troubled diva  
 

My freelance writing can now be found at mikeatkinson.wordpress.com.
Recently: VV Brown, Alabama 3, Just Jack, Phantom Band, Frankmusik, Twilight Sad, Slaid Cleaves, Alesha Dixon, Bellowhead, The Unthanks, Dizzee Rascal.

On Thursday September 17th, I danced on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Click here to watch, and here to listen.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Singles and tracks of 2009.

As it has been a golden year for singles, I've had to expand my list to a Top 100. The vast majority of these tracks were issued as singles (as evidenced by the accompanying cover art on Spotify). As per usual, I only include favourite album tracks if they somehow took on a separate life of their own, outside the context of their parent albums. (It's a peculiar rule, but it makes sense to me.)

All but twelve of these tracks can be found on this Spotify playlist, in ascending order. What better way to spend the next six and a half hours of your life?

1. The Fear - Lily Allen
2. Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
(Joint winner of my video of the year, along with #23)
3. Remedy - Little Boots
(I danced to this on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, along with #4, #5 and #12)
4. When Love Takes Over - David Guetta ft Kelly Rowland
5. Just Dance - Lady GaGa ft Colby O'Donis
6. You've Got The Love (Jamie xx re-work ft The xx) - Florence and the Machine
(N.B. Florence's original version is a strong candidate for my most hated single of 2009, and her album was my most regretted purchase of the year. Which just goes to show what you can do with a good remix.)
7. Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden
8. Wild Horses - Susan Boyle
(Oh, you can scoff. But for me, this was the standout vocal performance of the year.)
9. I'm Not Alone - Calvin Harris
10. Baby Can't Stop - Lindstrom & Christabelle
11. Did You See Me Coming? (Unicorn Kid mix) - Pet Shop Boys
12. Bulletproof - La Roux
13. Russian Roulette - Rihanna
14. Aidy's Girl Is A Computer - Darkstar
15. Raindrops - Basement Jaxx
16. Jetstream (Lindstrom remix) - Doves
17. The Howling - The Phantom Band
18. Love Etc. - Pet Shop Boys
19. Crystalised - The xx
20. Day 'N' Nite - Kid Cudi vs Crookers
21. Audacity Of Huge - Simian Mobile Disco
22. Kilometer (Aeroplane 'Italo 84' mix) - Sebastien Tellier
(I spent much of January and February obsessing over Aeroplane remixes, but this was the only one with a 2009 release date.)
23. How To Stay Alive - Gong
(Joint winner of my video of the year, along with #2. Please promise me that you'll watch this in full-screen?)
24. Daniel - Bat For Lashes
25. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
26. Lion Hat - Unicorn Kid
27. Umbrella Beach - Owl City
28. My Girls - Animal Collective
29. Stillness Is The Move - Dirty Projectors
30. New In Town - Little Boots
31. Tirsdagsjam - Lindstrom & Prins Thomas
(I once mistyped this as Tirdgasjam. Arf arf.)
32. Love Me Like This (Nonsense Dub) - Floating Points
33. Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
34. This Momentary - Delphic
35. Fireflies - Owl City
(Absolutely baffled by the almost unanimous hipster hate for this one.)
36. Wee Monsters - Unicorn Kid
37. Islands - The xx
38. Folk Song Oblivion - The Phantom Band
39. Omen - The Prodigy
40. Empire State Of Mind - Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys
(Oh God, have I become one of those people who lists token Jay-Z tracks in an effort to pretend that he still "keeps up" with hip hop?)
41. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
42. Tic Toc - Permanent Vacation ft Kathy Diamond
43. Runaway - Grum
44. Ready For The Weekend - Calvin Harris
45. Cannibal Resource - Dirty Projectors
46. Pretty Wings - Maxwell
47. Paparazzi - Lady GaGa
48. Basic Space - The xx
49. A Nightingale - Isolee
(B-side of the year, if there is still any residual meaning in the concept.)
50. From Africa To Malaga - JJ
51. Maybe So, Maybe No - Mayer Hawthorne
52. Moto Moindo - Staff Benda Bilili
53. Rushing To Paradise (Walkin' These Streets) - House Of House
54. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
55. Not Fair - Lily Allen
56. If You Ever Get Famous - The Duke & The King
57. These Are My Twisted Words - Radiohead
58. Poker Face - Lady GaGa
59. Hooting & Howling - Wild Beasts
60. Embers - Just Jack
61. Arrogance Ignorance And Greed - Show Of Hands
62. Get Fresh - Kid Sister
63. Young Forever - Jay-Z ft Mr Hudson
64. Kingdom Of Rust - Doves
65. In The Morning - Fuzzy Logik ft Egypt
66. Take Me Back - Tinchy Stryder ft Taio Cruz
67. Lisztomania - Phoenix
68. Let's Go Surfing - Drums
69. Party Hard - Donae'o
70. One Day - The Juan Maclean
71. General - Buraka Som Sistema
72. Chasing Pirates - Norah Jones
73. French Navy - Camera Obscura
74. S'il Fallait Le Faire - Patricia Kaas
75. In For The Kill (+ Skream's Let's Get Ravey Remix) - La Roux
76. Number 1 - Tinchy Stryder ft N-Dubz
77. Make It Better - Anoraak
78. Bad Habits - Maxwell
79. Ambling Alp - Yeasayer
80. We Are The People - Empire Of The Sun
81. Story Of A Heart - Benny Andersson Band
82. Never Leave You - Tinchy Stryder ft Amelle
83. Method Of Modern Love - Saint Etienne
84. 1901 - Phoenix
85. 11th Dimension - Julian Casablancas
86. Love Story - Taylor Swift
87. Hyph Mngo - Joy Orbison
88. Animal - Miike Snow
89. Holiday - Dizzee Rascal
90. For Your Lover Give Some Time - Richard Hawley
91. Halo - Beyonce
92. Run This Town - Jay-Z ft Rihanna & Kanye West
93. Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
94. Bad Gyal - Ms Dynamite
95. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
96. T-Shirt (+ Crazy Cousinz Vocal Remix) - Shontelle
97. It's My Time - Jade Ewen
98. I'll Keep On Loving You - Walter Jones
99. If I Had A Heart - Fever Ray
100. Restless - Buraka Som Sistema

