Without further ado, here is:
The Best Music of 2009
The 60 singles that stole my heart in 2009!
The 60 Best Singles of 2009
Catchy, memorable, and downright fantastic – that’s what makes a song one of the best singles of 2009!
1. “Bad Romance” – Lady GaGa
She had me at “rah-rah.” My love affair with “Bad Romance” started with that collection of nonsense lyrics. Then the verses kicked in, and I was enraptured. By the chorus I was gone. This song, my friends, is pretty much the perfect pop song of 2009 and is my favorite single of the year. Every single part of the track lodges itself in your brain. Now, that alone is not cause for celebration – plenty of songs are catchy, so what? No, what makes “Bad Romance” such a gem is that those bits that get stuck in your head are really, really good. For instance…
- The verses: they feature memorable lyrics, especially those Hitchcock-referencing lines.
- The bridge: it’s a sort of calm before the choral storm.
- The chorus: behind the blazing synths and thunderous beats, the melody is just lovely.
- The middle eight: where GaGa declares that she’s a free bitch, baby. Some random French phrases pepper the lead-up to the reintroduction of the chorus as the Lady belts out “want your bad romance!!”
And do I even need to say more about the “rah rah” refrain? Probably not, but I’m gonna anyway. The best part of the “rah rah” bit, for me, is when the deeper background vocals beef up the “roma” line. For some reason, this part is just absolute bliss.
“Bad Romance.” Good song.
2. “Sleep Alone” – Bat For Lashes
A woodsy groove, “Sleep Alone” is a highlight of Two Suns. (Admittedly, had “Glass” been released as a single, it would have knocked “Bad Romance” off the top spot of this list.) As hum-able as it is atmospheric, “Sleep Alone” caught my attention on my first listen and never let go.
3. “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” – Florence + The Machine
“Rabbit Heart” is a 3 minute, 52 second epic, complete with big production and even bigger vocals. This grand fairytale is fresh upon every listen. Enchanting.
4. “Bad Things” – Lal Meri
Melodic and trippy, this is chilled electronica with bite – just listen to the whispered “fuck you”s at the end! Nancy Kaye’s syrupy voice is perfectly supported by organic and electronic sounds, all whirling together into a delectable concoction. Seems “Bad Things” is good for you!
5. “Want” – Natalie Imbruglia
This ghostly, ethereal kiss-off heralded Imbruglia’s return to music after several years, and I for one was hooked! A driving beat and gauzy production touches sweetened the divaliciously bitter lyrics – “I hope you get all that you want, ‘cos I didn’t” – making this a most memorable track!
6. “Bodies” – Robbie Williams
Kicked off by chants and an enthusiastic “yeah!” from Williams, “Bodies” stormed onto the music scene last year, and I couldn’t get enough of it. An anthemic chorus, a great dark bassline and thunderous beats, and a commanding vocal from Williams all combined to make this one heck of a tune.
7. “Celebration” – Madonna
Okay, so it isn’t groundbreaking or anything. But that ain’t no big deal. “Celebration” is something of a return to form – no Timbaland in sight! (Of course I quite liked Hard Candy, but the overdose of Timba and Timberlake’s influence on it did get a little stifling after awhile.) This is a perfect summer song, meant for dancing away the warm nights and sleeping all day.
8. “Dum Tek Tek” – Hadise
You can’t listen to this and not want to shake a tail feather. An insanely catchy chorus and that infectious flute-y thing grab hold of you and don’t let go. What a fun song!
9. “Berlin” – Christophe Willem
Just like the big blaring synths that kick this track off, “Berlin” catches your attention. This is electro-dance-pop, from the French Nouvelle Star winner, at its most exquisite. We need more music like this in the world!
10. “New York” – Paloma Faith
Talk about epic. This sweeping, cinematic tune is all the proof you need that Faith is destined for great things. It’s the last half of the song that really pulls at your heartstrings – the chorus somehow gets even bigger and better.
