Top 50 Songs of 2010


25 déc. 2010, 9h33m

My top 50 songs of 2010. This list merely represents the music that I have listened to in 2010. Enjoy.

50. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Conscience Killer
"Conscience Killer" immediately hearkens back to BRMC's kickass debut, proving that the band can still rock the fuck out while producing a catchy hook and maintaining their obnoxious motorcycle gang schtick (that nobody buys). Solid tune and one of the highlights from BRMC's surprisingly above-average effort, Beat the Devil's Tattoo.

49. Erykah Badu - Window Seat
A psychedelic soul number here that spawned a nude music video of the beautiful Erykah Badu. "Window Seat" brings to mind a lot of her earlier material -- think Baduizm. There's the hypnotic singing, the seamless transitions, and ultimately the butterfly vocal climax taking you on a jazzy journey far away from Planet Earth.

48. Kings of Leon - Beach Side
One of the few rewarding tracks on the Kings' latest musical abortion, Come Around Sundown. "Beach Side" is a catchy, bass-heavy, surf rock tune. More than anything, the breakdowns here sound organic and the band creates a genuinely dark and alluring ambiance. An eerily good song on an otherwise painfully mediocre album.

47. The Morning Benders - Cold War
With that title, you would think this little ditty would produce a sound reminiscent of an underground bunker in Leningrad. Instead, "Cold War" takes you on a trip to the Caribbean, evoking coconuts, seashells, sunshine, and other miscellaneous beachy shit. It's ridiculously catchy and a shame that it's too short, clocking in at under two minutes.

46. Band of Horses - Laredo
The best example of songwriting on Infinite Arms, "Laredo" sounds like an upgraded version of "Weed Party." A fun, bouncy, alt-country rocker perfect for road trips and shit.

45. The Whigs - Automatic
A breath of fresh air on an otherwise stale album. Here, the Whigs recall the sound of their Athens brethren, R.E.M., producing an infectious, kudzu-drenched tune accompanied by stellar vocal harmonies and a strong bassline.

44. Kanye West - Devil In A New Dress
There's several great samples on Kanye's latest offering, but "Devil in a New Dress" is downright brilliant. Above a sheen of Smokey Robinson's gorgeous crooning, Kanye and Rick Ross trade verses. Somewhere, Pete Rock is jealous. +1 points for the guitar and piano breakdown.

43. Spoon - Written In Reverse
On this track, Spoon perfects the art of bringing to mind....Spoon. However, the exercise is executed with uncanny precision. The minimalist piano and sparse guitars give way to Britt Daniel at his best. Combining Daniel's abstract lyrics with the band's vocal harmonies, "Written in Reverse" coalesces into a noisy breakdown before returning to sanity. One of the most prominent highlights from Transference.

42. Cee-Lo Green - Bright Lights, Bigger City
Taking a page from the "Billie Jean" playbook, Cee-Lo manages to create his own 2010 classic courtesy of some killer synth lines and that commanding tenor. He doesn't come close to MJ, but man, are the passion and soul there.

41. Big Boi - General Patton
One of the most epic-sounding pieces of hip hop I have heard in years. Taking an Italian opera sample and some Organized-Noize style horns, Big Boi delivers a lashing, spitting pure venom. The song proceeds to break down with a rather deep-voiced fellow describing Big Boi's alter-ego Lucious Left Foot, "gliding off into the horizon, victorious." Pure OutKast magic, sans Andre. David Blaine gets +2 points here.

40. Spoon - Out Go the Lights
"Out Go The Lights" finds a contemplative Britt Daniel, itching with regret. The guitar and bass interplay is particularly impressive here, producing a dark and jagged, yet infectious soundscape.

39. Kanye West - Power
Once again, the main attraction here is the brilliant sampling, this time courtesy of one King Crimson. Kanye brings the heat with killer drums and a backing choir that hearkens back to "Jesus Walks" or "Two Words." Yet, "POWER" also exemplifies just how far Kanye has progressed from that era. The breakdown into singing and that thumping bassline are, well, dope.

