2012 – Number 1 – Ill Manors

Let’s all go on an urban safari…

Described by The Guardian as a track of similar significance to Ghost Town, I have to say that Plan B’s Ill Manors is one of the few songs on the list that sounds like it could only have been recorded recently, both lyrically and musically. So it’s my number 1 track of the year. See the rest of my Top Twenty here. The accompanying album of the same name is well worth checking out, a quite stunning musical cocktail featuring both Labrinth and John Cooper-Clarke, the latter perhaps being the most obvious precedent for Ben Drew’s urban social commentary.

Without a doubt it’s the most powerful song of the year, but is it reportage or glorification? Certainly it’s unlikely to change a Daily Mail readers view of the world – and might well reinforce it – but arguably as a piece of social commentary  it is as “of it’s time” as Street Fighting Man, What’s Going On, The River, White Man in the Hammersmith Palais, African Children, Between The Wars, Two Tribes or Fight The Power. Yes, 2012 was the year of the Olympics, but it was also a hard year for many in ‘Austerity Britain’…

..and so we  have reached our Final Destination. Thanks to Andy and Roy in particular who have been flying in close formation with me, posting their top 20s each day – check them out if you missed them, look underneath each days entry.  In the next couple of days, if they are OK with it,  I will compile them together as separate entries for posterity.

We may do something similar in a few months. Any thoughts on what we could rundown? Top 20 tracks of all time? But for now back to more regular blogging and not daily tweets…



6 thoughts on “2012 – Number 1 – Ill Manors

  1. I’m afraid Plan B has never really made a big impression on me, but clearly he has for a lot of people, so I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

    Right, and so on to my number 1. Another group who are no strangers to the higher echelons of my end of year lists, I thought this first single from their accurately-described fourth album “Four” was right up there with the likes of “Banquet” and “Helicopter” as one of the finest examples of indie guitar music at its best. Hope you think so too…

    As Kele would say, hope you all enjoy your “bubbling, bubbling cheap champagne” as we hurtle into yet another year. All the best for 2013. Andy M.

    1. I didn’t get ‘Four’ at all. Although ‘Octopus’ is definitely the best track on he album; I doubt it would have got anywhere near the track listing for ‘Silent Alarm’ back in the day. A band who’s mojo has defintely been mislaid.

    2. It’s an OK piece of Bloc Party, who I think have been more influential than many acknowledge. However for me I am more interested when they push the electronica button. Perhaps Kele’s solo album got that out of their system.

  2. A fine song with definite shock value but I wonder how much more powerful and influential a Strickland Banks style ‘Ill Manors’ crossing over to the mainstream, would have been ? In the early 80’s you couldn’t turn on the radio without bumping into a ‘protest’ song from a wide variety of genres – it seems that, with the honourable exception of Plan B, the youth of today have opted out of dissent in favour of consumerism. Although hardly ‘youth’ and from Canada, The Billy Talent album ‘Dead Silence’ articulates this frustration wonderfully, as well as laying into politicians and casino capitalism in general. Worth 40+ minutes of anybody’s time.

    By complete contrast my Number 1 is……

    Where pop, goth and orchestration intersect you find Flo in full flow – one of the very few, credible mainstream ‘pop’ artists today who might actually have a career beyond the lifespan of a an infirm firefly.

  3. Well that’s a surprise and no mistake. Would never have predicted this. I did get ‘What The Water Told Me’ from this album but then lost track of them until the Calvin Harris track, which I also like.

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