotten into The Wombats recently but I love them. I feel that this song is one of those that people not even into indie music in the slightest would like and would enjoy dancing to, as it’s just so happy and uplifting!
Friendly Fires are one of those bands that just seem to keep bringing out tune after tune, I’ve lost track of how many singles from their first release were just massive tunes, but as soon as I heard this song from new album Pala I absolutely fell head over heels for it. It’s quite 80’s in parts, with the stylized vocals and the synth-meets-drum-beat but the chorus is massive and it’s guaranteed to bring anyone to the dancefloor! I wish i’d discovered it a little earlier because it sounds like one of those tracks you need to dance around in the sun to…and I guarantee you i’ll still be dancing in the sun to it in 2012. It makes me so happy to hear and when it comes through headphones you can hear every tiny little detail caused to make the song and it’s just beautiful. I think this should be a song everyone needs to listen to!
Notable pop songs I think were the best this year include:
Lady Gaga – Marry The Night
JLS – Make Me Wanna
Rihanna – We Found Love
Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me
I also spent a lot of time revisiting old singles that I love, and there are of course hundreds I could list but some honourable mentions need to go to:
Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Talk
Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man
The Streets – Blinded By The Lights
Lone Wolf – 15 Letters
Million Dead – Smiling At Strangers on Trains
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen – the tunes I’ve been rocking in my ears all 2011. Really looking forward to seeing what comes out of 2012 and what might make next years list!
What do you think of my picks? Do you rate any of the songs? Did you find any new favourites listening to the videos on my blog post? What do you rate as your best single of 2011? Let me know!