What a year. Let me know what I got right and wrong in the comments. What was your favorite track of 2010?
51. Quadron – Simili Life
49. Flying Lotus – Do The Astral Plane
44. !!! – The Most Certain Sure
29. The Walkmen – All My Great Designs
27. Girls – Carolina
25. Beach House – Better Times
24. Dum Dum Girls – Baby Don’t Go
23. Emeralds – Genetic
22. Deerhunter – Helicopter
20. Yeasayer – I Remember
15. Salem – Release Da Boar
10. Sleigh Bells – Kids
When I hear this song now it always takes me right back to the Summer. I played this album on repeat for weeks. Along with ceo’s “come with me” it inspired me to make a mix that is my favorite thing I’ve ever done musically (The Sun is Like a Flower). When I hear either of these songs now I anticipate what comes next on the mix. It’s a near-perfect slab of cheap bubblegum that I can’t get enough of.
9. Joanna Newsom – Does Not Suffice
I wrote about this song in a short-lived column I did in a weekly here. I will repost it now.
For me, the worth of a poet can be measured in how well they perceive and can relate the details; be they mundane, minute or simply oft overlooked. After nearly two hours into Joanna Newsom’s new album “Have One on Me,” we get the gorgeous and heartbreaking “Does Not Suffice,” a song wherein the ordinary details of a breakup become overwhelmingly poignant and incredibly affecting.
As the narrator packs her things, “I will pack all my pretty dresses/I will box up my high-heeled shoes/A sparkling ring for every finger/I’ll put away and hide from view,” she explains that while she rose to the occasion of this relationship, her companion did not, opting instead to go through the motions as she continued to give more love than she received. “It does not suffice for you to say I am a sweet girl/Or to say you hate to see me sad because of you/It does not suffice to merely lie beside each other/As those who love each other do.”
The final stanza brings into sharp focus a simple, and often unnoticed, outcome of a failed relationship, “The tap of hangers swaying in the closet/Unburdened hooks and empty drawers/And everywhere I tried to love you/Is yours again and only yours,” but before it ends, and closes the album, we get 1:20 of thrashing piano to communicate, sonically, the oncoming emotional pain.
This was a song I heard nobody talk about. I don’t know if people are unaware of it or if it did not have the same impact that it did on me. It is subtle, emotional, haunting and absolutely beautiful.
Proving that he doesn’t need Danger Mouse to have a hit, Cee-lo dropped this bomb of pure pop glee. It is possibly the most fun breakup song ever. This is what the term ear-worm was invented for.
6. LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yrself Clean
This and “Home” come up pretty close for me. They are both great but this track has a few more things going for it: 1) Possibly the greatest synth sound ever. 2) A fantastic build-up. 3)A keyboard line that I just can’t seem to memorize. These things come together to make it the LCD song I love and played the most through the year.
5. The Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
On an album full of truly great tracks this one was my immediate favorite. The day the album leaked I tweeted something like “Sprawl II is indie music’s “Heart of Glass.” And it still feels that way but in my opinion this song beats that classic. It’s the song that every time it comes on you have to turn it up, sing every word and close your eyes and dance to. It will never get old.
Short, perfect songs like this one are the types of songs that I think I appreciate the most. It somehow seems easier to write a 9 minute great song than a 3.5 minute great song. Last year, Girls’ “Lust for Life” was my favorite song.This is sort of in that vein. On the surface it is all sunshine and smiles but the heart of the song is deeply emotional and very sad.
I also covered this song in my column for InThisWeek.
With such an odd and trippy lo-fi production style, Ariel Pink, an alternative in the truest sense of the word, has traditionally been an artist with a small but loyal fan base. The emphasis seemed to be on taking pretty pop songs and burying them deep underneath all the haze and sound effects he could pile on. No longer …
“Round and Round” begins with a bit of an odd feel, a bit 70s AM radio, a bit psychedelic disco until, suddenly, the phone literally rings. It’s as if Pink finally got the call and realized he was writing great songs that people would love if only he would let the essence shine through a little bit more. Suddenly the whole song explodes into the most gorgeous sing-a-long of the year.
Apparently Pink has decided to shed a bit of the space oddity and is in fact making a more accessible record. “Round and Round” feels like the encapsulation of that initial idea and it being seen through to its conclusion. Already blogs are buzzing that this is a contender for song of the year and it just hit the Internet March 11.
2. James Blake – Limit To Your Love
James Blake put out a LOT of great music this year. “CMYK” and “Klavierwerke” (the songs) could both easily be in this spot but I found true love in this track, a cover of a Feist tune and a song that is coming out on his full length in early 2011. Every article I read about Blake talks about the space and the depth of his music. This is what I would consider the prime example of both of those traits. The keyboard and his voice initially come off as warm and inviting. Then 0:57 hits and everything you expected is shattered by the most intense bass line of the year. It wobbles hard and makes your ears hurt in the best way possible. I love his sound so much. It is unlike anything out there –alien. I would not be surprised to see his track “Wilhems Scream” at the top of my (and many other’s list) next year. He’s a man on fire.
1. Kanye West – Runaway (feat. Pusha T)
It was really easy to pick my favorite track of the year. I think we all like a story of redemption and Kanye had a year full of it. Dropping “Runaway” was a way to say, “I get it, you love or hate me. I will take both and make myself better every day for it.” A song about a man’s ability to falter, to feel regret and to admit to his mistakes.
The samples, the vocoder, the strings, THAT PIANO! It is a perfect song that will live on forever. 2010’s greatest musical gift. And let’s be honest, “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags” is the greatest lyric of the year. You will never forget it.