The Top 100 Songs of 2020: 100-50

Stephen Porter presents Part One of his end of year list. Dig the music, kids!

Asylums (Press Shot By Kana Waiwaiku).

“In my dotage I wanted chart music to be so difficult to understand that I felt old and marginalised; the vast majority of what fills the official charts is just plain dumb-ass or low-brow, and instead of hating it through not-being-able-to-understand it, I hate it because it’s retrograde and stupid and there to fleece a generation. So, unfortunately, the new music I love comes from where it’s always been – from the weirdos, the poets, the left-field.”

We all know about the problems affecting the music industry because of COVID-19, so I’ll cut to the chase.

Here are the top 100 tracks of the year.

The rules:

❉ One track per artist
❉ No (obvious) cover versions
❉ Nobody I know personally (which means omitting some brilliant records from a number of great Merseyside bands including the wonderful Sunstack Jones, The Shipbuilders and Professor Yaffle. A pity).

There’s the usual crop of crazy and introverted Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Americans; an inordinate amount of Brightonians and Londoners, along with some Liverpool people and some good folk from West Yorkshire and Stafford.

All tracks marked (NEW) did not appear in our January to June Half Term Report 2020 chart.

Here we go!

A. Swayze & the Ghosts (Photo Credit: Rick Clifford)

 

100. Drug Store Romeos – Jim Let’s Play (NEW)

From: Hampshire
Album: n/a

Taking their name from A Streetcar Named Desire, DSR describe their sound as ‘dreampop hip-hop’. Jim Let’s Play is just frankly gorgeous and reminds me of an on-form Saint Etienne and last year’s awesome single Dark Park from the equally wonderful Rozi Plain. I think I’d played this song on repeat on about six occasions before I’d realised what had happened. Superb!

99. Avalon Emerson – Poodle Power (NEW)

From: California
Album: DJ Kicks

Possibly the greatest Sonic in Japan music you’ve never heard – a hypnotic and just plain wonderful slice of electronica from the brilliant San Francisco DJ. Poodle Power reminds me of Scrappy Doo’s famous catchphrase, and also reminds me of having a really bad nightmare about that feisty, oddly-proportioned little bastard (who spoiled the integrity and group dynamic of Scooby-Doo – an important show which had something genuinely new to say about the state of America). And in terms of biological physics, how could that tiny body support that massive head?

98. Asylums – Catalogue Kids

From: Southend-on-Sea
Album: To Be Released

All the Catalogue Kids I knew gravitated from the toy section to the ladies underwear section in the blinking of a sordid eye. Not me, though – I went straight from Toys and Games to Soft Furnishings and Gardening Equipment because God didn’t put us on Earth to be disappointed when reaching the Miss Mary of Sweden section of either (the) Freeman’s or Kays – and thus presaging the quotidian aesthetic misery of the men’s shoes and slacks section.

Catalogue Kids is a thrilling – dare I say it – rock single with hints of Sonic Youth and Ash. Don’t let the James-alike vocals spoil your day.

97.  Eddie Chacon – Outside (NEW)

From: Oakland
Album: Pleasure, Joy and Happiness

Have to admit, I didn’t know his surname and had to Google it to see who he was and where he was from. Eddie Chacon was one half of Charles and Eddie (bear with me) and I have to say Pleasure, Joy and Happiness is an unexpected delight – an often superb white soul album, redolent of George Michael and (particularly on this track) Style Council-era Paul Weller. Forget the one-hit wonder/Smooth FM tag, and – as George himself might have said – Listen Without Prejudice.

And if you don’t like it, oh well, chacun à son gout. (There’ll be another intellectual gag in Part Two.)

96. Anna Burch – Party’s Over

From: Detroit
Album: If You’re Dreaming

There’s a lovely fragility in Anna’s voice – almost as if she’s yearning for a better world. I was SO disappointed when her gig was (inevitably) cancelled this year. Good to see that her skinhead has grown out (not that there’s anything wrong with a skinhead), but I was somewhat taken aback when I caught her at Manchester a couple of years ago and then those lustrous locks had been shorn into a Carl Dreyer Jeanne d’Arc penny-all-off.

Another magical single.

95. International Teachers of Pop – Don’t Diss the Disco

From: Sheffield
Album: Pop Gossip

A little repetitive – and not perhaps the Teachers’ finest chorus, but you can’t argue with:

Stepped on your fantasy, tried to believe
In a whole lot of shit that you’ll never redeem
And you’re living your day in an innocent way
That your heart is a disco ball waiting to say

Modern synthpop with a delicious retrograde feel.

