THE SOUND OF 2016 : 1-25

And here we are, what you’ve been waiting for, to find out the best song of 2016. Not long to go until it is revealed. Are you ready? Are you ready?

Oh ok, I’ll shut up, here’s the Top 25.

1. The Strumbellas – Spirits
2. James – Nothing But Love
3. Iggy Pop – Gardenia
4. The Courteeners – No One Will Ever Replace Us
5. Christine and the Queens – Tilted
6. The Temper Trap – Fall Together
7. Chvrches ft Hayley Williams – Bury It
8. Clean Cut Kid – We Used To Be In Love
9. Sia – The Greatest
10. Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean? (NG’s 2016 Rethink)
11. Travis – Animals
12. Stone Roses – All For One
13. Bastille – Good Grief
14. Travis – Magnificent Time
15. Aurora – Conquerer
16. Biffy Clyro – Howl
17. Bastille – Send Them Off
18. The Lumineers – Ophelia
19. Grimes – California
20. Travis – 3 Miles High
21. Two Door Cinema Club – Are We Ready? (Wreck)
22. Blossoms – Getaway
23. KT Tunstall – Maybe It’s A Good Thing
24. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
25. Clean Cut Kid – Make Believe

Thank you for your support over the past year and I’ll hope to bring you more Friday Fives and pointless themed charts throughout 2017.

Congratulations to The Strumbellas, who join Kasabian, Feist, Sons and Daughters, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Taylor Swift, Haim, Jamie T and Blossoms in the Hall Of Fame.

Hopefully, over the past four weeks, i’ve helped you discover some songs you’ve never heard before.

If you haven’t heard the winning song, here it is ……

Want to get excited for music in 2017? Here’s four words for you – Liam. Gallagher. Solo. Album.

THE SOUND OF 2016 : 76-100

Well, 2016 is almost over and what a year of music it has been. Bowie died, Prince died, and Phil Collins announced a comeback. It hasn’t been all bad. There were some songs I liked, and I’ve put them into a chart.

There’s nothing scientific to it, I just cut and pasted Friday Fives and spent half an hour trying to put them into an order based on what I liked the most over the past year.

You may notice a few rerecordings and previously unreleased versions of songs that have already been released. Well, my chart, my rules.

So, who will join the list of previous winners? You’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.

2006-2009 were done on Bebo, so the articles are sadly gone, but you can click on the links to previous countdowns. There are a few former winners in this year’s chart.

2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …… What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

76. Wyvern Lingo – Letter To Willow
77. DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
78. Tegan and Sara – Faint Of Heart
79. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
80. Frank Turner – Mittens
81. David Bowie – Killing A Little Time
82. Garbage – Empty
83. James – Dear John
84. Primal Scream and Sky Ferreira – When The Light Comes In
85. Travis – Everything At Once
86. Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger
87. Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure?
88. Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
89. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
90. KT Tunstall – Evil Eye
91. Tove Lo – True Disaster
92. Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment
93. The Divine Comedy – How Can You Leave Me On My Own?
94. Bear’s Den – Dew On The Vine
95. Richard Ashcroft – Hold On
96. Izzy Bizu & the BBC Orchestra – La Foule
97. Travis – What Will Come
98. Madness – Herbert
99. Primal Scream – Mantra For A State Of Mind
100. Madness – Can’t Touch Us Now

THE SOUND OF 2015 : 1-25

So here we go, what you’ve been waiting for …….. The Top 25 songs of 2015. Enjoy.

1. Blossoms – Charlemagne
2. The Strypes – Get Into It
3. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
4. Muse – Revolt
5. Chemical Brothers – Go
6. Muse – Mercy
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace
10. Everything Everything – Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
11. Calvin Harris ft Haim – Pray To God
12. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
13. The 1975 – Love Me
14. Little Mix – Black Magic
15. Taylor Swift – Style
16. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
17. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
18. Muse – Dead Inside
19. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – SOB
20. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
21. FFS – Piss Off
22. John Newman – Come And Get It
23. Everything Everything – Regret
24. Soak – Sea Creatures
25. Paul Weller – Saturn’s Pattern

So, congratulations to Blossoms. I bet they didn’t think that supporting Paul Weller and The Charlatans on tour could be topped, but it has.

If you haven’t heard the song before, here you go …..

They join an illustrious list of winners. Sadly, Bebo has wiped their archive, so I can’t link you 2006-2008.

THE SOUND OF …… PAST WINNERS

2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …. What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1,2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

2015 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR …)

There’s still another week of the month to go, but this pictorial round-up will end in time for Christmas with a look back at the final month of 2015. So far.

The months began at The Limelight, as Marina and the Diamonds made a welcome return to Belfast after a five year absence.

Five was also the number on people’s lips on the 5th of the month, as Linfield took on Coleraine, aiming to avoid a fifth successive defeat, which thankfully they did.

Unfortunately, it was a false dawn, as I was back at Windsor Park the following Saturday to see Linfield play out a drab draw against Ballinamallard.

The following Saturday, it was a lot better, as I headed on the road to see Linfield win at Ballymena.

The day afterwards, there was The Ash Christmas Bash, at The Empire.

There’s still a week left of 2015, but that’s a round-up of what i’ve snapped so far this year.

I’ll be snap snap snapping away in 2016. I’ve got high hopes that June will be memorable.

