I’m back with my absolute favorite songs of this year!
I was not in America for half the year, so I’ll admit that I wasn’t on my A game with respects to the latest and greatest on the airwaves… feel free to argue with me (although praise would be nice, too).
Charts, reviews, and Pitchfork aside, this is what I was listening to on repeat in 2010…
25. Throwing Shade - Abe Vigoda
I like how chaotic this feels, it sort of had to grow on me to be honest. I threw it on a playlist and noticed that every time it cycled back to this song, it stood out in a great way. I don’t think it’s catchy, which is more than half the reason why I listen to it.
24. Get Some - Lykke Li (Beck Remix)
This little Swedish lark is adorable and equally fierce. Beck’s remix of ‘Get Some’ hits and bounces and hits again. At first I didn’t love ‘Get Some,’ released as the first sneak peak from her anticipated Wounded Rhymes (due in March, along with new Bright Eyes and the Strokes, what a beautiful month it will be), but the remix really brings out the best of it. And those provocative lyrics… Lykke Li, as if you didn’t have the male race wrapped around your finger tightly enough.
23. Don’t Leave My Mind - Azure Ray
Azure Ray is a pair soft-singing, glowing girls who’ve made appearances on a good handful of Bright Eyes albums. This song off of Drawing Down the Moon is slow-moving and romantic, but sad, too.
22. Stranded - The Walkmen
The Walkmen’s _Bows + Arrows _has been a top album in my life, and while I’m loyal to their sort of crashing-sounds-meets-ragtime, I really like the pace of this song. The horns compliment Hamilton Leithauser’s dipping and pulling vocals.
21. Used to Be - Beach House
It was hard to chose between this song and Norway, but ultimately, the subtle bounciness of ‘Used to Be’ tends to conduct the rhythmic patterns of my heart beat, and that’s pretty awesome. If there ever were to be a ghost that haunts my house, I’d let it stay if it howls about like the hyaline voice of Victoria Legrand.
20. Solitude is Bliss- Tame Impala
The beginning of this song reminds me of a car commercial, and that just ties into the band’s name so well - what’s not to love? It’s a nice and upbeat display of their psychedelic rock, something that moves enough to keep it from becoming stale.
19. We No Speak Americano - Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
I first heard this song at Otto Zutz, a club in Barcelona that hosted Loco Lunes (‘Crazy Mondays’). It’s a night of dancing to either really old American Music or new-enough hits. I thought this was some random Italian swing music, which is true to an extent, but it actually blew up in every European club. It’s bass-catchy and fun, and it reminds me of being out at 6 a.m. in the streets of Barcelona.
18. The Other Side of Your Face - Twin Sister
The build-up in this song is near perfect. Then the voice comes in, a sort of nasally and intimate female vocal, and I’m instantly sold. Can you really go wrong with pretty harmonies and reverb-y noise? Well, yeah, of course you can, but this song nails it.
17. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
The sadness of these lyrics are put on a really triumphant backdrop, a paradoxical tactic I tend to fall for in songs. I love the deepness of Matt Berninger’s voice, always have and always will.
16. Art House Director - Broken Social Scene Choosing from this album was difficult, runners-up include: Texico Bitches, All to All, Meet Me in the Basement, and Sentimental X’s. This song is genious from beginning to end - the wobbly beginning, the overall liveliness (I’m a sucker for brass, what can I say), and the signature BSS random-sounds exit.
15. Tighten Up - Black Keys
I plain and simply love the Black Keys. I love them even more when their edgy rock flirts with blues (also applicable when their rock makes love with blues, listen to ‘Stack Shot Billy’ from Rubber Factory). It’s a love-at-first-listen song, but again, it was hard to choose from this album. Listen to all of Brothers if you haven’t already.
14. Tell ‘Em - Sleigh Bells
So energetic! A few bangs, a lot of synth, and a strange echo of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock version of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ (listen for it, you’ll hear it). Sleigh Bells produces such an impressive amount of sound for just two people. Fun facts: Derek Miller used to be the guitarist of Poison the Well and Alexis Krauss was on a Nickelodeon Magazine commercial as a kid.
13. Despicable Dogs - Small Black “Do it without me, do it when I’m gone,” that’s what singer/innovator Josh Kolenick is droning in the chorus; even if you don’t quite remember the order of the words, with one listen to ‘Despicable Dogs,’ you’ll be singing this line over and over again… kind of like how moms improvise trigger words from the radio. It’s dull and static, with that submarine-ding guitar in the background… things I simply love.
12. Bang Bang Bang - Mark Ronson (feat. MNDR & Q-Tip)
MNDR has come to play with the big boys, and Amanda Warren has shown she can play tough. This song is a single off of Mark Ronson’s third album Record Collection. The feature artists are the ones that really got me to press play, so it was surprising to hear this isn’t Mark Ronson’s typical work. Sometimes change is good, even great, and this is true for ‘Bang Bang Bang,’ a hard-hitting, gyrating-your-hips, in-your-face rock out of a song.
