Favourite songs of 2011: 50-41

50. Wiley - It's Wiley

‘Back to the bars that I wanna hear playing in the back of the car. We already know that's not for the charts. But it's what I done back at the start and I still feel smart.’ Yeah, keep the grime fans happy while you chase success, with a rework of Eskimo no less. It WAS smart.

49. Jessie Ware and Sampha - Valentine

Saturday morning Guardian-reading electronic pop music. So I guess I have to like it, right? So grown-up, so middle class, but it’s charming in its mannered daintiness.

48. D.O.K - East Coast

Interweaving synthy hooks to gutter basslines and ringing sirens. Energy off the scale. Comes close to the still unsurpassed Chemical Planet, which is probably the best single Butterz have ever released. Danjah schooled him well.

47. Yasmin - Finish Line (The MIKE DELINQUENT PROJECT Remix)

The mercenary garage remix alive and kicking. The original receives a short nod at the 2:30 mark, but then it’s back to skippy kiss-offs. Good break-ups over crisp swinging 2step drums.

46. Pangaea - Hex

Badman gets mistreated: chipmunk'd till he's hoarse, compressed into grainy digital squiggles. Pangaea's vocal slicing completely overpowers the thumps and grinds he lays down underneath. There are two riddims going on here, and the syncopation / disorientation that creates makes this track absolute dynamite.

45. Starkey feat. Merky Ace and Kozzie - PC

How much effort goes into sounding effortless? ‘You're working so hard...’ at what? For what? Beefs waged online, youtube views, twitter followers. ‘What have you done for the scene this week?’ Grime as hungry and competitive as ever, but everything is now channelled through your PC.

44. Chase & Status feat. Delilah - Time

Delilah goes for ravey diva in the verses, but then in the chorus she actually starts raving. An edge, a rawness. Pleading to lashing out to self-hatred when you love someone that doesn't love you back. (P.S. video completely ruins the song and everyone involved should rethink their career choices.)

43. Peverelist - Dance Til The Police Come

Finally, Tom Ford gives us something you can really lose your shit to. I swear at some point there’s about seven things going on at once. Expertly crafted dance floor madness.

42. St. Vincent - Surgeon (Live)

By which I mean her performance for Spin (linked above... it's better without the 'dance jam' at the end). Whoever thinks this song is about sex needs to listen to it more closely (srsly, now!) With St. Vincent it's all about the space stretching out between each note -- the tension and the pressure and the final SNAP into utter collapse. New album sounded like curve-balls for the sake of curve-balls and I didn't give myself time to absorb it.

41. Royal-T - Orangeade V.I.P

Cherryade is great, but Darq E Freaker will be represented otherwise below. This is also big and dumb, but the way it constantly morphs into new forms puts in on another level. Bashed piano chords, whistles, countdowns, screeches, YEAHs, layered expertly over the background fizz of a soft drink waterfall. Over-caffeinated grime banger.


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