I catch up half way through December with Top 10s, Top 100s, longlists, shortlists, look-backs, retrospectives and recommendations, missed highlists and overlooked gems, and then refer to the 30-odd songs I’m using for the month with conflicting feelings of inadequacy and independence. No matter how personal and heartfelt and honest, there’s always that nagging feeling of getting the final list hopelessly wrong.
AND THEN there’s choosing Daphne and Celeste. You see, I remember “German Bold Italic” from Kylie and Charlotte Church’s “Glitterbombed”. Utterly cuckoo-bananas both, and in their own special ways, sublime bits of musical adventure. I have sneaking regards for these complete – and who knows how calculated – sidesteps to the fringes, which perhaps underlines just how uneven my lists can get sometimes. If something takes my ear for the right reasons from the ‘wrong’ sources, then whatever ‘wrong’ means doesn’t matter.
Maybe I’m trying too hard here to defend my choice. Maybe, indeed, I’ve misunderstood the reality, that Daphne and Celeste have always been industry injokes designed within an inch of their lives to hook in sappy wannabe journos and music snobs. Possibly I’ve fallen for a double-bluff, and in fact D&C are innocent popsters who just want to try something new once and a while. Whatever. Here’s the headline. “You & I Alone” might well be polished to within an inch of its life by way of an unsubtle point about the industry, or it’s just a great unexpected bonus in life, I dunno. I just smile each time I hear it – an ice-cool on-point sound worthy of any list, hip-and-happening or otherwise.
Back in 2013 I had an idea. You can see the Index for that idea here. Very pop-orientated. Very mainstream. I have pop sensibility and like a chorus strong enough to use as ballast, but really, I’m surprised by my choices coming across as more Radio 2 than 6Music. I would not choose the same list, nor put it in the same order now.
One year later is my 2014 Index . It is certainly less mainstream, maybe not organised quite how I would if doing it again (opening with Katy B, now there’s a misunderstanding about drawing in readers).
This year has seen my Spotify, SoundCloud, and ‘tucked in the back of the brain’ longlists growing by the week. Soon I will confirm the results of all that here – and as ever, the chosen 24 songs are presented in no particular order. In so many ways, this ain’t a chart.