Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Best Of 2010 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

A new decade already? Well, not technically, since decades officially run from years ending in 01 to 10 - but it was the start of the 2010s, even though it only felt like yesterday that we were all panicking about Y2K.  

Her hair may have changed colour, but nothing had changed
when it came to Rihanna's chart domination in 2010

By 2010, we were living our lives more beholden to technology than ever thanks to social media like Facebook (which I joined in 2007) and Twitter (which I didn't join until June 2009) - and I just got completely sidetracked looking back at my timeline on both sites from 2010. Here's another way to kill some time - join me as I count down my top 100 tracks for that year...

Number 100 "One In A Million" by Ne-Yo
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 99 "White Knuckle Ride" by Jamiroquai
Nearly two decades after he became the wunderkind of the acid jazz scene, Jay Kay was still churning out his brand of pop/funk - but with greatly reduced success. "White Knuckle Ride", the first product of Jamiroquai's new deal with Mercury Records following the act's departure from Sony Music, became the worst performing lead single in the band's history and the album, Rock Dust Light Star, was the lowest charting on the UK chart. It certainly wasn't on a par with some of his classic singles, but it wasn't that bad.

Number 98 "Magic" by B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo
2010's hottest new rapper (real name: Bobby Simmons Jr) landed three massive hits throughout the year with three quite different guest artists providing hooks. On my favourite track, "Magic", Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo contributed vocals, while emerging R&B star Bruno Mars and Paramore singer Hayley Williams performed on "Nothin' On You" and "Airplanes" respectively. Not a bad start to a recording career.

Number 97 "Dance The Way I Feel" by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
Mentioned in below

Number 96 "Wear My Kiss" by Sugababes
Yet another line-up change at Sugababes Central at the end of 2009 resulted in the girl group featuring no original members as Keisha Buchanan was expelled and replaced by former Eurovision contestant Jade Ewen, who'd represented Britain at the song contest earlier that year. The latest substitution was one too many for the public, and seventh studio album Sweet 7 bombed. 
All of the album's singles did manage to hit the UK top 10, but only "Wear My Kiss" made the grade for me - and it remains their last official single. In theory, Heidi, Amelle and Jade still comprise the girl group, but I think it's unlikely we'll ever hear from them again - but then, stranger things have happened (i.e. Mutya Keisha Siobhan).

Number 95 "Love Get Out Of My Way" by Monarchy
Synthpop duo Monarchy were tipped for big things in late 2009 and 2010, when their first few tracks were released. As we'll see in my 2011 countdown, things didn't quite work out the way their label planned, but "Love Get Out Of My Way" certainly piqued my interest in the pair.

Number 94 "Clap Your Hands" by Sia
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 93 "Party Girl" by McFly
Last seen in my year-end top 100 in 2006, McFly had made a lot of changes in the intervening years - taking control of their career by leaving Island Records and releasing an album they recorded in Australia on their own label. For their fifth album, Above The Noise, McFly struck a new 50/50 deal with Island Records and worked with R&B producer Dallas Austin - and the shift in direction was obvious on this lead single.  

Number 92 "Cruel Intentions" by Simian Mobile Disco featuring Beth Ditto
The best effort by the dance duo comprised of James Ford and Jas Shaw until this point had been 2007's "I Believe", which didn't quite make my top 100 for 2007. But, throw in a guest vocal from the lead singer for indie/electro faves Gossip and this second single from the Temporary Pleasures album turned things around nicely.

Number 91 "One Beat Away" by Cicada
Having been introduced to Cicada, the British electronic duo comprised of Alex Payne and Aaron Gilbert, in 2009, I got into their second album, Roulette, from which this single was released. There's a much shorter radio edit, but it doesn't seem to be online, so the seven-minute album version is below.

Number 90 "Believer" by Goldfrapp
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 89 "Close To You (Fear Of Tigers mix)" by The Venus Stare
The original version of this track by Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) and Sophie Galpin was more of a pop/rock affair, but "Close To You" was transformed into a high-energy synthpop stormer by British producer Benjamin Berry (aka Fear Of Tigers).

Number 88 "Memories" by David Guetta featuring Kid Cudi
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 87 "Watercolour" by Pendulum
I must confess, I still have to listen to Pendulum's three 2010 singles - "Watercolour", "Witchcraft" and "The Island" - to remember which is which. The drum and bass tracks all sound pretty similar and, since the song titles don't feature in the lyrics of any of them, it's easy to get confused. But, it's "Watercolour" that narrowly outranks the other two for me - and remains their biggest UK hit and only Australian top 50 appearance to date.

Number 86 "Someone Wake Me Up" by Joe McElderry
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 85 "Moon Theory" by Miami Horror
After channelling Prince on "Don't Be On With Her" (which we saw in my top 100 for 2009), Australian synthpop band Miami Horror sounded more like New Order on this second single from debut album Illumination. It was one of three singles they released in 2010 - another, "I Look To You", featured a singer who'd become much better known in years to come: Kimbra.

Number 84 "Only Girl (In The World)" by Rihanna
2010 was as big a year for Rihanna as any she'd had previously, with singles like this lead release from the Loud album, "What's My Name?", "Rude Boy" and Eminem collaboration "Love The Way You Lie" keeping her at the top of charts around the world. But, it was also the year I started to go off her. Having been as much a fan of her music as anyone in the second half of the '00s, most of her 2010 mega-hits did little for me. I liked "Only Girl (In The World)" the most out of that batch, but I found the vocal a little bit shouty, meaning it wound up at the tail end of my top 100 for the year.

Number 83 "All The Lovers" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 82 "On A Mission" by Gabriella Cilmi
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 81 "Last Days Of Disco" by Robbie Williams
We saw "Bodies" on my top 100 for 2009, but subsequent singles from Robbie's Reality Killed The Video Star album ("You Know Me" and "Morning Sun") weren't anywhere near as impressive. Instead, this album track caught my attention - a Pet Shop Boys-esque synthpop gem.

Number 80 "Loco" by Annie
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 79 "The Sky's The Limit" by Jason Derulo
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 78 "Hole In My Heart" by Alphabeat
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 77 "More (RedOne Jimmy Joker mix)" by Usher
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 76 "Jackson's Last Stand" by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
One of 2010's most exciting new acts also became one of the year's most tragic news stories when Charles Haddon, the lead singer of indie/electro band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, committed suicide in October. Prior to his death, the band released three singles that make this list - debut single and ARIA top 20 hit "Dance The Way I Feel" (number 97), "Jackson's Last Stand" and "The Key" (number 109). 

In Part 2: my favourite single by an act that's already featured twice on this countdown - a group that made headlines when tragedy struck in 2010. Plus, a track by one of the year's biggest hitmakers receives the Glee makeover treatment and a multi-ARIA Award winner benefits from Girls Aloud being on hiatus.

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