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“I’m too hot, hot damn! Call the police and a fireman.” Ring any bells? Of course it does. Uptown Funk will most likely go down in history as 2015’s biggest hit and no doubt Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars will have bought themselves plenty of ‘Chucks & Saint Laurent’ for  Christmas.

Besides this stonker 2015 will probably be remembered for OMI finding himself a Cheerleader, for Drake sharing his late night cellphone habits with us in Hotline Bling (this version is way better!), for Adele’s long awaited return (Lionel Richie much?) and for the sudden acceptance of Justin Bieber as a ‘grown up pop artist’ thanks to uncles Diplo and Skrillex.

I confess, I too was swayed by the poptastic fabrications of team Bieber this year… But fear not: I gathered up a bunch of top tunes with plenty of indie rock cred to compensate!

I’ve compiled the usual list of 50, available for your playlist cravings on Spotify of course. Below you can eye up the videos for the top 25 too. And for my list-obsessed comrades: my stupidly big ‘2015 long list‘ is also up for the streaming.

Please do share the tracks you obsessed over this year in the comments and berate me for the gems I mistakenly left out. Happy new year!

25. Mini Mansions feat. Alex Turner – Vertigo

LA smooth lads Mini Mansions cleverly asked buddy Alex Turner to donate his special brand of raunchy delivery to a couple of lyrics. It works a charm and adds some broodiness to this poppy tune.

24. Christine and the Queens – Christine

One of the best performances I saw this year was Christine and the Queens, who take the word ‘performance’ very seriously. The whole show was meticulously choreographed and a joy to watch.

23. BØRNS – Electric Love

An over produced glamfest of a song, but it’s so damn chirpy!

22. Justin Bieber – Sorry

Yes. This happened. #sorrynotsorry

21. De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig – Manon

DJVT keep churning out catchy tunes and this ode to (a female called) Manon has a super addictive chorus. And a video full of cats!!

20. Shura – 2Shy

Like an indie-version of an early Madonna song, sounds like it could actually be from the eighties.

19. Shamir – On The Regular

Discotastic funky number from this androgynous hipster guy (yes!) from Last Vegas. Also, you can never have too much cow bell.

18. Typhoon – Liefste

A plain and simple love song by Dutch hip hop artist Typhoon, with beautifully written lyrics that describe the push and pull of a relationship.

17. The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness

It’s a long standing love affair, me & The Maccabees. They are one of the first bands I remember getting completely bowled over by at a summer festival. This song has exactly that festival anthem quality they understand so well.

16. Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

It’s a miracle this song made the cut really, as the Viet Cong gig I saw this year was a mess. Continental Shelf got massacred in a screaming noise fit and lost all its eerie haunting quality. Still though, killer tune.

15. Sef – Wakker

More Dutch hip hop from Sef in this fresh tune with a nostalgic nineties club vibe going on. Incidentally also my boyfriend’s favourite song to wake me up with (makes me less grumpy).

14. Nadine Shah – Stealing Cars

This was one of my big finds this year. I’d never heard of Nadine Shah but this track would get stuck in my brain for days. She also collaborated with Gostpoet this year.

13. The Districts- 4th And Roebling

Nothing new or innovative about this one, but it’s just such a lovable raggedy romp of a rock tune.

12. Jack Garratt – Worry

Smashing mix of soulful songs and electronics, somewhere in that James Blake – Jamie Woon – Flume – Chet Faker niche market. Also cool how he really rocks it out more when performing live.

11. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

Just a beautiful song from the beautiful album Carrie & Lowell. Nobody can put intense lyrics about life and death to a ukulele quite like Sufjan can.

10. Major Lazer, MØ, DJ Snake – Lean On

My festival anthem of 2015 was a bit of a creeper-upper. Not as immediately convincing as predecessor Bumaye, but worthy all the same.

9. Mura Masa feat. NAO – Firefly

Thank you Mura Masa for popping up on our radars this year! Loving the whole melancholy R&B vibe that comes off his tracks, with enough glitchy and exotic sounds to keep you intrigued.

8. Foals – What Went Down

Yes yes yes. This is the sort of manic stuff we want from Foals and plenty of it.

7. Kendrick Lamar – Alright

There were almost too many standout tracks on Lamar’s much hyped second album for me to choose from. Apparently Obama’s favourite is What a dollar cost, which has that moody Radiohead sample. Nice choice mr. president!

