Thursday, December 24, 2009

Listening Post: The 20 Best Singles of 2009 (12 & 11)

12. Miike Snow -- Silvia

Another Swedish band -- although light years apart from The Sounds (#13) -- Miike Snow had a very, very good year by eschewing convention and creating one of the most interesting and textured aural soundscapes put to record in 2009. Their self-titled debut album was a study in contrasts: cool and aloof and yet oddly warm and inviting, simple and seemingly indie-inspired and yet displaying its lush pop sensibilities proudly on its sleeve at every turn. While Animal and Black and Blue were the first and second single from the album, respectively, it was the song adopted by L.A.'s KCRW and assorted other excellent alternative programming stations here in the U.S. that really knocked it out of the park. At well over six minutes long, Silvia was this year's I Will Possess Your Heart -- a layered, hypnotic and atmospheric journey that pulsed with a thick yet unobtrusive techo beat. Its subtlety was its surprise, since this kind of sound is the last thing you'd ever expect from the production team that brought you Britney Spears's Toxic, the members of which make up two-thirds of Miike Snow.

Little Boots -- New In Town

If this list considered only straight-up pop songs, New In Town would be perched comfortably at the top without a challenger in sight. British singer and multi-instrumentalist Victoria Hesketh -- AKA Little Boots -- seemed to come out of nowhere in 2009 with a breakthrough track that's honestly one for the pop music ages. New In Town was everything a great single should be: brash, fun, funky, immediate, and at the same time showing a hint of playful malevolence lurking just beneath the surface of all that gloss. It was the perfect track to make audiences sit up and take notice of Little Boots, and it'll be interesting to see in which direction her career goes from here. For now, we can be content to listen to New In Town on repeat, since it's tough to imagine it getting old anytime soon.

Tomorrow: 10 & 9

The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 13. The Sounds -- No One Sleeps When I'm Awake; 14. Blue October -- Dirt Room

The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 15. Jay-Z (w/Alicia Keys) -- Empire State of Mind; 16. Company of Thieves -- Oscar Wilde

The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Heads Will Roll; 18. Doves -- Jetstream

The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 19. Mos Def -- Quiet Dog; 20. Florence + the Machine -- Kiss With a Fist

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