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Albums of 2009.

Here's a Spotify playlist, containing a sample track from 33 of these albums.

1. Live In London - Leonard Cohen
2. Vertical Ascent - Moritz von Oswald Trio
3. Here's The Tender Coming - The Unthanks
4. Tres Tres Fort - Staff Benda Bilili
5. The xx - The xx
6. Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors
7. Warm Heart Of Africa - The Very Best
8. II - Lindstrom & Prins Thomas
9. BLACKsummers'night - Maxwell
10. Le Suivant - Smith & Mudd
11. Origin:Orphan - Hidden Cameras
12. Arc Light - Lau
13. Checkmate Savage - The Phantom Band
14. Yesterday And Today - The Field
15. Tarot Sport - Fuck Buttons
16. Merriweather Post Pavillion - Animal Collective
17. Troyka - Troyka
18. La Roux - La Roux
19. The Fame Monster - Lady GaGa
20. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura
21. The Glare - McAlmont & Nyman
22. The Middle Way - Keaver & Brause
23. Imidiwan: Companions - Tinariwen
24. Two Suns - Bat For Lashes
25. Inspiration Information - Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics
26. 2032 - Gong
27. The Future Will Come - The Juan Maclean
28. Two Dancers - Wild Beasts
29. Vagarosa - CéU
30. Ready For The Weekend - Calvin Harris
31. Hands - Little Boots
32. Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast - Cornershop
33. JJ N° 2 - JJ
34. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
35. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
36. Party Hard - Donae'o
37. See Mystery Lights - YACHT
38. Real Life Is No Cool - Lindstrom & Christabelle
39. The Glass Bead Game - James Blackshaw
40. It's Not Me, It's You - Lily Allen

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Some Spotify playlists, for your weekend pleasure.

If I'm going to get through a month's worth of daily postings, then Fridays are going to be the toughest gigs of the week. For traditionally, Friday evenings fall into four tightly packed sections, with scant room for a fifth:

1. The frantic weekend packing session. Undies to sort, shirts and shoes to put out, CDs and papers to pack, laptops to stow, bins to put out: in nearly nine years of splitting our lives between town and country, we've yet to learn the fine art of Travelling Light.

2. The drive to the village. Fifty minutes on a good run, but almost always interrupted by the statutory two pints of Marston's Pedigree in the Red Lion en route. That first sip of that first beer is one of the absolute highlights of our week. Simple pleasures.

3. The frantic weekend un-packing session, followed by the week's one and only microwaved ready meal. Fridays aren't for lingering over gatsronomic delights; they're for chowing down and moving on through...

4. ...to the sofas in the sitting room, for Friday Night trash telly. Tonight being a particular highlight, as it's - as of course you all know - the grand final of Big Brother Series 10. Yes, we're still watching it. Yes, it's still compelling telly.

So with the bags all packed and K due back in seconds, I've only got time to chuck a few Spotify playlists in your general direction:

1. Hits of September. One song per year, from 1960 to 2009 - the common link being that they all entered the UK singles charts in September, and reached the Top 20 at some point thereafter. Starts with The Ventures and The Shadows; also includes The Temptations, Mott The Hoople, Japan, Cameo, Inner City, Suede, Hole, Rachel Stevens, Justin Timberlake, and many more.

2. A Touch Sensitive. A fine playlist from William B. Swygart. Laura Cantrell, The Doobie Brothers, Saint Etienne, Kevin Ayers, Chic, etc...

3. And speaking of Saint Etienne: its three members have compiled three playlists, in a mostly mellow vain. Bob Stanley's is here, Pete Wiggs' is here, and Sarah Cracknell's is here.

4. All the Top 40 hits of 2009, in chronological order. A vintage year, I'm telling you!

5. Seminal by yer_mam. I love this playlist, compiled by a Manchester blogger: it's wildly eclectic, yet cannily sequenced, and frequently gem-revealing.

6. Late Summer Laziness, by Unreliable Witness (he of the eponymous blog). Belle & Sebastian, The Cure, Tindersticks, Pavement, Hot Chip, Mazzy Star... oh, and is that Saint Etienne again?

7. Best Beatles Covers Ever! The Beatles aren't on Spotify, but plenty of their songs are. This playlist arose from a couple of threads on ILM.

8. Pitchfork's Top Tracks of the 2000s. Some OCD sweetheart out there has compiled the US music site's critical picks of the last decade - all 500 of them - into a series of lists. I could kiss them. 500-401 - 400-301 - 300-201 - 200-101 - 100-51 - 50-21 - 20-1.

Will that do? For I must dash. Happy weekend listening.

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