6. Hot Chip – Need You Now

Songs about feeling in some way disconnected are Hot Chip’s forte and it shines through in the beautiful desperation of Need You Now. The video is a great partner to the song too.

5. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

Whenever I play this song my boyfriend says Courtney is sucking all the life energy out of the room. I couldn’t disagree more! Barnett’s trademark comedic ramblings on life and her grunge-throwback tunes always make me smile.

4. Tame Impala – Let It Happen

Well no surprises here, many-a-year list has crowned Tame Impala with the top position this year and it’s easy to hear why. I wasn’t big on the psychedelic stuff they put out before, but these 8 minutes (!) of musical magic really won me over.

3. Young Fathers – Rain Or Shine

The new Young Fathers album first left me in a state of total confusion, but I kept coming back to it for more. It’s all over the place, in a good way. After seeing them perform live a couple of months ago I was sold. These guys give it everything and just explode with raw energy. This song made the top three thanks to the clever Metronomy-hook.

2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Up until this year UMO were a band that I’d heard of, but never really bothered to look into. Apparently it took the lead singer and his wife entering into a polyamorous love traingle with another woman, and then going through a dramatic break up with her, to make an album that really caught my ear. Multi-love for the win!

1. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)

I long contemplated the top three positions of this list, but if I’m perfectly honest: there is absolutely no contender man (or woman) enough to squeeze father John from his well earned winner’s spot. The only son of a ladies man acually fell in love, and made a glorious album about all the highs and lows involved. From paranoid self doubt to wondrous ecstacy, it’s all there. And if you ever get a chance to see him deliver this rollercoaster of emotions on stage, do not miss it!


The remaining top 50 tunes, in alphabetical order:

A$AP Rocky, Rod Stewart, Miguel &Mark Ronson – Everyday
Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
Auntie Flo feat. Shingai – So In Love
Blur – Go Out
Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun
Django Django – First Light
DMA’S – Your Low
Florence + The Machine – What Kind Of Man
Fresku feat. MocroManiac – Kreeft
Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah – X Marks the Spot
Happyness – Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same
Hozier – Someone New
Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)
Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
Lil’ Kleine& Ronnie Flex – Drank & Drugs
Lizzo – Ain’t I
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Miguel feat. Wale – Coffee
Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money
Patrick Watson – Places You Will Go
The Tallest Man On Earth – Sagres
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Vaults – Premonitions
Years & Years – Take Shelter


If I had to pick one tune that infiltrated every fiber of 2014 it would have to be Pharrell’s Happy. At first I liked it, then loved it for a bit before intensely hating those five frantic opening notes every bloody time they came on the radio… Which is probably the average life cycle of any major hit song. And can someone please explain to me how one feels like a room without a roof!?

Anyway, as opposed to last year’s ear worms, Happy didn’t make the cut. Besides, it was actually released in 2013 already! You will, however, be treated to a delectable smörgåsbord of 50 bites of audio-yumminess from 2014, with the top 25 sporting eye watering visuals too. As per usual you can check out the entire top 50 in my Spotify playlist too, or for my fellow ultimate listomaniacs (loveya!) my ridiculously large ‘2014 long list‘.

Please do share your faves with me too and shout at me about the ones I was oblivious to in the comments!

25.  Tiga – Bugatti

Clean, concise & devilishly sexy, Tiga doesn’t waste a single beat or syllable.The video is style perfection too.

24.  Clean Bandit – Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)

Such a chirpy tune! A simple catchy love song that takes you back to memories of a high school sweetheart.

23.  Real Estate – Talking Backwards

West Coast jingle jangle at its best, even though the band is from New York. Perfect roadtrip song.

22.  Usher – Good Kisser

Sultry, minimalistic and funky at the same time, Usher is back in shape!

21.  Sinkane – How We Be

A slow clapping head bopper, bringing together the sounds of Sudan and London the way Sinkane does so well. Was lucky enough to catch the band live at Berlin Festival this year and they killed it.

20.  Sia – Chandelier

If you’re anything like me and you’re always wondering what on earth Sia is mumbling about, you might find this tutorial very amusing. On a more serious note: this song tackles Sia’s problem with drinking in a suitably dramatic fashion, I think it’s her over the top masterpiece so far.

