Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The 2015-50: No. 30 - No. 21

No. 30: "Stolen Car" - Mylene Farmer and Sting. 

It's not the first combination you'd have thought of, but she's got "previous" (Les Mots with Seal) so in hindsight another duet turned out to be quite logical.  Mylene's last two albums have been a bit disappointing for me, so I wasn't expecting too much from "Interstellaires" but on limited listens so far, it seems to be an improvement.  Anyway, back to "Stolen Car": it's actually a rework of a Sting solo track, reinvented Mylene-style and it works very well.  But if you live in the mystical Mylene-fandom, the last thing you'd have expected was a) an appearance on an American chat show and b) a top comedy moment from the goddess herself....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a81F56tgOY

Stolen Car video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQkkmYIu95I

No.29: "Waiting For The Sun" - Simon Erics.

OK, so it's just a little bit generic, borrowing from that Avicii country-dance template, but it soundtracked most of my spring (and certainly much of my spring holiday as I listened to a lot of Rix FM whilst on holiday in Brussels).

It's infectious, catchy and with a whistling hookline you won't forget in a long time.  This was the great European hit which got away - it had the potential to be a massive continental spring/summer hit.


No.28: "One Last Time" - Miriam Bryant.

Success is all about good timing.  And Swedish singer Miriam Bryant was certainly in the right place at the right time as she turned out to be the major breakout star of this year's series of Så mycket bättre on TV4. Miriam delivered one inspired cover after another - right now she's dominating the Swedish iTunes singles chart in the same way that our own charts have been full of Justin Bieber. The best of her covers for me was this one - an inspired take on Niklas Strömstedt's "Sista Morgonen".  Niklas himself also remarkably reinvented Ace of Base's "Happy Nation" in honour of Jenny Berggren's appearance in the show, as "Lyckolandet" with his own anti-racist take on the Sweden Democrats and similar groups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMLP25o26Q4  

One Last Time video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOAkyuwV97Q

No.27: "Plastic" - New Order. 

One morning whilst on holiday in Port de Pollença in September, I had the radio on whilst getting ready for breakfast.  And a song came on which jumped out of the radio and stopped me in my tracks. Immediate thoughts: 1) That sounds like New Order.  2) That definitely sounds like New Order, but I haven't heard that song before.  3) Wow.  That's like an old-school New Order song, but so fresh.  But I didn't expect them to be making any new music....am I hearing things or what?

As it turned out, it was a new song, from New Order, and it was this one.  What a massive return to form.  As usual, don't expect a three-minute pop song when you can have a seven-minute epic.  New Order would go on to release a pretty great comeback album (and birthday present!) "Music Complete".  You haven't heard the last of it in my annual chart either....

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THwp-hWtC5Y

No.26: "Pressure Off" - Duran Duran.

OK, so while we're talking inspired comebacks by '80s icons, let's move on to Duran Duran who provided one of the other pleasant surprises of 2015 with this brilliant, funky collaboration with Nile Rodgers and Janelle Monae.  But you will probably not have heard this song on your local radio station - because this year they've been too busy playing Adele, or Ellie Goulding, or James Bay, or Sam Smith, or Ed Sheeran.  But my advice to you is: dig deeper and you'll discover gems like this one for example.  And even if the musicians get old, the music never does.


No. 25: "Me Quemo" - Kendji Girac.  

I was away from French music for a long time and missed this guy's rise to fame.  Here in the UK we're not used to winners of "The Voice" having any kind of career, but it's a whole different situation in France.  After his success at the 2014 edition of the NRJ Music Awards I immediately bought his album and have become a huge Kendji fan over the past year.  "Me Quemo" is the first track released from his second album "Ensemble" which came out this year and didn't disappoint - yet another example of his trademark flamenco/latin-flavoured pop.  Irresistibly infectious.


No.24: "Sugar" - Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates. 

Back in the day - 12 years ago to be precise - the original version of "Suga Suga" by Baby Bash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rgStv12dwA became a big hit in Europe, particularly in France, Belgium and Germany where it was never off the radio.  So that recognition-factor ensured that Robin Schulz's reinvention of the song would find much appreciation at EuropeCrazy HQ.

Schulz brilliantly reinvents the song in his trademark dance style with guitar riffs, and the vocals by big-haired young Canadian talent Francesco Yates top the song off perfectly.  And you probably won't be too surprised to learn that this song didn't do so well in the UK.....


No.23: "Make Me (La La La) - Dinah Nah.

So we have a Swedish woman with a ridiculous name, who bears a great resemblance to Crown Princess Victoria, only with a head of cascading pink hair, making her debut appearance in Melodifestivalen with a song with a silly title.  I never really rated this at the time, but then something happened.  Over the spring and summer this song had a grip on my iPod and wouldn't let go.  It was one of those songs which took on a life of its own after Melodifestivalen and went on to become a big favourite.


No. 22: "Crossroads" - Satin Circus. 

After Finland sent Softengine to ESC. this was a natural successor.  Accessible guitar-pop with shades of One Direction.  The more I heard this, the more I believed that it would represent Finland at Eurovision 2015 and get a very good result...  But fate has a funny way of intervening....Satin Circus did well despite a way-below-par performance of the song in the final, but it wasn't enough to beat a a certain punk band with the shortest song ever sent to Eurovision.


No.21: "People On The High Line" - New Order.

New Order's influence on what we know as 'dance music' today can never be underestimated.  And now, all these years later, they have brought back that fabulous vibe on several tracks on their latest album, "Music Complete". "People...." is yet another effortless house anthem.  The other pleasant surprise on that new album is the significant dimension which Elly Jackson (La Roux) brings to several tracks.  Now you know that I've never been a big fan of her's, but I've had to revise my opinion, because her contribution to this album is just magic.


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