**11. We Ah Wi - Javelin
This song would come on and I’d forget what it was. Then about 15-seconds later the little beat would march its way in, and I’d be so happy that ‘We Ah Wi’ found its way to my ears again. Maybe I was sucker to the surf rock sound that captivated the alt rock world this summer, but I think this song is sort of beautiful in its own electric wave way. **
10. World News - Local Natives
Sometimes you all you need is a little folky song featuring do-do-dos and oh-oh-ohs to brighten your day. Of course it’s sentimental, of course it’s about a girl, and of co_c_urse it has gang vocals. What’s great is how tall it stands above all those other indie archetypes.
9. Binge - Gorillaz (feat. Little Dragon)
I have a sick obsession with sad love songs, and this one may take the cake. Little Dragon’s breathy Yukimi Nagano (Swedish-Japanese, even the most somber indie flicks couldn’t cast a girl so cool) has such a heavy effect against the desperate voice of 2D, which is impressive because his vocals are about as stiff as a brick. What’s more is the perfect fit of the song’s drowsy optimism, it somehow so easily supports all this weight.
8. Marathon - Tennis
Past the second verse I have not a clue as to what she’s saying, but this song is so charming and appropriately dated-sounding. Tennis is a married couple - Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley (dear Lord, how adorable, right?), and I remember hearing something about them sailing the seas making music out of simplistic instruments and love. Melt my heart, soul, and entire being. Then kindly put me in a bucket so I can still listen to this song and believe in true love.
7. VCR - The xx (Matthew Dear Remix)
AS IF THIS SONG COULD GET ANY BETTER? IT DID! What a beautiful thing - a remix so masterful that it could be the original. It doesn’t rob the original of its slow intimacy, instead it dons it with a pair of lacy black underwear and calls it a night. Seductive meets tasteful, like Zooey Deschanel.
6. For Ash - Marnie Stern
I’ve never heard of Marnie Stern before, and oddly I never really looked into more of Marnie Stern after falling in love with ‘For Ash,’ maybe for fear I wouldn’t like the other songs as much. It’s like tribal Animal Collective, or picture the little choir chaps in_ Lord of the Flies _collaborating on some island-chaos genre. I’m unsure of how to describe this song without literary references, maybe that means I shouldn’t blog about music anymore; let me know if you can do any better.
5. Dance Yrself Clean - LCD Soundsystem
I hope people are smiling and nodding at this pick due to its undebatable delightfulness. Unless you’re thinking, “Yeah, but what about ‘Home’?”** **That’s 100% valid, it was hard to chose between the two. ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ is a group activity - you’re with some friends in the car listening to this song, all waiting for the wild breakdown part so you can go berserk, and then post-car ride, you all falsetto scream, “So go and dance yourself cleeeeaaan, aaaahhhhh” like some odd twitch.
4. Ambling Alp - Yeasayer
Yeasayer got my attention at Bonnaroo before I even knew who they were. It’s nothing short of impressive when a band can keep you dancing and bopping around regardless of prior exposure. Their poppy-polyphonic ridiculousness glitters all over this song like a big blanket of Yeasayer wrapped around your senses. Makes you feel like you can do anything, how encouraging! Thanks, guys!
3. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire
When this songs hits me at the right moment, I feel like could cry. Sometimes I do. This album was perfection in its own right, and ‘Sprawl II’ wavers in all of its sounds and rhythms, but ultimately comes out solid and powerful. Regine Chassagne (another band with a married duo!) has a voice like an angel, but in this song it’s so uncompromising and graceful, it’s hard to justly compare it to anything.
2. Mouthful of Diamonds - Phantogram Every single moment is my favorite part. It’s wonderfully intimate and sincere; Sarah Barthel’s voice softly rides the surface of the lush waves and undertows of this song. The layered blips and beats pull you around until you’re a mess, then you find some sanctuary in the purring calm that exists in it all. Get invested in this, it’s a beautiful thing.
1. Goldskull - Miniature Tigers
And an underdog wins again! First deemed my summer jam, it crept its way into all my subsequent playlists and mixed CDs for friends. I wanted to wake up to its sunshine every morning and fall asleep to its dreaminess every night, I wanted my friends to hear it so we could dance together. It’s poppy and catchy, flashy yet dynamic; everything I’ve ever wanted in a song (marry me?)!
Miniature Tigers has been around for some time now, but finally grabbed some eyes and ears when Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo (currently in Helsinki working away on a new LP) helped to produce this song. An all night session and out came this sparkling gem. Put it on loud, dance around, sing a little and shake away the December blues. This song is the remedy to all things bad!
That’s a wrap! Hope you revisited some old favorites or can make room for some last minute loves before the year ends. So what did I miss??
See you next year with another 25 songs!