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2008's Finest Five - Fraser McAlpine

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:16 UK time, Wednesday, 31 December 2008


My turn now. And I can't help but notice how all of our lists are dominated by female performers. I'd be tempted to suggest that this means that 2008 was officially The Year Of Women In Pop, but then that would mean 2009 would have to be The Year Of Some Other Arbitrary Thing In Pop, and we'd have to ask all the girls to pipe down. Plus it's more than a little bit condescending to lump all women together as if they're the same, so let's not go there.

Speaking of which...

The Ting Tings - 'That's Not My Name'

11 months on from writing about how this song had taken over my head, it's still there, and I doubt it's going anywhere any time soon. Built on loops, but played live, put together as a round (like London's Burning) but half sung, half yelped, and straddling the line between addictive/annoying in the manner of all great pop music ever.

(Here's the Jools Holland performance that kicked the whole thing off...)

The bit where Jules the drummer changes rhythm at the end - making the whole song seem to shudder and lift off the ground - actually brought tears to my eyes at Radio 1's Big Weekend. That's the power of perfect pop, my friends.

Original ChartBlog Review


Girls Aloud - 'The Promise'

What better time than Christmas to celebrate the sumptuous charms of this song? We've eaten too much rich food! We're going to get presents! Girls Aloud are brilliant! Again!

(Here's the video)

Whenever this song gets bored of itself, it moves on to another bit, and ALL the bits are brilliant! You could put this song up against anything by the Supremes and it would still win. And I LOVE the Supremes.

PS: How beautiful is Nicola Roberts these days? ALL the beautiful. That's how.

Original ChartBlog Review


P!nk - 'So What?'

(Here's the video.)

Never mind the fact that she could deck any one of us without even breaking a sweat, or that she writes songs the way other people write down their darkest thoughts in their diary. The reason this works so well is because P!nk is beautifully unhinged, the way proper rock stars are supposed to be, and is the only singer who could deliver a song like this with the right kind of stroppy shrug. Plus, the introduction reminds older listeners of the theme from the '70s soap Crossroads. So everyone's happy.

Original ChartBlog Review


Estelle ft. Kanye West - 'American Boy'

Let's be clear about this. Kanye West is massively important in this song. The version doing the rounds of lesser radio stations which cuts out his rapping does nothing but detract from how brilliant it is. He's the American Boy, for gawdsake!

(Here's the video)

That said, everything about this song is perfect, from the retro disco backing to the way Estelle sings "shell-toes", so we can afford to be forgiving. Plus most of us are too busy dancing to care.

Original ChartBlog Review


Those Dancing Days - 'Hitten'

A rogue choice, I grant you, but by no means a token one. There's just something in the way Linnea sings the verses in that impossibly deep moan which makes everything go all melty.

(Here's the video)

And who can fail to be charmed by a band who are as ramshackle as they are accomplished?

This is what the music we now call 'indie' used to sound like, years ago. And what a beautiful time it was...


Original ChartBlog Review


Bubbling Under:
Wiley - 'Ca$h In My Pocket'
NERD - 'Everybody Nose'
Katy Perry - 'Hot n Cold'
Elbow - 'One Day Like This'


  • Comment number 1.

    Hey Fraser,

    Ithink that every list has missed out my fav artist of the year, even if he just came out in the last few days of the year I think.
    Jason Mraz (always spell his last name wrong) with his new album 'We laugh, We play, We steal things' is a piece of wonder and the single 'I'm Yours' is brilliant. He may have been too late though so next year then.


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