Jan 18

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2017: #40-#31

FT18 comments • 760 views

demonheadmasterHello children. I’m the Demon Headmaster, beloved patriarchal figure of note who wants nothing more than to educate keen students in the most efficient, hypnotic manner possible. If getting results requires a subtle Orwellian undercurrent to my methods then so be it. Anyway, I’ve been asked by the board of governors to step in and overhaul this site. December may have seen the highest monthly posting rate since June 2010, but you slackers running this place are capable of so much more! With some… gentle persuasion… I will increase this blog’s SEO metrics and fulfil my ultimate goal of taking over the worl–… I mean… pivoting to video! Mwahahahaha!

Thanks, Demon Headmaster! Freaky Trigger is a marvellous site and this is the best poll I’ve ever been to. Let’s get cracking:

40. Spoon – “Hot Thoughts”

What better way to kick off the countdown than with some INDIE. Mr Spoon’s central heating is on the blink, and all he can think about is maybe one day having warm toes again. It must be tough living on the moon.

39. Fever Ray – “To The Moon And Back”

Continuing the cutlery theme, The Knife’s Karin Dreijer is back after eight years off, this time with some burbly SAUCE oo-er missus (video borderline safe for work but don’t say I didn’t warn you).

38. Methyl Ethel – “Ubu”

More indie! This time the guitar sounds like early doors The Cure, and the singer’s expression in the video also has a bit of the Bob Smiths Circa 1982 about it. The chorus is taken directly from the words of my mother on my 17th birthday, after I came back from Trim’n’Proper with approx 14″ less hair than before.

37. Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”

Now that coat/pullover combo looks warm, doesn’t it? Mr Spoon would be jealous. Although our Hazza does look a bit like Darren from Hollyoaks in this vid, you’ve got to admire the Peter Pan helicopter chutzpah employed here, well suited for such a bombastic debut solo single. I hope he got a free National Trust membership out of all that dangling over scenery.

36. Algiers – “The Underside of Power”

Algiers are new to me – wiki says they’re a post-punk band from Atlanta, though you can hear a Motown influence in there, with a bit of “Ghost Rider” in the mix for good measure. Franklin James Fisher’s vocal is the star though, rousing and desperate in equal amounts.

35. Susanne Sundfør – “The Sound of War”

Sue’s gothic cathedral electro-vorge did pretty well in the 2015 poll, so for her follow-up she has gone in completely the other direction with a sparse rural folk melody. But don’t worry, it’s still about death! “The Sound of War” is a stunning three-part epic with a lament, a drone massacre and a glimmer of possible resurrection to round things off.

34. The Killers – “The Man”

Brandon goes to Vegas in a multitude of different guises, only to be undone by performative masculinity every time! Cheer up Brandon, this tune is a banger no matter what the societal constructs of gender dictate!

33. The National – “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”

The highest-placing band beginning with ‘The’ in this year’s countdown! The video has some good suggestions if you’re considering a blue bathroom tiling scheme, I think B&Q will do you a reasonable approximation?

32. Sunny Sweeney – “Pills”

No proper Youtube vid for this one, let’s hope this Spotify embed works. Poptimist fave Sunny returns with a cynical story of a reunion with an old flame – she’s moved on but he clearly hasn’t. Will she get sucked back in?

31. DJ Khaled ft Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance and Lil Wayne – “I’m The One”

The only video this year to feature croquet AND vaping? Our ensemble cast has gathered at Khaled’s tropical gaff for some horse riding and product placement, with a gentle remix-to-Ignition click backing and a chipmunk earworm hook. Other things to look out for in this video: Biebs dressed as 2002-era Eminem, Lil’ Wayne mistaking a bottle of booze for a phone.

#30-#21 coming soon!


  1. 1
    LucaZM on 7 Jan 2018 #

    I was always meaning to comment in last year’s poll but never got around to it. This year I’m gonna try being less of a lurker! I had heard 7 out of 10, and voted only for 1. Really impressed with the amount of rock here.

