Well, it’s that time of the year when we are all busily writing lists and ticking things off, one by one; it’s also that time of the year when we begin to look back on the past twelve months. Now, whenever I do that, music is never too far away. I am one of those people who can link a song to a specific time and life event with the greatest of ease (which is weird, because I’d have trouble telling you what I did yesterday). But stick on Stand And Deliver, Step Back In Time, Vogue or Ironic and I can tell you what I was doing, who I was with and what I was wearing. I reckon if I make it to 90, my bed will be surrounded by people who I don’t recognize, I’ll probably have trouble remembering my own name, but I’ll be reciting (word perfect) the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. What a hideous vision of the future.
Anyway, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you my Top 5 songs of the year. These aren’t listed in a ‘NME/Rolling Stone-I’m-so-hipster-you’ll-never-have-heard-of-them’ kinda way. No, these are just songs that I think I would still turn the volume up on if I hear them in 3 years time.
- Lorde: Royals
So, first of all some facts: Ella Yelich O’Connor (aka Lorde) just turned 17 last month; she allegedly wrote this song in 30 minutes; it’s been number one everywhere from the US to Iceland, Venezuela to (her native) New Zealand. This song is more infectious than a does of Cyrus Crabs and comes with the added benefit of nobody being nude in the accompanying video. If this is what this girl can do at the tender age of 17, I for one can’t wait to see what she does in the next ten years. Praise the Lorde!
2. Katy Perry: Roar
I’m not a huge fan of Perry, but let’s call a spade a spade: this is an almost perfect pop-song. It gave Katy her eighth US number one and her gazillionth number one in other territories around the world. I feel a bit hyperglycaemic when I watch the music video for this song (it is pure sugar), but listening to it on a sunny day, speeding along a traffic-free motorway with the roof down (work with me), it’s gold. Now roll on that Perry/Gaga/Beyoncé performance at the Grammys…
3. Elle Goulding: Burn
So, you’re at a house-party and it’s all going a bit slow. The drinks, however, are going down well and the music’s improving. Then this comes on! Tuuuuuuuuuune! Clear the floor: Ant0scar’s here! This is possibly Ellie’s most radio-friendly track that she’s ever released and it also gave her her first UK number one single. About time: this young lady (27 later this month) has already won a Critic’s Choice BRIT award, sang at a royal wedding and has had several US Billboard Top 20 hits. 2014 is going to be big…
4. Macklemore: Same Love
At the same party, as mentioned above, we’re now all p155ed, sitting around on the floor waiting for something slightly more chilled to come pumping of the karaoke box. This is the perfect track for that end-of-the-evening felling. Not only does its central thesis contain a message not normally heard from the mouths of rappers (see Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye, etc), the vocals of Mary Lambert lift this song to the ranks of a modern classic. Cracking video too, and I love how the single cover features Macklemore’s uncle and partner. A definitely contender for Song of the Summer, but one that I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing for lots of summers to come.
5. Strong: London Grammar
I DID feel very ‘NME-journalist’ when I first started to like this band, but London Grammar are now pretty mainstream, so to quote Kurt Cobain: “no apologies”. Heavily influenced by The xx, I could listen to Hannah Reid sing the phonebook. This song perfectly showcases her amazing vocals; it’s hard not to find yourself hitting the ‘repeat’ button after an initial listen. Their album If You Wait will be on high rotation in Scar Towers this Christmas, and I reckon they will be huge in 2014. Mind you, I said the same about Mel and Kim back in the day, so don’t pay any attention to me…
So come on peeps: what were YOUR hits of the year?