19.  Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

This song is the perfect example of what I love about BBC: seemingly soft spoken conservative Brits who surprise you with little bursts of joyous excitement bubbling just under the surface! Also: who can refuse a video with synchronised swimming?

18.  Dan Croll – From Nowhere

This song is the very first thing I heard by Dan Croll and I was immediately smitten.

17.  Elbow – New York Morning

Oh Guy. You’ve done it again. Be sure to check out the video about the lovely Dennis & Lois!

16.  The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure

Yes, it’s the song with the ridiculously spun out ending, but if you afford yourself the time to sit back and enjoy it in full it’s so worth it. And if you get to hear it jammed out live it makes complete sense.

15.  Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High)

A refreshingly honest take on breaking up from this Swedish singer, who also wrote songs for Icona Pop and Girls Aloud.

14.  Flume – Drop the Game

Even if you think the song has been played to death, at least watch the video for the incredible dancer. I still haven’t tired of this soulful stomper.

13.  Typhoon – Liefste

Typhoon’s much lauded 2014 album Lobi Da Basi is the cream of the crop in Dutch hip hop for 2014, including incredible live performances with his big band. This sweet small tune about the small aggravations that can niggle at a relationship is one of my favourites.

12.  SOHN – Artifice

SOHN has made an album full of tracks for those looking to wallow in misery, with Artifice as the crowning glory. “Somebody better show how me how I feel, cause I know I’m not at the wheel”

11.  Sam Smith – Stay With Me

My how Sam has grown! No I don’t mean in the waistline.. I saw him play a small venue in March, when he was almost painfully shy at times. It’s great to see how 2014 has made Sam Smith into an MTV VMA-show worthy performer. Plus hallelujah for coming out! Not that he was kidding anyone 😉

10.  Hozier – Take Me To Church

I’m sucked in by the darkness and outrage in this Hozier song. The video is a worthy companion and controversial to say the least, well worth a watch.

9.  Banks – Drowning

I love the rhythm Banks uses in her lyrics, she delivers them with such intensity. She also reminds me of Aaliyah in a subtle way, which is a cool throwback.

8.  Mapei – Don’t Wait

Don’t underestimate the radio friendly pop sweetness of Don’t Wait, Mapei turned out to be a lot more kickass than expected when I saw her at Lowlands! I’m curious what she’ll come up with next year.

7.  St. Vincent – Digital Witness

I think this is my favourite track yet of the ever quirky and slightly intimidating St. Vincent (who was also at Lowlands and ran off stage after throwing a tantrum).

6.  Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Sharing its theme with St. Vincent’s song, Damon quietly ponders our empty social media lives.

5.  Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)

Apparently I’m one of the few people who heard and loved this song before seeing the legendary Letterman performance. Still not sure whether Samuel T. Herring’s intense antics are for real or for show, but is doesn’t take away from the soulful eighties brilliance of this song!

4.  The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?

This is probably my most played tune of the summer. I just couldn’t get enough of the bouncy excitement Isabella Manfredi and Gideon Bensen bring to the song, very infectious .

3.  Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again

Ok to be honest I am still upset with Lowlands for this massive oversight. How on earth did they not book the Robyn & Röksopp tour!? Thankfully their collaborative album also contains the beautifully reflective Monument for me to work through this grief.

2.  Stromae – Tous Les Mêmes

It was a tough struggle at the top of his list, but in a very respectable second position we find the illusive Belgian genius Paul van Haver, better known as Stromae. I love the whole album Racine Carrée, and Tous Les Mêmes is one of the standout singles. His clever use of African rumba rhythms and European dance combined with very witty and sometimes razor sharp lyrics make Stromae one of the best artists 2014 had to offer in my book! And so goddamn stylish too.

1.  Jungle – Busy Earnin’

I was trying to remember the massive impression Busy Earnin’ made on me the first time I heard it, but I’ve played it so often now it’s become like a coundtrack to my everyday life already. I was lucky enough to see the band no less than three times this year and they didn’t disappoint once. They’ve got soul, sex and sweet harmonies that will bring out the hipshaker in even the most static music lovers. Perfect tunes to get a bit grabby with your significant other to…

Also, I need to learn that dance!

Numbers 25 – 50 in no particular order:

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – Love Me Harder

Beyoncé & Jay-Z – Drunk in Love

Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

Chad VanGaalen – Where Are You?

