Rihanna – Number 2 in the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – We Found Love

Rihanna, the dirty bitch. When filming this video she really pissed off a good Catholic Irish farmer by getting a bit frisky in a field. I wonder if he saw the actual video.

Love is drugged up sex with a chavvy hotty and a hopeless place is a British council estate. What’s not to like. This song has got Mr. Harris’ winning pop formula stamped all over it, but with Rihanna. A force not to be reckoned with. She’s the perfect pop princess for 2011. Beautiful, and seemingly not giving a shit about what people think about her. She’s in a position where she will be thrust in to the position of a role model for young girls – but has rebelled and sold her sex appeal. This is a track that makes you want to smoke your head off and dance around your bedroom in your pants. Perfect.

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Emeli Sande – Number 3 in the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

Emeli Sande – Heaven

This song has a huge amount of Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack about it. The vocals are so strong, the production is big and epic with a really cool string arrangement. Overall it’s anthemic. When I first heard it, I did wonder if it might be too derivative. After living with the track for quite a while, I reckon it might just stand the test of time and put Sande on the perfect path for 2012.

It’s one of those songs that when it comes on your iPod, you can’t help but stomp down the street Shara Nelson style, or if you’re a bloke, Richard Ashcroft style.

It’s a great song to sing when you’re pissed with your mates and is miles better than that Pro Green song that got to number one.

 

 

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Wretch 32 feat. Josh Kumra – Number 4 in the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

Wretch 32 feat. Josh Kumra – Don’t Go

This song was Wretch 32’s first number one, and the first sight of the very talented Josh Kumra.

It started life as a song penned by Kumra, who was relatively unknown. Wretch got his hands on it, added his own, distinct style and turned it into an absolute smash. The thing that I picked up on with Wretch is that in all his videos, he’s always smiling – up until this one. This song laid bear his emotions (much like lots of his other tracks) and showed the world the more reflective side to him. His lyrics are painfully honest and the public seemed to get that.

Wretch 32 has had a tremendous year and it’s seen him breakthrough in to the mainstream with a number 3 album. I reckon this single had quite a lot to do with that.

 

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Battles – Number 5 in the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

 

Battles feat. Matias Aguayo – Ice Cream

It’s been a good year for Battles. Gloss Drop is a masterpiece. Everyone seemed to be worrying how they’d get on after losing a key member. They’re fine, it dunt matter.

My big Battles memory of the year is seeing them at Primavera. They were on after Pulp, I was right at the front for Pulp and got thrown about massively – to the point I couldn’t feel my legs afterwards. Battles came on and I was sat down, holding my head in my hands so it didn’t fall down (none of my muscles were working anymore) and pointing it at the stage. The new material sounded amazing, especially this. I was rooted to the spot, I couldn’t move, literally.

The vocals on this track are amazing, they show the diversity you can have at your fingertips when not bogged down to one main vocalist. The vocals, it seems, are not the key part in a Battles track. Strip them away and you still have something that is unmistakably them. On this track, the vocals are a bonus.

 

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10-6 of the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

7th post

10. DJ Fresh – Louder

This song has had over 11 million views on youtube, which is just insane. It’s such a great pop song which, for me, harks back to the days when Ministry of Sound used to put out absolute dancefloor bangers as one offs. They’d be faceless productions (usually pseudonyms of big name DJs and producers) and they’d be made to a certain formula for ultimate dancefloor devastation. To me, this is one of them. It’s not though. DJ Fresh is about to release another song and then an album. I’m not sure how well this will work, but there’s no denying this is a huge track. I just have one wish, that it did get ‘Louder’. Because, basically, it doesn’t.

9. Clock Opera – Lesson No.7

Hi Clock Opera, I love you. I may as well tattoo it on my forehead like that crazy meth addict who got that shit Drake tattoo. Clock Opera have this knack of building their songs into such a racket of well-formed noise that sounds absolutely amazing in your head phones. When listening to their music you’d think it would be shit hard to create live as it’s so intricate, but they absolutely kill it. They’re another band who get better with every single and this one is just amazing.

