31. Tom Waits – ‘Tango Till They’re Sore’
A drunker-than-ever piano and tipsy trombone accompany a song immersed in as much character (and confetti) as any on Waits’ seminal Rain Dogs. Various accounts of its subject matter abound, all of them presumably grounded in entertaining lies.
32. The Beta Band – ‘It’s Not Too Beautiful’
In their eight or so years together, The Beta Band garnered immense (often stoned) plaudits for their spaced out songwriting. Here, they fall away from convention by heavily sampling a John Barry Disney soundtrack in the monumentally weird chorus.
33. Janelle Monáe ft. Big Boi – ‘Tightrope’
The year’s biggest rising star (according to Metacritic and any blogger worth his salt), Monáe’s eclectic pop opus The Archandroid first came to mainstream attention after her rip-roaring, full band debut of this song – the album’s most obvious single – on Letterman.
34. Nick and Gabrielle Drake – ‘All My Trials’
Of all the posthumously released home recordings of Nick Drake, the most interesting come from scratchy tapes of Drake with his family. Hearing Nick and actress sister Gabrielle’s performance of the Bahamian folksong is like peeking through a window into the Drake household.
35. The National – ‘England’
A typically slow-building track from The National’s best received record yet. The Ohio quintet’s musical sensitivity has brought them to the position that they can master the anthemic rock song with a depth most stadium rock bands wouldn’t even contemplate.
36. Guillemots – ‘Over the Stairs’
At their Only Just Over The Top best, Guillemots stood out on their arrival for unusually complex harmonies for a new indie band. The organ progression has a transcendent effect here, with the song’s emotiveness raised even further when Fyfe Dangerfield wigs out in a couple of magical interludes.
*tracks missing on we7.