Well, its that time of year again. When everybody feels the overwhelming desire to return to their place of origin because some kid was born in a barn about 2000 years ago, or so that particular story goes. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that as of tomorrow I return back to Hell/Rockville/Devon for the Festive period, and so won't be able to communicate with all you people for the next few days. So in a method of trying to console yourselves, I've decided to go with all the magazines and provide a list of The Bronze Medal's Top 5 Singles of the Year. The way this should work will be that you get these now, and then I'll have made up my mind about movies and albums by the time I return home.
Anyways, I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers for, err, reading, and I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Alternately, if you belong to a different social group that isn't Christian, just enjoy the period. I myself, am looking forward to having some time with my folks, and getting good and drunk with my esteemed colleagues, Savage McCee and the Kingsteignton Three. Who knows, maybe we'll go one better than last year and actually get ourselves arrested!
Before we get started, tracks that narrowly missed out but deserve a mention include 'Blood' and 'Bullets' by Editors, 'So Here We Are' by Bloc Party and 'Oh My God' by Kaiser Chiefs. Oh, and yes, 'Somebody Told Me' came out this year, but it also did last year. So I'm treating it as a re-release and therefore inelidgable. Anyways, on with the list...
5. Amerie - One Thing
OK, bit of a contraversial start to things given the Indie-friendly nature of the musical opinion usually expressed here, but this was a damn fine pop song. Up there with something like Girls Aloud's 'Love Machine' in it's sheer 'wanting you to move your feet'-ness, its a well produced, catchy little number that lodged its place in your head and refused to let go. For once though, it was a track that you actually didn't mind being there.
4. Fix You - Coldplay
Sometimes songs are written and they accrue the status of classic straight away. This has to be one such example. Perhaps it pulls at the heartstrings in a rather cliched way, but it entered into my life at a time when I needed a track such as this. When that guitar part and the drums crash in, it turns up the euphoria levels far beyond anything they've ever done before, only to bring things down again for the intimate finish the song deserves. All that, and it's Coldplay. A band who, prior to this year, were synonomous with simplistic, unambitious boredom in my opinion. You see, things can change...
3. 22 Grand Job - The Rakes
A song, and a band, that seem to completely divide opinion amongst many of the people I know. It seems you either love or hate this lot. However, I don't think anyone has managed to capture the whiney, pathetic nature of status anxiety in such an exact way. Worried about the lighting in your office? Or the amount you earn in relation to your level of participation? Or the fact that your shift starts earlier than anyone else? If the answer to any of these is 'yes' then just have a listen, and within 90 seconds I hope you'll have learnt a few things about yourself. Top.
2. Wires - Athlete
It seems as though beautiful ballads seem to come along once a year. 2004 brought us the soaring beauty of Snow Patrol's 'Run', which was matched equally, and unexpectedly, by this offering from Athlete. Written about the premature birth of singer Conrad's daughter, it's the kind of song that anyone who's had the displeasure of frequenting themselves with hospitals can relate to. More than that though, it's a song of hope and optimism. In a time when these can be small, it subsequently deserves applause. All we need is the highlights of Season Two of Who put to this next year and its status shall be complete.
1. Apply Some Pressure - Maximo Park
In all honesty, it was hard not to put 'Going Missing' and 'Graffiti' in this list, but in limiting yourself to one track per artist some differentiation had to be made, and this absolute gem became the weapon of choice. Spiky, energetic, and containing the kind of spontaneous end to a song that makes you want to hit repeat on your CD player, it managed to combine a great guitar riff with some intriguing, carnival-esque keyboard. However, it was much more than that: starting by managing to map out the kind of random thoughts that run through my head twenty-four hours a day, it eventually built in to a chugging, harmonic exploration of loss and despair, before exploding in to that final, killer flurry. Triumphant without a doubt.