top songs of 2010: part 1

You’ll have to excuse my tardiness, but due to circumstances beyond my control this list is a little late this year, it’s going to come in two parts as well.

As I’ve been musing about a lot lately, I really tried to not dispose so quickly of records this year. As a result, I was not always sussing out new music, so this list might be a bit more mainstream than years past, but hopefully you’ll find a song or two you haven’t heard.

First, I want to give some honourable mentions. I started this list as a Top 20 and then bumped it up to a Top 25, however the songs I was adding weren’t totally keeping in tradition to how a listened to records this year, so I decided to stick with my original list. Still, they deserve a shout out:

Sufjan Stevens – Vesivus; The Zolas – You’re Too Cool; The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Heart in Your Heartbreak; Vampire Weekend – Taxi Cab; Liars – Scarecrows on a Killer Slant.

Now without further ado, here are my top songs of 2010…20 through 10.

20. !!! – Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass (Strange Weather, Is It?)

This was a latter entry to my list, but one of those songs you hope from just the title that it’s witty and funky, and well, it is. I love the lines, “I just wanna kiss the look on your face” and “This seems like a story from one of your songs…” Tongue-in-cheek with slinky guitars and excellent build ups, this is.

19. Diamond Rings – Something Else (Special Affections)

The first few times I heard this song I was driving in my car at night and I kept missing them announce who was signing. So I cemented the lyrics “I know you know just what you like, and I am really not your thing. But just in case you change your mind, I wrote this song for you to sing…” into my brain and did some Google magic and before I knew it I was immersed into the wonderful world of John O’Regan (aka Diamond Rings), Toronto indie rocker. I had seen him perform years before in the The D’Urbervilles but was not aware of his new project, that has been described as “Imagine Britt Daniel decided one day that he really wanted to be Lady Gaga” (Pitchfork). Best part of the song is around 1.25 when he starts in on the above mentioned lyrics. I’m a sucker for synth, but this album is more than that. Full of brilliant slow-jam arrangements that will have your foot tapping, and one for the repeat button.

18. Crystal Castles – Not in Love {remix}(Crystal Castles)

Speaking of the repeat button. The first time I heard this song I listened to nothing else that entire day, it sucked me right in. I know this is partially because of the use of Robert Smith’s voice, but there are also other parts of the song that get me with each listen. Undoubtedly, the freshest thing to come from the Crystal Castles (in my opinion). My favourite parts of the songs are the repeated “not in love” lines, and around 2.45, which just makes me wish I was on a dance floor.

17.  Villagers – Becoming a Jackal (Becoming a Jackal)

The best thing about the interweb is that it is a rabbit hole. It is in fact the reason you are reading my words right now. I was able to discover this band through a fabulous music blog called The Needle Drop (also one of my favourite musical podcasts, too). There is something quietly calming, yet a bit mysterious about this band. I love the subtle use of the tambourine/bells in this song especially.

16. Perfume Genius – Learning (Learning)

If you are a fan of piano, falsetto and minimalistic lyrics, this album will destroy you. Mike Hadreas’s lo-fi sound and heartbreakingly haunting voice will win you over by the time you’ve reached the third track on this album. This is in part how I chose the song. Also the lyrics “And you will survive me…” up against “Blah, blah, blah, you” around the 2 minute mark really captivate me. I honestly can’t say enough about this album. Go, listen.

15.  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo (Beat the Devil’s Tattoo)

“Everyone is king when there’s no one left to pawn” makes my top 5 lyrics of the year. I was lucky enough to see these guys in concert at the Commodore Ballroom in March. I had seen them before in Newcastle, and again, they put on a stellar show. I however will probably not see them again, unless they stop using strobe lights at their gigs. I digress, back to the song. I love the ‘Ah ah ah ah’s’ littered throughout the song, but the best part for me is the end of the song with the repeated ‘I thread the needle through, you beat the devil’s tattoo’ – there is so much going on, you just don’t want the song to end.

14. The Lonely Forest – Live There (The Lonely Forest)

I think this song should be the anthem of Vancouver.  As a nomad, it takes a lot for me to settle and as such, I often find myself relating to music that defines my literal place. I’m not sure if that makes sense. Anyway, the lyrics “Give to me miles of tall evergreens, the smell of the ocean and cool mountain breeze…” kind of melts my heart every single time I hear it. Favourite part (besides those lyrics) is around 1.35 when the piano kicks in, and the end “never fade, never fade” line is repeated.

13. The Black Keys – Tighten Up (Brothers)

Who doesn’t love a song that starts with a bit of whistling? This has become of one my favourite driving discs. Favourite part of the song is around 2.30 when the lyrics fade away and then at the 3 minute mark, “I don’t need to get steady, I know just how I feel…” I also love the guitar on “Howlin’ For You”.

12. The Extra Lens – Programmed Cell Death (Undercard)

Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I will head over to YouTube and watch John Darnielle’s version of “I Saw the Sign”, and it restores my faith in humanity just a little bit. He is a master storyteller, so it’s no surprise this side project of his is just tops. It was hard for me to pick a favourite from this album. I almost always have to hit repeat on the first track to this record “Adultery”, but ultimately the line I will find myself repeating for days is in “Programmed Cell Death” “How much longer are we supposed to stay alive gathering by the Portuguese sardines in aisle five…”

11. Menomena – Queen Black Acid (Mines)

I believe this album leaked on my birthday. Or at least around then, as I remember speeding along the 401 to the airport on a brilliantly sunny day listening to this song and getting a bit choked up. Favourite bit, around 1.40 when the bells start for the first time, and I love the lyrics “I walked right in through the rabbit’s door and walked right into the rabbit’s hole. I made myself an open book…” Also adore the piano at the end.

Stay tuned for the top 10 next week!



Filed under list it, music

7 responses to “top songs of 2010: part 1

  1. So many songs on your list which I don’t know! And that is actually a good thing, as there is nothing finer than discoveries made through a trusted source. Based on the songs I do know, I expect nothing less than brilliance from the rest. Off I go to listen!

  2. Hey Domingo!

    Good list, but Queen Black Acid over Dirty Cartoons? We will just have to agree to disagree over that. ;)

  3. Merry Christmas Allison! And thanks for the countdown. It’s the time of year when I get to be a year behind a year behind you and the rest of the hip crowd. :)

  4. Barb: Yay! That’s what I like to hear – I hope you found something you enjoy. I think you’d like Perfume Genius, I should send you that album. I enjoyed your list as well.

    F: Ha. I guess we will. That’s track 4 right? I did have a bit of trouble picking a song from that album. But the opener had me at hello.

    John: Happy Christmas, John! Hope you found something you hadn’t heard of. Hope you and yours are having a lovely holiday. :)

  5. bloody awful poetry

    Only heard of The Black Keys and Menomena. Thanks so much for the music! I had completely forgotten that BRMC released an album this year. That Devil’s Tattoo song is bad ass. Can’t wait for the next part of your list.

  6. bloody awful poetry

    Just came back to tell you that I can’t stop listening to the Diamond Rings song.

  7. BAP: Yay! That’s what I like to hear. I honestly have had that song on repeat for a month. Brilliant. You should pick up the whole album. Let me know if you have trouble finding it!

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