94. Shamir – Running (NEW)

From: Las Vegas
Album: Shamir

Shamir Bailey’s (“Shamir Bailey – I’ll love you till the day I die!”) fourth, eponymously-titled seventh album is an absolute joy. Running just edged this year’s selection from the equally-impressive Pretty When I’m Sad and several other splendid, hook-laden tracks from his best album so far (which goes against the grain, as eponymous, non-debut albums are usually – at best – OK, and more often than not, shit).

93. Caroline Rose – Nothing’s Impossible (NEW)

From: Long Island/Vermont
Album: Superstar

Caroline’s a big favourite of mine. Superstar is a really good album (although it hasn’t grown on me as much as her previous album Loner) and standout track Nothing’s Impossible is one of those songs that hits you on the third or fourth listen and you begin to think ‘Eff-me’ (if you’re a foul-mouthed bastard), ‘that’s ruddy marvellous!’ A lovely slice of yearning synth pop from a great indie pop star.

92. Christine and the Queens – I Disappear Into Your Arms

From: Nantes
Album: La Vita Nuova

Is there a better name in pop than Héloïse Adelaïde Letissier? (Rita Crudgington aside, obviously.) Such a classy pop star and if you saw her superb interview on Joolz Holland’s Lockdown CATQ special, you couldn’t have failed to be impressed by her charm, her wit, her friendliness and her incredible command of code-switching from formal, standard English to any number of informal variants. I Disappear is great, but It’s spoiled by the repeated sampling of what Victorians would call an ‘ejaculation’ (many years before those dirty so-and-so moderns changed its semantic implications) – and every fifteen seconds or so on this record, you can hear what sounds like Homer Simpson shouting D’oh! whilst sneezing. It spoiled a great song for me; and now I’ve drawn your attention to it, I’ve probably spoiled it for you

91. Khruangbin – First Class (NEW)

From: Houston
Album: Mordechai

Critics’ favourite Khruangbin are almost unclassifiable – dreamy, jazzy-influenced pop melds with all sorts of soul, early seventies gospel harmonies and a myriad other influences to produce a wall of sound which washes over the listener in the best possible way. I like to mix the tracks from Mordechai with the instrumentals of The Vince Guaraldi trio’s instrumental tracks from the various Snoopy/Peanuts albums (when there’s nobody looking) for that extra listening pleasure.

90. PVA – Divine Intervention

From: London
Album: to be released

An electro dancefloor-filler of the highest order, and you can sing Spandau’s I Don’t Need This Pressure On as you listen to it. Bonus!

89. Cassowary – She Funked Me

From: LA
Album: Cassowary

Beautiful, creamy, sun-splashed, jazz-influenced funk/soul, the gift to the world from 25 years old Miles Shannon. You can sing the refrain from Heatwave’s Boogie Nights pretty much throughout the track.

The soundtrack to many back-garden pub replacement evenings this year.

88. The Orielles – Space Samba (Disco Velador Theme) (NEW)

From: Halifax (England)
Album: Disco Velador

I was going to say something along the lines of ‘an OK record from a brilliant band’, but Space Samba has matured like a fine wine. Coming back to this song after a few months reminds of why I love this band so much. A joyous, hypnotic, heavenly record from the splendidly-named Sidonie Hand-Halford and Co.

87. Tayla Parx – Nevermind (NEW)

From: Dallas
Album: Coping Mechanisms

Difficult to choose a track from the even splendidlier-named (that’s a joke, Grammar Police) diva. Tayla Parx cheered me up immensely during November’s fucking ghastly Tier 3 Lockdown with her lovely Coping Mechanisms album. Anyway, it was between Nevermind and the ace, but blink-and-it’s-gone, Nonchalant for my TP track choice for the 100.

86. Courting – David Byrne’s Badside

From: Liverpool
Album: to be released

Starts off all Oasis-y (not a good sign), and then takes a more interesting turn into Idles and Fontaines territory. David Byrne’s Badside (I’ve been trying – unsuccessfully – to shift David Moyes’ Backside from my consciousness for a while now) tells the tale of the borderline racist misanthropist titular character (not THE David Byrne apparently) who fails to see the irony of the benefits of his pan-European, globally-sourced world whilst holding on to the imagined glories of his Brexit Britain:

Homes Under the Hammer, well, it blares from the bar
Until Daddy picks him up in his European Sports Car
“A ’19 plate?” Well, he muses who made it
“Built in England,” he wonders, “a Britishman’s labour”
Yet painful to watch as he watches The Chase
As he hates all his neighbours, he praises his saviour Nige.