    Hot Toughts: I listened to this because it was on Tom’s best albums list, and really liked it. It was the only properly indie 2017 album I listened to, which is weird.
    To The Moon And Back: I didn’t vote for this, but I’ve been listening to the album a bit more since I voted and I feel like I probably made the wrong choice. Maybe I would have voted for IDK About You, though. Anyway, I love this.
    Ubu: Didn’t know this one. It’s fine, but I feel it should probably be 3 minutes long instead of 5. The video is great, though.
    Sign of the Times: That’s my vote. It was pretty low on my list and could be the one that would give it’s spot to Fever Ray, but I still love it. I’m always attracted to songs that go big and dramatic.
    The Underside of Power: I didn’t know this either. It didn’t do much for me, at least in a first listen.
    The Sound of War: Of course the new album is not as good as Ten Love Songs, but I’m always in for a good ballad.
    The Man: I have described this as Man! I Feel Like A Woman!’s evil twin, and I stand by it. It missed my 20 but I really liked it.
    The System Only Dreams In Total Darness: I had no memory of listening to this, but my last.fm informed me I did. I like it but can’t guarantee in another six months I won’t have forgotten it.
    Pills: I don’t listen to a lot of country but songs like this make me feel like I should.
    I’m The One: Less than the sum of the parts, and the parts aren’t much. I’m tired of this new “cool” Bieber. Can’t we have the one from Baby back?

  2. 2
    Mark M on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Voted for: Pills.

    Unfamiliar with: Most of the rest, but in an impressive variety of ways not my bag. The National are a band about whom people used to tell me, ‘I’m sure you’ll like them.’ I don’t, I really, really don’t.
    On brief listen, I get why Methyl Ethel would be appealing if you were in the market for that kind of thing.

    All too familiar with: I’m The One. Chance plus a bunch of folks whose music I don’t like much (my love for the Migos episode of Atlanta has failed to shift my opinion on their day job) = catchy but annoying. Bieber levels of smugness in danger of causing a global environmental crisis.

  3. 3
    cryptopian on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Yay, it’s time!

    One vote from me here: The Killers. Not my favourite of the year, but definitely the most fun to throw shades on and dance/mime along to.

    Harry Styles – Easily my favourite 1D solo career. Considered putting in a vote for Carolina, which sounds very Beatles-y

    Susanne Sundfør – Yes! Was wondering if any MFPiT tracks would turn up after her 2015 performance, so an album track is a good start. I didn’t actually vote for this, but did for two other tracks that may be turning up later.

    DJ Khaled – Love/hate relationship with this song. Chance actually gets a slot on a worldwide #1! Bieber is as bland as ever, but the beat is chipper enough. Why do Migos exist? Bleh.

  4. 4
    weej on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Only one of my votes has appeared so far, but despite that I was pleasantly surprised at how much good stuff was new to me, especially some of the indie music, which I tend to assume is rubbish without checking out, so perhaps it’s time for the pendulum to swing back a little.

  5. 5
    koganbot on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Could this be the year we place two songs called “Pills” in our top forty? I hope not, since I don’t really like the St. Vincent one. Do like the Sunny Sweeney, though. And inspired by Wikipedia’s “List Of Songs About Tokyo”*, here off the top of my head are Top Ten Songs About Pills:

    1. The Rolling Stones “Mother’s Little Helper”
    2. Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
    3. Dave Dudley “Six Days On The Road”
    4. The New York Dolls “Pills”
    5. Rocko ft. Future and Rick Ross “U.O.E.N.O”**
    6. Dionne Warwick “Theme From The Valley Of The Dolls”***
    7. The Grateful Dead “Truckin'”
    8. Lou Reed “Oh, Jim”
    9. Bo Diddley “Pills”****
    10. Loretta Lynn “The Pill”

    *Which shamefully omits Graham Parker’s “Discovering Japan.”
    **Ambivalent, of course, about putting this in a Top Ten, given the evil use to which our pill is put – though perhaps the champagne was the operative ingredient.
    ***Clare, who nominated “Theme From The Valley Of The Dolls,” says “It doesn’t mention pills specifically, but that’s what the movie is about.” Also points out that in Nurse Jackie it’s played in the first and last episode.
    ****Sharp-eared observers will notice that this is really a list of tracks not songs, given that number 9 and number 4 are the same song but not the same performer or performance.

  6. 6
    speedwell54 on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Hmmm – none of my top 20 in so far but…

    Bought the Spoon album and this track would have got in to a top 40
    Fever Ray – nmcot
    Methyl Ethel – never heard of them, but enjoyed this track tremendously, even if it is a bit Pumped up Kicks.
    Styles – again, would’ve made my top 40.
    Algiers – nmcot
    Susanne Sundfor – saw on her Newsnight (really) earlier this year and liked her voice, this track not so much. She’s all over the place style wise.
    Killers – like them, this is not special for me.
    The National – mncot
    Sunny Sweeny – don’t know her, and the 30 seconds of Spotify didn’t convince.
    DJ Khaled – ok.

    Looking forward to the next batch, but disappointed after that teaser that no more bands beginning with “The” are still to come, means one of my bankers hasn’t made it. Thoughts on hold.

