Favourite songs of 2011: 30-21

30. Bok Bok - Silo Pass

Slim pickins from Night Slugs this year, but this one kept the neon green flame burning. Sounds like a bus full of kids bumping and grinding on Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.

29. Beyoncé - Schoolin' Life

State of the world address from its biggest R&B star, weirdly off-kilter with the economic dustbin a lot of her listeners are in.

28. Pritch & Trim - Stereotype

Trim’s on a badboy thing, as always, except here he doesn't say that in so many words, instead playfully baiting you to do the assuming. Plenty of space for him to weave around on this gloopy hip hop beat, which is how he likes it. And it shows.

27. Ny feat. Giggs - Be With You

Davinche going for pop gold, that awful hair in the video. There's always a will-to-glamour failing to disguise the girl-next-door about Ny. Great songwriter, regardless. Giggs kinda goes his own way with the concept, but when the 'be with you boy' vocal meets the 'b-b-b-b-be with you' sample, I tend to stop caring.

26. Terror Danjah feat. Ruby Lee Ryder - Full Attention

Danjah’s resurrection of R&G sea-saws between the R and the G. Ruby Lee’s static-drenched swoons are met with heavy drum and bass stomps. Apparently, the idea was that MCs would spit over it. Unsurprisingly, no one was crazy enough to try. I mean, where would you fit in?

25. Kelly Rowland - Motivation

Big up Shark Attack for this one. Kelly finally stops playing the asexual house goddess and asks you to make it rain, no less. Lil Wayne's sex raps are always arch in the extreme, but it's not like the rest of the song lacks the silly. 'Baby I'ma be yr motivation' is hardly what I wanna hear in an amorous context, not to mention 'make mama proud'. The absurdity is what makes the song such a winner. That and another truly astounding vocal performance from Ms. Rowland, who deserves better than a desk job adjudicating the X-Factor.

24. Jacques Greene - Another Girl

Learned recently that this is a shameless rip-off of this, with a lot of the personality of the original ripped out. But a breezy summer r&b-flavoured jam is a breezy r&b-flavoured jam. That is to say, always welcome.

23. Britney Spears feat. Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha - Till The World Ends (Femme Fatale Remix)

Another star turn from Minaj, plus clucking. Plus Ke$ha not being annoying. Plus lopsided structure -- guest rap, chorus, THEN verse one. Plus another chorus, plus obligatory dubstep breakdown. Eletro-pop gets a bit unpredictable. And the burning up / burning out motif that we'll talk about more when we get to Ke$ha proper.

22. Balam Acab - Oh, Why

This gets the Perfume Genius / Youth Lagoon thing right by avoiding any and all resemblance to Coldplay. Its upward climb is built on tape hiss, sampled radios, pitch-shifted vocals. The track's peak is distant and blurry through the onrush of sheets of rain. It's epic yes, but neither obvious nor bombastic.

21. Faze Miyake / P Money - Blackberry

Like this more than Take Off, plus it has P Money talking over it about how his girlfriend is ignoring him because her nose is buried in her smartphone. Which is hilarious.


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