With its cooing opening lines and synth-stabbing chorus, ‘Tenderoni’ marked a wholly different return from what we were expecting of the Bloc Party frontman. Rather than the maudlin whingebag of yore, Okereke returned as a mono-monikered electro partyboy with an arena-full of electro anthems in the making.
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Leaner and more purposeful than they’d sounded for an age, ‘Ready To Start’ was the electrifying standout from ‘The Suburbs’, right down to
its cliffhanger ending. It’s the segue from the title track’s drive-time opener into the nerve-jangling intro that gets you there, though, gathering evil momentum like an unattended pram starting to roll down a hill. Masterly.
Forget sampling (or trumpets), Mark Ronson threw down the gauntlet to his fellow producers and created. No psychedelic French pop for your hook? Summon MNDR. Need a synthy backing for Q-Tip? Convert your band of skilled veterans into a keyboard orchestra. ‘Bang Bang Bang’ sounds like it should have been constructed from the stolen parts of classics; instead Ronson gave 2010 a timeless track of its own.
‘Root For Ruin’ was, if you will, Les Savy Fav’s middle-aged angst album, lead scragglepuss Tim Harrington (left) shedding clown tears behind minimal art-rock façades. The Brooklynites land uncomfortably in hipster LA here and don’t dig becoming lost in a world where “their teeth are bleached and their tits are tanned” – a paranoid peak.
Penetrating whale song vocals, violent attacks on a xylophone, the relentless clapping of hands. It’s what aggressive sex with an orca in the school instrument cupboard with the whole class watching would sound like. This was the perfect introduction to the year’s rarest new voice.
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The Knife stand out as the only group featured in these pages to be commissioned to write an opera about Charles Darwin. ‘Colouring Of Pigeons’ was its spine-tingling centrepiece – a full 10 minutes of portentous, percussive grandeur that summoned all the wonder and terror Charlie D must have felt when correctly concluding that monkeys were our bros.
Like her reformed hubby, Perry manages the same weird feat of being sweet despite the hindrance of being annoying. ‘California Gurls’ is her best single: candy-striped, picture-postcard smutty, West Coast house with a pop chorus liable to make you shoot whipped cream out of your nips.
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With a throbbing talkbox effect over a skittering old-school beat, ‘Shutterbugg’ was a stylish official first outing for Georgia’s Antwan Patton, though to all intents and purposes he’s been solo for a long time now. This Soul II Soul-referencing stonker of a track suggests going back to life (badoom-tish!) with OutKast would be wholly unnecessary.
Although they weren’t ever really of planet Earth, or any of our close stellar neighbours, Klaxons (left) must have got re-abducted before the release of their intergalactolyptic second album (having had their first go at it seized by label droids). Whereas their earlier material was zany in a sort of wear-a-colander-on-your-head kinda way, ‘Flashover’, with its smash’n’crash Space Invaders chaos, comes...
Forget disfigured radio-friendly versions and misguided theories concerning counterculture-level statements. ‘Fuck You’ was 2010’s finest Number One single (and also went Top 10 in America). Rarely has any artist dismissed a female foe with cussing so jauntily dispensed, a melody for milkmen to whistle despite the footballer’s vocabulary in that chorus. Or, in two words: fuck, yeah.