Damien Rice – I Don’t Want To Change You

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

George Ezra – Budapest

Glass Animals – Gooey

Half Moon Run – Call Me in the Afternoon

Katy Perry – Dark Horse

Kwabs – Walk

Little Dragon – Klapp Klapp

Mac Demarco – Salad Days

Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt so Good

Oliver – Light Years Away

Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely on You

RY X – Berlin

School Is Cool – Black Dog Panting

Schoolboy Q – Man Of The Year

Ta-ku – Beggining To End

Temples – Shelter Song

Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants

TRAAMS – Fibbist

Villagers – Occupy Your Mind

Wild Beasts – Wanderlust

Much more fun to pick out the best songs of the year than the best albums. Mainly because I get to pick more, so it’s slightly easier. And I get to stick some of the quality chart toppers in there, even though the rest of the album might be utter crap. If you want to guzzle up this top 30 without having to hit play 30 times, you can find them it handy playlists on Spotify (here) and YouTube (here) too.

Let me know what you think! What songs have I unforgivably left out?

30. Katy Perry

Teenage Dream

[insert shriek of outrage here]
Yes, I love this song. It’s just a perfectly crafted poptastic happy singalong and I’m guessing it was inspired by Perry’s blossoming romance with British bad boy Russell Brand. “I’ma get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans be your teenage dream tonight”

29. Moss

I Apologise (Dear Simon)

A gorgeous jingle jangle song with hand claps and singalong aaahhhhs, and from Holland no less! It got played to death on the radio, but it hasn’t bored me yet.

28. Two Door Cinema Club

Something Good Can Work

A peppy summer popsong from these young Northern Irish lads, picked from an album jam packed with happy go lucky energetic songs for bright and sunny days. It may not be deep and meaningful, but who reads Dostoyevsky every day?

27. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl

The Bike Song

Bit of a slow burner for me this one, but such an endearing little song. The video perfectly portrays the sugar coated happiness of just riding around on your bike, checking out the local talent. Love Spank Rock’s mumbled little rap too: “I run around town, around round the town, with the pedal to the me… the pedal to whatever”

26. Jack Parow

Cooler As Ekke

In the toss up between Parrow and fellow South African group Die Antwoord it’s the long cap wearing laid back rapper that wins in the long run. Die Antwoord has high impact bizarre appeal, but it wears thin after a while. Cooler As Ekke is a witty introduction to the SA-soundwave that hit our shores this year.

25. Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette


It might be a bit manic in its upness, but very addictive too. Dragonette’s innocently cooed lyrics are perfectly suited to this bouncy song.

24. Blaudzun

Quiet German Girls

For me this one works even better together with the video, how captivating to watch beautiful women scream silently to this song!

23. Laura Marling

Rambling Man

It could have gone either way with Laura Marling after her promising if somewhat shaky debut, but thankfully she stayed true to herself and made a confident and more well rounded second album. This is my favourite track, a folky ballad. “But give me to a rambling man, let it always be known that I was who I am”

22. Cee Lo Green

It’s OK

What a joy of a record Cee Lo made, it’s just uncomplicated goodness, but very clever at the same time. It’s Ok is a funky, upbeat song with a nice luvvy duvvy message for the holiday season: “It’s ok, to say that you love me”

21. Faberyayo & Vic Crezée


Faberyayo, known from De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig and side project Le Le, dropped a rather amazing mix tape called Het Grote Gedoe with Vic Crezée online earlier this year. Just a little free download, like it were nothing. Just goes to show his amazing creativity and broad scope, this boy is going places (two places in my top 30 for instance).

20. LCD Soundsystem

I Can Change

LCD at their eighties synth best, its got Eurythmics written all over it (Love Is A Stranger), but in a proper tribute sort of way. You’d almost believe James Murphy when he promises “I can change I can change I can change, if it helps you fall in love”

19. Janelle Monae


Not moving is not an option, tap them toes people! Janelle Monae is this year’s breath of fresh air in the pre-programmed R&B landscape, she doesn’t fit in any standard boxes and it works for her. As does the look. “When you get elevated, they love it or they hate it”

18. Adele

Rolling In The Deep

Adele is back and in the two years since her debut album it sounds like she’s been listening to a lot of White Stripes and blues, good choice! We get her soulful voice with a bit of a raw edge to the song, works like a charm. “Think of me in the depths of your despair”

17. The New Pornographers

Crash Years

The New Pornographers have produced a great record this year and Crash Years sums up all that is great about the band. Plus it had the unbeatable Neko Case on vocals, can’t go wrong with her. “Honey child you’re not safe here”

16. The Third Twin


Could it be? Is this really Daft Punk in disguise, dodging their Tron publishing restraints? It sure does sound like it! Their album Homemade is much more satisfying for Daft Punk fans than the Tron soundtrack, which is good but, well, soundtracky.

