Me at "The Last Record Store" - HMV on Oxford Street, LDN
Artist of the Year: Really, who else but Robyn? Her experiment worked. I wish more artists would release music slowly over the span of a year: it keeps the excitement and energy alive. The music itself was close to flawless and her live performances were goosebump-inducing. As for her "fame"? I enjoy that she has not yet been consumed by the masses.
Singing Voice(s) Of The Year: Laura Marling, Jonsi and Cee Lo Green.
Best Indie Artist: Easy! Penguin Prison. Several perfect singles, a zillion great remixes, good live show and a superb album coming in 2011. Also: Bright Light Bright Light for his brilliant song, Cry At Films.
Producer Of The Year: Stuart Price, for getting his mojo back and helping three artists get theirs back: Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite, Take That's Progress and Scissor Sisters' Night Work.
Most Improved Artist: Ellie Goulding always had the music, but her performance style was decidedly not-ready-for the-bigtime as the year began. She looked terrified on Jools Holland last year, but 2010 ended with a triumphant pop star moment on Top Of The Pops.
Ridiculous 2010 Trend: Tacky use of Fuck in song titles. It was fine - and relevant - to Cee Lo's Fuck You, middling with Pink's Fuckin' Perfect and cynical shite with the now-dire Enrique Iglesias's single, Tonight I'm Fucking You. #demode
She Who Deserves More Respect Than She Received: Allison Goldfrapp for following the amazing, emotional Seventh Tree with the equally exhilarating Head First. This duo makes it all seems so effortless.
Lyrics of the Year: TIE! Chill-inducing lyrics in completely different moods...
Laura Marling, for the middle eight in Rambling Man:
It's funny that the first chords that you come to,And a much lighter, joyous moment in Cee Lo's I Want You, the love song of the year:
Are the minor notes that come to serenade you.
And it's hard to accept yourself as someone... you don't desire,
As someone you don't want to be.
God is good. He took His time when he designed you baby.Live Show Of The Year: Without hesitation, Florence And The Machine's show at DC's 9:30 Club was one of the best shows I've seen in my life. Utterly BEYOND. Also coming close was Robyn's performance on the All Hearts Tour. She's like a pixie James Brown.
That’s why I want you...
Oh, I'll even quit my job. Lovin' you, I'll make it my job!
Thank you Lord, thank you lord!
This is it, my God!
Album Cover Of The Year: 2010 was a shit year for album art. No budgets and a label desire to design everything for a smartphone. The winners: Goldfrapp's Head First, which looks even better in 12" form, and Scissor Sister's Mapplethorp'd Night Work.
Best Single Art That Should Have Been Album Art: Hurt's glorious Wonderful Life.
Fab Divas I Whorishly Managed to Get To Tweet Me in 2010: Nancy Sinatra, Jackie Collins, Sandra Bernhard, Kylie Minogue.
Fave Musical Women of Tweet: Tracey Thorn, Judie Tzuke, and Helen Terry.
Top Remixes Of The Year: Mix Of 2010 --> Penguin Prison Golden Train (Royal Palms Mix) <-- Mix Of 2010, Kelis and Benny Benassi Spaceship (Alex Guadino and Jason Rooney Mix),
Most Popular Blog Post (On This Here Blog): Ass: A Game You Can Play
Ballad Of 2010: Judie Tzuke's moving If (When You Go). I got all heavy about this song back in the summer, because it's one of the few truly emotional songs of 2010. We live in an age where nobody wants to dig deep and this one does.
[this is a place-holder where I would have a comment about Sophie Ellis Bextor, had her label released the album she started promoting a year ago.]
Most Welcome Return To Music: Sade, who nailed it on a perfectly subtle album, Soldier Of Love. The title-track, however, took a big chance and gave us an edgier Sade, who remains not only one of the most beautiful women on earth, but the most dignified pop star I can imagine.
Biggest Surprise Great Albums: Duran Duran's superb All You Need Is Now (out in expanded form in February) and Kelis, who I truly believed was a relic of the 00's. No more.
Christmas Song Ranking, 2010: Tracey Thorn > David McAlmont > Coldplay > Hurts > Saint Etienne > The Feeling > Pet Shop Boys > The Killers
Best Unreleased Music: Bang Bang Club's lovely ballad Under The Influence, Ed Drewett's perfect album sampler, Penguin Prison's Princely forthcoming single Multi-Millionaire, and Alex Gardner's beautiful studio version of There Goes My Heart.
