10) Azari & III – “Reckless With Your Love”
In a year when retro house anthems were all the rage, it was an outfit from Canada, a part of the world not usually renowned for its thriving club scene, who produced the best of the lot. Featuring a Robin S-esque synth hook, a soulful diva vocal and some classic Chicago house beats, “Reckless With Your Love” was the most irresistible floorfiller of 2012.
09) Tulisa – “Young”
Formerly of grimy-pop trio N-Dubz, X-Factor judge Tulisa’s solo career has gone to pot as of late. But it started so well with debut single, “Young,” a UK number one featuring a gloriously euphoric hands in the air chorus, a surprisingly authentic Ibiza-ready production and the best ravey breakdown since Rihanna’s “We Found Love.”
08) Bright Light Bright Light – “Waiting For The Feeling”
Welshman Bright Light Bright Light’s debut album, Make Me Believe In Hope, was jam-packed with brilliant singles. But this blend of pounding Italo house, fuzzy Josh Wink-inspired techno and joyous synth-pop was arguably the finest of his many HI-NRG break-up tales.
07) Underworld – “Caliban’s Dream”
Who knew that the ravers behind the chants of “lager, lager, lager” on Trainspotting anthem “Born Slippy,” could produce something so tender, poetic and magical as “Caliban’s Dream.”? Inspired by the works of W.H. Auden and Philip Larkin, Underworld’s strikingly beautiful fusion of twinkling electronica, choral chants and ethereal melodies (courtesy of Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble) was the perfect soundtrack to the lighting of the cauldron at Danny Boyle’s Olympics spectacular.
06) Disclosure – “Latch”
Fronted by Sam Smith’s soulful falsetto tones, South London siblings Disclosure lived up to their billing as the house scene’s next great big hope with this effortlessly slinky ode to falling head over heels in love. 2013 seems theirs for the taking.
05) AlunaGeorge- “You Know You Like It”
Combining the sweet girlband harmonies of the late 90s with an array of pitch-shifted loops and glitchy synths, the defiant statement of intent that is “You Know You Like It” indicated why Aluna George have been hailed as the most exciting of the plethora of electro-R&B outfits to have emerged this year.
04) Seasfire – “Falling”
Tailor-made for the post-party comedown, Bristol quartet Seasfire’s debut single, “Falling,” was a stunning dubstep ballad which proved their claims of being inspired by Jeff Buckley, Burial and Echo & The Bunnymen wasn’t just hollow talk; and that unlike James Blake, it was possible to pursue the spacious side of bass culture without sacrificing the concept of a melody.
03) Loreen – “Euphoria”
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest winner by quite some distance, Swedish vocalist Loreen became one of the few entrants to transcend the competition with this unexpectedly haunting synth-pop anthem that was accompanied by an equally mesmerising interpretive rain dance. A massive crossover hit across Europe, “Euphoria” more than lived up to its name.
02) Saint Etienne – “Tonight”
Criminally under-rated ever since they emerged on the scene in the early 90s, London trio Saint Etienne proved once again just how much they understand the power of pop music with this glittery disco anthem based on the anticipation of going to a gig. As joyous as anything Kylie has produced this century.
01) Jessie Ware – “110”
Kicking off with a slightly brash Big Pun sample (“carving my initials on your forehead”), the standout from Jessie Ware’s sublime Devotion then segued into a gorgeously dreamy dub-pop number that was so feathery-light it was in danger of blowing away. But in a year when brainless EDM ruled the charts, Ware’s melancholic ode to dancing on her own was a hugely refreshing antidote, which justified the heaps of praise showered upon her in 2012.