December means it’s officially acceptable to write ‘Best [insert medium] of the Year’ lists and as I haven’t updated my blog for a couple of months it seems like a good away as any to ease myself back into writing on a more regular basis again.
Unfortunately the most notable musical moments of the year were the sad deaths of Amy Winehouse and personal favourites Gil Scott Heron and Bert Jansch as major releases from the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Beady Eye failed to inspire.
However beneath the mass mediocrity of the charts some burgeoning talent has emerged, whilst some old favourites reminded us why we fell in love with them, in no particular order here are my 10 favourite songs of the year.
Spark – Revolving (The Streets 98 Mix)
2011 unfortunately saw the demise of The Streets, however Mike Skinner has left us with a strong legacy and this garagey remix of Spark’s Revolving is up there with his finest work.
Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me a Tale
It’s not hyperbole to suggest Michael Kiwanuka is the brightest talent to emerge on these shores since Laura Marling. This, his first release evokes the spirit of Bill Withers and Terry Callier.
PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose
PJ Harvey’s 10th studio album Let England Shake deservedly won the Mercury prize this September and this track is a microcosm of said album, with it’s lyrics about England and Englishness.
Wu Lyf – Dirt
The Manchester band emerged in a blaze of hype at the start of the year, however unlike most this was warranted and their debut album ‘Go Tell Fire To The Mountain’ from which this is taken, more than lived up to the expectation.
Creep – Days
The Brooklyn duo’s debut single features vocals from Romy from The XX and this ‘atmospheric’ track wouldn’t be out of place on her band’s debut.
The D.O.T – Heart Wont Bruise
A collaboration between Mike Skinner of the Streets and the former frontman of The Music Robert Harvey. Musically it continues where Computers and Blues left of combining vaguely orchestral soundscapes with melancholic Balearic beats.
Lana Del Rey – Video Games
So much has been written about this song and Lana Del Rey that I’m not going to add anything interesting or new. The song speaks for itself.
The Maccabees – Pelican
The first single from their third album, due to be released early next year, if its a sign of things to come then they look certain to expand on the success of Wall of Arms and cement their position as one of the biggest bands in the country.
Alabama Shakes – I Found You
Like Michael Kiwanuka featured further up they combine 60’s soul with hints of country and blues. Like Michael Kiwanuka it’s nothing original, but like Michael Kiwanuka it’s very good.
Emeli Sande – Heaven
Summed up in two words – Massive Attack.
By Callum West