8. Hot Chip – One Night Stand
I’ve known for a long time
You are my love life
Why can’t I be bright like my lover’s light?
– Hand Me Down Your Love
One of my problems with electronica, and dance music, for years was the bad lyrics. In the last five years, some fantastic pioneers have broken the mould, bringing fantastic lyrics, and original written voices to a genre mainly designed for the body.
I harp on this because it’s still new ground, and I am thinking this is the first really dorky lovey dovey dance album – with no irony. And it’s great.
I guess Hot Chip were always a bit bratty. Songs about wrestling and fighting, dressing up as the Joker in film clips – they were great at being the frat rock nerds of electronica. In a lot of ways, it’s quite Ben Folds Five or Beck.
And just like how all comedians can also play drama, these smartasses showed that they could put the jokes away and make something honestly affecting. And still danceable.
Just try and not get caught up in the fantastic opening track Thieves In the Night. Four on the floor rhythm and the prettiest melody you’ve ever heard – sung by Alex Taylor, who has a gift of a voice. And the hook – “happiness is what we all want”, is as direct and honest as anything ever said in pop.
Having loved this band for a while, this thematic left turn is so very, very fucking cool. It’s like you’ve been flirting and joking with a girl for ages, and then you actually find yourself alone, talking about life, the universe and everything. It’s a headspin, in the best way.
The love-in continues throughout the album. One Life Stand is, as the title suggests, a statement of commitment. Love for family and other band mates are covered in Alley Cats and Brothers. In fact, it’s quite interesting how un-sexual this album is. If they took away the beats it could almost be a Lionel Ritchie album.
More excitingly is this album had some genuine hits. It also had some great film clips, and a great live show. This band is only growing, and people love them. I’ve had dozens of great conversations with this people about this album. How we loved it. That voice. The big swooping melodies. The beats. And the love. It was their year.
Hot Chip were never going to be rock stars, in a Poison/The Strokes sense. They’re the smartass nerds. Who turned out to be hopeless romantics. And as it’s my top ten, that sentiment really hit me this year. Time to grow up, and stop pissing about. it came out at the start of the year and I feel it helped set the pace of 2010 for me.
Three albums in and these guys are better than ever. I can’t wait for number 4.
Best tracks: Thieves In the Night, One Life Stand, I Feel Better
Official site – Hot Chip
On top of everything said above – this is probably the film clip of the year