At least we arrive at the top 25 tracks for 2009. Up front warning: Most of these tracks were released in 2009, but a few were actually released earlier but I found them in 2009, hence them showing up on the list below. This list can also be referred to as the best of electronic pop for 2009.
25. PET SHOP BOYS
In 2009 we saw the the tenth studio album, “Yes”, from the Pet Shop Boys. And in true PSB manner, they delivered a well crafted synth pop track in “Love etc…”
Tiga’s “Shoes” was a guilty pleasure of sorts, but catchy as all hell.
23. David E Sugar
An early release of 2009 (back in January) was a single from David E. Sugar. This release is smooth house flavored pop track with David providing the vocals. In 2009, David released one digital track every week all year and a 12” vinyl every month. You can browse his releases here (check out “Not Revolution” if you dig this track).
22. Jessica Tonder
So I found Jessica earlier this year via a blog post (thank you TINYmaestro) and was awe-struck upon first listen to this young girl that just oozes trip hop flavor. At the time, she was set to release a full length album titled, “The Robot and the Little Girl”. However, there was a mishap and the album was not release, I have no idea why but Jessica had some strong words without a detailed explanation as to why on her myspace page. I could only assume that it had to do with the Royksopp release of the same name. But alas, I am purely speculating. In any case, there hasn’t been an update to when this talented singer will release a full length or ep, or digital single.
21. Dan Black
Dan Black finally released his full length after gaining attention with his cover/mash up of sort of Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotise. In Dan’s words, “I had taken the drums from Rihanna’s Umbrella, chopped up soundtrack samples from eighties sci-fi movie Starman and then over this written vocal melodies on which I sang the lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G.’s colossus Hypnotise.”
Unfortunately, when Dan tried to gain permission to release this version of the track on his full length, he ran into a bit of a snag. The estate (which is believed to be controlled by B.I.G.’s mom) denied the usage of the lyrics. The other elements as it turned out were easier to clear, the “Umbrella drums is just a copyright free loop you get free with Garageband … and the Starman soundtrack was actually a rerecording and so was fine too.” – taken from Dan’s post on the matter.
Just Dan went back to the drawing board and created a new track from Hypntz, which eventually was called, “Symphonies”. However the stand out track for me on his release “U + ME”.
20. Groove Armada
This is a bit premature, but it was technically released in 2009 but slated for the upcoming full length, “Black Light” for 2010. It features the lovely and soulful voice of SaintSaviour. This track has that 80’s Eurythmics cool factor messed with rocking beats and a delicious bass synth.
This album took a little while to grow on me, but when it did boy did I listen to this for months. Discovery is the side project of Vampire Weekend’s keyboardist/arranger/producer type, Rostam Batmanglij, and Ra Ra Riot frontman Wes Miles. For most albums, if I like at least half the tracks then it’s a top album in my opinion and this release was just that. You can listen to the entire album here. The stand out tracks for me are: Orange Shirt, Osaka Loop Line, So Insane (which made the top 10), Swing Tree, and the following:
18. Passion Pit
17. Logan Lynn
I first heard this track on LOGO as was smitten with it ever since. It’s dark, brooding, melancholy and has a heart not easily found in electronic music. His full length was released this year “From Pillar To Post“. From which you can find this track included. I also had the pleasure of remixing his tracks for his remix ep collections. So, I thank you Mr. Logan for the opportunity and grace you showed me in 2009. I wish you nothing but the best in 2010!
16. Little Dragon
Can you say, “Sexy”? This track is so slick and smooth, few this year matched it. I love the slow build to the chorus where it picks up speed for an electronic disco party.
Ahh… electronic pop perfection. Annie had originally planned on releasing this on her second full length release (“Don’t Stop”) , but was included on a bonus cd instead.
Annie wrote “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me” with producer Richard X and songwriter Hannah Robinson, the two of whom had written “Chewing Gum” and “Me Plus One” from Annie’s debut album Anniemal (2004). They wrote the music first, inspired by Prince‘s 1986 funk song “Kiss“.
