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The 100 Best Tracks of 2009

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  • These are our 100 favourite tracks of the past 12 months.
  • published
    14 Dec 2009
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These are our 100 favourite tracks of 2009. We’ll do twenty a day, finishing this Friday.

100: LITTLE BOOTS
‘REMEDY’
(679/ATLANTIC)


’09 was supposed to be Little Boots’ year, and it was, to begin with. Winning the BBC Sound of 2009 poll in January led to a slew of fevered media coverage, but the hype quickly began to edge out reality. Her rush-recorded debut album was, inevitably, a big disappointment – but it did yield at least 12 minutes of solid pop gold, four of which belonged to the ecstatic, plastic ‘Remedy’. There are only a handful of songs in the world that can make us feel like Lambrini-swilling 15-year-old girls getting ready for a night out on the town – and this is one of them.


99: DJ MYSTERY feat. NATALIE K
‘SPEECHLESS’
(WHITE LABEL)

God knows quite what London’s DJ Mystery reversed or arpeggiated to make that sound on ‘Speechless’, but few noises gave us this much joy when coming through the mix on club speakers this year.


98: BETH JEANS HOUGHTON
‘GOLDEN’
(STATIC CARAVAN)


Gorgeous folk-pop with a mournful undertow from the oddly-monikered Beth Jeans Houghton. It’s gossamer-thin but not in the least bit flimsy, with a melody so homely and familiar that it’s hard to believe it’s not decades old. Which, if you remember, is exactly what folk – not to mention pop – is all about.


97: YURA YURA TEIKOKU
‘OHAYO MADA YARO’
(from HOLLOW ME / BEAUTIFUL, DEATH FROM ABROAD)

One of 2009′s most unexpected and delightful reissues was Hollow Me, DFA’s western edition of a recent classic by Japanese band Yura Yura Teikoku. Yura are major players in their native pop/rock scene, but virtually unknown here; believe us, language is no barrier to loving their music, which vaults effortlessly from stomping glam minimalism to sweet, yearning balladry with the kind of chutzpah we’ve not heard since the heyday of Guided By Voices. ‘Ohayo Mada Yaro’ is the opening weepy, and it features the best knicker-wetting sax abuse perpetrated this side of Roxy Music.


96: MASSIVE ATTACK
‘SPLITTING THE ATOM’
(THE VINYL FACTORY)


In which the Bristol trip-hoppers came over like a politically charged Gorillaz, Daddy G and 3D rasping gravely over a reggae-pop skank chorused by veteran skylarker Horace Andy. Though the cinematic, TV On The Radio-augmented ‘Pray For Rain’ got more attention, for us this more knotted, inscrutable cut was the pick of the EP it gave its title to.


95: DOOM
‘THAT’S THAT’
(LEX)


Proof that you can never rule out the greats – especially not when they’ve collected an arsenal of beats as wealthy as [formally MF] DOOM’s. On ‘That’s That’, the hip-hop veteran recycled one of his very best past productions, and when he got bored of rapping third person over it, got his croon on. “Can it be I stayed away too long? Did you miss these rhymes while I was gone?” Kinda DOOM, but it’s cool, just give us that new Madvillain album sometime next decade and all’s forgiven.


94: MODERAT
‘SEAMONKEY’
(BPITCH CTRL)


Moderat, the much-feted collaboration between Modeselektor and Apparat, didn’t bear the fruits it could have on record – in fact, as several festivals this year proved, it was a project more suited to the live arena – but ‘Seamonkey’ was one of the tracks where their brand of creeping techno – seemingly as influenced by post-rock and dubstep as it was by big room techno and house – excelled, with earth-shaking snares and one of the most elated second drops of any track this year.


93: BROADCAST & THE FOCUS GROUP
‘I SEE, SO I SEE SO’
(from …WITCH CULTS OF THE RADIO AGE EP, WARP)

Witch Cults represented a match made in hauntologists’ heaven, as radiophonic pop perennials Broadcast surrended their tapes to Ghost Box’s Julian House for eldritch manipulation and re-arrangement. The fragmented results are frequently startling, as on ‘I See, So I See So’, Trish Keenan’s crystalline nursery rhyme harmonies framed with spidery finger-picked guitar and chirruping field recordings (or more likely just samples ripped off impossible-to-find library records). Just one highlight from an EP that will doubtless be looked back upon as a high watermark of retro-futurist British psychedelia.


92: REDSHAPE
‘GLOBE’
(from THE DANCE PARADOX, DELSIN)


2009 found Redshape comprehensively proving that he isn’t, as a friend of FACT once memorably, damningly declared him, “just some c***t in a mask”. Firstly, faced with the unenviable task of remixing Newworldaquarium’s  unimprovable ‘Trespassers’, he acquitted himself beautifully, delivering a version that was at once thoughtful, respectful, and bolshy, thrillingly direct. Then he dropped The Dance Paradox – a debut album which didn’t exactly represent a huge evolutionary leap forward for techno, but rather a heartfelt and impressive renewal of its founding values. ‘Globe’, with its inspired interplay of gloopy, phased chords and crisp, skippy percussion, was its brightest and most buoyant moment.


91: BEYONCE feat. LADY GAGA
‘VIDEOPHONE’ (REMIX)
(SONY)


A moment for Maxwell D of ‘Blackberry Hype’/Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame, who claims that Beyonce “stole his concept” for ‘Videophone’. Allegations of theft aside, ‘Videophone’s video is more entertaining than any blurb could be, so just watch it.

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