Okay. So you’ll notice there’s more than 30 tracks on this list. Who cares, right?
I listened to a ton of music in 2010, both old and new (as usual). When it comes to making “best of” lists though, there’s always a lot of great material I didn’t get to hear or just didn’t know about, so putting one together is out of the question for me.
Besides, putting together a list like that is usually what a whole publication does (with the input of its staffers), not the job of one individual music critic. That would be too much work and end up sounding elitist, anyway.
Therefore, a personal favorites list is my chosen way to go. I probably wrote down close to 70 new tracks that I dug this year. Now, looking at that list, only the ones that I remember listening to the most will be considered here. The question was, should it be my favorite 50, 40, or 30 tracks. Obviously, it was the latter I settled for, at least in theory, even though you’ll see a few double entries per artist and several worthy honorable mentions at the end of this write-up.
Songs 30-11 are placed in alphabetical order instead of being ranked, as I don’t really think there’s a point to actually rank a huge list of songs you like. Do I really dig song 14 that much better than song 28? I don’t think so.
Songs 10-1, however, though still not ranked in any particular order, are a little more special and do come with a personal statement of why I thought they were so outstanding.
So, without further delay, here’s my list of 30 favorite tunes of 2010. Feel free to click on all links to hear (and see some cool videos of) the songs themselves and comment on them.
Favorite Cuts: 30-11
Allo Darlin’ “The Polaroid Song”
Bono/The Edge/Rihanna/Jay-Z “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)”
Broken Social Scene “Sweetest Kill”
Cee-Lo “Fuck You”
Chemical Brothers “Another World”
Crystal Castles “Celestia”
Crystal Castles with Robert Smith of The Cure “Not In Love”
Deftones “Rocket Skates”
Frank (Just Frank) “Coeur Hante”
Gorillaz “Stylo” (featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
Japandroids “Younger Us”
Jonsi (of Iceland group Sigur Ros) “New Piano Song (Live)”
Korallreven “The Truest Faith”
Minks “Funeral Song”
Sade “Soldier of Love”
The Sword “Acheron/Unleashing The Orb”
Twin Shadow “Slow”
Favorite Cuts: 10-1
Arcade FIre “Ready To Start”
From one of the best albums of the year (The Suburbs), this uptempo number with a rhythmic quality to it smiliar to “American Girl” by Tom Petty was impossible to ignore and stop playing in my mp3 player all year long.
Band of Horses “Dilly”
This was easily the catchiest song on the band’s excellent third record, Infinite Arms.
Delorean “Stay Close”
Never heard such cooler electronic music from Spain.
Rarely does a remix of a song outdo the original so much that you’ll only listen to the redone version exclusively after hearing it. This soulful, synthy mix has rightly turned a bubbly, tropical-sounding electronic song to what best can be called baby-making music, or at the very least a slow dance ditty. It totally tears the original to shreds.
Lindsay, Jon “Bring The Old You Back”
This is the best song Fountains of Wayne never wrote.
Massive Attack “Saturday Come Slow (featuring Blur’s Damon Albarn)”
These English trip-hop pioneers brilliantly give Albarn the floor to let out heart-wrenching, desperate vocals to the group’s heavy (via the Drop-C tuned acoustic guitar), haunting melodies. Everyone has their sour days throughout the year. This one’s for those times.
Smashing Pumpkins “Freak”
Originally performed in the summer of 2009 during a tribute show, this tune finally got the studio treatment in 2010, and it came out in time for the November release of the excellent second EP (The Solstice Bare) of the band’s Teargarden By Kaleidyscope album project. Can’t wait for the studio version of “Lonely Is The Name” to come out, as that would definitely be on next year’s list for sure (being the lifelong Pumpkinhead I am).
The Whigs “Automatic”
If I were running an FM alternative rock station, this Cali-style sunny rocker from these Athens, Georgia natives would’ve been played over the airwaves again and again until someone besides me got tired of it.
Incredible music made by 21-year-old Virginian Jack Tatum. Hazy, dreamy, and lovely. Nuff said.
The XX “Islands”
A late addition to this list, the track has a hot beat, two young, seductive voices (that somehow hide their native British male and female accents) and lightly reverb-aided clean guitars. Who could ask for more?
Bat For Lashes with Beck “Let’s Get Lost”
Soundtracks can make for odd pairings that just don’t work. This one, however, courtesy of the Eclipse soundtrack, even with its heavy beats, has a coolness (and coldness) to it that works pretty well.
Black Keys “Tighten Up”
I could have chosen any number of tracks from the excellent Brothers album, but this whistle-worthy tune comes to mind first and foremost..
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “I Should Have Known It”
This is a pure rocker in a heavy guitar tuning (Drop-D), which makes me smile. He also took a half decent stab at reggae-ish rock as well on “Don’t Pull Me Over,” but it didn’t make the cut. Still, it’s great to see Petty rockin’ out and branching out into new territory after all these years.
Springsteen, Bruce “Save My Love”
A once lost gem from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town sessions, this bright pop number would have been an instant classic hit in the late 70s when it was written. Now out via The Promise 2-CD set, it still sounds fresh and is definitely catchier than some other material (solid as it is) he’s released in recent years.
Temper Trap “Fader”/”Sweet Disposition”
Yes, this stuff came out in 2009. But I didn’t know about these Aussies until this year. I’m not a big fan, but these two definitely stood out.