Saturday, December 26, 2015

The 2015-50: No.50 - No.41

No. 50:  "El Mismo Sol" - Alvaro Soler.

The days of the pan-European "summer hit" may now sadly be numbered, but this was one of two big Latin hits keeping the flag flying this year (the other one appears later in my chart). Jennifer Lopez even got in on the act later on, with a re-recorded duet version.  This is a very catchy song which Europe fell for in a big way.

No. 49: "Johnny Delusional" - FFS. 

Supergroups.  A strange and somewhat outdated concept, conjuring up visions of overindulgent 60s and 70s rock.  But when supergroups work, they can produce something spectacular.  So the hilariously-named FFS - Franz Ferdinand and Sparks in other words - seem to be a perfect fit.  If they hadn't invented FFS, someone would probably have had to invent them.  "Johnny Delusional" is a tale of unrequited love with what you'd expect from that combination - intelligent and witty lyrics.

No.48: "Ritornero da te" - Giovanni Caccamo.

Sanremo 2015 was a very successful one for this young singer and songwriter. Not only did he win the newcomers section of the contest with this one, he also co-wrote the excellent third-placed "Adesso e qui" sung by Malika Ayane.  "Ritornero da te" is a very commercial and accessible song which stands up to repeated listening.  He'll be back in the 'big artists' section in Sanremo 2016, duetting with Deborah Iurato so I hope he can produce something equally as good as this.

No.47: "Jealous" - Nick Jonas.

I never really got all the Jonas Brothers hype back in the day (their fandom reached On Direction-style proportions of hysteria) however Nick has matured into a rather good pop star.  Following the ambitious and impressive "Chains", "Jealous" is just a good mid-tempo pop song which still sounds equally as good all these months later.

No.46: "Reality" - Lost Frequencies.

You must have been living on the moon this year if you managed to avoid that song about drinking Margaritas and listening to the Mariachi....yes, "Are You With Me" was everywhere, all the time, and it still haunts radio playlists to this day.  But the follow-up, "Reality" holds much more interest for me.  Whilst it sticks with that breezy acoustic-dance template which was massively popular in Europe this year, there is a kind of wistful sadness here contrasting with the jaunty beats, and giving it a rare depth missing from most other pop-dance tracks.

No.45: "Avenir" - Louane.

It's been a phenomenally successful year for the young French singer who came to fame via "The Voice" and then the film "La Famille Belier". It took a long time for "Avenir" to grow on me, but it finally did thanks to my renewed interest in listening to French radio.  This song has also been a big hit in various European countries.  What impresses me about Louane is that she is allowed to be just a normal young woman with natural girl-next-door charm,  A refreshing change from the over-made-up, fake-tanned and over-sexualised norm.

No.44: "Firestorm" - Conchita Wurst. 

I'm not ashamed to say that the 2015 staging of ESC in Vienna was not among the greats. Unimpressive presenters and a bloated final which achieved an all-time record of the longest ever, at 4 hours.  But one of the high points was the interval act performance by Conchita, proving that she is equally at home on dance anthems as she is on showstopping ballads.  Her larger-than-life persona often overshadows her incredible voice which is shown off to great effect here.  And as an ambassador for tolerance, she is unstoppable.

No.43: "Roads" - Lawson.

Lawson are often unfairly labelled as a "boyband" when they clearly are not; they are a band.  They are also one of Britain's most underrated pop bands too - despite reasonable commercial success, they never really get the attention they deserve, and in a time of (mostly dreary) solo artists they are a refreshing change.  "Roads" is a cracking little upbeat pop song with a singalong chorus and deserved much more success than it had.

No.42: "Adesso e qui (nostalgico presente) - Malika Ayane.

Malika is one of my favourite Italian singers.  I love the soulful and jazzy tone of her voice.  I mentioned this song earlier - it came 3rd in Sanremo (the two songs which beat it will also appear later in my chart....) and it's an incredibly classy ballad thanks to Malika's controlled yet expressive vocals.  Good to know that many Italian female singers don't subscribe to the conventional norms of big bawling belters which we have to put up with over here in the UK.

No.41: "Köttbullar" - Steili Kressä.

Long-term readers of this blog will know how this works.  Most years I seem to throw a daft and totally nonsensical song into my chart, thus denying a place for what would probably have been a more deserving entry.  But it's my chart, so if I want to include a hilarious song about meatballs, submitted to the open song submissions to represent Switzerland at ESC 2016, then I will!  (Sadly it didn't make it to the Expert Check stage). The video for this is, well, ROFLMAO (or whatever the young people say these days).

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