38. LCD Soundsystem - I Can Change
Wildly infectious is one word to describe "I Can Change." Then again, James Murphy combines synths, drum machines, and random sound effects like few can. At the end of the day, it's the genuine passion in his falsetto that fades into one of the best hooks of 2010 that makes this one a winner.

37. Delta Spirit - 911
Taking "Summerteeth" style guitars and Matt Vazquez's distinctive vocals, the opener on Delta Spirit's newest offering proves why they are still one of the most underrated acts around. The grand-style keyboards, schizophrenic percussion, and vocal harmonies during the chorus especially hit the spot.

36. Gorillaz - Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
Gorillaz' most impressive feat has always been Albarn's ability to effortlessly collaborate with an endless array of outsiders and subsequently bring out the best in them. He doesn't quit on the new album -- Snoop Dogg makes a welcome appearance on this opener, delivering some of his sickest verses in recent memory.

35. Erykah Badu - Gone Baby, Don't Be Long
The J Dilla influence is ever-present on this song, with spacey boom-bap accompanied by slightly off-kilter percussion. Erykah Badu's vocal stylings are the icing on the cake. When she begins to sing, it's hard to resist being pulled in.

34. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
As you listen to The Suburbs, taking in its (mostly) highs and lows, one can't help but wonder when the band is going to deliver something really special. Régine Chassagne's triumphant vocals hit the spot on "Sprawl II," where she revels alongside a pulsating 80s synth. Throughout, she never loses her sense of vivaciousness or charm. The result is one of Arcade Fire's best songs since Funeral.

33. Deerhunter - He Would Have Laughed
Bradford Cox and crew's tribute to the late Jay Reatard. The band lays down a bittersweetly uplifting backdrop with killer percussion (are those congas?) and plenty of beautiful effects for Cox to deliver his dreamy, druggy, and disparate vocals. The closer to Halcyon Digest slowly takes the pieces of the first part of the song, augmenting them with hints of acoustic guitar. The result is 7-and-a-half minutes of nirvana.

32. Big Boi - Be Still
Although the synthesized keyboards and clapping percussion provide the backdrop for Big Boi's clever lyrics, it's guest star Janelle Monae that comes away with the prize on "Be Still." Her gorgeous, hypnotic vocals are nothing short of stunning and blend in perfectly with the production. +3 points for the "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" style breakdown at the end, accompanied by a hint of beautiful piano. Big Boi's latest album may be a solo affair, but he certainly has not forgotten his roots.

31. Crystal Castles - Pap Smear
A rendition of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" on ecstasy. Alice Glass' seductive vocals provide the perfect compliment to this song's backdrop -- a stark mix of infectious snyths, thumping bass, and a chorus consisting of glitchy, stuttering industrial sound effects. In 2010, few songs are as mysteriously catchy.

30. Dr. Dog - Where'd All The Time Go
One of the most evocative and prettiest songs written this year. There's plenty of influences to cull here. Yet, none hits home harder than when Scott McMicken and the rest of the band nail this song's gorgeous chorus -- in perfect stride -- recalling The Zombies' masterpiece Odessey & Oracle. Revisionist 60s pop at its finest.

29. Gorillaz - Some Kind of Nature
Lou Reed. Really, who'd a thunk it? Trading vocal duties with Damon Albarn, together they produce a happy-go-lucky, smile-inducing pop wonder.

28. John Legend & The Roots - Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be)
Behind a groovy reggae backdrop -- courtesy of The Roots -- John Legend croons and wails, delivering a fine redux of the original by Prince Lincoln Thompson And The Royal Rasses. An album of mostly obscure soul covers and a couple originals, Wake Up! was one of the year's most pleasantly unexpected surprises.

27. Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You
2010's "Hey Ya." Not only is this the most infectious song ever to include the F-Bomb in the chorus -- I certainly can't think of anything that one-ups it at the moment. More than anything, Cee-Lo's raw passion and vocal range are absolutely ridiculous. When he hits the "I pity the fool" line, it's hard to not to get shivers up your spine. Or want to sing along. A grand tune.