Marina and the Diamonds live at The Limelight

Marina and the Diamonds live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Ballymena United v Linfield

Ash live at The Empire

Ash live at The Empire Photo Album

MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 1.12.2015

“It’s been a while since I was last in Belfast” screamed Marina Diamandis, AKA Marina and the Diamonds, midway through her set. Five years in fact. This was worth the wait.

This show was split into three “Acts”, representing the three stages of her career, having released her third album Froot this year.

Unsurprisingly, Act I visited her debut album The Family Jewels, released in 2010, the last time she did a gig in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.

Opening with Mowgli’s Road, I Am Not A Robot, Oh No!, before her biggest hit from that album Hollywood, with fans singing along throughout, with Marina leaving them to sing “Oh my god, you look just like Shakira, oh no, it’s Catherine Zeta, Actually, the name’s Marina”

Up next, naturally, was Act II, focusing on her second album Electra Heart, a concept album based on a character of the same name.

Between each act, there was a costume change, so the backing band treated us to an instrumental piece while the crowd waited for Marina to reappear.

Act II gave us hits such as How To Be A Heartbreaker and Primadonna.

Then of course, came Act III, her third album Froot, demonstrated by the fact she appeared on stage wearing a hairband spelling out the word Froot, performing the title track and a first performance anywhere of Gold, before finishing on one of the other main singles from Froot, Blue.

Support came from Wyvern Lingo. They come from Wicklow, like Hozier, but are a bit funkier. I only saw a bit of their set, but I liked what I saw.

One fan was totally lost in the show, she threw her bra at Marina on the stage. This is one diamond that certainly sparkled.

Photo Album

Marina and the Diamonds live at Mandela Hall 2010

Marina and the Diamonds live at Mandela Hall 2010 Photo Album

THE SOUND OF 2015 : 76-100

So, it’s that time of year to look back at the twelve months just past, and this blog is no different.

Totally unscientific and totally guesswork, time to present to you the Top 100 Songs Of 2015, to see who will join Kasabian, Feist, Sons and Daughters, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Taylor Swift, Haim and Jamie T on the honours list.

Spoiler alert. There are four former winners in the Top 100, and there are two acts who appear on it who also have a cover of one of their songs in the countdown.

I’ll let you guess them, and the winner. Here’s the first 25 to get you going. Another 25 will appear every Thursday for the next three weeks.

76. Hidden Cities ft Tim Halperin – Hungry Like The Wolf
77. The Libertines – Gunga Din
78. Coasts – Modern Love
79. The Charlatans – Come Home Baby
80. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
81. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
82. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Lock All The Doors
83. The Vaccines – Give Me A Sign
84. Marina and the Diamonds – Blue
85. Bear’s Den – Agape
86. Gun – Every 1’s A Winner
87. Years and Years – Desire
88. Muse – Lies
89. Olly Murs – Kiss Me
90. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
91. Miguel – Waves
92. Seasick Steve – Summertime Boy
93. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
94. The Courteeners – Has The Told You That He Loves You Yet
95. The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
96. James Taylor – Montana
97. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
98. Brandon Flowers – I Can Change
99. The Charlatans – Let The Good Times Be Never Ending
100. Years and Years – Shine

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 17.7.2015

1. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark
2. Marina and the Diamonds – Blue
3. Olivia Vessel – Don’t You Forget About Me
4. Everything Everything – Regret
5. What’s Eating Gilbert – Follow Her Around

This week, saw Bastille Day. So, as a treat for French readers, here’s a chart from your country.

FIVE SONGS BY FRENCH ARTISTS

1. Justice – D.A.N.C.E
2. Phoenix – Entertainment
3. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
4. Daft Punk – Robot Rock
5. Air – Sexy Boy

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 27.2.2015

1. Stine Bramsen – Karma Town
2. Paloma Faith – Beauty Remains
3. Eric Prydz v Chvrches – Tether
4. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
5. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

This Sunday, is St David’s Day. As is now tradition on this blog, we shall have a Welsh musical celebration for you. Sadly, having only 40% of members from Wales will disqualify Steps. And no, I won’t be using Andy Bell as an excuse to include Oasis.

FIVE SONGS BY WELSH ACTS

1. Stereophonics – Dakota
2. Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
3. Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness
4. Lisa Scott-Lee – Electric
5. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart

THE SOUND OF 2014 : 51-75

51. Thiago Thome – Aquarela do Brasil
52. Marina and the Diamonds – Froot
53. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
54. One Republic – Love Runs Out
55. George Ezra – Listen To The Man
56. Lykke Li – Never Gonna Love Again
57. Alicia Keys ft Kendrick Lamar – It’s On Again
58. James – Moving On
59. Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
60. David Guetta ft Sam Martin – Dangerous
61. Embrace – Follow You Home
62. Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious
63. Ella Henderson – Glow
64. Fiona O’Kane – I Can’t Help Myself
65. Courteeners – How Good It Was
66. James – Frozen Britain
67. Royal Blood – Come On Over
68. Simple Minds – Honest Town
69. Nina Nesbitt – Peroxide
70. Florrie – Seashells
71. Merrymouth – I Am The Resurrection
72. Black Rivers – The Ship
73. Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
74. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars
75. Tove Lo – Habits