Xtine surprised the lot of us with this high-octane Max Martin-penned romp, delivering what was easily the most surefire single she has put out in years. The production heights, the attention-grabbing chorus, that bonza-brilliant video – all career highlights but none so much as the line ripped from the song’s middle-8; “I think you already know my name.”
M.I.A’s burqa-swag was on full show with this glorious moment. A bombastic vocal, a brain-invading riff and one of the most applauded videos of the year, “Bad Girls” is exactly the kind of pop music we’re looking for from M.I.A. and hopefully a sign of a more pop-friendly album than her previous record, the noisy and disruptive “/\/\ /\ Y /\.”
Marina Diamandis has featured heavily on this list with her fully-loaded love songs which, upon severe investigation, seem to carry an underlying meaning – some more obvious to decipher than others. The most maddening, lyrically-frightening and most accomplished moment on ‘Electra Heart’ is this, the telling “Valley Of The Dolls.”
“In the valley of the dolls we sleep,
Got a hole inside of me.
Living with identities,
That do not belong to me.
In my life I got this far,
Now I’m ready for the last hurrah.
Dying like a shooting star,
In the valley.”
“Back to zero, here we go again, again.
Racing down into oblivion.
Back to zero, here we go,
I can feel it coming to the end;
The lyrics spread out through “Dolls” conjure up the same images songs like “Fear & Loathing” did; questionable lyrics with bizarre connotations attached to them. Marina may have nailed it will her Bubblegum Bitch-pop on Electra Heart, but it was the slower, more thought-out gems like the downright freaky “Valley of the Dolls” that remain her greatest feat.
The original version of this song is lifted from my Album of the Year runner-up for 2011 “Glamazon”, which in itself was a record choc-block of life affirmations, positive vibes and thick, bassy disco beats. This Matt Pop Mixshow is no exception, with the man behind my favourite ABBA remix of all time turning the already fierce track into something out of a kaleidoscopic-dream set in the mid 1980’s. I love all of Matt’s RuMixes but this is definitely the greatest he pumped out in 2012.
The All-Stars themed video is out of this world and all kinds of ace as well, but really, would you expect any less from The Queen of Music Videos?
This is the first of the new Girls Aloud tracks to appear in the countdown and for those of you who know me well, you’ll have figured out by now that there’s at least another two more songs from this earth-shattering comeback to appear in the list. “On The Metro” – one of two songs from the new four that were not written by Xenomania – is a Nicola Roberts co-write that smashingly showcases exactly why we’ve missed Girls Aloud so much; and that is for Queen Nadine’s solo’s.
There’s a slight problem with “On The Metro” though which sees it just miss the Top 10; had this actually been a Xenomania production there would have been a lotmore done with that middle-8, which doesn’t really seem to go anywhere until – thankfully – Queen Nadine saves the day by adding a touch of goosebump-inducing class into its final moment.
Not the obvious choice for next single everybody would have you believe it is but still pretty damn brilliant.
The fusion of The Gossip with producers Xenomania was a team utilised best on this complete triumph of a track. “Move In The Right Direction” saw Beth Ditto pump out a down-the-line pop song that moved the band completely out of grunge-guitar territory and in front of the wind machine. Great bloody video clip too, with Ms Beth Ditto pulling some choreographed shapes in front of some gay dancers for extra dazzle.
Speaking of The Gays, this glorious song also featured on the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars; get ‘dem dollars Beth.
This was Van She’s big Fleetwood Mac moment in 2012 and the shining pearler on an album full of potential hits. Nick’s vocals have never sounded more ready for Pop Radios than they do on “Sarah” and the lucious middle-8 it comes with prove that Sydney’s Van She are only just beginning to embark on creating the best stuff of their career.
A few months back She’s legendary bassist Matt confirmed in an interview with me that “Sarah” was going to be the next single from “Idea of Happiness”, and that there’s also an as-yet unheard alternate version of the track which will be available as part of the single package.