8. The Kills – The Future Starts Slow

The Kills have a hypnotic quality to them. You can’t take your eyes off them. Alison Mosshart has a very vulnerable and fragile quality to her but is such an amazingly strong and powerful singer and front woman. This track is a perfect example of The Kills at their best. I love the tracks that feature them both vocally, you get a real sense of them as a unit, and that riff is so simple and so memorable. It’s definitely what you hear ringing in your ears for days after you’ve seen them live.

7. TV On The Radio – Will Do

This song really stood out for me in 2011. It’s a song that I keep revisiting. It’s fantastic from the off, that stark introduction and the flow of the vocals. It’s just pure beauty.

6. Benny Benassi feat. Chris Brown – Beautiful People

I hate the term guilty pleasure. You either like something or not. Guilty pleasure implies that you like something that you think is shit. If you think it’s shit then why do you like it? This isn’t shit. Any song that features the lyrics “take your time, take your time, take your sexy time” is a winner in my eyes. The first time I had this song played to me, I thought my friends were mad. But, it snares you in – I think it’s the steel drums (and the ridiculous lyrics, and all the famous people in the video).

 

 

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15-11 of the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

The sixth bit

15. Gil Scott Heron and Jamie XX – I’ll Take Care of You

We found out Gil Scott Heron had died whilst we were at Primavera. It was round about the time when Jamie XX was doing his set. We were talking about it on twitter and a blogger mentioned that he had actually mentioned it to Jamie XX after he played and he didn’t know. Heart breaking. That remix album breathed a different life into something that was already a classic and this track really stood out for me.

14. The Bronze Medal – Milk

This band should be on everyone’s one to watch list. They are sickeningly young and are sickeningly talented. Milk was there debut single in 2011 and marks an excitingly promising start to what could potentially be a huge band. This has universal appeal. The first time I saw this band I was actually nearly crying, they made my heart ache.

13. Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Example is probably one of the hardest working popstars. He loves a tour and seems to always be on one. Apparently everyone has started giving him cake, that must be nice for him and his band. Constant cake. It feels like he has taken an age to find exactly where he should be placed in the big old fickle pop world. This new album sees him find it. Big dance tunes with a bit of a rap bit in it. The production on this is big and it’s so catchy. He said in an interview that it was inspired by Hollyoaks, he could be lying or telling the truth – both work.

12. The Antlers – I Don’t Want Love

Arghhhhh! This song is just so amazing. This sums up ‘Burst Apart’ for me, and The Antlers too. Just bloody brilliant.

11. Beyonce – 1+1

2011 was the year of Beyonce. Another cracking album, an amazing Glastonbury headline performance, a baby on the way…. She’s not exactly a lyrical genius but they still convey the emotion of the song, along with her fucking amazing voice. This song is so old school and shows everything that makes her a very important artist.

 

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20-16 of the Top 40 Best Tracks of 2011

Section 5

20. The Weeknd – The Knowing

The song and the video remind me of the first time I watched Never Ending Story or the first time I watched a Studio Ghibli film. It’s tremendous. It tunes your brain in a different way. Epic and beautiful.

19. My Chemical Romance – Planetary Go

There are no words to describe my love of My Chemical Romance. It’s bordering on obsessive. At Leeds festival this year they were my ideal headliners. It was such a show, an amazing performance. I love how each album has a strong theme, from the music to the costumes to the stage production. This is a really strong track on the album and a great single. Theatrical and bold. It’s not emo, it’s rock opera.

18. Lykke Li – Sadness is a Blessing

A beautiful track from a truly amazing album. Special mention for the Gold Panda remix of this track too, a great adaptation. The themes of this song are something that a lot of people can relate to and it’s very beautifully presented.

17. Florence & The Machine – What The Water Gave Me

Generally not a fan of Florence & The Machine. Too much shouting. This song, however, is sublime. It’s beauty really took me by surprise. For the most part this song has and understated delivery from Florence until it all kicks off at the end. Really well structured and lyrically, it has a very interesting narrative.

16. Death in Vegas – Your Loft

This year Death in Vegas released their first album in 7 years and this is the lead single from it, featuring the haunting vocals of Katie from Austra. The track is rooted in minimal house music and whilst it has the Death in Vegas stamp all over it, it also shows DiV entering into the brave new world of 2011 and sees them slot into it perfectly.

 

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