15. Broken Social Scene

Meet Me In The Basement

The only completely instrumental track on the album, but one of the most attention grabbing and exciting all the same. It makes me want to get up and start a protest movement. Any cause will do.

14. De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig

Sexy Beesten

The brutal beat, the trademark Jeugd lyrics and most of all Wiwa’s auto tuned rap at 2:35, “Kijk in de spiegel bitch je bent magnifique!”

13. Hot Chip

I Feel Better

It’s as simple as this, “when you hold me, I feel better”. And to celebrate this glorious fact Hot Chip called in the assistance of a steel drum band at Glastonbury, stroke of genius.

12. Foals

Blue Blood

Such a heartfelt song and one of Foals’ best yet. The boy in the video is also all kinds of awesome. “You showed me. Where to go. To my home.”

11. The National

Bloodbuzz Ohio

2010 is the year I started to understand what The National is about. I have the feeling I’m not quite there yet, but Bloodbuzz Ohio is without doubt one of the finest songs of the year. “I still owe money, to the money, to the money I owe”

10. Yeasayer

Ambling Alp

A lot of what Yeasayer does and sings remains a complete mystery to me, take the song title Ambling Alp for instance, but I do know I find this psychedelic weirdness irresistible. “You must stick up for yourself son, never mind what anybody else done”

9. Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce

Telephone (vevo clip, sorry)

There is no denying the genius in the madness of  Lady Gaga. Last year she had gay choirs and glee clubs all over the world singing Bad Romance, this year she teamed up with Beyonce for one of the catchiest songs of 2010. “Should’ve left my phone at home cause this is a disaster!”

8. Caribou


An intoxicating dizzy trip of a song, addictively pulsating and hypnotising you with it’s simple mantra: “sun sun sun sun sun sun sun sun sun…”

7. Kanye West


Only Kanye gets away with mashing his royal rap highness Jay-Z, log cabin troubadour Bon Iver and outrageous Nicki Minaj on one track and making it the most accomplished on the album. “I’ma need to see your fuckin hands at the concert!”

6. Villagers

I Saw The Dead

The most eerie and haunting song on Villager’s debut album, but then it is about a room with dead people. “You take the torso, and I’ll take the head”

5. Beach House


Soothing, comforting and warm, and as a bonus it’s about a beautiful zebra. You didn’t know you needed a song about a zebra in your life, but it turns out you do. Beach House doesn’t avoid the weird, but it works out wonderfully. “Don’t I know you, better than the rest?”

4. James Blake

Limit To Your Love

Such precision and delicate delivery from a 21 year old, it’s almost hard to believe. James Blake takes this Feist song to a whole new level, darker, deeper and more exciting. His album leaked this week and I suggest you all hit download ASAP!

3. Local Natives


This song really struck a chord with me. It remembers a lost loved one in such a sweet and honest way, almost child like. Maybe it was even written from a child’s perspective and that’s why it works so well, judge for yourselves. “I love it all, so much I call, I want you back”

2. Robyn

Dancing On My Own

This is Robyn’s year and Dancing On My Own is the juicy cherry on her Body Talk pie. It’s a mystery to me you don’t see or hear more Robyn on (M)tv and radio, surely this album will appeal to masses of people? As she puts it herself: “I’m right over here, why can’t you see me?”

1. Arcade Fire


From the menacing opening notes you immediately know this is one of The Suburbs’ key songs. Thom Yorke would say: something big is gonna happen. And it does. Win Butler rips the tragic hipster culture to pieces in this intelligent and harrowing anthem.  “Oh my dear god what is that horrible song they’re singing”


This top 30 and some of the runners up in a Spotify playlist.

This top 30 in a YouTube playlist.

Without much further ado I present the Top 30 singles of 2009 according to brokenbranches, all of which can be enjoyed through the means of a youtube playlist right here.