26. Deerhunter - Helicopter
High over a sea of handclap percussion and watery sound effects, Bradford Cox' vocals produce dreamy soundscapes. The result is one of the highlights from Halcyon Digest -- the band's best album to-date.

25. Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
Win Butler and company perfectly capture the sound of chugging train, bustling city, and general movement on this number. Far more effectively than "Keep the Car Running," anyway. Perhaps the best moment on Arcade Fire's new album.

24. The Black Keys - The Only One
Dan Auerbach's voice gets downright haunting and seductive on "The Only One." Teaming up with a blues riff, organ, and Pat Carney's steady drumming, he delivers a genuine Black Keys classic.

23. Beach House - Silver Soul
On "Silver Soul," Victoria Legrand plays her role of siren seductress with pure class. When her captivating vocals pull you in, its hard to shift away as she careens down a dark, but always brightly lit path.

22. Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
Anybody who's ever felt like shit at one point or another will easily relate to Dr. Dog's latest closing salvo on the album of the same name. Musically, "Shame, Shame" brings to mind George Harrison, but its the perfect blend of musical prowess with lyrical wits that show that Dr. Dog is no gimmick revivalist band. They're a talented bunch with the potential to match, if not one-up their 60s influences. Will they ever accomplish it? Doubtful. But the ride will be fun, that's to be sure. +4 points for the epic bridge.

21. The Black Keys - Tighten Up
Overplayed? Yes. Overrated? No. A sick guitar riff accompanies Auerbach's whistling and vocals throughout the song, as he wallows his way through another Black Keys classic. That killer breakdown about three-quarters is impossible to resist.

20. Sleigh Bells - Rill Rill
Shades of M.I.A. are sure to enter your brain upon first listen. Yet, given time this song slowly reveals its subtle quirks and complexity. This song is 2010 in lyrics, with allusions to technology throughout. The spacey vibe, circular guitars, serve as a perfect compliment to cheerleader chanting and muddled sound effects of a certain suggestive variety. Pure sex.

19. Drive-By Truckers - This Fucking Job
A southern rocker with a vicious guitar riff. Patterson Hood has always been the least metaphoric and most candid of the Truckers' triumvirate of songwriters, usually to my dismay. Here though, his allusions to the struggles of the poor and unemployment are incredibly vivid. Frustration and angst with economic and political conditions are ever-present on this working-class anthem. In 2010, few songs, if any, manage to capture the feeling of the recession like this one.

18. Deerhunter - Revival
An eclectic number here that slowly elevates into triumph. Bradford Cox sounds bodacious and happy as ever, hitting a glorious climax, before a swift descent into misery (extending through "Sailing"). Even if it's an anti-revival of sorts, it's still an eargasm of a song.

17. Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
The most welcome debut band of this year delivers on "Solitude is Bliss," an upbeat pop song about getting lifted, complete with an awesome chorus. Keep your ears peeled(?) for that ridiculous bassline at the two-minute mark.

16. LCD Soundsystem - Drunk Girls
Drunk girls wait an hour to pee

Featuring some killer percussion and an awesome call-and-response routine, "Drunk Girls" is instantly infectious. But it's James Murphy's high-pitched coked-out vocals and candid lyrics here that steal the show. The man tells it like it is. Awesome video, too.

15. The Walkmen - Woe Is Me
Now the street light, bright and pale
As we sip our ginger ale
Kiss you by the blinking sign
Don't be heavy, let's be light

Take the Walkmen's signature circular guitars, add a hint of Jamaican dub and the result is one of the most addictive riffs that the Strokes never wrote. And man, those drums! "Woe is Me" finds Hamilton Leithauser at ease; his mild manner is a welcome change from the typically dark and depressed characters he conveys. Here, he fondly recalls his experience with the girl of his dreams. Even if it only lasted a night. +5 points for a groovy vintage piano breakdown and ginger ale reference.

