Jan 17

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2016: #20-#11

FT6 comments • 808 views

TASH-BED: Hi everyone! It’s us, the singing Bedingfield siblings! Remember us? You must remember us.
DAN-BED: Summon Tash and she will appear!
TASH-BED: We’ve been keeping busy for the last few years, doing a turn on the New Zealand X Factor, manning the tombola stall at our ancient religion’s summer fête, organising the occasional covert raid on government strongholds. You know the drill. There’s not been much time for pop stardom!
DAN-BED: Tash the inexorable!
TASH-BED: Well, I say ‘we’, it’s mostly been me doing all the work. My darling brother here has just been sitting on his arse babbling about some old Pink Floyd record and looking up spiritual retreats in the west of Ireland.
DAN-BED: Tash the irresistible!
TASH-BED: Sigh. See what I have to put up with? He’s never been quite the same since he went on that ‘vision quest’ in the tropical house at Kew Gardens a few years ago. I found him a week later dancing away in the woods on Wimbledon Common with a bunch of hairy hippies and had to drag him home for a bath.
DAN-BED: All hail Tash!
TASH-BED: You’re really starting to get on my wick, Dan.

I’m sure the Bedingfields will kiss and make up soon. Here’s #20-#11!

20. Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”

Tiny Bruno returns with the only song in this year’s poll to feature the lyric “Hashtag blessed” (subs check this). Not everyone was a fan however: one ballot requested a vote for ‘any song off the Bruno Mars album except this one’.

19. Mitski – “Your Best American Girl”

Cor, you lot listened to a bunch of indie this year, didn’t you? Mitski is from New York and her song reminds me of the Breeders when they’re upset.

18. Shura – “What’s It Gonna Be?”

If you recall our 80s spectrum from a few posts ago, this is high up on the Boys of Summer axis. Yes that’s right, contrary to popular revivalist theory, the 80s were actually multi-dimensional! The high school video is a good fit for the teen angst and big melody hooks.

17. David Bowie – “Blackstar”

RIP Dave. I can’t claim familiarity with any of his albums post-Earthling, so for all I know, him ahhhh-ing over some Ceephax Acid Crew skiffle-electronica then switching abruptly to a 70s horror movie score for an extended middle eight (eighteen?) is totally par for the 21st Century Bowie course. It does go on a bit though – recommend making a cup of tea first before embarking on this one.

16. Radiohead – “Burn The Witch”

I used to be a big old Radiohead fan but after spending months sorting out their annoying special-snowflake royalty requirements back in the late 2000s, I can’t really bear to listen to Thom Yorke’s voice any more (I’ll happily do Paranoid Android at karaoke though!). Luckily for me, I can barely hear Thom mumbling over the scratchy “I’m being attacked by insects in an episode of the X Files” violins, so I would class it as a ‘return to form’. (The video is also good.)

15. The 1975 – “The Sound”

MORE INDIE, bloody hell dudes. The 1975 have made a small but significant subset of my Twitter chums extremely happy this year, and who am I to rain on their parade? This track is cheerful and catchy and sounds a bit like if Years & Years had guitar solos.

14. Christine & The Queens – “Tilted”

One of my favourite moments of the 2016 Christmas TOTP was seeing Christine do this dance routine in the studio. ‘Tilted’ is musically understated like ‘iT’, but has more French in it. That reminds me, I haven’t done my Duolingo for today…

13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

Miranda has been the subject of some ‘dedicated’ voting in this poll and gave Beyonce a run for her money in terms of number of songs nominated – this track eventually came out on top. Here we find her rightly annoyed with herself about being unable to resist a douchey bro.

12. Beyonce – “Formation”

An unignorable call to arms. Outstanding visually and striking musically, and IF IT HAD BEEN ON SODDING SPOTIFY, I (and presumably everyone else who has forgotten how to buy individual albums) would have listened to it way more.

11. KING – “The Greatest”

For an Olympic year, 2016 was surprisingly short on bombastic motivational goal-achieving sporting montage soundtracks, but thankfully KING have stepped up to the plate with this Daley Thompson’s Decathlon inspired video. Their album is jam full of glossy RnB like this, it’s def worth a punt.

Next week: the final countdown!