30   Spinerette

Ghetto Love

Raw, hot rock track oozing sex appeal. One can only imagine what goes on between Brody Dalle and Josh Homme. Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oooooohhh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooohhhhh, Hey!

29   Peter Fox

Haus am See

A German track made it to my top 30, unlikely but true. Funky & funny track. Ich habe zwanzig Kinder meine Frau ist schön.

28   Andrew Bird


From Bird’s album Noble Beast, an unassuming but deceptively intricate and charming song. Hold on just a second don’t tell me this one you know I know this one I know this song, I know this one I love this song.

27   Speech Debelle

The Key

Cheeky fresh and soulful rhymes by a bright young thing from South London. Love the Tribe Called Quest vibe in this song.

26   Radiohead

These Are My Twisted Words

One of only two officially released Radiohead songs in 2009, but I much prefer it to Harry Patch (In memory Of). This slightly eerie soundscapish track has an experimental B-side feel to it, also reminiscent of Up On The Ladder from the second In Rainbows disc.

25   The Temper Trap

Sweet Disposition

Still bummed I didn’t get to see these guys at Lowlands, it was a toss up with Bon Iver at that moment. This single, which gets loads of airplay over here, has everything a good popsong should have: a nice build up and a joyous singalong chorus.

24   Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

Empire State of Mind

Simply a great track, a worthy celebration of New York. I’m not usually that fond of Alicia Keys, but she definitely gives this song it’s infectious hook.

23   Noisettes

Don’t Upset The Rhythm

There’s no intricate explanation behind this gorgeous Noisettes song, who can resist it? Four three two one – Go baby go baby go!

22   Death Cab For Cutie

Meet Me On The Equinox

This is what Death Cab For Cutie does best, ominous guitar chords, swelling drums, Ben’s lyrics uttered with a sense of warning: Everything, everything ends. They sure had some smart kid making the Twilight – New Moon soundtrack.

21   Mumford & Sons

Little Lion Man

I never knew I was experiencing a lack of banjo fuelled tunes in my collection until I played Mumford & Sons’ debut Sighs No More. They specialise in the quiet-intro-waiting-to-explode-into-full-banjo-madness song structure, and it suits them. Don’t frown too much on the borderline twee lyrics, just enjoy the ride.

20   Matt and Kim


Psychiatrists should show this ridiculously chirpy Matt and Kim video to depressed patients, surely things wouldn’t seem so bad afterwards?

19   Dizzee Rascal


With a little help from Armand van Helden Dizzee has made the ultimate rap – dance crossover single and club floor filler of the year. Some people think I’m bonkers, but I just think I’m free!

18   Patrick Watson


It’s a shame the band didn’t release Beijing as a single as that would definitely be my favourite pick, but Fireweed does the job as the perfect album opener. Gentle introduction, trademark drum shuffle, Patrick’s soft whispers, added layers of peculiar sounds and backing vocals all conspiring to make a beautiful composition.

17   Little Boots

New in Town

To be honest I was a bit disappointed with the Little Boots album, but that’s mainly because this tasty single really raised my expectations. It’s grimy and disco at the same time, and the killer chorus keeps you coming back. I don’t have a lot of money but we’ll be fine.

16   La Roux


Definitely one of the catchiest songs of the year, it’s no wonder La Roux was played to death all over radio and tv music channels. I still haven’t bored of it yet actually, This time baby I’ll be bulleeeeeeeeeeeet proof!

15   David Byrne & Dirty Projectors

Knotty Pine

I just love this upbeat if slightly messy little song with it’s jangly guitar & David Byrne’s irresistible voice immediately coating it with indie cred. Which reminds me, must play Toe Jam!

14   Thunderheist

Nothing 2 Step 2

Yes thank you very much Thunderheist for this dirrrty, funky, head bobbing hip shaking number. Loving the eighties synth, loving the cow bells. I Want You To Know That I Ne Ver Meant To Walk A Way From You.

13   The Decemberists

The Rake Song

Is it a bad thing to love a song about murdering children? The Decemberists made me do it! This most harrowing tale on the Hazards of Love concept album is a burst of percussion and acidic lyrics, with the instant impact chorus Alright, alright, alright! Brilliant song that will have you singing along in no time.

12   Dragonette

Fixin to Thrill

Who is this strange creature in the flesh coloured leotard? For some reason Dragonette had never popped up on my radar before this buttkicking single came out, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from now on.

