Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My 13 songs of 2013

It's end of the year lists season! I don't think I've even been to ten dance/ballet events this year - somehow not much was appealing - so I won't make one of these. Next year is looking a lot more promising already.

Instead here are songs from 2013 that caught my attention, that I listened to on repeat for several afternoons at work, that I sang daily on my bike ride home, or that I had to play to get the party going. Warning: there is quite a range. I never really paid attention to dance music before. This year, things changed and my ears opened up. Those tracks will always mean 2013 to me.

To all the friends who shared these with me, thank you.

Dark Dark Dark - The Great Mistake
The album it is from (Who Needs Who) was actually released in October 2012 but I only heard a track in January 2013, it was playing on the radio at a friend's. Thankfully she had a digital one so I could check out what it was. I love the moody start, the harmonies and of course the lyrics. Words always mean a lot to me: 'the great mistake was mine'.

San Fermin - Sonsick
This song I only heard yesterday. Someone I followed shared it on Twitter saying it reminded him of Dirty Projectors. I like that band so I clicked on the link. By the end of the day I had listened to it about 50 times, which is probably not how it is intended to be listened to since it is part of a 'concept album' that has some kind of narrative to it, but hey. I find the chorus super gripping. The writer/keyboard player is super cute but that has nothing to do with it. They played here in London only last November and I am gutted I missed it.

Being from the south of France, where the culture behind Pamplona's running of the bull festival is alive and regiments our summers (the drinking, the camaraderie, the paso dobles, the joy of collective celebrations), I am not sure about this NY band calling themselves San Fermin though, but hey, why not.

Ms Mr - Think of You (RAC remix)
I said earlier lyrics mean a lot to me. And this one kills it on the lyrics front. You want to sing that one to the dickhead that hurt you. Simple, driving beat, to listen on repeat. 2min30 onwards: oh my.

Freemasons - Bring It Back
Kady Z - Love Gone Wrong (Cahill Radio Edit)
Now with these two, you need to imagine that you are in a big, big club, with some good, good friends, and it's a bank holiday weekend and you're a little drunk and the boys (or girls) are cute. Sometimes context is everything.

Neither of songs went very big: I think the Freemasons' one was used in Carphone Warehouse advert actually. I love the 'OOooh' voice sections. I still remember one of my friend really feeling it on the dancefloor, 3min15 - 3min35.

Crush Gone Wrong is euro-pop trash, something that could be number 1 in Belgium, and only in Belgium, somehow never really making it out much further. But then you could see Katy Perry sing some kind of version of this and make it big. 'This is not a love song, just a crush gone wrong' - anyone felt that this year?

Goldroom - Embrace
My autunm track, big time. The synths, the beat, the vocals, the melodies: I can't get enough of it. None of the remixes around can top the original. Somehow it reminds me of California, the Pacific Ocean, the end of a beautiful summer day, at sunset, next to the one I love. It takes me back there.

Blende - Rikki
I am making this list but really I know very little about new music and what the styles are called. This introduced me to the term 'Nu disco'. Rikki you're a badass machine... I dare you not to bob along.

Louis La Roche - Dance with me tonight
Another nu disco track that got me dancing big time. 17seconds in and you are hooked in!
I came across it via soundcloud, didn't know the guy, even though he has done work with Calvin Harris and put out lots of remixes (it's been a year of discoveries!)

Moko - Hand on heart
Moko is on the up, singing for Chase & Status this year. I discovered this song via a friend who emailed it saying he thought I'd like it. He didn't say why he thought that. Of course he was right, but I'd love to hear why he thought I would connect with this song.The soul of it all?

John Grant - Black Belt
This year I finally properly listened to John Grant. I had heard his tracks in the film Weekend, but hadn't gone any further. His second album came out early in 2013, and has been on regular play in our house since then. Black Belt is one of my favourites, just because it is so bitchy, and I like the beat behind it. 'Gleaming electronica', says his record company. I agree, but with added sassiness. If I ever did a drag performance, I'd lipsynch to this. The progression of the title track Pale Green Ghosts also really works for me.

Busta Rhymes - Thank you
I am not a huge rap fan, but in this track the words just flow so rhythmically and creatively ('Boop-be-de-de-boff, zippity-boof / Beat him in the head again, "stop killing me, Wolf!" / Whop!'), with that riff from Alicia Myers's I Want to Thank You in the background. Me and a colleague couldn't help but bounce to it when she shared it with me.

When I was 19, I learnt the words from Eve's Who's That Girl? by heart. It took me a while! I am hoping I can do it with this song too: 'Set them up, stiletto up, saddle up and let's go'.

REFLEX - Together
Funky disco from a French duo. They do awesome mixtapes too.

Turntablerock - Promise
1min30 sec onwards... baby you are my satisfactioooooooooon!
With that sample from the Brothers Johsnon's Strawberry Letter 23 (the one also in Ms Jackson by OutKast). Can't say much more than that. This is a track I'd love to have heard on a dancefloor this year, but it didn't make it to the nights I went to.
I can't understand the lyrics, which can make it a fun listen. 'What are they saying??? Let's try and guess: Maman's hookin' up? Gotta be lookin' up? Vamos al kebab?'. No idea.

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