It’s a tremendous 2020 update of The Fall’s Fiery Jack and has nice mid-seventies Bowie saxophone solo to boot. Superb.

85. Tame Impala – Breathe Deeper

From: Perth, Australia
Album: The Slow Rush

Talking of whom, here’s the return of Kevin Shields with a vaguely funky number from the new album. The usual Beatles influences are evident, but this time with the addition of some lovely added tinkly Italian house piano embellishments.

And – as usual – the Sound of Summer

84. GUM – Out in the World

From: Oklahoma City
Album: Out in the World

Whatever happened to GUM clinics? Just when I’d mastered some poor-quality acronym-heavy gags (and after years of crafting my STD puns), they get re-named just to destroy my patient years of creativity. Val Doonican must be spinning in his grave.

Anyway, Out in the World – a sensational melodic pop track from a brilliant album. (The opening’s a bit like Crowded House’s Weather With You if you’re trying to pinpoint it in your drug-addled mind.)

83. Future Islands – Waking (NEW)

From: Baltimore

Album: As Long as You Are

Fabulous synthpop from an ace band – I might be out of order here, but I reckon Future Islands might sound better with a woman singer – Samuel T. Herring always sounds like a scary magician from a 1970s ITV children’s drama series to me.

I’m sure he’d be devastated to hear this.

82. Grimes – My Name is Dark

From: Vancouver

Album: Miss Anthropocene

Although her real name is Clare Boucher, of course.

A couple of things: what did the artist Grimes see in the billionaire Elon Musk?

How crap is ‘dope’ as a means of expressing quality? (Although it will invariably slip into my vernacular when it’s least appropriate to use it.)

A stunning track from Grimes’s superb Miss Anthropocene album – although the opening bars are blatantly ripped off obscure British indie band The Heartbeats 1989 single Dreamtime.

81. Freak Heat Waves – in Your Dream [NEW]

From: Canada
Album: Zap the Planet

This track reminds me that we should all be living in the real future – right now – with jet packs and hover taxis and bullet trains and glass domes and meals the size of a couple of Smarties; and everyone should be wearing spangly wigs and silvery white kecks made of the finest shimmering samite, but it’s not, is it? Just greyness and nowhere to move because of endless lazy bastards filling every road with unnecessary car journeys in their shitty, horrible, world-polluting cars spewing out carcinogenic exhaust fumes; and Steve Wright still on the radio and fucking celebrity ballroom dancing programmes being the highlight of the UK population’s weekend.  Anyway, I digress. FHW singer Steven (what a great name – racist, former Smiths’ lead singers, take note) sounds like 2001’s HAL just as it started to wind down on this brilliant, catchy analogue synthpop single. Play it loud!

80. Dua Lipa – Physical (NEW)

From: London
Album: Future Nostalgia

Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out by not listening to the world of the highly dodgy official charts. I spend a few hours every month catching up on the pop charts and crappy music video channels like The Box to see what’s going on this dreadful, devoid-of-anything-but-capitalism world of soulless, manipulative shite. Bands and artists (usually American) are hyped to suit a particularly narrow demographic and the idea that streaming and airplay are determiners for chart positions is worthy of both Catch 22 and an investigation by the Serious Fraud Unit of Scotland Yard. The charts move about as dynamically as the Sargasso Sea and (for the uninitiated) a good proportion of the tracks are Autotuned trips up and down the scales – and where real soul is a scarce commodity. It’s a producers’ medium and deeply depressing. And if it’s not fake, emotive warbling, then it’s the inexplicable promotion of other ball-achers to the pantheon of ‘the greats’, where £150+ gig tickets are the norm and where the adjective plaintive is espoused, but just plain wrong, and where boy bands and Sheerans and Sam Smiths stride the 1-100 placings like quotidian colossi. But now and again there’s a decent tune that makes me think ‘I quite like that one’ (despite the inevitable accompanying, inappropriate-for-these-times over-sexualised video).

In my dotage I wanted chart music to be so difficult to understand that I felt old and marginalised; the vast majority of what fills the official charts is just plain dumb-ass or low-brow, and instead of hating it through not-being-able-to-understand it, I hate it because it’s retrograde and stupid and there to fleece a generation. So, unfortunately, the new music I love comes from where it’s always been – from the weirdos, the poets, the left-field. It’s not a hard and fast rule as you can see from these first fifty tracks, but every generation will always produce great music from those who just have to do it, and not because they want to be celebs. And I’m only really interested in new music. Once you’ve had your time, fuck off and do something else. (Again, not a hard and fast rule!)