11. “Love etc.” – Pet Shop Boys
Too cool, this song. I love the icy production, and Neil Tennant’s vocals are in fine form. For all the chilly sounds, the message is warm: “I believe that we can achieve the love that we need…” This soundtracked the winter of 2009 for me. :)
12. “For Your Entertainment” – Adam Lambert
Another pop singer contest winner! This tune had to grow on me, but it didn’t take long to fall under its glam spell. The undulating synths and Lambert’s confident vocals made this song one of my fall 2009 favorites.
13. “When Love Takes Over” – David Guetta ft. Kelly Rowland
“Featuring,” nothing! Kelly Rowland owned this track. I really hope she comes out with more tunes like this. For me, this was the summer 2009 scorcher.
14. “Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)” – Freemasons ft. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
I had the hardest time deciding where this and “When Love Takes Over” should rank in this list. Ultimately, I just love “When Love Takes Over” that little bit more, so it came out one spot above “Heartbreak.” (I take my lists very seriously!) However, I called this song “stonkingly” good sometime last year, and I stand by that possibly made-up word! Ellis-Bextor’s distinctive voice is perfectly matched by disco-tastic production from Freemasons. Great song.
15. “Ayo Technology” – Katerine
A cover of Milow’s cover of 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology,” this was a surprise hit for Katerine. I really love this – the simple but effective guitar-and-beats production lets Katerine’s lovely voice shine. I played this so much during fall 2009, for some reason. It just sounds really good. :)
16. “Baptized By Fire” – Spinnerette
The insistent drum beat here pushes the verses along to the beautiful chorus. The middle eight is fab too – “I’ll be sailing on, I’m going into the sun…” Nice.
17. “Give You Everything” – Erika Jayne
We’re transported back to the disco with Erika Jayne’s spiffy synth-bass heavy dance floor ditty! Love the twinkling arpeggios after the “I can give you all my love” line. A great spring 2009 track!
18. “Vulture” – Patrick Wolf
The first single from Wolf’s most recent album, “Vulture” is a perfect piece of dark and dirty electro. I’d like to hear him do more music in this vein!
19. “Fixin To Thrill” – Dragonette
I adored this song during the first half of summer 2009. Oh my goodness, the way that the grinding synths and guitars jump up on you at the beginning? That’s the way all songs should start.
20. “I’m Not Alone” – Calvin Harris
This song is all about the synths. Past trance classics like “Sandstorm” (Darude) and “Out Of The Blue” (System F) are obvious touchstones here, but Harris makes the sound his own. His vocals give the tune just the right touch of melancholy.
21. “Other Too Endless” – Polly Scattergood
One of the more conventional tracks on her eccentric, eponymous debut, “Other Too Endless” got stuck in my head pretty often for about a week or so last year. And I liked it. :) The string bits toward the end, coupled with the shrieking synths, is one of the coolest middle eights of the year.
22. “The Night Is Still Young” – Sandra ft. Thomas Anders
Sandra fully embraced her 80s pop roots with her most recent album, Back To Life, and pulled in fellow 1980s survivor Thomas Anders on this breezy, Latin-influenced duet. This is so much fun that even Sandra’s command to “shake your body to the horizontal mambo” sounds like a good lyric! ;)
23. “Boom Boom Pow” – Black Eyed Peas
You had to live under a rock not to get hit with the boom boom last summer. This exercise in electro minimalism paid off for the BEPs – it was on the US charts forever or something. (I don’t pay much attention to charts, but even I was impressed at its staying power!)
24. “Hayrola?” – Hande Yener
I loved this impeccably produced electro-dance track from Yener all through spring 2009, and its icy charms still haven’t worn off. I love how it ends – it’s just the first line of the chorus, detuned down to a deeper vocal. I like little touches like that. :)
25. “Get Sexy” – Sugababes
This is pretty much the only Sugababes song that’s ever received more than a couple plays on my iPod. And it figures that shortly after this was released, they went and kicked the last remaining member out. I have no idea what’s going on with them now, but I do know that I can’t help but love this tacky ode to getting “sexy right now.”
