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My favorite single of 2011 so far is Charli XCX’s “Stay Away,” a downer powerhouse with cavernous drums, lyrics that straddle the gap between brokenhearted and surly, and a storming chorus. Last month the British singer released the followup to “Stay,” and it’s a fine match for the first day of November and the temperature dips that are imminent; called “Nuclear Seasons,” it has similarly grand ambitions, a blown-out FM radio speaker feel, some pretty excellent usage of synchronized “ahhh”-ing, and a pre-chorus that pays a very direct homage to Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” Listen below.
You can get a free download of “Nuclear Seasons” at Charli XCX’s official site; there’s also an eight-minute remix of the track by Brooklyn-based producer William Rauscher (dba Night Plane) on Pitchfork today. (I tend to be somewhat remix-averse, because there are just too many of them out there these days; we all have to manage our information overload somehow. But your mileage may vary!)
And for good measure, here’s “Stay Away,” because it really is a monster of a track that ran away with my “most played song of 2k11” title almost immediately after I first heard about it (from, I think, Sasha Frere-Jones) a few months back: