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Monday, January 02, 2006

2005: The top ten pop songs

The best pop tunes in 2005 were major love songs. In a teaser posted on December 31, I presented the top three tracks by saying they all share the letters B and G. This played up the fact that the best cover song I've heard in recent years done by Feist is a Bee Gees song. Those songwriter initials are reversed for 2005's runner-up, the Go-Betweens, a storied duo that goes back almost as far as the Bee Gees. Norway's Annie takes the top spot with her refreshing musicmaking (her last name, which she drops, is Berge.
That's a minor coincidence. Here's the "major love" part:
  1. Heartbeat - Annie

    This track is perfect. Annie sings her little story of finding fleeting fulfillment on the dancefloor. When she lets her memories recount the events, it begins to ache with a sense of love lost, but it also announces the joy of living in a moment, seizing the day, living life to its fullest -- "with every beat of your heart". So the heartbeat in the title is more than just a rhythm that makes you dance. No. 1 with a bullet, in this or any other year.

  2. Finding You - Go-Betweens

    A simple yet tremendously evocative song. Verses could suggest many different situations but at its core carries longing and uncertainty. Another fine bittersweet love song. Heartbeat reminisces about a moment of exuberance; this track seeks to rekindle it.

  3. Inside & Out - Feist

    Loving You Inside Out is the Bee Gees' original version of this remake. I played it for my parents thinking they would like to hear this familiar hit redone. They didn't care much for the trip down memory lane; they immediately wanted details on Feist, the Canadian singer/songwriter/interpreter and guitarist. The hype is she's the new Norah Jones and seeing that there is always one of her lamentfully boring discs in my parent's CD player, Feist is quite a coup for me and those who suffer with me (my brother, my sister... anyone who visits the house). Despite what you might think, the AOR approach Feist embodies in this track only gets better and better with each listen.

  4. The Negatives - Hood

    Most original group out there in 2005. Hip hop beats with orchestral flourishes. While they have taken flak for an alleged penchant for the melancholy, The Negatives refers to rolls of film not bad attitudes. Even if they were as sad-sacked as some say, I'd stick by them with a concoction this stimulating.

  5. Jetsetter - Morningwood

    Chantal Claret and her boys from New York City make for the only American act on my list. That means there are just as many Aussies, twice as many Canadians, and lord knows how many more Brits than Yanks represented here. I happen to think that Morningwood has got real chops. This video is smashing and the song, brandishing heavy, emotive rock-outs and intimate well-penned lyrics, sticks in the head.

  6. Side Streets - Saint Etienne

    I said it before and I'll say it again: This is as political as I get. In a study of crime-prone areas of London and its sociological effect, the Et get on the same soapbox that they used when they crafted a song solely out of the words of mayor Ken Livingstone. This time the results are among their level-best stuff: smooth as silk, poignant and even humorous.

  7. Do The Whirlwind - Architecture in Helsinki

    I know more about architecture in Helsinki than I do about Architecture in Helsinki. A kind of fun Down Under Moldy Peaches by the sounds of it. Innocuous perhaps, but fun-loving, warm and fuzzy and extremely danceable all in four minutes. Makes me miss Frente, so say what you want.

  8. G.P.T. - Martha Wainwright

    Along with Fiona Apple's, these are the best vocals of the year. A beautiful song about cutting loose turns to gold when it's sung by voice like Martha's. A true artiste. See her live in Montreal next week!

  9. Ooh La La - Goldfrapp

    These guys really rock on this one. I thought Strict Machine would be the pinnacle for these stylists. Not even close. Ooh La La builds to a boiling point and Alison Goldfrapp gives a perfectly studied delivery. That could be taken as a slight if they were on the other side of this retro musical influence that is touching everyone from Rachel Stevens to Madonna. They are ambassadors, not an embarrassment.

  10. Galvanize - The Chemical Brothers (featuring Q-Tip)

    And it galvanizes. The linked videogame above says it all. Don't hold back.

Hear the songs in my "Best Of" mix. They are large files even though the list is split in two. Ctrl-click or right-click to save file. Top Pop Songs I | Top Pop Songs II