To continue my countdown of the best electronic/dance singles of the year (go here if you missed the first installment)—let’s pick up at number 30:
30) Little Boots – “Headphones”
Missing in action since she dismally failed to live up to the hype that greeted her arrival in 2009, Little Boots’ low-key comeback single proved that on record, she’s still the most obvious heir to Kylie Minogue’s disco-pop throne. Unfortunately, her complete lack of charisma and stage presence suggests that in reality she’d be better giving such glittery disco-pop anthems as “Headphones” away to other artists.
29) Redlight – “Lost In Your Love”
With the commercial dance scene continuing to eat itself, many artists travelled back in time to its infancy in the late 80s/early 90s. London producer Redlight’s second UK Top 20 hit was one of the more authentic and euphoric homages. “Lost In Your Love” might have offered little new, but there were few tracks to contain anything as anthemic as its super-sized Italo house piano riffs.
28) Hot Chip – “Night & Day”
Nearly every track from Hot Chip’s In Our Heads could have been released as a single, but you can see why they went with “Night & Day” as its lead track, an irresistible fusion of squelchy nu-disco, camp falsetto melodies and playful lyrics (“I like zap not Zappa/so please quit your jibber jabber”) which recalled Scissor Sisters at their most flamboyant.
27) Madeon – “Icarus”
A YouTube sensation thanks to his Novation Launchpad video, 18-year-old Madeon crossed over to the mainstream with this utterly addictive blend of swirling prog and early 00s Daft Punk which proved why France will always remain the home of electro-house.
26) Florence & The Machine – “Spectrum (Say My Name)”
Roping in the ubiquitous Calvin Harris to beef up the atmospheric tribal pop of “Spectrum,” the final single from Ceremonials, proved to be a masterstroke, landing Florence her first ever UK chart-topper. Subtle it isn’t, but like Armand Van Helden’s re-working of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” 15 years earlier, it turned a wailing banshee into a convincing bona-fide club diva.
25) Crystal Castles – “Plague”
Nightmarish duo Crystal Castles transported the dubstep sound to the 70s Italian horrors of Dario Argento with this chilling lead track from their equally sinister third album. The kind of track you were scared to play at home alone.
24) Rustie – “After Light”
Already the highlight from his critically-acclaimed 2011 debut, Glass Swords, Scottish producer Rustie added the kittenish vocals of AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis to the original’s speaker-rattling bass-lines and skittering percussion to produce probably the only maximalist bass-heavy track that could be described as ‘sensual.’
23) Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – “Tapes & Money”
Combining Orlando Higginbottom’s deadpan vocals with a contrastingly warm blend of dreamy synths and euphoric twitchy synths, “Tapes & Money” proved there was more to his Jurassic project than just hand-made head-dresses and feathered wings.
22) Nneka – “Shining Star (Joe Goddard Remix)”
The third and final entry on this countdown to feature the talents of Joe Goddard, the Hot Chip man worked his usual magic on the standout from under-rated German-Nigerian vocalist Nneka’s fourth album, Soul Is Heavy, to turn the glorious soul mid-tempo into a nine-minute percussive house epic.
21) Alt-J – “Tessellate”
British folktronica quartet Alt-J’s debut album, An Awesome Wave, was a slightly underwhelming Mercury Prize winner, but with its curious mix of hypnotic post-R&B rhythms and geometric references, third single “Tessellate” was undeniably worthy of all the plaudits.