Hurts are back and have released a video for Road, the first taste and a hint as to what to expect off their highly anticipated sophomore outing, Exile, due out in March. It’s darker, harder and menacing; and at times even industrial sounding. It’s a little too harsh for our tastes and with it lasting a mere 2 1/2 minutes with nearly a minute of intro, Road feels more like a promo than it does an actual song. The video, however, with its gorgeous visuals and juxtaposition of beauty and violence and then sex, although not terribly original, is just the kind of kinky stuff we’ve come to expect from the band.
Although comprising our list of top albums of the year was relatively painless, narrowing our list of singles, was daunting. It is purely a subjective list, captured at this moment in time (We are fully aware that if you asked us a month from now, the list may change). This list is also very personal. Since we started the bop2pop blog last March, we have covered nearly 300 singles, a few concerts and caught up with a few of our 80s idols. All of these songs are winners in our book, so to narrow the list to 20, exlcuding some in order to place others, was often very painful. But we had to do it, so like it or not (most likely you will not agree with everything or anything on our list), here are picks for top singles of the year.
20. Simulover: Tourniquet
Squeaking in on our list is the debut single by Simulover, the brilliant collaboration of SIRPAUL and Alex Lauterstein. We confess we love the S/M theme, which makes us feel oh so slightly dirty.
19. Holy Ghost: I Wanted To Tell Her
Our favorite remake of the year by Brooklyn duo, Holy Ghost which we like better than the original. Check out the really RAD video.
18. Fil OK: Fall In Love
We fell in love with this haunting ballad that sounds like the twisted love child of Felt Mountain era Goldfrapp and Marc Almond at his most ironically sleazy
17. Tie: The Good Natured: Video Voyeur / Icona Pop: Manners
We group these two bands together because they both bring an energy to their stage presence and we predict great things next year. The Good Natured’s Video Voyeur kind of reminds us of early Missing Persons (which is a very good thing) and they are a band to watch out for. We are including Icona Pop’s neontastic Manners video which seems inspired by the 80s cult film, Liquid Sky.
16. Tie: Garcon Garcon: Stay In Touch / Patrick Wolf: Together
We love this Garcon Garcon video that looks like something director Derek Jarman would create if he wanted to create an early Erasure video. Also stunning is the new Patrick Wolf single.
15. OMD: History Of Modern
Taken from last year’s album of the same name, this was the song OMD should have released first since it is the track that most captures the spirit and energy of OMD’s heyday.
14. Tie: Penquin Prison: Fair Warning (Oliver Mix) / Starlings – Sirens (Sanfernando Remix)
Two great songs made brilliant by simply stunning remixes. We will be featuring Sanfernando soon on our 2011 remix recap.
13. Electric Youth: Fade Away
Our top b-side pick by the band that got major exposure by appearing on the Drive soundtrack. Pure pop bliss!
12. Tie: Johan Agebjörn: The Last Day of Summer / Queen of Hearts: Where Are You Now
Both tracks simply sublime. Johan Agebjorn you may recognize from his work with Sally Shapiro and as for Queen of Hearts, she is our pick for breakout artist and who, in addition to creating great music herself, has collaborated with a who’s who at bop2pop (Johan Agebjorn, The Sound of Arrows, Monarchy, Fear of Tigers, Bright Light Bright Light)
11. Lana Del Ray: Video Games/Blue Jeans (Nikon Remixes)
Regardless what the cynics say, these are two beautiful songs made even more so by the gorgeous remixes by Nikon.
10. Beth Ditto: I Write the Book
Why did it make our top 10? Because Beth Ditto is fierce and she completely reinvented herself for the dance floor and outshined Madonna – Got to love it.
9. Monarchy: I Won’t Let Go
Our favorite track off of one of our top albums of the year, I Won’t Let Go updates the classic Chris Isaak track, Wicked Games (also check out number 11 which does the same).
8. Washed Out: Amor Fati
chilled synthpop at it’s finist (think A-Ha on Vicodin), we adored this track off of Washed Out’s Within and Without album. Best of all, he gave away the single for free!
7. Queen of Hearts: Freestyle
This was the song that started our love of all things Queen of Hearts and it is still our favorite. Queen of Hearts, if you are reading us, you enticed us with a fantastic video teaser, but then broke our hearts by never releasing the full video. Can we have a full video please?
6. Hurts: Sunday
Sunday was the last single taken off of the excellent debut album by Hurts. It’s our favorite track off the album and the video is simply stunning.
5. Marsheaux: Can You Stop Me
We think Marsheaux could record them practicing scales and it would still make our list. Can You Stop Me was a change in direction for Marsheaux (kind of a “harder” synthpop sounding Delerium) and we love it. We were hoping for an album, but alas it has yet to materialize.
4. Sound of Arrows: Nova/My Shadow
We would include the new version of Into the Clouds and M.A.G.I.C., but they both made our lists in previous years. Their debut album, Voyage, made our choice for album of the year.
3. Mirrors: Into The Heart
We loved, love, loved this single by Mirrors that should have gotten more exposure and been a bigger hit. Recent lineup changes had us a little worried about where the direction of the band would be going, but a couple of new tracks prove they are still the ultimate conveyors of quality synthpop.
2. Daybehavior: Silent Dawn
Simply epic track by a band we have been eagerly awaiting their new third album, Follow That Car, for awhile now. For the unconverted, Daybehavior incorporates cinematic dreamscape vocals and haunting melodies that would fit comfortably in a french 1960s spy film soundtrack. Their last single, It’s a Game, got remix treatment by our faves, Marsheaux.