  1. 1
    cryptopian on 20 Jan 2017 #

    Two things I voted for here. My teenage music snob phase was all about Radiohead, but unlike Pink Floyd (the other band from that phase, because of course it was), I continued to like Radiohead afterwards. A Moon Shaped Pool is one of those albums I want to like more than I do, but it’s opening track is my sort of thing (also put a vote in for The Numbers).

    Talking of things I want to like more than I do, Blackstar got a low vote from me too. Long enough to have a sense of adventure, well structured and produced. I will put my hands up as one of those awful people that didn’t really pay any attention to Bowie until he died.

    As for some others, 24K Magic is fun, but felt like a weaker retread of Uptown Funk. C&tQ might have made the cut, but was a little too minimalist for my tastes. I never got why everyone was raving about The Sound, but it’s certainly been widely popular.

  2. 2
    Mark M on 21 Jan 2017 #

    Not new to me
    Bruno: Like Cryptopian says, Uptown Funk but much less so.
    Beckenham’s David Jones: In the wake of his death, I realised I like more Bowie songs than I thought I did – although not to the point where I felt the need to own any more than one I do (Young Americans, obv). Is Blackstar impressive in some ways for someone who was in his late sixties? Yes. Is it something I’d actually want to listen to? Nope.
    Radiohead: Really not that bad as Radiohead songs go – I voluntarily listened to it and lasted a couple of minutes, which is amazing for me and a prog act. It’s pretty OK.
    The 1975: Not sure I know the names of any of their songs, but I know them by their videos. This video stuck in my mind, not necessarily in a good way, the tune didn’t.
    C&TQ: Like I said about the other one: PG cSolusbury Hill, no?
    B: Thinkpiece fuel. She’s done way better music than this.
    King: I’m still not getting this. It should be the kind of thing I like, but it eludes me.

    New to me
    Mitski: Kat mentioning the Breeders had my 19-year-old self awaking from decades of slumber, but I don’t like that voice.
    Shura: What Spotify has taught me this year is that there are an awful lot of young bands out there doing very competent recreations of a range of past musics, sometimes with historical precision, and sometimes – as here – more evoking a general idea of an era/genre. Impressive in that way and tuneful enough.
    ML: Not sure about that lead guitar bit.

  3. 3
    thefatgit on 21 Jan 2017 #

    Wow! One of my picks is here.

    24K Magic – Yeah, it’s no Uptown Funk. Seems like Bruno Mars is one of those artists who’ll continue down a particular path until he becomes a parody of himself. Not long now, judging by this.

    Your Best American Girl – New to me. Might be tempted to check out more of Mitski, maybe someday soon.

    What’s It Gonna Be? – Yeah, this indeed does have a “Boys Of Summer” vibe about it. New to me again.

    Blackstar – The arse-end of 2015 gave us The Last Panthers on Sky Atlantic, and this was when I first encountered this song as it’s enigmatic theme tune. David Bowie was going to drop some new music; a new album in the new year. Something to look forward to after Christmas and New Year had drifted into hazy memory…

    Burn The Witch – I might have been tempted to vote for this. This will soundtrack retrospective Brexit documentaries in a decade’s time.

    The Sound – Are they being ironic? I can’t tell anymore.

    Tilted – I voted for this. Chaleur Humaine is a terrific album, and if minimalism turns out to be this lush in its sparseness then who am I to resist?

    Vice – Not as immediate as her last offering in this poll, but still quite enjoyable. Might be tempted to buy her album on the strength of these two offerings.

    Formation – I tried listening to this without the visual stimulus of the accompanying clip. It’s not as strong as others off Lemonade, but hey! It’s still Beyonce, so there’s that.

    The Greatest – I think it was Lex of this parish in his Guardian column that informed me of King, and this song in particular. This came within a hair’s breadth of making my 20. Smooth.

  4. 4
    Eddie on 22 Jan 2017 #

    If Bruno Mars wants to spend the rest of his life rewriting Uptown Funk, that is perfectly fine with me.

  5. 5
    James BC on 23 Jan 2017 #

    Big thumbs up for Shura (best album of the year), Christine and the Queens and Bruno Mars.

    Obviously 24K Magic is inspired by Uptown Funk, but so what? It’s another great track in the same style, with enough hooks of its own to go beyond being a pale imitation. Much better than Sax by Fleur East, say.

  6. 6
    lockedintheattic on 27 Jan 2017 #

    I completely failed to get my ballot in this year, but if I had King & Shura would have been right at the top. Shura is utterly adorable both live and on record and I can’t wait for more from her.

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