So, as is customary round these parts, here are my top ten tunes and telly of the year (there seems little point in doing films as my favourites of the year were exactly the same ones everyone is choosing).
10. Alexandra Burke – All Night Long
Proving why she is the best X Factor winner yet, Alexandra stomped all over the charts with this. Then she ruined it with that deodorant advert. Oh well.
9. Kylie Minogue – Better than Today
Aphrodite doesn’t have a huge amount of potential singles, but everything about ‘Better Than Today’ suggested it could be a smash – catchy tune, perfect hook (‘what’s the point in living if you don’t wanna dance?’), dance routine of sorts – and yet it’s been Kylie’s lowest charting single in some time. It doesn’t help that she’s apparently given up on B-sides but still, no accounting for taste. The Great British Public, you fools.
8. Marina and the Diamonds – Hollywood
Marina is a proper Marmite artist, but I ended up falling into the love camp with this track. It’s just too infectious. This isn’t the only track on here several of you will hate (and maybe you should be grateful that Diana Vickers only made the top 20 and not the top 10 of my year’s favourites).
7. Rihanna and Eminem – Love the Way You Lie
Duets were IN in 2010. There seemed to be a whole bunch of them in the charts at any given time, along with at least eight Rihanna singles. This was the pick of her crop.
6. BoB and Hayley Williams – Airplanes
In a very similar vein to the previous entry, this one. Paramore’s ‘The Only Exception’ would also have been my number 11. Onky the absence of Justin Bieber makes me look like I’m not actually a 13-year old girl.
5. The Pretty Reckless – Make Me Wanna Die
Speaking of looking like a 13 year-old, I know I shouldn’t like this. I know how contrived Taylor Momsen is. I know how calculated everything about her band is, but dammit, this is still a tune. AND I like the album. I’m a disgrace.
4. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
Technically released in 2009, this was still all over the first part of 2010 like a big behemoth. With this and Paloma Faith, New York was everywhere. And I was briefly there for a few hours inbetween flights in January, and this song reminds me of my short stint in the US.
3. Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up
Another Marmite one, this, but Eliza Doolittle’s album soundtracked my summer holiday. Skinny Genes and Rollerblades were also great but it was this one that became the huge earworm. Musical candyfloss, but that’s what you need when you go to Great Yarmouth.
2. Cee Lo Green – Forget You/Fuck You
When songs have a ‘dirty’ version and a ‘clean’ version, it rarely works. Either the clean version lacks something or the dirty version feels like it’s trying too hard. ‘Forget You’ and ‘Fuck You’, however, both stand, and that’s because this slab of Motown-influenced pop is bloody great. As much of an earworm as ‘Run’ and ‘Crazy’ and just as genius.
1. Kylie Minogue – All the Lovers
Even if I found Aphrodite a mite disappointing, this song rocketed straight into my all-time top five Kylie songs. In the few days of sun we had this year, I stuck it on repeat, listening to it fifty or so times in a row whilst enjoying cold beers, ice cream, and five minutes away from weather chaos. Bliss.
10. Big Brother
In its final year, it seems only fitting to pay tribute to BB. The nods to the past were affectionate and appropriate, the R Eye P posters genius, and the winners of BB11 and Ultimate BB fitting. With this and Friends departing, E4 will be a ghostland in 2011.
9. Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe
Screenwipe has been absent for some time now, perhaps partly because of Brooker’s involvement with You Have Been Watching, and partly because of his stepping back from TV criticism, but Newswipe, in early 2010, was still with us, and offered a much needed slice of sanity amidst snowmageddon 2010 mark 1 and othersuch national obessions.
8. Masterchef and its various incarnations
OK, so they’re spreading the brand a little thin, now, but if you like one of the incarnations, you’ll like all the others. Junior Masterchef was a delight, Celebrity Masterchef as fun and fluffy as ever, Masterchef proper improved by letting any number of contestants through, including none and all, and Masterchef: The Professionals finally stopped being a huge sausagefest. Usually by this stage of their lifespans, reality formats start to die on their arses so it’s good to see one thriving. The Monica/Michel coalition is also far superior to the Cameron/Clegg one.
Like all US drama of the 2000s, Damages suffered from having an awesome first series and not being able to live up to it. Series two was a bit too complicated, and series three not complicated enough. Dropped by FX, DirecTV has picked the show up for series four and five. I’m not sure where they can go with future series, but hopefully they’ll have something amazing planned, and hopefully it’ll make its way over the pond. It may not be at its best but it still beats a good deal of the drama out there.
6. Doctor Who/Sarah Jane Adventures
Matt Smith is amazing. I am absolutely made up with Doctor Eleven, and his incredible two-parter with Katy Manning in the Sarah Jane Adventures was the best Doctor Who all year. As for the main show, it had some great moments – Rory, River Song, Vincent – and some clunkers, but overall it just lacked something. Perhaps it suffered from being shown at the same time as the final series of Ashes to Ashes and Lost, both of which had far more geeky delights to offer. Series six looks ruddy brilliant, though, and a few lacklustre moments from series five are hardly a crisis.
The best thing either Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss did this year. Even Martin Freeman was excellent. This was a true gem and way better than melodramatic nonsense like Accused which tried to pass as quality drama later in the year.
The best sci-fi fantasy show at the moment (unless the next series of Being Human knocks it out of the park a bit more than the 2010 series did). It’s crude, clever, laugh-out-loud funny and it makes you care about its protagonists. This is what Heroes dreamed of being, except it didn’t have anywhere near enough balls to pull it off. Sublime.
3. The Apprentice/Junior Apprentice
The series proper lacked something in terms of its tasks this year (and it very much lacked a Margaret, though Karren was fine) but it provided some quality contestants who made most of the episodes entertaining. Boardroom slouching, fields of ponies, Old Compton Street standoffs – all very much worth it, and the winner was worthwhile for once! The kiddie counterpart was just as fun, although most of the kids seemed to be better at BIZNESS than their adult counterparts. In these TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES it’s good to know we can still laugh at people who represent the cretins who helped get us into this mess.
2. Only Connect
In any other year, this would obviously be top, given we were on it and all. Lovely team of people working on the show, cracking joke with the Egyptian hieroglyphs switch, challenging questions, brilliant ratings, and we even won a match. What is there not to like? Only Connect – best thing on any network at the moment. But it has to take second place, because of…
1. Ashes to Ashes
It’s really unfair that being shown so early in the year means most people will have forgotten about Gene, Alex and the gang by the time voting for things comes around. The whole Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes saga has been incredible and A2A has upped its game with each series. This final series was breathtaking as it dropped more clues about the fates of our 80s-dwelling friends and the truth behind Gene’s world. The final moments of revelation were devastating, and performances from everyone involved were incredible. No-one could have predicted that a contemporary copper going back to the 70s would make compelling telly, and people were even more scornful that its sequel could compete. Sometimes, we get it wrong, but Ashley Pharaoh and Matthew Graham got it so, so right.