Allgigs' Top 10 Singles for '09

Posted: 31st December 2009
Mumford and Sons

So, tomorrow it's a whole new year and whole new decade, so why not look back on '09 and reflect on the singles released this year, is what we thought? Not released quite as speedily as our '09 album review (here:

And I must say it's quite a contemporary list, with all of the acts being formed in the noughties and there's not a mention of Joe McElderry or RATM (phew!) - except just then, of course...

Now that the number-crunching is all done, I can tell you that whereas our albums review united our writers, this singles run-down was a lot more divisive, with very few of them agreeing on the same single, but a number of acts consistently appeared on almost everyone's list, and these were: Bat for Lashes, Chris Cornell, Florence and the Machine, Jamie T, La Roux, Mumford and Sons, Passion Pit, The Horrors, The XX, Tommy Reilly and finally Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Jamie T

10 Going with the time-honoured tradition of doing a chart "run-down", we'll announce our top ten in reverse style, starting at number ten, with Wimbledon's Jamie T doing the business with his 'Sticks and Stones' EP which had Francis Jolley saying:

I have always had a soft spot for songs with more than one chorus. Both of these would be strong enough for any single. Mr T knows when to play his trump card here and I embarrassingly admit to being caught on the bus shaking my finger Ali G style, when the second chorus kicks in. I am a sad, sad man.

The XX

9 In the number nine position are school chums The XX, with 'Basic Space', which led Joel Crowley summing-up succinctly: "Pop at its most understated and well-crafted." Early this year, the XX were tipped by the NME, making their "Future 50 list".

Passion Pit

8 Passion Pit take the number eight spot, with 'The Reeling' floating Francis' boat:

Easily the best electro-pop song of the year, still as insatiable now as it was over 8 months ago.

2009 has been a good year for the Massachusetts quintet, with their songs receiving an airing on numerous TV ads and a number of high-profile festival slots, including Hard Rock Calling (supporting The Killers), iTunes Music Festival (with Franz Ferdinand) and Bonnaroo earlier at the start of the year.

Mumford and Sons

7 2009 has also been kind to Mumford and Sons who find themselves at number seven on our singles chart with 'The Cave', a song which had Francis stating:

The surprise package of 2009, surely going to get a Mercury nomination next year and this was rousing folk anthem is undeniably brilliant.

And we can't help but second that emotion, as they came straight outta leftfield, gigging their way up-and-down the United Kingdom, playing to packed houses wherever they went - no small feat! Not to mention, of course, that they managed a top 10 position in our '09 album run-down, which is truly a glorious thing!

La Roux

6 The sixth place in our chart was reserved for La Roux with 'In For the Kill. Well, when I say "reserved", I'm not implying you can buy your way onto this list... but if any hot acts for 2010 would like to send a cheque payable to the allgigs chart fund... Oops, let's not digress, now where was I? Oh yes, we were on the subject of another hotly-tipped prospect, La Roux, who early in the year was fifth in the BBC's 'Sound of 2009' poll, not to mention gaining Mercury and MTV Europe award-nominations and bagging a few 'Best Newcomer' awards for singer Elly Jackson. The electro-pop 'In for the Kill' did best in the UK charts, peaking at number two, but also faired respectably in the international charts, with dubstep producer Skream making sure the track crossed-over into the dance world with his 'Let's Get Ravey' earth-shaking bass remix.

Tommy Reilly

5 Coming-in at number five is Scottish newbie for 2009, Tommy Reilly, who won this year's Channel 4 TV show 'Orange unsignedAct'. Writer Solange was so enamoured with the young singer-songwriter, that he received a double-nomination in her best of '09 list for both 'Gimme a Call' and 'Jackets', both of which charted-well, with Jackets hitting the top-spot in Scotland. Jackets was top of Solange's pops, and number five on our charts. We'll leave the summary to Solange:

Goofy accounts of lovelorn-ness make Reilly our very own Ben Lee (circa 1995-97): a prodigal lyrical genius of simplicity.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

4 New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs made number one on our 2009 album chart with 'It's Blitz!', but only make the fourth spot in our singles chart with 'Zero'. The band, and especially lead singer Karen O have had a busy, with her completing the soundtrack for the recent children's fantasy film 'Where the Wild Things Roam' earlier this year, and a march release for 'It's Blitz!'. Francis had this to say:

Nobody could have predicted that switching to electro would produce The Yeah Yeah Yeah's finest moment since 'Maps'. I could have picked any number of songs from the mother album, but as it started with 'Zero' it seems apt to choose this.

The Horrors

3 And now we get to the top three, with Southend's The Horrors grabbing the bronze medal for Sea Within a Sea. The song released in March was the first track taken from the album 'Primary Colours', making Joel's fave of '09:

Rarely does a song arrive and take people completely by surprise. This was the case with Sea within a Sea, which was the perfect showcase for the Horrors' new krautrock and shoegaze-influenced sound. Seven of the most thrilling and enthralling minutes of music you could hear this year.

Florence + the Machine

2 Silver Medallist Florence and the Machine sees her 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)' take second place in this year's singles round-up. To say that Florence and the Machine were hotly-tipped for 2009 is like saying that the pope is a little religious. Making the third-spot on the BBC's 'Sound of 2009' poll, playing prominent UK festivals Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, a Mercury-nomination for 'Lungs', grabbing Brits and UK Festival awards (and numerous nominations), a UK number two album and selling-out venues the length-and-breadth of the UK (phew!) is quite some achievement for Florence Welch and her well-oiled machine. Interestingly, the top-placed artist for the BBC's 'Sound of 2009' poll, Little Boots, only received one nomination for the song 'Love Kills' - and that was my nomination, but what do I know?

Anyway, back to 'Rabbit Heart', which left Francis (quite rightly) with this to say:

Well it's virtually impossible to not mention Florence in an end of year poll really. This was her breakthrough track and is truly, glorious; it might just be the most exciting dance track ever to feature a harp.

So, now we get to the gold medal winner, the top-spot in our recently-created AllGigs top 10 singles chart. And the winner is... going to be announced after a word from our sponsor... OK, we wouldn't do anything as cheesy or be such sell-outs, so without further ado, we're going to announce the winner.

Bat for Lashes

1 And it's Natasha Khan AKA Bat for Lashes with her excellently-titled single 'Daniel' - nothing of course to do with the well-named Elton John single. Bat for Lashes came to the public's attention with her 2006 debut album 'Fur and Gold', which whilst it didn't set the world's charts on fire, received much critical acclaim, receiving a Mercury Music nomination in the process.

Both Lauren Codling and Joel Crowley were much-enamoured with the track, with Joel commenting:

Natasha Khan's return was marked by the arrival of her finest single to date.

All that's left to say is: happy (almost) new year and let's hope 2010 is as great (musically and gigfully) as 2009 has been!

Daniel O'Connell