Gray Flannel Mixtape: The Best Songs of 2010
Yup, it’s that time again! Before I roll out the annual year-end rundown of my favorite albums, let’s take a listen to some of the best songs from 2010. I’ve included YouTube clips where possible, since I used Lala last year and got burned.
1. “Them That Do Nothing” by Field Music (from Measure) – I could probably populate this whole list with songs from Field Music’s third studio album. Instead I’ll just highlight the first single from it and we can all revel in its pure pop perfection. Well done, Brewis brothers, well done indeed.
2. “Doin’ It Again” by the Roots (from How I Got Over) – If there’s a case to be made for why sampling can work so well in hip hop it’s this track, which brilliantly weaves the Roots’ own composition with John Legend’s “Again”. It’s the standout moment from an already very good album.
3. “Fuck You!” by Cee-Lo Green (from The Lady Killer) – Call it “Fuck You!” or “Forget You!”, this is one of those timeless songs that Cee-Lo seems to be racking up over the last few years. Partially obscured by the “controversy” over the song’s title is the fact that this would’ve been a #1 in the glory days of Motown. Great hook, wonderful vocal performance, and hilarious lyrics. What more could you want?
4. “The Horn” by Midlake (from The Courage of Others) – While The Courage of Others was a disappointment for me (at least compared to The Trials of Van Occupanther), this is the best moment on it. The group’s excellent vocal harmonies are still on display, but there’s a punch and propulsion here that is missing from too much of the record.
5. “Suburbia” by Trombone Shorty (from Backatown) – Heavy metal with swing? Check. Kickass guitar solo? Check. Top-notch frontline horn section? Check. One of the best songs from one of the best albums of the year? You better believe that’s a check.
6. “Solitude Is Bliss” by Tame Impala (from Innerspeaker) – There’s no mistaking the musical reference points for Tame Impala: psychedelic rock of the late ’60s/early ’70s variety. And there’s also no mistaking just how much potential there is for this Australian trio to become something really special, as they are clearly more than strict re-creationists. As proof I offer “Solitude Is Bliss”, the debut single from their full-length debut album.
7. “Runaway (feat. Pusha T)” by Kanye West (from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) – For hooking me enough to get my first Kanye West album, I had to include “Runaway”. It’s brilliantly produced, melodic, and full of entertaining and reflective lyrics. How can you not enjoy a chorus that starts with “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags”? Some reviews have griped about the fuzz-guitar outro, but I have no problem with it. It’s pretty representative of an artist who is one of the best at entertaining and annoying at the same time.
8. “Until the Nipples Gone” by Atmosphere (from To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EPs) – Well I guess I can add one more name to the sadly short roster of hip hop bands actually embracing the organic possibilities of the genre, rather than just piece together random samples over limp beats. Love the sinister edge to this track, including the guitar riffing and swirling keyboards (which reminds of the soundtrack to The Warriors).
9. “Indian Theme” by Mastodon (from Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP) – No new studio album was released this year from Mastodon, so fans had to live with their score to Jonah Hex, which lasted about 4 days in theaters. There are no vocals here, so those who always complain about modern metal singing (aka Cookie Monster vocals) should check this out. It’s at least as good as anything on Crack the Skye, which makes me optimistic about the band’s next full-length album.
10. “Let Go” by Everest (from On Approach) – Many thanks to Popdose and Ken Shane for turning me on to Everest and this, the lead single from the major-label debut. It’s a worthy entry in this new-fangled genre called Americana, whatever that really means (alt-country doesn’t quite fit here). Fans of Wilco or like-minded artists would probably dig this, just as a point of reference.
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