11   Beyoncé

Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

This is the only decent thing Beyoncé released over the last year or so, but it hits the spot. You tell ‘em B! Sassy, utterly danceable and let’s not forget the most copied video clip of 2009. If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it, oh oh oh

10   The Maccabees

Can You Give It

Ah yes The Maccabees, the band that made it to my number one slot on the Best Albums chart. There’s just so much exciting material to choose from on this album, but I’m sticking with the group-hug-sing-along-with-all-your-pubmates thriller Can You Give It.

9     Metric

Help I’m Alive

Such an addictive song this lead single from Metric’s fourth album release Fantasies. Emily Haines vocals are disconnected and desperate at the same time. I tremble, they’re gonna eat me alive. Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer…

8     Gossip

Heavy Cross

God bless Beth Ditto, first and foremost for rocking it out, secondly for adding some very necessary different scenery in between all the MTV polish and veneer. Here’s another inescapable monsterhit by the Washington based threesome.

7     Fanfarlo

Howard T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time

This band “had me at hello” when they played a great gig at Lowlands this year despite lacking half the band members due to a missed flight. They play a happy brand of orchestral pop, not afraid to amp up the drama and throw in some trumpets and violins. Howard T. Wilkins is probably the best track on the album.

6     DM Stith

Pity Dance

The Spanish guitar strumming combined with strange electronic sounds and DM Stith’s plaintive wailing make for an odd but seductive concoction. By the time the dramatic piano comes in you feel like doom is on your doorstep and there is no escape.

5     Bat for Lashes


Although an entire Bat for Lashes album can sometimes be too much of a good thing, this single is a work of art. Natasha Khan took everything that is beautiful about Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting and Running Up That Hill, mashed it up and updated it to 2009.

4     Clues

Remember Severed Head

When ex-Unicorns and ex-Arcade Fires mingle, this overwhelming severing of heads is what happens. A psychedelic and bizarre but utterly terrific romp of a song. You never quite know what’s around the corner, but you’re looking forward to it all the same.

3     Fever Ray

If I Had a Heart

Surely one of the most exciting releases of this year, If I Had A Heart is the lead single from the self titled album. It simultaneously scares and moves me. I read somewhere it was about post natal depression, which seems to make sense. What an amazing way to deal with such a delicate subject.

2     Florence + The Machine

Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

I could have chosen any of the singles Florence + the Machine released this year, but this is the one that, well, enchanted me seems the right expression. Such drama such passion, and what a refreshingly different sounds to everything else out there. This is a gift, it comes with a price…

1     Grizzly Bear

Two Weeks

With Two Weeks this Brooklyn foursome, who are about as far removed from a grizzly bear as imaginable, have produced the best single of 2009 by far in my opinion. The attention grabbing opening chords on the piano, the glowing harmonies, the spacey sounds that kick in with Would you aaaaaaaaaalways, it’s just a perfect package.

If you’re a brokenbranches regular you’ll know that even a selection of 30 is a painstaking process for me, with many casualties along the way. Here are some of the beautiful losers:

Alberta Cross – ATX

Animal Collective – My Girls

Antony and the Johnsons – Crazy In Love

Basement Jaxx – Raindrops

Beirut / Realpeople – Venice

Bell X1 – The Great Defector

Bowerbirds – Northern Lights

Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is the Move

Dodos – Fables

Emilíana Torrini – Jungle Drum

Friendly Fires – Kiss of Life

Girls – Lust For Life

Hockey – Song Away

Jack Peñate – Be The One

Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension

Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Le Le – Luxe Benen

Lily Allen – It’s Not Fair

Mando Diao – Gloria

Micachu & The Shapes – Golden Phone

Neko Case – People Got a Lotta Nerve

Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings

Phoenix – 1901

Portugal. The Man – People Say

St Vincent – Actor Out of Work

The Killers – Spaceman

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin

The Raveonettes – Last Dance

The Veils – Sit Down By The Fire

The Very Best feat. Ezra Koenig – Warm Heart of Africa

Thom Yorke – All For The Best

Vampire Weekend – Horchata

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

It really doesn’t get any easier. My perfectionist personality doesn’t help either, it makes me read through the entire list of the 2009 album releases, 5000 albums give or take, just to make sure I don’t overlook anything. Then comes the relistening, the scrapping, the adding, the positioning, the turmoil. But eventually I get to my destination, invariably feeling hopelessly incomplete and doubting my final list before it even hits this screen.