Physical is great by the way.

79. Bored at My Grandmas House – Skin (NEW)

From: Leeds
Album: N/A

A great name for a band and quite simply a beautiful slice of shoegazy dreampop for the connoisseur – and very much in the tradition of the much-missed Camera Obscura.

78. Låpsley – My Love Was Like the Rain

From: Liverpool
Album: Through the Water

A mesmerising, beautiful slice of electronica from one of the albums of the year. Holly Lapsley Fletcher (granddaughter of Norman Stanley) is a prime mover in Merseyside’s astonishing musical re-birth. There are distant hints of Broadcast here, but Låpsley’s music is very much her own sound.

Superb.

77. Public Practice – Compromised

From: New York
Album: Gentle Grip

Pardon the language, but this is f***ing great! Three minutes and fifteen seconds of tuneful New York Post-Punk with an added dash of the B52s and The Waitresses, and the bassline nicked from Delta 5’s early 80s gender-battle classic You.

76. Indigo Bunting – I Fell Through

From: Austin, Texas
Album: To be released

My favourite shoegaze single of the year so far. Like something I’d hear in a beautiful distant afternoon reverie. I’ve racked my brain trying to think of what this song reminds me of – to no avail, but I can definitely sing a few bars of Wings’ London Town at some point.

75. A Swayze and the Ghosts – Connect to Consume (NEW)

From: Tasmania
Album: Paid Salvation

Now I’ve heard this again, it should be higher (because it’s effing marvellous), but I’ve done The List now and I’m not changing it. Again. The bizarrely-monikered A Swayze riff around the problems of consumerism and social media, and like all young punks they set their stall out early:

And this is my declaration
Oh well, I’m sorry Roger Daltrey but I don’t give a fuck about your generation
Walkin’ around with your eyes closed
Wondering why we can’t work out this

Which is a bit Generation X Your Generation, but it’s still quite good because I’ve always hated The Who (particularly the still extant lead singer and the pay-by-credit-card guitarist). Connect to Consume has elements of The Housemartins Happy Hour and (particularly) David Bowie’s Looking for Satellites, but it’s very much its own thing. Ace!

74. Lianne La Havas – Bittersweet  (NEW)

From: London
Album: Lianne La Havas

Lianne Charlotte Barnes was a former backing singer for Paloma Faith, but eventually superseded her mentor (IMHO). A lovely nu-soul track and a deserved place in the 100.

73. Postcards – Fossilized

From: Beirut
Album: The Good Soldier

Fantastic shoegaze/dreampop from Lebanon. Album The Good Soldier is outstanding as well. Julia Sabra’s almost ethereal singing feels like I’m divining this song from some sort of celestial radio millions of light years away. Postcards are the sort of earnest-sounding, soulful, life-enhancing band I’ve so much missed seeing live during Lockdown.

And I’d rather give up going to live music than the (mooted) scenario of the drive-in gig!

72. Moaning – Falling in Love

From: Los Angeles
Album: Moaning

A song which brings to mind The Killers (especially the vocals), but Falling in Love is much more synth-heavy than Brandon’s mob, and all the better for it. An ice-cold, glacial gem.

71. Benny Sings – Sunny Afternoon

From: Dordrecht
Album: to be released

The Netherlands’ Tim van Berkestijn records under the moniker Benny Sings – and for those of us of a certain vintage, the temptation to make up album names such as I Do Have Needs, Miss Diane almost becomes an imperative – especially with the death of Large from the classic British double act Little and Large.

This is a lovely, light jazzy track, almost bordering on Jamiroquai territory (without the listeners’ feelings of self-hatred) and even Alessi’s underrated Oh Lori.

You can almost feel that soft, cooling breeze on your face.

70. The Chats – Stinker (NEW)

From: Queensland
Album: High Risk Behaviour

Tremendous, sweary cartoon punk from the Sunshine Coast’s finest. Stinker concerns the extreme heat of summers in the band’s home town (“The sort of heat you can taste!”), drinking to excess (“I’m getting off my face!”) and the perils of associating with chums who are not exactly the Bloomsbury Set:

“Wake up in the hour to a kick in the face,
There’s piss, shit and blood all over the place;
It’s a pigsty –
“It’s a bloody disgrace!”

