Monday, December 27, 2010
The Playlist: 55 Favorite Songs of 2010, 41-55
After a short holiday break, we've reached the last chapter of my list of 2010 song picks. There's no doubt about it, the final fifteen were the hardest to finalize, and I've been editing and re-editing my choices, trying to not simply focus on the repeat artists whose songs were legitimately my favorites, but also on variety, and the musicians who managed to surprise me the most. If you've been holding your tongue before attacking me on my exclusion of The National, worry not, we've reached that point. If you've missed the previous chapters, find part I here and part II here.
41. JONSI / "ANIMAL ARITHMETIC" - If Icelandic artist Jónsi's falsetto sounds familiar, it's because he's the frontman for band Sigur Rós. As that grouping went their separate ways earlier this year, Jónsi released his first truly solo album Go. The album is an instrumental upheaval, boasting swells of noise like you've never heard before. "Animal Arithmetic" is the sound of everything arriving at a joyous head, scampering, running, jumping, climbing, playing at one massive ADD summer recess.
42. GRINDERMAN / "PALACES OF MONTEZUMA" - Probably my favorite love song of the year. It could as easily lead a 90's teen romance into the sunset as it could be the soundtrack to an untimely death.
43. THE NATIONAL / "LEMONWORLD" and "BLOODBUZZ OHIO" - The National has a goldmine in vocalist Matt Berninger. Their heartachingly beautiful little rock songs become positively transportive once he starts singing. "Lemonworld" and "Bloodbuzz Ohio" get equal ranking as the qualities I found within their surreal layers were based in matters of mood.
44. GLASSER / "APPLY" - "Apply" almost didn't make it onto this list simply because I had no idea it was considered a 2010 song. "Apply" appeared, and yes, I'll admit it, on the LSTN #2 playlist I downloaded from the Urban Outfitters website in early 2009. As I took the train to school, I was frequently nearly made deaf by its (for some reason) very loud opening through my headphones. Glasser's album was finally released in September, and this song found the second wind that allows it to be considered a new old song of 2010.
45. CEE LO GREEN / "BODIES" (SPECIAL MENTION: "FUCK YOU") - You're like, really? You chose some other Cee Lo song over "Fuck You"? But "Fuck You" is one of the singles of the year!! I'd agree with that. It's a great subversive little pop song. Super catchy, bitterly upbeat, makes for perfect Glee fodder, all that jazz. Honestly, though, it's the rest of Cee Lo's Lady Killer album that appealed to me. The Lady Killer throws around 007 strings and 60's soul hooks like nobody's business, building an album positively loaded with successful pop-funk odysseys. The bass line on "Bodies" is working wonders, and it's that slickness that allows it to easily surpass "Fuck You" for me.
46. WASHED OUT / "YOU'LL SEE IT" - Washed Out made last year's list, and here they are again. I'm sure that if you took a ton of psychedelics and listened to the album, you'd see fantastic colors...but with this music, I'd argue you actually really don't need to bother with the drugs.
47. TWIN SISTER / "ALL AROUND AND AWAY WE GO" - It's like a Muppet, late 70's Sesame Street dance party. I can see Prairie Dawn setting up the punch bowl and being really into this. There's no downside to that.
48. ROBYN / "DON'T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO" - Just don't, alright?
49. SUFJAN STEVENS / "TOO MUCH" - I'm not really a Sufjan fan. There's nothing wrong with him, I just can't find much to get overly excited about. So, you know, I listened to Age of Adz and was sort of like well, there's a lot of noise over here and a lot of boring over there and god these songs are long but whatever. Then, a couple of the songs began to reveal deeper properties to me. This happens sometimes. Sometimes things you say "meh" at transform after you've heard them a couple times. I fell positively in love with the pretty of "Futile Devices," but decided to throw the emphasis on the much more sonically interesting "Too Much."
50. DEERHUNTER / "DESIRE LINES" - When I went to look for this on YouTube, I noticed that there were quite a few comments about actor Ian Somerhalder. Apparently, "Desire Lines" made it onto some list Somerhalder compiled of his 'songs for seduction.' The Gayngs' song made it their too, prompting me to now state for the record: Ian Somerhalder's seduction songs have absolutely nothing to do with this list. Also, I'm not so sure this would be a good song for seduction. It's just a good song.
51. CARIBOU / "JAMELIA" - "Jamelia" is one of the tracks on Swim that truly sounds as though you're submerged. Also, it has a really rather fabulous unofficial music video.
52. HURTS / "BETTER THAN LOVE" - I couldn't resist including "Better Than Love." It's just such a dazzling little dance pop track that carries with it marks of influence by some of my favorite 80's floor fillers. Depeche Mode, dark Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys = HURTS.
53. CRYSTAL CASTLES / "CELESTICA" - Seriously, when Crystal Castles are good, they're so good. I've surprised myself in including them three times on this 2010 list, but the songs chosen represent very different aspects of the sound they're capable of producing. "Celestica" is gorgeous, drifting and magnetic. I couldn't not include it.
54. DELOREAN / "INFINITE DESERT" - Delorean transforms 90's UK house music into sunsoaked indie pop. When I listen to Delorean ("Infinite Desert" and "Simple Graces" in particular), I'm simultaneously reminded of when Ibiza was all the rage, when the Spice Girls went clubbing with their pregnant friend in Spice World, and when Renton moves to London in Trainspotting all at once.
55. THE FOALS / "MIAMI" - Last slot. Instead of throwing more at you from Kanye West, Grinderman or LCD Soundsystem, I decided to give #55 over to "Miami" and its beachy sort of meandering vibe. We should get out of town and have a party where it's warm.