See, at the front end of this year I was all over “First Light” from Django Django. Then this happened. And I had to chin-stroke, coin-toss, umm and aah, and other two-worded considerations occurred besides until the choice was confirmed. Maybe it was the unusually cluttered ending to “First Light” which did it for me, because if there’s one thing anybody can say about “Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread”, it’s that the song is one straightforward experience.
While everybody went totally bananas for ‘Distant Past’ I remained unconvinced. Not that I am only sold by nursery rhymes or ice cream jingles, you understand, but for sheer joy it’s this later release which stuck with me for being more than just the rush to the title. Maybe it’s the part of me still tapping my foot at Bastille’s “Pompeii” (he says with a straight face.)
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.
Let’s talk Alfred Hitchcock. By far the most celebrated mould-setter and convention-breaker in cinema. The watchword of invention, imagination, intelligence and ingenuity. Unrivalled at the time, barely matched since.
But by the grin, could Hitchcock not finish a movie. Go on, tell me the ‘ending’ of ‘North by Northwest’ was worth so much as a pinch of salt. Or even ‘The Birds’, for that matter, an entire ball park of deflated balloons after being shown around Hampton Court Palace. Nobody dares say it, but I believe many think it. Hitchcock’s films are almost entirely ruined by their endings. There, that’s off my chest at last.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Ooh, clickbait. Well, no. Clickbait is hosting a video on the Daily Mail website in which Liz Jones and Katie Hopkins give up the pretence and just go for each other using wooden instruments and no lube. This is my roundabout-and-hazy way of introducing ‘Duet’ by Everything Everything; a great little number wobbling off its perch by the ending.
Great song up to that point, mind. Coldplay meeting Hurts, broadly speaking, breaking out into Bastille-via-Delays. Who says I’m too mainstream and safe with my references? My pop sensibilities melt at the first sign of verses like this, and when the layers are pulled away things get very interesting indeed. What I doff my cap to is the brazen attempt to write a commercial radio’s next favourite anthem, not a trick to be easily pulled off or sensibly repeated, although with ‘Duet’ it’s done with such charm the effect is disarming. Oh for the better way to end the song though. Is that deliberate, I ask? The almost-ish post-rock guitar stomp to a barely noticeable peak and sudden stop? I could have done with one more whammer of a chorus, old fogey that I am. Still, they’re not covering 90s dance classics in an ‘ironic’ fashion, so there’s hope.