Saturday, December 26, 2015

The 2015-50: No.40 - No.31

No.40: "Drag Me Down" - One Direction.

Life’s full of surprises.  Who’d have thought we’d ever have seen the day when a 1D song would make my annual top 50 – don’t get me wrong, they’ve given us a number of catchy tunes over the years but nothing which would automatically be guaranteed a year-end chart place.  Till this one.  It’s grown-up and credible boyband pop.  And now they're taking a break, so it will be interesting to see a) if they come back, and b) if they reinvent themselves on the scale of the next band in my countdown. 

No.39: "Hey Boy" - Take That. 

We weren't expecting a new Take That single, but this came completely out of the blue.....and it flopped, big time.  OK so "Hey Boy" isn't up there with the timeless Take That greats, but it's a catchy pop song and if it belongs to another time, then what's wrong with that?  Because if you're a Take That fan, then that's for life, and for me they can still do no wrong, even if their best days are behind them.

No.38: "Du Swipa Höger" - Emil Berg.

A couple of songs from this year which were 'of their time'.  One of those was "Selfie" by Samir & Viktor; the other was this one.  Or as I like to call it, “Son of Selfie”.  Emil jumps on the Tinder bandwagon, which I'm probably too old to comprehend.  But whatever the theme it’a a very agreeable pop tune and well catchy.  "You've got a match, girl!"

No.37: "Se Telefonando" - Nek.

Nek reinterpreted this 1966 song (originally sung by Mina) on cover-versions night in Sanremo this year, and it went down so well that he released it as a single and also on his "Prima de Parlare" album.  Nek effectively tackles the song's complex structure and as the legendary Louis Walsh would say, "you made that song your own".  

No.36: "Tu Enemigo" - Pablo Lopez featuring Juanes. 

I was unfamiliar with Pablo's music but randomly purchased his CD on a trip to Palma during our Mallorcan holiday in September.  I'm glad I did - he is a very talented and accomplished singer, songwriter and musician and I'd love to see him represent Spain at Eurovision one day.  This collaboration with Juanes has over 9 million views on YouTube and the song's lyrics and video are very timely in a dark year for the world.  

No. 35: "Emergency" - Icona Pop.

Over here they are in danger of becoming remembered for only "I Love It" but I'm very surprised that this didn't become an international hit.  It's so infectious and also features uncredited vocals by Erik Hassle - yet another Swedish artist who didn't get the success he deserved.  Shades of "We No Speak Americano" about this - "Emergency" would have made a great summer hit.  

No.34: "Golden Boy" - Nadav Guedj.

On paper, this shouldn't work.  A mish-mash of styles, from plaintive ballad to funky Timberlake-style workout to Eurovision-eastern-ethnic-song-written-by-committee.  But it does.  Nadav, the world's oldest-looking 16 year old (at the time of the contest) did the impossible and got Israel to the final.  And even if his vocal performance didn't quite match his enthusiasm, it's still impossible not to smile at "ok, we gotta go, three minutes, bye bye!" - the first Eurovision entry in its history to pay tribute to the three minute rule in song.  Oh, and he's the king of fun.  

No.33: "Shut Up And Dance" - Walk The Moon. 

Uplifting and obscenely catchy radio fodder which has been a massive worldwide hit. A couple of things I must mention: this song was used in a stunning Strictly Come Dancing professionals’ group dance this year - probably my favourite professionals' routine of the series:

The other thing is that Walk The Moon's lead vocalist, Nicholas Petricca, was also the featured singer on Madeon’s brilliant electropop ‘Finale’, released in 2012 but I didn't discover it till a couple of years later. If you haven't heard that song, here it is:

No.32: "El Perdon" - Nicky Jam featuring Enrique Iglesias.

The year's other big Latin hit all over the continent.  Heard it a few times on my summer holiday and the song continues to enjoy enduring popularity if Swedish radio playlists are anything to go by.  I even heard it playing on a Spanish food stall at the Glasgow Christmas market recently and had to restrain myself from bopping around (!)  

Oh, and there is an English-language version of this, but who really needs that?  

No.31: "Le Paradis Nous Trouvera (Paradise)" - Josef Salvat. 

For some reason I thought this guy was French, but he's actually Australian.  Josef first came to my attention with his cover version of Rihanna's "Diamonds" but then I forgot all about him until this started turning up on French radio and I immediately sat up and took notice.  This bilingual song is a modern yet timeless mid-tempo slice of electronic pop, and his command of the French language is highly impressive. I'm looking forward to hearing what he'll do next. 

No video yet but have a listen to this great song at

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