1. Kid Kasio: Over and Over
Sounding like something Howard Jones would come up with if he was comissioned to write Depeche Mode’s Shake the Disease, Over and Over, tugged at our heartstrings and was the track, more than any other, we played…over and over. Kid Kasio promises his debut album will be out next year.
The Best of the Rest
Arcade Fire presents Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Austra – Spellwork
Bachelorette – Polarity Party
Bunny Lake – Young Lovers
Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
Chart Music – All My Life
Citizens! – True Romance
Class Actress – Weekend
Computer Magic – The End Of Time
Faker – Dangerous (CSS remix)
Fiorious – I’m In Love With A German Film Star
Florrie – I Took A Little Something
GusGus – Over
Human League – Sky
Icona Pop – Nights Like This
Jessica 6 Prisoner Of Love (ft. Antony)
Johan Agebjörn & Le Prix (Feat. Fred Ventura & Sally Shapiro) – Alice (Energy Mix)
John Maus – Head for the Country
Kites – The Disappearance of Becky Sharp (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)
Ladytron – Mirage
Mint Julep – Why Don’t We
Miracle – The Visitor
Mirrors – Shooting Stars
Neon Indian – Polish Girl
Nightlife – On the Run
Niki & The Dove – Mother Protect (Goldroom Remix)
Northern Kind – Dreams
Northern Kind – Euphonic
Oh Land – Sun of a Gun
Queen of Hearts – Shoot The Bullet
Rimer London – Put Your Gun Away
Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
Ronika – Only Only (Fear Of Tigers Remix)
Selebrities – Surrounded By You
Sisely Treasure – That You Like
Soft Metals – Psychic Driving
Space March – American Girl
Space March – Space Cowboy
Starlings – Dark Arts (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)
Starlings – Sirens (Sanfernando Remix)
Tesla Boy – Waste My Body
The Golden Filter – Mother (Cosmonaut 3AM Remix)
The Good Natured – Wolves
The Opiates – Anatomy of a Plastic Girl
The Scientists of Modern Music – Because If I Die
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble
Vanbot – Make Me, Break Me (Video)
Voltaire Twins – Animalia
Will Young – Jealousy
YELLE – Safari Disco Club
YELLE – Le Musique
Yuksek – On A Train
We can’t believe the year is half over, and what a year it has been for us. After 3 incredible years of following other people’s blogs on electronic and synthpop music, we decided to create our own. We weren’t sure if it would succeed, honestly. Our core music interests lie in synthpop and 80s music, and the genre had begun to fade from public flavor. We weren’t sure if there would still be music to write about, which is why we didn’t directly reference the genre in our name. We were wrong, very wrong, judging from the amount of incredible music that has come out this year and from the amount of readers we have won over. We would like to give special thanks to Daybehavior who included our quote to promote their single and Fil Ok, who has contacted us about using our quote for his press release. We would also like to thank Marsheaux and Kid Kasio who have tweeted about us. We would also like to thank the bands who have posted or commented about us on Facebook or posted our review on their website like Shindu, The Scientists of Modern Music, Miracle, Northern Kind, Starlings and Queen of Hearts (we are sure we are leaving stuff out, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your support). We also like to thank NewNextNow for picking up our concert review of OMD and publishing it on their website. Ultimately, we like to thank you, our readers. We have grown expotientally, since our first post in March. To give you a sense of this, here is a chart that shows the number of page totals for the 4 months we have been live.
We are so happy you are finding interest in what we are writing about and promise to continue the hard work we have begun for your enjoyment. Feel free to write to us about how we are doing and what you would like to have covered. We promise it will inflate our egos and give us continual motivation. You can email us or visit us on Facebook. We would like to give a summary of the year so far, so without further babbling…
Our Favorite Songs of 2011 So Far
DayBehavior – Silent Dawn
Hurts – Sunday
Kid Kasio – Over And Over
Marsheaux – Can You Stop Me
Mirrors – Into The Heart
Queen Of Hearts – Freestyle (teaser clip)
The Sound Of Arrows – Nova
Our Favorite Remixes of 2011 So Far
Johan Agebjörn & Ercola feat. Queen Of Hearts – The Last Day Of Summer (Le Matos Remix)
Penguin Prison – Fair Warning (Oliver Remix)
Queen of Hearts-Where Are You Now (Fear of Tigers Remix)
Starlings – Sirens (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)
You Really Like Me! Top Post Views
1. Hello? Hello? Is It Me You’re Looking For?
2. Marsheaux – Can You Stop Me
3. Brigitte Fontaine ft. Grace Jones: Dancefloor
4. Where Are They Now – Kim Wilde
5. Miracle – The Visitor
Top “Where Are They Now” – The Bands You Really Wanted To Know About
1. Kim Wilde
3. Billie Ray Martin
Not So Much: Duran Duran, The Human League, Propaganda, OMD.
Whenever I am down and blue, I can always rely on Hurts, whose videos and songs thrive on melodrama, to make me reflect and come to the undeniable realization that things can be far worse. For my best friend this means watching Ice Castles on continual loop, but for me, I turn to Hurts. Sunday, with “single” written all over it, is their latest offering whose video lays the melodrama on thick… real thick. It begins with the death of a loved one, then dives deep into the subconscious, which fabulously evokes vivid mod images of the 60s, reminiscent of Sweet Charity if it was set at a S/M club with a little Logan’s Run thrown in for good measure. Ultimately, however, we must again surface to reality, which is displayed in a bleak black and white world. Classic.
And here is the remix