Thursday, January 17, 2008

New New Year

Good day one and all, and a very happy new year to you! Yes, I realise that it's a little late, but better late than never and all that. I could insert a few more cliches after that (I'm sure there are some to be had about being patient that would do nicely), but I'm not going to as it would probably be quite tedious.

In all honesty, the title of this post refers to nothing. Aside from the fact that I'm just trying to kill some time before I decide to watch a Who DVD. I haven't decided what to watch tonite. The past two nites I've very much been enjoying a selection from the recently-released 'Beneath the Surface' box set. I've always been a fan of the Sea Devils and Silurians, and there are memories of BBC2 repeats and trips to Kingsteignton Library bound up with those particular fan objects, so to have all three stories encased in a lovely cardboard sleeve together was a great start to the new year.

Ah yes, New Year. That all came and went in all honesty. I had the biggest non-Christmas ever, and that's obviously something I'm still quite annoyed about given that I seem to be happily moaning to anyone and everyone who will listen to me moan about it. I tell you what, I'll even use it as an excuse for not having blogged over the past few months. That seems to be my stock answer for anything these days, "Sorry, but I'm busy", unless you're suggesting a trip to the pub and then you'll probably get a positive reply. Anyways, as a result of this busyness, I never got to discuss my favourite singles of the past twelve months. So, here it is:

The Bronze Medal's Top Ten Singles of 2007:

10. Falling Down - Duran Duran

The best band of the 80s return with the help of Justin Timberland and produce a dark, brooding gem in the vein of 'Come Undone' and 'Ordinary World'. Great, catchy melody and a nice extended guitar solo at the end. Shame no-one gave two hoots about it.

9. Back to Black - Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse has had a troubled year, and the only thing to hope for is that in 2008 the press get off of her back and people remember why she came into the public eye in the first place. Listening to this atmospheric, jazzy tale of unrequited longing is a more than sufficient starting place.

8. Weapon of Choice - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

A band that a lot of people had given up return with an archetypal slab of brilliance. Like all good rock and roll tracks, it's built around a simple chord progression that unrelentlessly drives into you sitting room, drinks all you whiskey, and then throws up over your kids. 'I wouldn't waste my love on a nation', they sing throughout the chorus. Sound advice in this day and age.

7. The Way I Are - Timbaland

A man who seems hell bent on working with anyone in contemporary music, and producing some of the finest pop/R and B of the last decade or two at the same time. An infectuous, delay-ridden keyboard riff drives a simple tale of loving someone for who they are to make something that is equal parts edgy and endearing. It also contains the great line of "I ain't got a motorboat, but I could float your boat" for the added push of genius.

6. Books from Boxes - Maximo Park

Taken from the patchy (yet not disappointing) 'Our Earthly Pleasures' album, this track sees The Park abandon their usual 100 miles per hour, stream of consciousness approach to produce a heartfelt ballad that tugs. If you aren't moved by the way in which Paul Smith delivers the song's closing lyric, there's something wrong with you.

5. Our Velocity - Maximo Park

So if 'Books from Boxes' sees Maximo Park depart from their usual style, this could well be deemed as 'Apply Some Pressure Part II' since it features a similar driving-guitar riff and scatty lyrics. The summer festival season saw this recognised as the anthem it is, but as with most tracks by this band, there's a witty intellegence in the lyrics that few other bands get anywhere close to.

4. Pour Le Monde - Crowded House

So, The Greatest Band in the World Ever come back and show all the other pretenders to the throne of acoustic balladeering how to do it. A simple, piano-led strum-along, lifted from the sublime 'Time on Earth record, that you really wish would go on forever. I really can't put into words how beautiful this song is.

3. Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors - Editors

The only song this year to make me shed a tear when I hear it and not feeling particularly great. The starts small, then kicks in with a guitar part that sounds like it could tear right through your body. The lyrical theme of illness, recovery and change are poigantly delivered, and Tom Smith seems to have a voice that drives feeling into everything he sings. "We've all been changed from what we were, Our broken hearts left smashed on the floor". Enough said, really.

2. No Emotion - Idlewild

So, in typical fashion, Britian's most underrated band take the Franz Ferdinand guide to writing Indie songs, combine it with the good points of Nu Rave, and make an absolute stonker of a disco floor-filler that no-one really heard. The fact that it made number 32 in the chart on the back of no radio or MTV support just makes you wonder where it could have got to in a different environment.

1. Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne

A sublime piece of camp, punk-pop bitchiness. It's slightly reminicsent of 'Hey Mickey!' (another pop song that I love), but delivered in a fresh fashion that you really can't ignore, and blows the cobwebs away no matter when you hear it. Brilliant to jump around to after a couple of drinks, fun enough to put a smile on your face when unexpectedly appearing on your iPod. This encapsulates in four minutes everything that a great pop song should be.

Just one thing. Could someone please shoot The Hoosiers? Oh, and if you could get Mika as well I'd be very greatful.

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