14. The Roots - Right On
It's the Orion of the Hop
The new star of the Hip
I shine a light for the future, so my presence a gift

The Roots have been on the grind for over 20 years, making classic albums and never receiving the motherfucking love they deserve. They continue to push the proverbial hip hop envelope on "Right On," a spacey and chilled-out number featuring a brilliant Joanna Newsom sample. If there's one word to describe this song, it's "organic." Despite taking a number of synthetic elements, ?uestlove's production manages to create a new, beautiful, and vibrant pastiche for Black Thought and STS for rap over.

13. Crystal Castles - Celestica

Putting this on, I feel like I'm in a Mitsubishi car commercial circa 2005. "Celestica" carries the token Crystal Castles futuristic tone, full of crazy glitches and pulsating synths. Yet, it's the perfectly-timed sound explosions (electronic cymbals?) that set this track apart.

12. The Black Keys - Never Gonna Give You Up
Never gonna give you up
No matter how you treat me
Never gonna give you up
So don't you think of leavin'

Dan Auerbach's soulful side has always been a staple of the Black Keys' success, but never during their career has he shined the way he does on this brilliant Jerry Butler cover. Evocative and catchy, Auerbach has built his career on reviving the retro, but rarely has he sounded so genuine -- on a cover, no less.

11. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Bright Lit Blue Skies
What is this thing
I call my mind?

A delicious dose of 60s revisionist pop characterizes "Bright Light Blue Skies," complete with a disturbed, yet always groovin' Ariel Pink (on some sort of trip) alongside some kickass guitars. You gotta love how the song spontaneously takes a left-field turn in (un)predictable Ariel Pink fashion at 1:38 before returning to Earth for a final victory lap.

10. Kanye West - All of the Lights
Restraining order
Can't see my daughter
Her mother, brother, grandmother hate me in that order

Never before has Kanye West executed a song from beginning to end with such uncanny precision. A ridiculously catchy chorus courtesy of Kanye and Rihanna is only augmented by triumphant horns and the BEST drum sample Kanye has pulled to-date. Unbelievable drums. The brief Bone Thugs-style intermission at 3 minutes, followed by Rihanna's verse serve as perfect supplements to already infectious tune. In terms of songwriting and structure from the bottom-up, Kanye has never successfully pulled off anything as intricate.


9. Tame Impala - It Is Not Meant to Be
And I boast that it is meant to be
But in all honesty
I don't have a hope in hell
I'm happy just to watch her move

Upon recommendation (I see you...Rebecca, Kolin), I decided to check these guys out. Needless to say, I was hooked from the first 10 seconds I heard this song. The distortion effortlessly weaves into of the greatest basslines in years. The bass is slick and stylish, but always forceful. Ultimately, it's the genuine psychedelic and atmospheric sound that Tame Impala creates on their debut's opener that is truly captivating. This band knows how to take you on a trip. Musical bliss.

8. John Legend & The Roots - Compared to What
The president, he's got his war
The folks don't know just what's it's for
And nobody gives us rhyme or reason
You have one doubt, they call it treason

For all of their talent, The Roots' musical abilities have often been overlooked, in spite of serving as a backing band for some of this era's most lauded soul efforts (see D'Angelo's "Voodoo" or Erykah Badu's "Mama's Gun"). On Wake Up! they finally get the chance to shine, but never brighter than on "Compared to What." A silky smooth bassline provides the backdrop for John Legend's hapless-sounding and impassioned cries. Legend and the Roots sound authentically disturbed but that doesn't stop them from delivering a seductive brand of pure 60s soul and jazz. Originally performed by Les McCann and Eddie Harris, ?uestlove and co. manage to reconstruct the song into a fresh number. The frustrated lyrics here are especially eerie, sounding just as relevant today as they did 40+ years ago.

7. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
Don't you want me to wake up
Then give me just a bit of your time
Arguments are made for make-ups
So give it just a little more time

A slow build-up into one of the coolest dance songs in years. The synth work on this song is excellent and James Murphy delivers his brand of abstract lyrics with those incredible pipes. This one got stuck in my head immediately. What a tune.

