We reach double figures with the recommendation of the keeper of Parallax View, Dead Kenny:
Tina Dico - Losing
Although I could have dredged my vinyl collection for obscure b-sides by the likes of The Edsel Auctioneer, The Telescopes and The Popguns that would have been very worthy of your attention, I have no clue as to how to convert these to mp3, so in a departure from the convention already set by my collaborators on this feature, I'm going for a song that actually came out (in the UK, at any rate) this year.
Not being minded to do any in-depth biographical research these are the facts about Tina Dico I know: she's Danish, in her late twenties, devastatingly pretty, is hugely popular and award-winning in her native country yet best known elsewhere for her vocal contributions to some Zero 7 songs. Oh, and somewhere along the line she lost a W from her surname in translation.
Losing is the first song I ever heard from her, and is the self-proclaimed 'dark, but hooky' opening tune from her solo album In The Red. It was one of those occasions when you hear a song on the radio and hunt it down immediately from Amazon, so maybe there's a chance it'll have the same impact on you. The opening piano notes seemingly act as bell tolls, immediately setting up a tense atmosphere before Dico's vocals kick in with the intriguing opening lines "how many lies have you told today/into the dark of your coffee cup?" She has a warm, bold, yet vulnerable voice (there's a sprinkling of Dusty perhaps and more than a hint of Rita Coolidge) which is unusually distinctive for such a conventionally attractive woman of petite frame.
Lyrically the song seems to be something of a break-up song, a slightly bitter lament of a (former?) lover's lapse into self-deception and betrayal which is elliptical enough to suggest there may be autobiographical elements contained therein. Musically, I have to concede it undeniably has to be classed as MOR, but the string arrangements and additional programming (courtesy of Dave McCracken) add a cinematic splendour and unsettling edginess respectively to Dico's hurt and recrimination. The result is a timeless gem with a cracking chorus, that acts as a fine introduction to her work. Good for singing along to in the shower, too.