One of my favourite song verses of the year – even if it was lifted verbatim from former newsreader Jan Leeming’s autobiography

69. HAIM – 3am (NEW)

From: Los Angeles
Album: Women in Music Pt.III

Their best song yet – a slinky, funky magical mix of California harmonies and almost trip-hop beats.  Overhyped – especially by that pesky 6 Music when they first arrived on ‘these shores’, HAIM finally live up to the hype. A brilliant record.

68. Parsnip – Adding Up

From: Melbourne
Album: Adding Up

In the 1970s whilst most of my older contemporaries (does that make sense?) were shuffling round in army and RAF greatcoats with Santana, Camel and Rick Wakeman albums under their arms and discussing Robert Plant and Led Zep’s paeans to their penises and what those gentlemen were going to do with their ‘wuh-mann’ or ‘laydee’, some of us more introverted types dreamed of a gentler, more feminine utopia where all-female bands were called something like ‘Parsnip’ and played great seven inch pop for a much brighter audience.

That day has arrived.

Absolutely gorgeous pop music with shades of early Altered Images.

67. Chicken Lips – Goldenlips (NEW)

From: Stafford
Album: n/a

My goodness, this is great! A fabulous blend of Krautrock/Aphex Twin and Italo disco that’s had me dancing round the kitchen for months (well, not literally, obviously, but at pre-determined, ten minute, twenty one second intervals), and brilliantly, they hail from Stafford, that rather pretty, but Brexity north Midlands town where some Wolverhampton Wanderers fans tried to forcibly remove my head after an Everton away game/Teardrop Explodes gig in the early eighties.

66. Yumi Zouma – Cool for a Second (NEW)

From: Christchurch, New Zealand
Album: Truth or Consequences

Very simply: I love Yumi; this is great; it goes in the chart.

One of two New Zealand bands in the 100, I’d love to have a really strong Yorkshire accent so I could ask “Has tha’ got enneh Yooooooooooooomi Zooooooooma?” in my local (Pontefract, Crigglestone or Cleckheaton) record shop.

65. Jockstrap – The City

From: London
EP: Wicked City

I know this is going to sound tedious (So why say it, hey? I love talking to myself), but never was there such a disconnect behind a band name and the beautiful music it makes. Apart perhaps from Swarfega Incident, Instant Thrush and Foraging for Farage – although as I’ve just made these band names up, my original contention remains unaltered. Jockstrap sound like no other band – although there are shades of Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow in this track – and when this delicate voice and piano song suddenly mutates into what sounds like a mosquito trapped in a sequencer, things get genuinely weird.

A great song/track – Georgia Ellery’s beautiful voice will lull you into believing that Jockstrap are from singer/songwriter territory, but if anything they’re more like label* mate Aphex Twin in their electronic experimentalism. I first heard of this duo a couple of years ago via their fabulous single Hayley – and their Wicked City EP is just immense.

*Warp – how much pleasure have they given me over the past twenty or so years? Cap doffed.

64. The Innocence Mission – Movie

From: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Album: See You Tomorrow

A band that’s been around since the late eighties (which would normally be a case of me thinking ‘just call it a day, now’, but not in this case) and still producing challenging and beautiful music.
The shortest song in the fifty – and quite the saddest.

A beautiful track.

63. Cold Beat – Prism

From: San Francisco
Album: Mother

Sounds like a late eighties classic synthpop single in the manner of something from New Order or Dep Mode’s Violator. I got told off for dancing to this song – although in my defence the lush synth intro does bring to mind the opening to Flashdance (What a Feeling!).

62. Dirty Projectors – Overlord

From: Brooklyn
EP: Windows Open

The opening bars of this song are uncannily like Professor Yaffle’s mandolin arrangement of the Everton Z Cars theme for Put it Out on the brilliant (and largely undiscovered) Cosmic Lullabies album; I’d be slightly annoyed if I were him.

Overlord is superb – Maia Friedman’s voice is a thing of great beauty which transports the listener to something or somewhere better.

And I remain one of the few people to have seen the odd British 1974 flick Overlord, featuring the mysteriously disappeared-from-view Brian Johnson. (No – not that one; or indeed, that one.)

61. Mogwai – Dry Fantasy (NEW)

From: Glasgow
Album: As the Love Continues

There will come a time when this chart will again be filled with Scottish bands (and particularly, Glaswegians), but until then here’s Mogwai with another instrumental beauty – a big hit in the little book shop in which I work.