Annie described how the lyrics were based on a friend of hers, “who was really a beautiful girl, always surrounded by loads of guys.” Her friend spent time with a guy and was confronted by his girlfriend for it. Annie called the problems between the two “ridiculous, but also funny.” After her friend kept telling her about the situation, Annie decided to write a song about it. The lyrics describe a girlfriend who is going berserk and “needs to calm down.” Annie’s persona, however, hints that the girlfriend probably should be worried.
Royksopp delivered one of the best albums of 2009 in “Junior”. Royksopp always crafts each track lovingly and it shows.
13. Hot Chip
This is kill — from their forth coming full length, “One Life Stand” due out in February. This track just cooks with steel drums and lasers, how can you go wrong there? Hot Chip delivers with this track as well as “Take It In”, which was included in a mix cd earlier this year.
Bonus: Hot Chip – Take it In
12. Gus Gus
GusGus came striking back with a new 12â€³ from their album, “24/7â€³ which showcases Daniel ÃgÃºst Haraldsson’s stellar vocals over a triumphant and epic soundbed. So good to hear Daniels voice again, it’s been too long after a nine year hiatus. 24/7 was released in September and included six tracks.
Yep, it’s another Annie track for 2009.
The Genesis of this track (from wiki):
The song tells the story of a holiday affair between Annie and a man named Anthonio who she met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Annie described the song as “the ultimate summer track” and revealed it was based on a real-life encounter with a man named Anthonio she met in Rio at Carnival. She said of the song, “I think every girl has met an Anthonio, or will do at some point at least! There’s an Anthonio in every city and you’re sure to meet him when you least expect it!” In the song, Annie describes a brief but passionate encounter between herself and the namesake of the song, Anthonio. Annie’s character in the song never sees Anthonio again and is rebuffed by her attempts to contact him. The song concludes with the final couplet “It may come as a surprise / My baby has your eyes,” revealing that Annie gave birth to Anthonio’s child.
Shortly after “Anthonio” premiered, a MySpace page belonging to the character of Anthonio Mendes started to leave messages on Annie’s own MySpace page, some of them remorseful. A answer song named “Annie” subsequently appeared on the Internet, reportedly by “Anthonio”. The song was actually recorded by Heartbreak’s Sebastian Muravchix. Three hundred copies of a limited edition vinyl release of the song were made available 11 May 2009. The single included a b-side featuring Annie named “Angel Face”. According to the Pleasure Masters’ MySpace page, Sebastian is working on a debut album under the Anthonio persona.
10 Depeche Mode
So what I thought was going to be a promising album from Depeche Mode based on their first release, Wrong turned out to be anything but. Being a dire hard D-mode fan, this was rather troubling. Wrong showed former brilliance of D-Mode’s Black Celebration with a great breakdown at the 1:36 mark of Wrong. However that was the closest we were going to get to that classic album. And seeing them live did not help the matters, Martin Gore is a little to much in love with his twangy guitar and the rock arena drums on every track doesn’t do the classic d-mode tracks justice. Here’s hoping they get back to more of what made Depeche, Depeche. But I will thank them for the this gem of a track.
Yep, it’s Discovery again for the second time on this list. What can I say, this album just grew and grew on me. Also, it didn’t hurt to have this song so up on So You Think You Can Dance, another guilty pleasure of mine. Here’s the video of Nathan dancing to “So Insane”.
8. Little Boots
Found Little Boots on thesixtyone.com and was blown away. Little Boots is the solo project of Victoria Hesketh, formely lead singer/ synth player in Dead Disco. This particular track reminds of Roisin Murphy (lead singer from Moloko). Side Note: ‘Stuck on Repeat’ was produced by Joe Goddard from Hot Chip.
