To say 2009 was Drake's year is a bit of an understatement. I have never seen hype for one artist on the level Drake is getting now with two Grammy nominations before he has even released an album and it certainly isn't unprecedented. Drake's ode to his girlfriend is admittedly not his best track but the repetition of "you the fucking best" perfectly complements verses with some sneaky examples of his lyrical quality. Drake manages in one song to have the boast of "when my album drops bitches will buy it for the pictures, n***as will buy it too and claim they got it for the sister", the imagery of "sweat pants, hair tied chilling with no make up on" and the sheer brilliance of "she call me the referee cos I be so official, my shirt ain't got no stripes but I'll make your pussy whiiiistle".
09) La Roux - In For The Kill (Skream's Lets Get Ravey Remix)
OK, so it might have been overplayed to the level that I can hardly bear to listen to it when compiling this list myself but when this first dropped it was absolute fire. Skream managed to turn La Roux into an overnight superstar through his haunting remix of her signature track, if you can bare to listen to it I'm sure you will agree that it certainly was one of the musical highlights of 2009.
08) Fever Ray - Seven (Martyn's Seventh Remix)
Martyn, a Dutch producer currently living in Washington first really showed up on my radar with a brilliant reworking of TRG's 'Broken Heart' on Dubstep Allstars Vol. 6 but pigeon-holing Martyn as Dubstep is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. While his tracks do have a few of Dubstep's elements they lend more to House or Breakbeat than anything you'd hear from a Dubstep artist. Martyn's remix of Seven by Fever Ray had a brilliant driving quality to it and is an example of an artist at the minute who is at the absolute top of his game.
07) Deadboy - U Cheated
Deadboy is a name I don't know much about to be fair, but his track 'U Cheated' was one of my utmost favourite songs this year. A lovely cut vocal layered onto a nice drumkit with an undercurrent of bouncy bass doesn't sound like anything groundbreaking and that is the simplicity of it, it isn't. It's a brilliant working of a tried and tested formula and is certain to go down well on any dancefloor. Incidentally Deadboy has recently submitted a very good Jan 10 Mix to Fact magazine which is certainly worth a listen.
06) Emalkay - When I Look At You
Similar to the Skreamix of 'In For The Kill' this track has been rinsed again and again and again. But also similar to that there is a reason why after the tentative build up which reaches a crescendo and "when I look at you" is uttered one last time the drop can't fail to bring a smile to your face. I'm not a huge fan of 'big drop' Dubstep myself but when it is done as well as this it's almost impossible to hate on it.
05) Sully - Phonebox
Sully is another name similar to Deadboy which I know next to nothing about but again his track Phonebox (apologies for the link, it only lasts for 1.27 before moving onto something else but it was the best youtube had to offer) was some of that brilliant Dubstep which leans more to the 'step' side of things. Sully is a name who will almost certainly enjoy a big 2010 and another parallel with Deadboy is he has also recently submitted a fine mix to Fact magazine, again definitely worth a listen.
04) Burial - Fostercare
For all the other tracks I've put in here with a heavily chopped vocal and a driving drumkit there is only one artist who has really got this down to a tee. I cannot remember since first listening to his self-titled album a bad release by Burial and Fostercare is no exception. The track seems disjointed, broken and only really shows its true colours in short snippets of the haunting vocal which sounds almost like another synthesizer in Burial's musical array and that is exactly why it is so good. Fostercare is quintessentially Burial, its not made for you or me but simply a musical expression of the inner workings of Burial's world.
03) Tempz - Next Hype
While being pretentious about what music you listen to can have its rewards sometimes instead of bleary eyed searching through blogs at 2am for some minimal tech-house you just need a kick up the arse. So when you first hear "YEYE AM STILL ABOUT" it can certainly do that for you and you certainly won't forget. Tempa T carry's on to threaten his listener in just about every way possible, this track is not just the most energetic of the year, it is also the most quotable. The first time you shout "DRAAAPES, GET OUT THE CAR" to your Mum when she's come to pick you up is the moment that it dawns on you what a profound effect this track has had in 2009.
02) Joker - City Hopper
No '09 list would be complete without a piece from Bristol's finest and leader of the 'purple' movement. Joker's output in 2009 has been nothing short of exceptional, City Hopper perhaps isn't on the level of Tron (if any of you have been at a night where this has dropped you will know what I'm talking about) but showcases Joker's talents perfectly. To say Joker loves synths would be the understatement of the year, every single track he's put out recently has got the best his V Synthesizer can muster, strong driving synths which simply take the listener on a journey through a musical landscape, all I can recommend is for you to sit back and enjoy.
01) Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo
Original I know. OK, this may be pretty much everyone's favourite of the year and there's no prizes for guessing why. Joy Orbison aka Peter O'Grady is a relative newcomer to the scene working on what he himself describes as a "really basic set-up…just kind of PC Workshop" has certainly got onto something here. The track is hypnotic to an extreme and brings almost a theme of sadness and loss in its execution, to be fair I'm sure O'Grady's own explanation of just why this is so good will be a lot better than mine so on that I will leave you with good luck for 2010 and hope for a lot more music.
""I'm a big fan of emotion in music so a lot of the sounds and vocals I use are there to sort of trigger that feeling. Although 'Hyph' may appear to be a relatively straight forward track, I've always found it quite hypnotizing and there's a good reason why it's so repetitive. Dance music only really appeals to me when it has that hypnotic, almost chanting feel." - Joy Orbison, 2009