TEN SONGS TO SOOTHE CHRISTMAS, HEARTBREAK AND OTHER PAINS

1. Propaganda | Heaven Give Me Words (Honey In Heaven)
Like a child before it learns to speak, I turn to stone... While everyone expected another secret wish people simply overlooked how brilliant 1-2-3-4 was - and how could you go wrong having an arranger like Michael Mertens, William Orbit at the mixing controls and Howard Jonas as a co-writer? Although I understand that Claudia Bruecken's vocal contributions were missed, I really like Betsy Miller's performance as well...

2. Jonny L l 2 Of Us (EP Version)
Here, two of us, even though I'm on my own... Back then we used to think of d'n'b as the sound of today - and still by now it's impossible to ignore that the genre has spawned a vast amount of tracks that still sound just as exciting almost fifteen years on. This is one of them - in fact, because of its beautiful chords and delicate melodies this song would work with almost any kind of arrangement. However, having Jonny L's crisp production on board certainly is a most welcome bonus.

3. Cosa Rosa | In Meinen Armen
Deine Augen sind grün, das Meer könnte nicht grüner sein... I love Reinhold Heil's production and sound design and Rosa Precht's unmistakeable ability to create mesmerizing melodies and vocal harmonies. The fascinating synergy of this amazing couple can be witnessed here...

4. Étienne Daho | L'Adorer
Avant que ses baisers ne deviennent couteaux, que ses bouquets de fleurs ne me fassent la peau, désadorer l'adorer... It's always hard to believe for me that this is not a cover - I guess only in France people are still recording pop music of such quality and emotional depth...

5. Luke Slater | Love (Album Version)
This may as well be the most romantic techno track ever recorded - even by Luke Slater's high standards (i'm a fan of his 7th Plain releases in particular) the chord changes are outstanding - who says dance tracks can't make you cry?



6. The Fred Banana Combo | Nowhere Bei Mir
You're not near, you're not far and it's nowhere bei mir where you are... Nicolle Meyer... The 80's seem to have left a particular legacy of songs describing feelings of despair and isolation - this is a good (although less known) example. Don't get scared off by the band name - an almost shockingly contemporary sounding piece of music.

7. Prefab Sprout | Life Of Surprises
You don't have to pretend you're not crying... Lennon? McCartney? Bacharach? David? If you'd ask me who the greatest songwriter was I'd always go for Paddy McAloon. It's hard to make any choices given the overwhelming amount of timeless pop music he's created - however, this one somehow's always been my favourite...

8. Leona Naess | True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston Cover)
Don't be sad, I know you will... A heartbreakingly beautiful song already in its initial state - somehow Leona Naess has mastered the impossible task of improving even the original - still hoping for an official release just as much as we may be hoping for true love...

9. Quartz | It's Too Late (feat. Dina Carroll) (Carole King Cover)
Something inside has died and I can't hide... Another great cover - probably not necessarily improving the original, but delivering a unique and sensitive take. Furthermore, Dina Carroll's incredible voice never fails to send shivers down the spine...

10. Bonnie Raitt | Nick Of Time
No matter how you tell yourself it's what we all go through, those eyes are pretty hard to take when they're staring back at you... This seemed a good ending to the selection - it's a deeply comforting piece of music - while lyrically it doesn't obscure or even ignore the reality of things, the stoically moving groove and the warm chords provide with just enough hope...