Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top 50 Tracks of 2010

Can you feel the electricity? Calm down. Before I unveil the best songs from this year, please remember these two caveats. I have returned to the rule that bands may only appear once. This keeps Arcade Fire, Crowded House and a few others from overcrowding. Also, if a band has released a song this year that won't be officially released on an album until 2011, it is still eligible for the 2010 list. Feel free to send in your picks, too. Now on with the countdown:

50. Sade - "Soldier of Love" (Buy)
The beauty makes a triumphant return after a ten-year absence.

49. Paul Weller - "No Tears Left to Cry" (Buy)
This was a bright spot from an album that left me cold.

48. Vampire Weekend - "Giving Up the Gun" (Buy)
My love affair has nearly run its course.

47. Jay Bennett - "Twice a Year"
Posthumous release reminds us we have lost a treasure.

46. Badly Drawn Boy - "Too Many Miracles" (Buy)
Damon Gough is producing inspiring work for the first time in years.

45. The Divine Comedy - "I Like" (Buy)
My favorite from his latest changes with the wind. Today it's this one.

44. The Coral - "Butterfly House" (Buy)
I abandoned these lads after their debut. Might have been a mistake.

43. Tapes 'n Tapes - "Freak Out" (mp3)
Our first listen to a 2011 release sounds interesting.

42. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Say No to Love" (Buy)
Prolific popsters make the list again.

41. Tracey Thorn - Why Does the Wind (Buy)
One of my all-time favorite voices returns.

40. Blur - "Fool's Day" (mp3)
I'll take any new throwaway I can get from these guys.

39. The Like - "Fair Game"
These gals shuffled the lineup and created an album that is worlds better than their debut.

38. The Postelles - "White Night" (Buy) (mp3)
Do you miss the Strokes? Give these guys a listen.

37. Interpol - "Lights" (Buy)
No, It's not 'Turn On The Bright Lights,' but at least this song is in the neighborhood.

36. Spoon - "Written in Reverse" (Buy)
Kind of a disappointing album, but this one stood out.

35. The Futureheads - "Heartbeat Song" (Buy)
Another in a long line of bands that returned to form in 2010.

34. British Sea Power - "Zeus" (Buy)
The band's sound has changed since their critically-acclaimed debut, but I must have changed with them.

33. Lucky Soul - "A Coming of Age" (Buy)
A solid followup to the even stronger 'The Great Unwanted.' What's left of the Pipettes should take note.

32. Jim Noir - "Car"
We appreciate the free downloads, but it's time for a proper album.

31. The Drums - "It Will All End in Tears" (Buy)
What can I say? The hype on these guys is unbearable, but the music is too good to ignore.

30. Dum Dum Girls - "Jail La La" (Buy)
Jesus and Mary Chain meets '60s girl group. Yes, we heard that a lot this year, but this is one of the best of that lot.

29. Kid Canaveral - "Good Morning" (mp3)
Big thanks to Scottish bloggers for turning me on to these guys.

28. Duran Duran - "Blame the Machines"
It's like listening to 'Rio'-era "Hold Back the Rain." If there were no rules, I could have easily chosen "Being Followed" for this list, too.

27. Best Coast - "Boyfriend" (Buy)
I'm a late convert to the duo's noise pop. This was my introduction.

26. Freedy Johnston- "Don't Fall in Love With a Lonely Girl" (Buy) (mp3)
Nice to hear you again. It's been too long.

25. Modern English - "It's Ok" (Buy) (mp3)
No joke. The band that did "I Melt With You" more than 25 years ago is back, and this is their best song since "Ink And Paper."

24. Devo - "Fresh" (Buy)
Not just nostalgia. It's never too late to join the Devolution.

23. Tender Trap - "Do You Want a Boyfriend?" (Buy) (mp3)
"Does he have to please you psychologically? Does he have to tease you gynecologically?" It gets my vote for video of the year as well.

22. The Apples in Stereo - "Dream About the Future" (Buy)
The album marks the first time this band has disappointed me, but this song stands out.

21. Brian Wilson - "I Got Rhythm" (Buy)
His Gershwin project produced love it or hate it results. This one captures the pre-'Pet Sounds' sound.

20. The Lodger - "Have a Little Faith in People" (Buy) (mp3)
Three for three, lads. You haven't put out a bad LP yet.

19. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Sister Marie Says" (Buy)
Classic lineup reunites with mixed results. This one sounds the most like the old stuff.

18. Cloud Nothings - "Leave You Forever" (mp3)
I can't believe there's some 19-year-old Clevelander putting this stuff out. Incredible.

17. Twin Shadow - "I Can't Wait" (Buy)
I didn't love the album as much as the blogosphere, but this song is outstanding.

16. Wild Nothing - "Chinatown" (Buy)
This was my first taste of the brilliant 'Gemini,' a candidate for album of the year.

15. The New Pornographers - "Crash Years" (Buy)
'Together' hasn't done it for me like the band's previous albums, but their worst is better than just about anyone else.

14. Girls - "Heartbreaker" (Buy)
One of my favorites from '09 backs it up with best EP of '10. "Carolina" should have been here, too.

13. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - "I Learned the Hard Way" (Buy)
I love this whole old-school funk/soul revival, and these guys are the best in a crowded field.

12. Harlem - "Friendly Ghost" (Buy) (mp3)
Austin's latest jewel comes straight from the garage.

11. Crowded House - "Either Side of the World" (Buy)
Deep cut stomps on the singles and helps push 'Intriguer' into running for my album of the year.

10. Sufjan Stevens - "I Walked" (Buy)
I didn't like like the new Stevens sound very much, but I can't get this one out of my head.

9. Deerhunter - "Revival" (Buy)
Overrated album, to be sure, but this song caught my ear a couple of months ago and hasn't let go.

8. Here We Go Magic - "Collector" (Buy) (mp3)
They sound like a bunch of bands from my youth, including the Feelies. That's praise enough.

7. Crystal Stilts - "Shake the Shackles" (Buy) (mp3)
Is that Ian Curtis? If I wasn't in a holiday mood, this moody lo-fi masterpiece would rate even higher.

6. Surfer Blood - "Floating Vibes" (Buy)
Here is another band that could have hogged slots on this list if I didn't have my one-song-per-band rule. One of my favorite new bands of 2010.

5. Club 8 - "Shape Up!" (Buy)
It took seven albums, but these Swedes have finally stolen my heart.

4. Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" (Buy)
With so many memorable songs from 'The Suburbs,' this was one of my tougher choices.

3. Mates of State - "Laura"
Even I can't believe a cover rated this highly, but it's as least as good as the Girls' original from last year.

2. Belle & Sebastian - "I Want the World to Stop" (Buy)
Seems like die-hard fans were disappointed, but I put this song up there with their best.

1. She & Him - "In the Sun" (Buy)
The first single from (by far) my most listened to album of 2010 was a logical choice.

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