December 21, 2005

Holly's 2005 Musical Charts – Tracks

And still she rants about music...

This was meant to be a simple top twenty. But then I got stuck. I realised a lot of the best songs were by a very small number of bands. This made the list look a little unrepresentative of what's really made me listen this year. Maybe I'm just worried I'll look like a musical ghetto, where kids with guitars roam free taking potshots at any interlopers who prefer something a little different. That's not how we run the Hollyzone. So there are two lists, one of the twenty best and one with the twenty best where only one song is allowed per act. Choon!

Twenty Best Songs (one track per act)

  1. Arcade Fire - 'Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)'
    "And the power's out/In heart of man/Take from your heart/Put it in your hand"
  2. Bloc Party - 'Pioneers'
    "So here we are reinventing the wheel/I'm shaking hands with a hurricane/It's a colour that I can't describe/It's a language I can't understand"
  3. Athlete - 'Wires'
    "First night of your life/Curled up on your own/Looking at you now/You would never know"
  4. Elbow - 'Leaders Of The Free World'
    "The leaders of the free world are just little boys throwing stones/And it's easy to ignore till they're knocking on the doors of your homes"
  5. Franz Ferdinand - 'This Boy'
    "This boy's so spectacular/Not a boy but a wealthy bachelor/Yes I am spectacular"
  6. Hard Fi - 'Cash Machine'
    "No no this can't be right/I live an honest life/It seems like sometimes/You don't cross the line/You don't get by"
  7. The Rakes - '22 Grand Job'
    "This girl from work looks alright/But the lights are too bright/Bloke in sales likes her too/What am I supposed to do?/But he's earning 28/And I'm on 22"
  8. British Sea Power - 'Please Stand Up'
    "It seemed as if the streets had melted/It seemed as if the air was scented/I wish all of time could be like this"
  9. Idlewild - 'Love Steals Us From Loneliness'
    "Every step takes a beat of your heart/Through a city that's falling apart"
  10. Editors - 'Munich'
    "People are fragile things/You should know by now/Be careful what you put them through"
  11. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - 'This Home On Ice'
    "Should I trust all the rust that's on TV?"
  12. Arctic Monkeys - 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'
    "Stop making eyes at me/I'll stop making eyes at you"
  13. Maximo Park - 'Apply Some Pressure'
    "You know that I would love to see you Next Year/I hope that I'm still alive Next Year"
  14. Girls Aloud - 'Biology'
    "Were gonna cause a controversy"
  15. Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra - 'Shot Me Down'
    "My baby shot me down"
  16. Kaiser Chiefs - 'Oh My God'
    "You work in shirt with your name tag on it/Drifting apart like a plate tectonic"
  17. Kelly Clarkson - 'Since U Been Gone'
    [The lyrics are a bit crap to be honest, it's more the principle of the bellowing style of singing that's fun]
  18. Sons And Daughters - 'Taste The Last Girl'
    "Hes a genuine boy with a guilty smile"
  19. Royksopp - 'What Else Is There (Thin White Duke mix)'
    "The flashlights and explosions"
  20. The Strokes - 'Juicebox'
    "You're so cold"

Honourable mentions to Doves' 'Black And White Town', Sugababes' 'Push The Button'. some dance tune I never found out the name of which had the lyric "you're poison running through my veins" and, big surprise, the one which nearly made it – Oasis 'The Importance Of Being Idle'. I'm no Oasis fan but this was good stuff, a bit more inventive than usual and bam! A damn fine tune which got to number one.

And pleasingly those of these which were singles got good chart positions. The onset of downloading counting to the charts has apparently boosted the chart positions of non-major label pop, most likely because legitimate downloads are the domain of people with credit or debit cards, i.e. mainly people over 16. Thus the Stereophonics' 'Dakota' (another great return to form by a band I'd lost all faith in) got better charts positions week after week on download sales.

I don't know how much it will continue to matter. If majors find they are losing ground on the charts then most likely they will concentrate on their new found cash cow – ring tones. Just as the charts look like they might be bringing bands which deserve a shot to the forefront, the industry's big players might be about to cease to care. Hopefully this, and the slow death of Top Of The Pops, won't destroy this new found atmosphere.

I've had enough of faceless dance acts appearing with drably choreographed female dancers on _CD:UK,_ let's invite on Rammstein to set each other on fire to Gothic German metal, or let PJ Harvey loose in the BBC wardrobe and see what she comes up with (it'll be amazingly cool no matter what). Sod the old ways. Just let's keep the new ones in the public eye.

And because some bands make more good songs than others, here's the twenty best with any pretence of fairness removed.

