So, here we go!
#100 Laura J Martin – Spy (The Simonsound Remix)
Very talented young Liverpudlian flutes & loops artiste remixed by retro space synth act The Simonsound. I love the drum samples.
#99 Katy B – Lights On (ft Miss Dynamite)
If 2011 was the year when pop met dubstep, then Katy B’s ‘On A Mission’ was the album that made the phenomenon seem like the most natural thing in the world. “Lights On” is at heart just a decent pop song about enjoying clubbing so much that you don’t want to stop dancing even when they’re closing up, but the beats, the production and the guest rap from Miss Dynamite come from an altogether different world.
#98 Spank Rock – Nasty (feat. Big Freedia)
Spank Rock’s 2011 album “Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar” generally seemed to get panned for being pervy, coarse and weird, which is a bit like criticizing a table for being made of wood and having four legs. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. This track is, yes, nasty.
#97 Breton – Edward The Confessor
(A late replacement here for Vampilia, who I’ve suddenly decided I can’t stand)
This is one of those tracks that just seems to arrive on the internet with no context whatsoever – just a video and a few unhelpfully surreal press releases. There’s a rumour that this is Tom Vek working under a pseudonym. Anyway, it’s pretty decent, that’s the important thing.
#96 Peaking Lights – Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)
The description on last.fm says “floating electronic pulses, controlled feedback, tape loops, organ, synth, guitar, and vocal harmonies layered into waves of four track noise pop goodness.” But what does it for me is the bassline. What a bassline!
#95 London Elektricity – The Plan That Cannot Fail
Simple D&B track, with euphoric early-90s house piano. Sometime the simplest ingredients are what you need.
#94 New Build – Finding Reasons
Hot Chip / LCD Soundsystem side project, a bit like both, but with elements of 80s indie electro.
#93 Metronomy – The Bay
Repetitive disco-pop song about Torquay. I wasn’t really into it until I heard it at a party. That’s where it should be heard. Best use of slap-bass all year. The extended version is even better – it just cuts to the chase and then stays there for as long as you want it to, which is quite a long time.
#92 濱崎あゆみ – BRILLANTE
Mainstream Japanese pop music – even my wife has heard of her, and she’s hardly a J-pop fangirl. Ayumi piles on the melodrama and overproduction and instead of it being cheesy and soulless it ends up being as epic as she presumable meant it to be. Just seen the video for the first time and, well, it’s very very gay.
#91 Lady Gaga – Judas
THE big hit of the year. Well, in my house it was, at least. Easily my favourite thing she’s ever done, the techno breakdown is the best bit.
#90 The Advisory Circle – The Patchwork Explains
If this were a list of albums, The Advisory Circle’s “As the Crow Flies” would be right up there near the top. I’ve always loved the creepy, burbling synth sounds of 1970s public information films and documentaries, and it’s great to hear them being reclaimed and used for something strange, dark and witchy. Unfortunately there’s no one real standout track, though, so take this as a sample rather than a highlight.
#89 The Cabin Fever – Untimely Loss
The only track by someone I actually know on this list, a song my friend Dan wrote and recorded about Trish from Broadcast, who died early in 2011.
#88 The Antlers – Parentheses
The people at Drowned In Sound are crazy about this group. This track is here on the strength of a single riff. It’s a very good riff and is repeated a lot.
#87 Lana Del Ray – Video Games
Witty, insightful and convincing, a pitch-perfect satire on submissive women with asshole boyfriends which takes all the tropes of fashion and lifestyle journalism and plays them with utter conviction – and everyone seems to love it.
#86 Chris Brown – Look At Me Now (feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne)
A bit conflicted over this one. On one hand it’s Chris Brown boasting to Rihanna that he’s got lots of money now, a couple of years after he beat her up. Which is obviously not very nice. On the other hand it’s one of the strongest rap tracks of the year, and contain’s Busta Rhymes best performance for the best part of a decade. Which is obviously brilliant. The truth is that some of the greatest music of the last century has been produced by some morally fairly reprehensible people, and whatever crap Busta Rhymes lends himself to it’s always worth a listen.
#85 The War On Drugs – Baby Missiles
So there’s this band that sound exactly like mid-seventies Springsteen and they’ve written this song and somehow it’s amazing. Don’t ask me how this happened.
#84 RITUALZ (†‡†) – Ghetto Ass Witch Ft. Gvcci Hvcci (Vagina Vangi Remix)
Easily the most annoying song title / band name combo to write in 2011. Anyway, witch house, will it coalesce into a single sound? If so it could sound something like this. Please.
#83 La Femme – Sur La Planche
Jagged, angular, fast-paced French indie-pop song all about surfing.
#82 Raffertie – Visual Acuity
Just his usual filthy genre-blending IDM, a highlight of 2011 for those who happen to like that sort of thing.
#81 Raiden – Barbican
From Beton Arme, a D&B concept album about Britain’s brutalist architecture. That might sound unbelievably, ludicrously pretentious to lots of people, but just judge it on the results. I’m not sure who this is for, or who if anyone will buy it, but I can safely say the world is a richer place just for its existence.
Tomorrow we continue with numbers 61-80.