  7. 7
    Dave on 7 Jan 2018 #

    A few more entries in the pill-pop sweepstakes:

    Brandy Clark – Take a Little Pill
    Future – Perkys Calling
    Mike Posner – I Took a Pill in Ibiza (SeeB Remix)

  8. 8
    Dave on 7 Jan 2018 #

    Boone – Pop a Perc

  9. 9
    Tom on 8 Jan 2018 #

    I voted for “Hot Thoughts” and ought to have voted for “Pills” which is one of my favourite songs of the year but I have a terrible sinking feeling I forgot. (And I forgot to put it on Pazz and Jop too).

  10. 10
    Rory on 8 Jan 2018 #

    I have more than a sinking feeling, I know that I forgot to vote in the poll altogether. If I had, “Hot Thoughts” would have got my vote, along with one or two Susanne Sundfør tracks (I liked MFPIT a lot).

    Liked the Methyl Ethel and Algiers tracks, both new to me. It might also be time to revisit The Killers on the evidence of “The Man”. The National’s new album hasn’t grabbed me as much as the last did, but they’re usually fine. “Pills” is the best country tune I’ve heard since whenever Taylor Swift was still country, but I’m not sure yet whether that’s because it’s the only country tune etc.

  11. 11
    James BC on 8 Jan 2018 #

    I voted for I’m The One. Super smug, but in an infectious way that makes me feel smug too.

    Surprised to see the Harry Styles song here, as I thought it was not only terrible in itself, but also exposed the terribleness of all the David Bowie music that it was based on.

    Surprised to see The Man here, as I can’t understand what anyone could possibly like about it. If you listened to Mr Brightside in ’04 and then made a superhuman effort to imagine what that band might sound like when they had no ideas left at all, you might have got somewhere close to it.

  12. 12
    Pete Baran on 8 Jan 2018 #

    I voted for Pills and Hot Thoughts, AND The Underside Of Power which is a pretty good strike rate for me (Which will end here)

  13. 13
    lockedintheattic on 8 Jan 2018 #

    Two of my 20 in here – Fever Ray & Methyl Ethyl

    of the others…
    Everyone involved in that DJ Khaled song did something better in 2017 and I’m guessing there’s a chance different different Khaled & Bieber ones might pop up later.

    Susanne Sundfor – I love her (and seeing her at the Union Chapel this year was one of my live highlights) but I prefer the album as a whole rather than as tracks.

    Spoon – hadn’t heard by I love that

    The rest are all a bit boring to me

  14. 14
    cryptopian on 8 Jan 2018 #

    @13 Seconded on the Union Chapel concert. Tremendous performance, and such a great venue to suit the music. Bonus marks for justifying Trust Me as a concert closer!

  15. 15
    Rory on 9 Jan 2018 #

    @11 “The Man” – it’s the Bee Gees circa 1977, innit. (Fine by me.)

  16. 16
    dollymix on 9 Jan 2018 #

    Nothing here that I voted for (although a different Sundfor track, “Bedtime Story”, was on my longlist). Thoughts:

    Spoon – sounds like every Spoon song, so fine.
    Fever Ray – impressive but not all that enjoyable.
    Ubu – pretty good but the outro is too long.
    Styles – the first couple minutes are nice, and then it keeps going for far too long ruining all the niceness. I appreciate the statement of intent though.
    Algiers – this has grown on me a bit.
    Sundfor – on the whole I was disappointed by this album, which rarely surprised me in the way her earlier work did. This is a key case in point – the first five minutes is just a lot of repeats of the same melodic/harmonic ideas. Then nothing interesting happens in the outro except for some sound effects.
    Killers – the song is at odds with the arrangement and the vocals somewhere. I’m not sure what the right choice would have been, but I don’t think this is it.
    The National – I’ve never really listened to this band, always presuming they’d be boring, but I quite like this. Maybe I’ll give an album a try.
    Sweeney – this is a fun one. Another artist I should probably listen to.
    Khaled et al. – the backing track is nice, the verses are ok, the chorus is far too weak to justify hearing it more than once. Don’t know why they didn’t make the outro the chorus.

  17. 17
    koganbot on 10 Jan 2018 #

    @16 and @10, “From A Table Away” in 2010 is what put Sunny Sweeney on our map. “Better Bad Idea” is the best of her official singles from this year; I like it as much as “Pills.”

  18. 18
    flahr on 12 Jan 2018 #

    Ah blast, even the most cursory check of the #1s list would have told me that I needed to vote for Styles Of The Times but, as always, anything pre- about October gets automatically filed away as “last year” in my mind and minimal effort is still, alas, effort.

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