Twenty Best Songs (no limits)

  1. Arcade Fire - 'Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
    "Is it a dream/Is it a lie?"
  2. Bloc Party - 'Pioneers'
    "We promised the world we'd change it/What were we hoping for?"
  3. Bloc Party - 'Banquet'
    "And we don't read the papers/ We don't read the news/Heaven's never enough/We will never be fooled"
  4. Athlete - 'Wires'
    "Running/Down corridors/Through automatic doors/Got to get to you"
  5. Arcade Fire - 'In The Backseat'
    "Alice died/In the night/I've been learning to drive my whole life"
  6. Elbow - 'Leaders Of The Free World'
    "Your mum don't sleep/And the friends you keep/I didn't raise a thief"
  7. Bloc Party - 'Two More Years'
    "I said of course we could never make this love last/The only love we know is love for ourselves"
  8. Franz Ferdinand - 'This Boy'
    "I want a car"
  9. Hard Fi - 'Cash Machine'
    "There's a hole in my pocket"
  10. Arcade Fire - 'Wake Up'
    "We're just a million little gods causing rain storms/Turning every good thing to rust/I guess we'll just have to adjust"
  11. The Rakes - '22 Grand Job'
    "Talking shit with my colleges/Did we do the same degree? "
  12. British Sea Power - 'Please Stand Up'
    "There's no point in asking/It wasn't enough"
  13. Franz Ferdinand - 'Do You Want To'
    "Well here we are the Transmission patry/I love your friends/They're all so arty"
  14. Idlewild - 'Love Steals Us From Loneliness'
    "You said something stupid like/Love steals us from loneliness"
  15. Editors - 'Munich'
    "It breaks if you don't force it/It breaks if you don't try"
  16. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - This Home On Ice
    "All that we had salvaged from the fire/Was a waste of time"
  17. Elbow - 'Forgot Myself'
    "Hes so mercifully free of the pressures of grace/Saint Peter in satin hes like Buddha with mace"
  18. Arctic Monkeys - 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'
    "Dancing like a robot from 1984"
  19. Maximo Park - 'Apply Some Pressure'
    "What happens when you lose everything/You just start again"
  20. British Sea Power - 'Larsson B'
    "You had twelve thousand years/And now it's all over/Five hundred billion tonnes of the purest pack ice and snow"

And of course there are twenty thousand other songs I've liked or hunted down or gotten off my friends to listen to over and over. There's the ones which sound good in a club, or perfect live, or where you have to sit down and really take them in (hello, Sigur Ros).

So in conclusion the best song of the year had a sad Canadian half singing half crying whilst his crash helmet wearing mate gets attacked by the rest of the band; a hyperactive man on drums whacking the crap out of those highhats and indeed everything else; a grumpy Manc on acoustic guitar spouting one liners at the audience between songs; a curiously anonymous man on keyboards; a taciturn Scot on bass; and the singer out of Sons And Daughters because there aren't enough women on this list and she's bloody cool. And Kim Deal from the Pixies for the same reasons, and also because when she forgets how to play a song it is warm, witty and endearing rather than pissing annoying. This is the way to the best song of the year or a total mess. Or both.

With added owls and other fauna .


- 9 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. People are fragile things

    Ahhh, so that's what the words are! Been wondering. Good call on many of those, including the Rakes and (indie snobs look away) Push The Button.

    *is excitedly anticipating albums for Christmas (er, not Sugababes)*

    21 Dec 2005, 12:49

  2. good call on the kelly clarkson. still haven't heard of most of the others. there's an amazing song by panic in the disco doing the rounds…..

    21 Dec 2005, 15:02

  3. Christopher Rossdale

    Kudos on getting some Sons and Daughters into your system :D

    21 Dec 2005, 17:23

  4. Dave tCB

    With the exception of Girls Aloud (hmmmm) and Kelly Clarkson(arghhh), I am moved to muse on the lack of female artists in this list.

    That said, I agree with most of your list o guru of indie-ness.

    21 Dec 2005, 23:20

  5. There are some other girls there – Regine and Sarah from Arcade Fire, and half of Sons And Daughters.

    It's PJ Harvey's fault for not sweeping us all off our feet this year. Come on Polly!

    22 Dec 2005, 00:22

  6. yay for arctic monkeys. double yay for girls aloud! what a track!! …...

    22 Dec 2005, 00:42

  7. Moz

    Good call on Leaders Of The Free World, t'is the finest song on the album, though I'd go for Great Expectations as the 2nd best- another fine addition to the 'Elbow songs to make grown men cry' canon.

    22 Dec 2005, 12:29

  8. I agree-thanks for the Editors lyric!

    I haven't heard much Arcade Fire (braces for impact of belt/brick/indie scarf), they shall have to go on my list!

    Also, I got PJ Harvey's latest the other day…is a tad pop isn't it…ad not in a good way…

    03 Jan 2006, 15:03

  9. Surely it's called "Poison"? Idon't know who it's by, but needless to say it's an Alice Cooper cover / remix. Either way, I've danced like a twot to it in some dogy nightclub in Guilford. So it's got to be good.

    16 Jan 2006, 03:23


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