26. “Hard” – Rihanna
The second single from Rated R, “Hard” lays out the reasons why Rihanna is the “hottest bitch in heels right here.” The tougher sound on this tune suits Rihanna, though I’d be ecstatic if she found a way to blend this sound with the dance floor vibe she’s done so well. As it is, though, “Hard” is pretty darn good.
27. “My Secret Friend” – IAMX ft. Imogen Heap
Heap’s ethereal vocal flourishes nicely complement the hard-edged industrial electro of “My Secret Friend.” This doesn’t really go anywhere, per se, but you kind of don’t want it to – it’s something to savor rather than get over with.
28. “Heavy Cross” – Gossip
Beth Ditto’s voice deceives at first, singing sweetly over chugging guitar – and then she descends like some mighty force. “Heavy Cross” is kind of like “rock disco,” a term I’ve just coined because the song is that good – it needs its own genre.
29. “Love Comes” – Bananarama
Produced by the incomparable Ian Masterson, who did all those amazing Trouser Enthusiast remixes and many wonderful Dannii Minogue songs, “Love Comes” is a synthy anthem with storming beats and great vocals from the Bananarama Two.
30. “Le Dragueur” – In-Grid
Accordion? In a pop song? It’s more likely than you think. And it’s awesome.
31. “Bulletproof” – La Roux
The ricocheting beats and La Roux’s distinctive voice combine with the synth-happy production to make a nifty 21st century version of the 1980s. This one had to grow on me, but I’m glad it did – what a great song.
32. “Zero” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This is how electro should be done. I heard the anthemic chorus and thought, “This could be a classic.” And after the first chorus, when the song really kicks in – that’s just phenomenal. Mark my words – this is a future classic.
33. “Box N Locks” – MPHO
When the eff is her debut album gonna be released officially? This “crazy little mixed-up kid” has a fab album that deserves to be loved, and “Box N Locks” is a perfect way to get introduced to it. I love MPHO’s voice and she samples [insert name of some song I can’t remember the name of or the band who recorded it] to fantastic effect. MPHO’s one to watch out for
34. “Promiscuity” – Antigone
I really like how the beginning verses here have a sort of downtempo feel, and then the chorus bursts into a pop-filled release. Antigone has a great voice, and she really shows it off here!
35. “Lentamente” – Fey
Sort of like Kylie, right down to the “la la la la”s, only in Spanish! The chorus is fantastic, and the production is very much like that of X – that is to say, heavy on the electro. Just the way I like it! :)
36. “Seviyorum Sevmiyorum” – Nil Karaibrahimgil
I love this song. I came across Karaibrahimgil’s most recent album by chance and was hooked by this, Nil Kıyısında‘s lead single. It’s the “mm-hmm, uh huh, mm-hmm, uh huh mm-hmm uh huh” bit that really got under my skin.
37. “Alay” – Subliminal ft. Dana International
I actually didn’t find out about this December 2009 release until January 2010. I’ve been playing it ever since, though, and so I went back and amended my Top Singles of 2009 playlist. All fixed! Anyways, Dana doesn’t really feature on this club banger – she steals the show with her chorus vocals and ad libs throughout the song. Now get a new album out pronto, Dana!!
38. “Make Me” – Janet Jackson
The heavy bass, piano, and beats here give this dancefloor number something extra, and Jackson is in great form.
39. “5 Reasons” – Sylvia Tosun & Loverush UK!
Such a wonderful summer track! Well, that’s what it makes me think of, anyway. :) Dreamy and dazzling, “5 Reasons” is a top-notch dance track, and I for one want to hear more from Sylvia Tosun!!
40. “I’m Just Here For The Music” – Paula Abdul
Okay. Reasons I shouldn’t have listed this here: The Kylie demo is the definitive version of this track and Paula Abdul should have mooched off someone else’s unreleased back catalog. Reasons I did list it here: That bass. And I can’t help it: I just like this song! I do so love a good flop.
41. “Obsessions” – Marina & The Diamonds
A rather jangly piano affair, this. This was my intro to Marina, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Her quirky voice is somewhat calmer here, and those lovely “ah ahs” toward the end really give this song that little something extra special.