Ah well, sod it. Here are my top 10 albums of 2009. I will be soon posting the best single releases list too, just need to get a xanax refill first. 

10. Rock Plaza Central

…at the Moment of Our Most Needing, Or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren’t Alone

No mechanical horses this time, but there’s still plenty of off beat story telling on Rock Plaza Central’s 2009 lengthy titled album. Arguably RPC singer, or often narrator, Chris Eaton’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but hey, so was your first beer. Do try and stick with him, because you will reap a great reward of orchestral Canadian quirkiness!

9. Fanfarlo


Fanfarlo’s album is an unassuming little number but it packs a multi instrumental punch. From the toe tapping crescendo of songs like I’m a Pilot and the amazing Howard T. Wilkins, driving piano chords and banjo strumsincluded, to the gentle meandering of Comets, this album is bursting at the seems with love for making music.

8. The Decemberists

The Hazards of Love

Say the words ‘concept album’ and most folks, brokenbranches included, usually won’t be overexcited. The risk of overworked, far fetched constructions looms dangerously. In a way Hazards of Love is indeed far fetched with it’s tales of fauns, forest queens, impossible love and wicked baby murdering rakes, but how wonderfully weird it is! 

7. Gossip

Music for Men

Beth Ditto does it again. She gives you a kick up the arse directed towards the dance floor and gives your hair an orange mohawk makeover in the process. Heavy Cross is without doubt one of the best singles of the year, but the rest of the album is not to be sniffed at. Yes it’s shaky in parts, no it isn’t very innovative, but this is ROCK ladies and gents. Not for wall flowers.

6. Patrick Watson

Wooden Arms

What a great idea of Patrick & co to record and tour with The Wooden Arms! They add such warmth to this album and lift their trademark cinematic compositions to new heights. Stand out track Beijing showcases Robbie Kuster’s status as percussion genius, the pretty Big Bird in a Small Cage superbly shows their radio friendly side and Man Like You is bound to be their new Great Escape

5. Fever Ray

Fever Ray

Karen Dreijer Andersson possesses the rare talent to explore the darker side of life without alienating you. When she sings If I had a heart I would love you, you feel her desperation. In When I grow up you simultaneaously experience the joy of being a child and the pain of still waiting to be acknowledged as a grown up. It is haunting and sincere, a thing of sheer beauty.

4. Grizzly Bear


All of a sudden there it is, the album you know will see you through the year. Right from the magnificent opening composition Southern Point (preferred concert opener and rightly so), stunning lead single Two Weeks (the creepy video is a must see) all the way through to the fragile still-life closer that is Foreground. Harmonies that Brian Wilson would take notes from.  Repeat.

3. DM Stith

Heavy Ghost

Take Patrick Watson’s soundscapy experiments, add some falsetto Antony Hegarty come Jeff Buckey vocals, warm strings, electronic glitches blips and bells, a dash of slightly unsettling multi layered vocal arrangements and you might get an idea of what DM Stith’s debut album Heavy Ghost sounds like. I am entirely seduced. Possibly one of the most accomplished debuts ever.

2. Florence + The Machine


When I first heard Florence I was intrigued; who is this Kate Bushy vixen? The album sucks you into every song, despite the potentially off-putting variation of styles. But what all the songs have in common, whether they discuss coffins, one eyed girls, fist fights or drums, is the unabashed and irrisistible celebration of love. I think the world could do with some more colour and heartfelt drama and I think Florence is the one to do it.

1. The Maccabees

Wall of Arms

What a sneaky little gem of an album took the lead! On first listen I didn’t really take that much notice, but enough to keep it in rotation. Then, slowly but very surely, it completely won me over. This is an album full of pent-up excitement, like wanting to tell your major crush you fancy the pants off them but only just managing to keep a lid on it. Practically every song on this album is single worthy, but Young Lions, Seventeen Hands, Can You Give It, William Powers and No Kind Words I just want to lock up in a box for safekeeping.

Incidentally I was lucky enough to see both my numbers 1 and 2 live at Lowlands this year and Florence admitted she had a massive crush on Maccabees singer Orlando Weeks and could later be seen jumping around and singing along to their gig at the side of the stage.

If anyone is remotely interested to see the debris of my album list turmoil, here are the runners up in alphabetical order:

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