8 Dec


The Shard

Yeah, yeah, obligatory apology for putting together an end-of-year list, “it’s not space filler like everybody else’s- it’s an experiment in structural categorization!”. Fuck off. Everybody secretly loves a “best of” list, despite the utter ludicrousness at the core of the idea. How can you compare Leonard Cohen’s peerless I’m Your Man to Public Enemy’s masterpiece, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, or, indeed, to the Pet Shop Boys’ imperial Introspective? All three were not only released in 1988, but also make up a holy trinity in my spectrum of poperation.

Firstly, I must dispense with my dirty secret; every December since 2001, I have agonized over a list of my favourite albums of the year. Here, with no retrospective bias, I give you my personal winners of the last ten years;

 2001: The Strokes, Is This It

2002: Beck, Sea Change

2003: The Rapture, Echoes

2004: Kanye West: The College Dropout

2005: The Rakes: Capture/Release

2006: The Long Blondes: Someone to Drive You Home

2007: Justice,

2008: Pilooski, Dirty Edits Volume 2

2009: Girls, Album

2010: Holy Fuck, Latin

2011: ?

Hilarious & co. I have to remind you here that had I not been too lazy to trawl through my iTunes, I would have updated the list of songs above to make myself seem like some kind of seer. I didn’t. That’s why I’m writhing in embarrassment now.

 The same goes for my favourite tracks of the year. To begin with, these are pretty uninspired, but I think this is a far more ruthless way of judging the contenders of the past 12 months.

 2001: The White Stripes, Fell in Love with a Girl

2002: The Libertines, The Boy Looked at Johnny

2003: Outkast, GhettoMusick

2004: Gwen Stefani, Bubble Pop Electric/Felix Da Housecat, Ready 2 Wear

2005: Goldfrapp, Satin Chic

2006: Robbie Williams, Rudebox

2007: LCD Soundsystem, Someone Great

2008: Hercules & Love Affair, Time Will

2009: Lindstrom & Christabel, Looking for What

2010: Yeasayer (uhhhh), Ambling Alp/Best Coast,Boyfriend/Lady Gaga, Telephone

2011: ?

I stand by everything. Even Yeasayer- Ambling Alp is a dreadnought of a pop song!- what, you have a problem with Robbie Williams? I firmly believe that the Rudebox LP was the boldest artistic statement of the decade, so please go away.

Anyway, here are my top 10s for this year:


 10. Tom the Lion- The Adventures of Tom the Lion

9. Cat’s Eyes- Cat’s Eyes

8. Luke Haines- 9.5 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early 1980s

7. Gatto Fritto- Gatto Fritto

6. John Maus- We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

5. EMA- Past Life Martyred Saints

4. Summer Camp- Welcome to Condale

3. Baxter Dury- Happy Soup

2. The Horrors- Skying

1. Jet Age of Tomorrow- Journey to the 5Th Echelon


(honourable mentions also go to Bloom by Radiohead and Amarillo by Gorillaz- despite having publicly outed myself as a Billie Piper fan, I am still too embarrassed to include them in this list)

10. John Maus- Cop Killer

9. Wild Beasts- Bed of Nails

8. Katy B- Power on Me (no link, YouTube version is rubbish. Make an investment…)

7. EMA- California

6. Footprintz- Utopia 

5. Gabriel Bruce- Zoe Zoe (wait for the release)

4. Arctic Monkeys- Black Treacle

3. Summer Camp- Summer Camp

2. Jet Age of Tomorrow- Lunchbox

1. Cat’s Eyes- Face in the Crowd 


 10. John Barry- Space March (Capsule in Space)

9. Gene Pitney- The Man who shot Liberty Valance

8. The Tamperer feat. Maya, If you buy this record your life will be better

7. The Andrew Loog-Oldham Orchestra- Play with Fire (similarly, just buy the CD)

6. Grace JonesI’ve Done it Again

5. Boys Town Gang- Can’t Take my Eyes off You

4. Chic- Will You Cry (When You Hear this Song)?

3. Elastica- Hold Me Now

2. Saint Etienne- B92 

1. Michel Houellebecq- Célibataires 


There we are then. Those are my lists. Congratulations to The Jet Age of Tomorrow, Faris out of the Horrors, Rachel Zefira and Michel Houellebecq. Not that they need it or anything. Despite the fact that I spent over half the year dwelling in the pop-cultural desert that is Paris, I think this year turned out some pretty good music.  

I had fun writing that. You probably didn’t have fun reading it.


DECEMBER 11th 2011 (Consider this an epilogue of sorts)

This blog has one hitherto unstated, but rigorously applied rule- namely that after 24 hours, the content of anything written here must not be tampered with. This obviously does not apply to syntax, spelling or word order, but in terms of subject matter and bias it must remain as it was the day it was published. The entire blog is a demonstration of my right to contradict myself, and I must publicly be held accountable for any incidence thereof.

I wrote this post in a fit of gin-fuelled enthusiasm, and although I stand by most of what I say here, it’s obviously all a bit fucking silly. All three of my 2011 Top 10 lists have changed since last Thursday, and all I can do to update this list is urge you to investigate Soft Rocks’ superb debut The Curse of Soft Rocks and to re-evaluate Wreckless Eric’s timeless 1977 single Whole Wide World.

In the meantime, check my blog more often, will you? Twice-daily, preferably. This time of year is so depressing, I could do with an ego boost. The other day I found myself walking through Soho listening to Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. Since my own lust for “life” is currently limited to racing from my classroom to Gower Street in order not to miss an hypothetical 14 or 10 back to West London, this was a bit of a downer. Iggy sang and I laughed, bitterly. Very loudly, too.

It took me several minutes to figure out why everyone suddenly took on the traffic to cross to the other side of the street.


One Response to “POPTONES 2”

  1. Wilhelmina Benintendi December 10, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Great post!

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