6. The Morning Benders - Excuses
I made an excuse
You found another way to tell the truth
I put no one else above us.
We'll still be best friends when all turns to dust

Some neat percussion and a full orchestral backdrop on this one. From the first second they kick in, Chris Chu's impassioned vocals truly soar; he has a likable voice that only adds to the tune's infectiousness. Not to mention the kickass bridge of vocal harmonies that this track coalesces into. A much cooler song about sex than say, Akon's "I Wanna Fuck You." I linked a really cool live session featured on Pitchfork below...not only does Chu murk this song, the 20 people doing vocal harmonies are great.

5. Deerhunter - Desire Lines
Walking free
Come with me
Far away

Often overshadowed by Bradford Cox, Lockett Pundt revels in his finest moment to-date as an axillary vocalist. A double-axe attack of guitars and sheen of hazy atmospherics provide the perfect compliments to Pundt's droning and hypnotic vocals that peak and trough at a seemingly flawless tempo. The layering soundscapes shift repeatedly here; a luscious arpeggio of guitars bursts out of the song's conventional structure. This is Deerhunter at their best.

4. Beach House - Walk in the Park
In a matter of time, it would slip from my mind
In and out of my life, you would slip from my mind
In a matter of time

The Beach House brand of psychedelic twilight chamber pop is almost always hypnotic, but they yet to produce anything that epitomizes their sound as successfully as "Walk in the Park" (although "Gila" comes close). Victoria Legrand's siren calls rise to magnificent heights as she reminisces about grand old times and people who have slipped out of her life. Whether she's referring to friendship or death is slightly beyond my range of meta-analysis. However, Legrand in conjunction with a gorgeous, dreamy ambiance speak for themselves. Powerful stuff.

3. The Walkmen - Angela Surf City
I used to see the signs
Now I dream of the time
I was holding onto you
For a lack of anything to do

Matt Barrick seldom receives the credit he deserves for his ridiculous skills (see "The Rat" or "Little House of Savages"), but that doesn't stop him from unleashing a beast of percussion on "Angela Surf City," the Walkmen's latest masterwork. Of course, no great Walkmen song is complete without a quality performance from Hamilton Leithauser who arguably delivers the greatest vocal performance of his career. Behind pulsating drums and the Walkmen's now-signature circular guitar sound, you feel the frustration and angst within Leithauser build up until he cannot resist letting loose. And let loose he does. His impassioned cries are nothing short of stunning, as he recalls failures in past relationships. He's lost his share of battles, but don't count on him quitting anytime soon.

2. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Round and Round
Hold on, I'm calling, calling back to the ball
And we'll dazzle them all, hold on

Taking a kaleidoscope of 70s and early 80s sounds - Bowie-esque vocals, a Hall & Oates bassline, Ariel Pink gives us a phenomenal piece of groovy, retro dance pop. In typical fashion, Ariel Pink meanders through an eclectic array of melodies before delivering one of the most infectious, epic, and smile-inducing choruses in years. In line with his 70s influences, he provides the greatest chorus ELO never wrote.

1. Big Boi - Shine Blockas
I'm on my grind shawty
Don't block my shine shawty

In 2010, no other song exemplifies James Dean, 3D glasses, silly-band, cocaine-cool like "Shine Blockas." With Teddy Pendergrass' cries providing the backdrop for Big Boi's mischief, he delivers a modern hip hop classic courtesy of the best soul sample (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes) in years -- at least the best since U.G.K.'s "International Players Anthem." Gucci Mane serves as a perfect foil and Big Boi's partner-in-crime. The gorgeous xylophones, the scratching, the background vocal effects....everything comes together with an Ebola-level of infectiousness providing a perfect mixture of jubilation and braggadocio.


  • bernardorq

    Where r the other 30? The list is great til now

    26 déc. 2010, 20h20m
  • Bartik0

    beat you. and only 5 in common of the 40 you have so far. though lots of similar artists

    28 déc. 2010, 23h06m
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