60. Pvris – Stay Gold [NEW]

From: Lowell, Massachusetts
Album: Use Me

Named after Peter Purves from the classic line-up of Blue Peter (Peter Purves, Hildegard Knef, Divine), Pvris* are here to add a bit of ROCK to my often girly and wimpy list. A good song.

NEXT!

*pronounced ‘Paris’. Of course it is.

59. Working Men’s Club – Valleys [NEW]

From: Todmorden
Album: Working Men’s Club

Frighteningly young to be making music as good as this, WMC evoke early to mid-period New Order (especially on their excellent, eponymously-titled debut album). The only downside of this track is that it will be used as trailer/filler/montage material on every terrible BBC programme (almost-tautology klaxon!) from Football Focus to Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

58. Peel Dream Magazine – Pill

From: New York
Album: Moral Panics

WAC Chart favourites sound like Stereolab when they were on fire. (Again, not literally – obviously – that would just sound like ‘Crackle! Pop! Aaaaaarrgghhh! Tim – we’re on fucking fire here! Aaaaaaarggh!’ and be horrible) An ace band who never fail to deliver.

57. Dan Lyons – Thin Black Duke [NEW]

From: Kent
Album: SubSuburbia

The former Fat White Family Dan’s debut album is filled with gems like Thin Black Duke; I’d been wracking my brain for ages trying to work out what this track reminds me of, and then – about half three in the morning – I woke up and remembered. But I really needed a wee and by the time I got back to bed it had gone (the song title and the wee; the bed was still there).

56.  Zella Day – Only a Dream [NEW]

From: Arizona
Album: Where Does the Devil Hide? (EP)

Lovely, languid, almost-mainstream dreampop from a rather splendid album.

55. En Attendant Ana – Down the Hill

From: Paris
Album: Juillet

I continue to come across Tweets and FB posters who think that French pop is still all Johnny Hallyday and the sort of variety show crap you’d tell your French exchange student to switch off. Immediately.

Mind you, most of my ‘alternative pop’ friends are still stuck in a late 70s/early 80s New Wave-type thing and haven’t listened to anything vaguely new in years.

So forget those new hippies – this is glorious French pop!

54. Ciel – Days

From: Brighton
EP: Movement

Another Brighton band. It must be something in the water.

Brilliant shoegazey/dreampop from a fantastic EP.

53. Shadow Show – Charades

From: Detroit
Album: Silhouettes

Fabulous, melodic garage pop from a talented trio. Check out the video – all the delights, joys and possibilities of being young in three lovely minutes.

52. Porridge Radio – 7 Seconds [NEW]

From: Brighton
Album: Every Bad

If property prices hadn’t been so extortionate (especially for us whippet-flying/pint of crème de menthe drinking, stereotyped Northern BASTARDS), and if Julie Burchill hadn’t lived there, me and t’lass would have sold up and moved to Brighton years ago. 7 Seconds is a joyous and brilliant record from a joyous and brilliant band.

51. Freequent Letdown – Illuminati Hotties

From: Los Angeles
Album: FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For

The WAC chart number one song champ of 2018, but I have to say I found (the ironically-titled) sophomore album FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For as disappointing as the second season of Mindhunter (memo to self: do not hyperbolise in 2021). It’s OK, but nowhere near the startling beauty of Kiss Yr Frenemies.

“I bet Sarah’s arsed,” I can hear you thinking. Well, she should be. I’m one of her biggest fans. (And if this Lockdown continues any longer, I’ll literally be one of her biggest fans.) Having said that, Freequent (double ‘e’) Letdown is ace.

50. Nap Eyes – Mystery Calling [NEW]

From: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Album: Snapshot of a Beginner

Still missing M*rrissey? If so, you could do worse than investing in Canada’s Nap Eyes. Mystery Calling is a really beautiful and haunting single – and if you’re really pining for Steven M, singer Nigel Chapman has a really crappy, English-sounding name; he sounds a lot like M*rrissey; deals in Smithsian introversion and melancholy; and best of all, Nap Eyes aren’t a bunch of racist wankers!

So, there you have it. Part One of The List. 50 brilliant tracks, and as I often say on here, good music just moves with the times. Stick your imaginary Golden Ages up your arse!


Part Two is coming soon and will have a link to all 100 tracks as a Spotify playlist.

Stephen Porter is a performance poet and spoken word artist. He has written for Esquire and a host of other publications and will be performing at Calderstones Mansion House (Liverpool) in January.

Header image: Porridge Radio.

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