Most Wasted Moment: Kelly Rowland not seizing on the international success of the blazing Commander. One assumes there were too many cooks in the kitchen trying to suppress Kelly's potential dominance as the new Donna Summer ("but, but.. Kelly's URBAN!"). Had she pushed it hard like Kelis, the year would have ended with her on top.
Photo Of The Year,
Artist Most In Need Of A Vacay: Lady Gaga wins again this year, for obvious reasons. Enough with the crazy costumes, unrehearsed tours and endless references to her little monsters. Just give this woman a long vacation so she can come back strong.
Stylish Sexpots Of 2010: Last year it was Rihanna and Martina from Dragonette,
Disappointing Albums: Crowded House,
Most Disappointing Single: Frankmusik's return to pop with The Fear Inside. Love him, but this song is weak.
How Did We Ever Like You? Award: Duffy [shivers] She also gets Worst Single for the screeching, bobby-socksed horror that is Well Well Well
Great Minds Think Alike Award: I don't know anyone who did not say of Duran Duran's All You Need Is Now single, "Awesome chorus, shit verses."
Guilty Pleasure: This is so dire. I am such a bottom feeder. I kind of admit to liking Ke$ha's Cannibal. Especially the part where she says, "Now that I'm famous, you're up my anus." The auto-tuned yodeling is a nice touch too.
Best Cover Song: Hurts doing Kylie's Confide On Me on The Sun's Biz Session. [ed note: The Sun version is superior to the actual live version they used as a Stay b-side]
Marina vs Ellie Goulding Battle: I made up this category because I am a bit of a douche. Here's the result: The better album was Ellie Goulding's, especially in its final form as Bright Lights. However, Marina is the real star here. As I said above, had this been 1987, she would be on every teen girl's wall. This woman has the X factor in spades, is equal measures cute and exotic and, while her album did not reflect her full potential, has major musical cajones. So, it's a draw.
Jump The Shark Moment: Madonna's manager Guy Oseary trolling on twitter for ideas of where the waning pop star should open over-priced gyms named after her worst album. Dire.
Moment That Made Up For The Above Jump The Shark Moment: Madonna's photo shoot with Mert & Marcus for Interview Magazine. Everything about it said to younger, needier popstrels, "Okay, kittens... FOLLOW THIS."
Best "Model Record" in Years: Karen Elson, for her gorgeous single,The Ghost Who Walks. The full album was not as good, but an admirable effort nonetheless.
The PR Award: Really? You Expect Me To Fall For This? Natalia Kills. Maybe there are surprises yet to be revealed, but I'm not expecting it.
The We've Boxed Ourselves In Award: To Hurts. Yes, Hurts is a very good pop band. No doubt. But their debut album was over the top on grandeur and passion with virtually nothing uptempo to storm the charts. The best uptempo, title song Happiness, was actually a bonus track not included on the CD. Likewise their performance style is, as one Popjustice Forum kid said, "monochrome." Theo's persona leaves little room for spontaneity.
Best Unnoticed Bonus Track: Robbie Williams' Long Walk Home, buried on his superb Hits collection. Download this song - it's a cover, but it's excellent.Shockingly Shit Music That Seems To Be Taking Off: Jessie J's debut single Do it Like A Dude. Everybody loves this song and what I hear is a clusterfuck of everything I hate about popular music in 2010.
Worst Trend: The over-reliance in pop music of Dr Luke and auto-tune, which is basically the same thing. He did some brilliant songs, no doubt, but this sound is already dated. Don't think I am right? Remember Timbaland?
Good Riddance Award: The loathsome Sky Ferreira. Though I did like her UK single, One, she came across as a Fast-Track-Lohan(or lost Olsen sister?) with a rich sense of entitlement. And her Obsession video? Creepy.
RIP to the lovely and poptastic Mini Viva. This was the most senseless failure (charts, not quality) in pop music this year. These girls are far superior to most of the BBC's sound of 2011. We shall bask in the glow of Tokyo, I Wish and One Touch. Do not be fooled by pretenders to the throne... Mini Viva and Girls Aloud did it best.
Last thing. This year was one of the best of my life, most notably because of my trip to London in March. It was made extraordinary by the beautiful people we met along the way. They know who they are. To them: I thank you so much and send you all my love -and MP3s! - for 2011. Vinny, my Americano pop mogul/monthly pop summit mate, that includes you too (as opposed to, err, U2).
Coming Next: Top Songs, Top Albums and a mammoth list of almost every song I loved in 2010. Follow me on twitter in 2011 and I'll bug you some more...