Monday, November 29, 2010

the year in music - best songs, pt2

I couldn't keep it to just 10. Even after the Honorable Mention list, there were just too many songs that called out to me, begging to be included. And that's not to mention that song by The Blog Beggers "Please Include Me In Your Best Of 2010 List, Dan" (seriously, so sick of that song). So I made it a 'Top 16' list.

My Top 16 Songs of 2010:

Eyelid Movies
16) "When I'm Small" by Phantogram, Eyelid Movies (video)
Not sure if this qualifies since it was released (leaked?) as a single in '09, but the album dropped (industry lingo, try to keep up) in 2010. A pleasurable stroll through trip-hop, as strolls through trip-hop go.

15) "Back Up Plan" by Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (full song)
When you double-click this little party-starter in your "bootyjamz" playlist, I dare you to try to reject Big Boi's advice: "Put your back into it / Like your grandma do it." My only back up plan for this jam is to do the hammer dance by myself in silence. Now that's sad.

14) "Used to Did" by J Roddy Walston & the Business, J Roddy Walston & the Business (video)
Rod might have penned the best thinly-or-not-at-all-veiled sexual innuendo since Robert Plant asked us to squeeze his lemon: "How 'bout this? / Give us a kiss, uh-huh / I got this gun / Girl, it don't miss / It makes babies / It makes that rock n' roll."
the chorus hits and
the whole damn house burns down. But we hated that house anyway.

"Fot I Hose" by Casiokids, Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar (video)

After glancing at the song and album name by this Norwegian outfit, it was a huge relief that this is an instrumental track. It's part reckless road trip anthem and part 8-bit Nintendo theme, but with the pace and fine-tuning worthy of fellow Scandinavians The Hives.

"Twenty Two" by Wakey!Wakey!, Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You... (full song)

If you sealed Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" in a ziplock and marinated it with brown sugar and Dr. Pepper over the weekend, this would be the result. A supercharged, emotionally-driven rock song with enough sweetness in the hook to turn on the major labels, even though Wakey is with the microscopic Family Records, who should really take care of them before they're all g-oooone g-oo-ooooo-oooo-oo-ooooone (please download this song so this reference makes sense and I stop feeling like some dude who wore a WNBA jersey to a wedding).

"Don't Break the Needle" by J Roddy Walston & the Business, J Roddy Walston & the Business (full song)

To those who say it's tacky to include two J Roddy songs on this list, I say this: I included three. Yep, it's completely gratuitous. And given the level of integrity this blog's many, many fans have come to expect, I agonized over to how to remove one or two of them so my list didn't seem to be giving too much credit to an upstart band I just happened to see play twice this fall. Then I realized that if removing a song was causing so much trepidation, maybe it needs to be here. Hence, I give you the perfect
(yes, as perfect as The Hold Steady's "Positive Jam" and The Offspring's "Nitro")
opener to a rock album, "Don't Break the Needle".

"Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer (the fantastic video)

(The song title above contains explicit language, and should not have been viewed by readers under 18.) Cee Lo Green, the vocal half of Gnarls Barkley, just had his girlfriend leave him for another guy. So he has just two words for her. Those words almost sound upbeat over a whole lot of heart-pumping, toe-tapping jazzy, motowny pop though. And breaking up hasn't been this fun
since Henry VIII.

"The Mall & Misery" by Broken Bells, Broken Bells (full song) (funny kid-review)

It's scary how much this beat smacks of Danger Mouse, with vocals that sound just like that dude from The Shins. It almost makes me think of how last year, that guy from Nirvana, the one who didn't die, and that old man from Zeppelin were supposed to get together with the lead singer from Queens of the Stone Age. A Danger Mouse/Shins Dude thing would've been cool too. Could there be a two-man supergroup? Nah, probably not. Oh well. Beautiful song though.

8) "Black Sheep" by Suckers, Wild Smile (video)
If I'm ever chased by a wild boar or an angry shetland pony or anything else that's really pissed off, but probably not going to kill me, I want this song playing. I think a medium-sized-wild-animal-chase through the woods is the perfect setting for loud, foreboding, tension-filled rock.

"Superfast Jellyfish" by Gorillaz ft. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul, Plastic Beach (video)

Honestly, I am so sick of these collaborations between American hip hop trios and British bands featuring Welsh vocalists on songs about marine cnidaria. But despite the hackneyed approach, Gorillaz produced their most lighthearted hit of the new album with this little ditty, complete with an homage to 80s commercials. Piping-hot pop!

6) "Always" by Junip, Fields (the amazing video)
(For this review, I'll attempt to use understatement as well as this band does on this track.) This song is slightly better than nothing at all, that is to say, the absence of song. If I had to choose between an eternity of nothingness and listening to "Always" once, after several weeks of careful deliberation, I would choose the song. It has a certain something that makes it more than what it would have been without something. In other words, it's fair to say it's fair.

"Sinister Kid" by The Black Keys, Brothers (full song)

"UH!" Like everyone else who just discovered the Black Keys in the last five years, I've always loved the Black Keys. But this song. This damn song. The one that starts with the James Brown-esque "UH!" This was the one that
convinced me to download everything. Every last album they've ever put out that I didn't already have. Sure, I might've eventually downloaded it all anyway. I mean, these guys have effectively dethroned the White Stripes as America's undisputed stripped-down blues-rock champs. They kick prodigious ass. But after I heard "Kid", their whole catalogue was mine within an hour.

4) "Rome" by Yeasayer, Odd Blood (full song)
Of all the firestarting party jams released this year, "Rome" reigns supreme. And considering Yeasayer completely transformed their sound on the electronic anthemic Odd Blood from 2007's deeply laid-back and hippielicious All Hour Cymbals, it's all the more impressive. But the positively monikered guys don't seem surprised at all ("Rome / It's gonna be mine / It's just a matter of / It's just a matter of / It's just a matter of time")

"Written In Reverse" by Spoon, Transference (video)

There's something about a song that can surprise you each time you listen to it. I mean jump-out-from-behind-the-couch-holy-shit-is-this-really-happening surprise. Damn it, I keep thinking it's over! I almost stand up and clap in my living room, for funk's sake. It was so perfect. But wait! There's more! Britt Daniel has become the late night infomercial of musicians as "Reverse" starts right back up, peeling out where the tires skidding to a stop not seconds earlier. And no matter how many times it's fooled me before, I'm blissfully blindsided.

"Something, Somewhere, Sometime" by Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore, Dear Companion (full song & download)

Over their respective careers, Sollee and Moore have demonstrated a clear respect for this country's roots in folk, country and blues music. And with a little help from producer Jim James, they've built a near pitch-perfect rock n' roll song too.
"Something, Somewhere, Sometime" starts out like a plea from the back row of a town hall, calling out
softly at first, then as it approaches the podium, it grows louder and more insistent steadily, beat-by-beat. "Sometimes I feel like an arrow / Fired at something, somewhere long ago." This is the voice of
American rock n' roll forcing its way through your ears and into your bloodstream. Let it in.

"Full Growing Man" by J Roddy Walston & the Business, J Roddy Walston & the Business (full song)

It takes exactly eleven seconds for this ticking time bomb to detonate. In that moment, Jerry Lee Lewis, Janis Joplin and Black Sabbath can be heard in a single, beautiful, bombastic thread of rock genius. I don't know where the hell this song came from (inside Rod's dome, which came from Baltimore by way of Tennessee, of course, but I'm waxing metaphoric in this here blog), but I'm so glad it found me. I never want to let it go. Rod and the boys, this shot of Maker's is for you. You've made this music fan happy.