Friday, 1 January 2010

...AND YET MORE LISTS

Top 10 Singles of 2009
(with Spotify links/some kind of link when not available)

1. Shakira - She Wolf
(I've said a lot about this already: it's the latest in a long line of songs reinvigorating my interest (and belief) in Pop Music this year. Found out recently this was written by Sam Endicott, the guy from- flashback time- The Bravery.)
2. The Horrors - Who Can Say
(Researching this list is creating a lot of weird discoveries. I didn't know the spoken-word part of this track- definitely the reason I pick it out of an album I liked, but didn't listen to enough- was taken wholesale from a 60s boy-band song. Not sure whether that pleases or unsettles me. Like Primary Colours, this is something an 'anticipating future me' choice, but I specifically remember grinning uncontrollably to it strongly enough that I know exactly where I was. I don't know how many times I've listened to it since.)
3. Lady Gaga - Paparazzi
(The song that let me finally get Lady Gaga. So glad.)
4. Los Campesinos! - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future
(To which I've listened loads but only recently realised, in the middle of its gloom-fest, lie the lyrics "to left and right a crazy golf course". One day I'll actually write about how Los Campesinos! are what Emo promised to my young mind, before I actually heard Emo*.)
5.Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (A Trak Remix)
6. Major Lazer - Pon De Floor
(Both of which I discovered like 10 days ago. This list is skewed, kinda purposefully to what's in my head now. 'Cus that's the nature of singles, right? Also worth noting that Major Lazer actually sounds better in my mind, making those ears-submerged-in-the-bath laser sounds.)
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
8. Lonely Island - On A Boat
(I went a bit mental about this for Redbrick and overstated a little, I reckon, about what it does. Still, for a lowly comedy song, it sounds really good, and is as listenable as it is singable as it is quotable.)
9. Camera Obscura - French Navy
(I've listened to My Maudlin Career many, many times now and as far as I'm concerned this song is still everything Camera Obscura have ever done.)
10. Black Eyed Peas- Meet Me Halfway
(This is the one I'm going to regret saying, isn't it? But it just feels so epic. The video hardly hurts, but that bit where he's all "Build a bridge- to the other side". That just feels so comic book. Gave me the Ex Machina hard-on I'm missing having not read any of this year's Ex Machina.)
11. Are You Gonna Bang Doe - Funky Dee
(Apologies to anyone on the end of my fever for this ludicrous, ludicrous song the last few days. Powered me through the 2009/2010 transition without sleep- largely thanks to its first 3 seconds "You should know about me/You should know about me/I'm Funky Dee". I've never learnt, in my music journalist training, how to describe how unexpectedly choppy that is, and subsequently how funny. Holy, in its shallow way.)

*Almost definitely my favourite album of 2010, about which I've already had as a rich a conversation as anything from 2009. And I haven't even heard it yet.

Top 5 Albums of the Decade
Just to give you a glimpse of how the Redbrick Top 40 might've looked, if I'd been given free reign. Not necessarily what I voted for there, largely because I was being tactical and sneaky. Because that's how I operate.

#5 Daft Punk - Discovery
#4 Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster
#3 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
#2 Arcade Fire - Funeral
(The only one of these I didn't get to write about. I always remember it as a safe choice, and then go back and actually listen to it again and, bam.)
#1 Radiohead - Kid A
Top 5 Comics of 2009

#5 League of Extraordinary Gentlement: 1906
(Pretty much a token mention; it was my discovery of the series at large that really defined the year. It's a brilliant idea, which happened to link up perfectly with a lot of my university reading list.)
#4 Batman & Robin
#3 Invincible Iron Man
(Just good superhero comics. But something about it- and I'm not quite sure what- felt special. A cut above. Which allows me to excuse picking this when I'm still not quite up to date with the 12-part epic that was World's Most Wanted.)
#2 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe
(One of the two cultural artefacts that kicked this blog into life back in March- along with Britney Spears' Circus album. I said a lot about it then. IT HAD A SHINY COVER!)
#1 Phonogram 2: The Singles Club
(The single thing off all these lists which will, I suspect, sit heaviest on my brain for the longest. Got to a point where I don't even necessarily enjoy Phonogram that much, it's just necessary sustenance- there's a reason the only thing I (directly) wrote about it this year focused on consumption. As I work with my own music/prose experiments, it's for seeing how in-line Gillen's thinking is with mine**, and where he's ahead of me, and where I should go, and where he's using ideas I had for my own stuff. Enjoyment can come later.)
I lost track of a lot of comics this year. I've already mentioned Ex Machina and Invincible Iron Man. But also Secret Warriors, Chew, Mighty Avengers, Young Liars... I never finished Umbrella Academy: Dallas. Hell, I really liked the first couple of issues of that X-Men Noir thing.

It was a year for reading around comics- continuing to dive back into the history and back-catalogue; discovering writers (Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman all broke into my consciousness) and learning how to write about comics. But truth be told, off the top of my head, I can barely remember what I actually read this year. A bit of a twin to my year in music, actually.

**Worth noting is that I suspect I might be the Laura Heaven to his Emily Aster in this way. Oh well. There are worse things to be.
The 5 Best Things I've Written This Year
(The Self-Indulgening)

1. Viva Pinata: The Death Simulator 2. (In?)Glourious Basterds 3. Lost, Damned: The Loss of Novelty in Games
(One of my many attempts this year to hammer out a theory about games. Probably the thing I like writing most- this is probably the attempt I like most.)
4. Flaming Lips Interview
(Because...it's the Flaming Lips.)
5. Eurogamer Expo 09: Heavy Rain preview

6 comments:

Geoff said...

Gillen and Phono-envy! We're a bit pathetic, methinks.

Alex said...

Envy's such a strong word...

I feel I should have some cutting comeback here but frankly it's a dark mid-afternoon of essay-writing (actually, featuring the same feeling I referenced PG giving me - that's my idea, Todorov, give it back!)

Alex said...

(Also, wow I come off as a right Lloyd in that Phonogram writey bit. Ugh. That'll teach me to write stuff at 5am and then change the publishing date to look less suspicious...)

Geoff said...

I know what you mean, reading PG it feels at times my own feelings were pilfered for the book.
Wallace to his Darwin.

Geoff said...

...and the "we're a bit" included me, obv. Wasn't the royal variety or anything. :)

Alex said...

Ahh. See, this is what you get, being raised in the land of the Queen.

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Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.