Florence & the Machine feat. Dizzee Rascal – “You Got the Dirtee Love” – (2010)

Florence & the Machine pretty much rock as is. At the 2010 BRIT Awards, they performed their song “You Got the Love” live but it featured Dizzee Rascal’s song “Dirtee Cash” intertwined with theirs. This version of the song was only performed a few other times but it did sell over 250,000 copies and hit #2 on the U.K. charts. Florence Welch can really belt out lyrics – Dolores O’Riordan-style. The mash-up between these two is pretty good – Dizzee Rascal can spit a rap like few others. He had quite the summer as he will be featured on this European countdown-type thing once more in a few weeks.

Example – “Won’t Go Quietly” – (2010)

Example is a British rapper – but he doesn’t look like a rapper. He kind of reminds me of Screech. The song is a catchy, electronica-based pop song with decipherable lyrics – all with a European-bent. For whatever reason, this song probably wouldn’t have had much – if any – success in America (it didn’t – it probably wasn’t released in the U.S.) but I see no reason why not. When sung, the lyrics don’t have any sort of accent – something that seems to turn off American listeners. Everything about it says “this is going to get stuck in your head.” But whatever, I don’t get paid if it does well in America. And I like having some catchy songs to introduce to people that they haven’t heard.

Oasis – “Don’t Look Back in Anger” – (1995)

Well I figured since I was still on “London” that I had to include something from Oasis, as I count them as the quintessential “British band” of the last 20 years (sorry, Jamiroquai). As you’ll notice by the date of Monday’s post, I was in London on the 4th of July. I saw once instance of fireworks but that was it. It was tempting to buy an American flag and go running around town but I figured that by this point they’d probably be pretty happy to have gotten rid of the U.S. I had to pick an Oasis song because it was the one band that I kept listening to in the U.K., but since I’ve already covered “Wonderwall” on our 90s countdown, I went for another big single from What’s the Story (Morning Glory)? (although I almost went for “Lyla”). I find the song to be a mix of “Wonderwall” and “Stop Crying Your Heart Out,” the latter of which I’ve seen described as an “epic weepy” and this is kind of the same thing. The “So Sally can wait” portion of the chorus is quite the hook. Very good song.

La Roux – “Bulletproof” – (2009)

If you ignore that haircut you just might be able to enjoy this song. It’s sooo catchy but I hated it at first – because I saw the music video, which more or less horrified me (you’ll notice I did not include the music video below… mostly because Polydor won’t let me). But I grew to love it. It was a Top 10 in the U.S. and a #1 in the U.K. – and rightfully so. There is something decidedly English about this song. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s “electropop” and electropop isn’t something that U.S. really embraces anymore (not since the 80s anyway). Listening to it, even her voice has a very synthetic quality about it (probably because it was run through an auto-tuner) but the way she says “bulletproof” can really hook you in. Love it.

Coldplay– “Life in Technicolor” – (2008)

I had always preferred “Life in Technicolor II,” the vocal version from Prospekt’s March EP to this, the instrumental version. But that changed when I bought my ticket to ride the London Eye. It came with a ticket for the “4D Experience” – which was some video you sat through with 3D glasses and stuff. The video that they showed really stuck with me – especially because this Coldplay song was playing and it really gave a sense of amazement or power or something (the 4D video is below and “Life in Technicolor” is the second song within it). I miss London.

The Beatles – “Something” – (1969)

I figured I needed a Beatles song on here and was going to go with one of many, but then realized that the song had to be from Abbey Road. I was on my own when I went to try and find the real Abbey Road crosswalk and studios. I exited St. John’s Wood Tube station and instead of just kind of going straight (the correct way – I didn’t have a map or GPS) I bore to the left and ended up wondering around a very nice part of town. I saw what was probably the automotive highlight of my trip just as I was finding the famous crosswalk (a Ferrari 250GT Lusso). Also, much thanks to the lady in the nearby park who tried to point me in the right direction. The walls outside the studio are covered in handwritten fan messages – a testament to the lasting power of The Beatles. Earlier that day I was sitting in Regent’s Park on a Sunday (which was actually the 4th of July) watching people go about their lives while I listened to The Beatles. It was surreal. “Something” was one of the songs written by George Harrison (it has that distinct George Harrison-feel to it). It’s a beautiful song and one of the best that The Beatles ever did.

Plan B – “She Said” – (2010)

Seemingly every Tube station in London had giant posters for The Defamation of Strickland Banks – the second album from London-based rapper Plan B – the entire time I was in London. The song sounds like it’s being sung by two different people but it’s not and when I first saw the music video I was like “Whoa, that is not what I was expecting him to look like. I remember catching the video a few times on TV, at least once in the U.K. and again in Italy. The song is just plain good. Also, recently I watched the movie Harry Brown with Michael Caine and Plan B (or Ben Drew) played the tough punk kid. He was very convincing in that role.

Lily Allen – “LDN” – (2006)

“Sun is in the sky oh why, oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?” That’s the question Lily poses throughout the song and she’s right. London is amazing and I wish I was still there. I was really hoping to just be walking down the street in London and have Lily Allen walk by… because she’s awesome (and gorgeous). “LDN” might not be her best song but it’s still pretty good and it’s all about the town – but not in a good way. It paints this pretty picture with a chipper beat but every happy lyrics takes a turn and people that at first appear to be just hanging out are actually drug dealers. Which is something I experienced. Maybe I’m just glorifying the city in my mind because I enjoyed myself so thoroughly, but then I remember walking to my hotel in Canning Town and there are people just chilling on the street corners and then we heard a siren in the distance and everyone that was just standing around all went running down an alley so the cop driving by wouldn’t see them. Nice. I’d still go back in an instant.

Professor Green feat. Ed Drewett – “I Need You Tonight” – (2010)

Generally speaking, I really don’t like rappers taking pop songs from the past and just rapping over them. It’s not original. Write your own music. That said, I love this song. That has a lot to do with INXS being able to write incredibly catchy hooks and some to do with the really cool accented rapping from Professor Green. I found this song on the U.K. singles chart before I left for Europe and I found myself listening to it on the train to London. It’s quite British – I don’t think the song has ever been played on American radio but it was a top 5 in the U.K.