42. “Don’t Miss You” – Ricki-Lee
A fun and danceable kiss-off. I love the lyrics – especially the one about how all the other names she could call him “would only get bleeped”!
43. “Mi Delirio” – Anahi
This is a poptastic gem! A sort of funky, disco-ish tune, “Mi Delirio” has an infectious chorus and fantastic groove.
44. “Wonder” – Shelley Harland
A beautiful, understated tune, “Wonder” has the most melancholy vibe, but it’s got such warm production that you don’t really feel too sad. Well, okay, you do – but it’s a kind of happy sadness. :)
45. “No You Girls” – Franz Ferdinand
A lot like “Take Me Out,” but updated for 2009. I love it when Franz Ferdinand meld punky pop with funky grooves, and this song has that all over.
46. “New In Town” – Little Boots
I was completely bewildered by critics saying Little Boots was the new Kylie – what’s wrong with the Kylie we’ve got? All ranting aside, this was one Little Boots song I really enjoyed. So much so that I put it on this list. :)
47. “The Fear” – Lily Allen
Her witty lyrics are on top form here, and Allen’s soft voice is perfectly suited to the dream-pop production of “The Fear.”
48. “Dreamland” – Emilie Simon
Simon’s newest album was one of my top 15 of 2009, and “Dreamland” is just one reason why it landed on that list. Her sweet vocals are punctuated by synth splats and electro drums. A really lovely little song.
49. “Darling, It’s True” – Locksley
Saw this video toward the end of 2009 and fell in love with the song. (Video’s cute, too.) It’s just good old-fashioned pop rock. :)
50. “3” – Britney Spears
I love to hate this song. It gets on my nerves, but it’s so inane that I just can’t not love it.
51. “Terrifying” – Pop Levi
Another artist on this list that I’d love to hear a new album from! The dirty guitars, cymbal-crash-heavy drums and Levi’s fuzzily distorted vocals are a new vibe for him – and it sounds great!
52. “Rain” – Anjulie
I became addicted to “Boom” early in 2009, but it had been released officially in 2008, so it can’t be on this list. Thankfully, Anjulie’s talents aren’t limited to just one song! “Rain” is the kind of song I’d love to see get popular – it’s like Anjulie took the best bits of what’s on the radio and added her own special magic, and came up with “Rain”!
53. “Three Days In A Row” – Anouk
Oh man, that first “I’ve been loving you”! Anouk’s gorgeous, bluesy voice is showcased to perfection here.
54. “Stamina” – Cozi
This is the same Cozi who featured on the PhonJaxx track “Sensual,” which I simply adore for some reason. Cozi should be huge, because “Stamina” is a fab dance floor stomper, and her voice is pretty but not lightweight. I wanna hear more!
55. “Causa Y Efecto” – Paulina Rubio
The great beats and guitars here, along with Rubio’s vocals, make for a summery, fun sing-a-long.
56. “My Fantasy” – Shena
Disco is back, and Shena does it best! This sounds like authentic 70s fare, never falling into pastiche. And her voice! What a fab tune!
57. “Can’t Hold Back” – Bellatrax ft. Tina Cousins
This one seemed to be under my radar for awhile, but I’m so glad I found it. The lovely chorus is the highlight of “Can’t Hold Back,” and Tina Cousins’ vocals are fantastic.
58. “Love Sex Magic” – Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake
The chorus here is absolutely infectious. Ciara and Justin Timberlake are well matched here, their voices teasing each other against that addictive bassline.
59. “I Cut Like A Buffalo” – The Dead Weather
This is weird, but in a wonderful way. I don’t get the choking noises, but I do love those descending organ bits. Great stuff.
60. “Manos Al Aire” – Nelly Furtado
I loved and still love Loose, so I was sort of underwhelmed by Furtado’s first new single since 2006. But! Once that excellent chorus kicks in, I realized that there’s nothing underwhelming about the song at all. Welcome back, Nelly! :)
OK! The Best Music of 2009 Part 3 is coming soon! :)