Here is another great album I’m surprised not to be seeing/hearing more of. Esser created a pop masterpiece that gels multiple genres into a cohesive mix. He did something on this track that was utter brilliance. It comes at the second verse, it’s that bass drop that just sets off the track down an Eddy Grant Electric Avenue type of vibe — BRILLIANT. And yes, I’m so swiping that for a release of my own.
And did I mention he really knows how to craft an entertaining music video?
6. Bat for Lashes
I somehow missed this when it was originally released earlier this year, but while walking around Borders Book Store here in California, this was playing in the background. I was instantly reminded of a Fleetwood Mac type of vibe with electronic elements, which was sheer bliss for me. I took a listen to the entire album, Two Suns, but nothing quite stacked up so well as “Daniel”.
wiki background on the track:
“Daniel” is the first single from Bat for Lashes‘ second album Two Suns. The song was announced as the lead single from Two Suns in January 2009, then released as a digital download single on 1 March 2009, and as a 7″ vinyl single on 6 April 2009. The track was written by Natasha Khan and produced by David Kosten, as with all tracks on the album. Ira Wolf Tuton from Yeasayer provided the bass lines for the song and Khan did the rest of the instrumentation herself.  Khan said in an interview with The Sun newspaper that “Daniel” is based on a fictional character that she fell in love with as a teenager. The single’s cover features Khan with an image of the character Daniel LaRusso, from the film The Karate Kid, painted on her back. A character much like LaRusso also features at the end of the music video which goes with the song. The B-side of the 7″ is a cover version of a 1980 single by The Cure.
Great vocals from the man, John Legend, which pushes this track into the outer sphere of coolness.
4. Basement Jaxx
I for one love when Felix lays his voice over their productions. He has this style of a falsetto that reminds me of Prince, whom I love.
“Raindrops” is the first single from the British dance/electronic group Basement Jaxx‘s fifth studio album Scars and released on June 22, 2009. The song uses the Auto-Tune effect, while the male vocals for the song come from the group member Felix Buxton.
3. Animal Collective
So what is bound to be on many, many top lists is Animal Collective’s, “My Girls”. C’mon, if you don’t dig this track there’s something wrong. This is all things beautiful and right. With pounding 808 Kick drums and lush harmonies. This release since January has had legs for the entire year and pretty soon more after.
“My Girls” is a song by Animal Collective, released as the first single from their critically acclaimed 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was released on March 23, 2009 by Domino Records as a promo CD only. During the tours of 2007 and 2008 the song was known as “House.” An edited version of this song appears during Jake Johnson’s part in Alien Workshop‘s skate film, Mindfield. The song refers to Panda Bear’s wife and daughter. It was ranked the number one song of 2009 by independent music website Pitchfork.
Isn’t much that I feel I need
a solid soul and the blood I bleed
With a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house
There isn’t much that I feel I need:
a solid soul and the blood I bleed.
But with a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house
I don’t care for fancy things
Or to take part in a pressured race.
But to provide for them when they ask
I will, with heart, on my father’s grave
On my father’s grave
I don’t mean
To seem like I care about material things,
Like our social status,
I just want
Four walls and adobe slabs
For my girls
3 Animal Collective – My Girls
2. Bag Raiders
Perfect sun drenched electronic pop song. And for the better part of this year, this was my favorite track. Spotless production, perfect pop build, and covered with spectacular pop vocals from Ted Rhys. I soooooo hope there is a sequel to this union.
1. Miike Snow
And for the number one song that captured my heart and never relinquished it was Miike Snow’s Cult Logic. This is a track that just punches me in my gut and makes me want to weep. It covers me like a wash of love and wave after wave it is unrelenting. Yes, I LOVE this song.
Looking forward to 2010, here are few albums to keep an eye on:
Hot Chip — One Life Stand [8th February]
Sade — Soldier of Love [8th February]
Groove Armada — Black Light
MGMT – Congratulations
Roisin Murphy — TBA
And Happy New Years everyone, I hope you enjoy the music posted above.