Monday, December 27, 2010

Songs Of The Year.

Album and song lists start surfacing a the beginning of the month but that doesn't work for me. I don't listen to music full time, only my favorite artists full time. I need the month of December to get through some of those albums I missed or didn't give enough time to. In fact, that alone doesn't really work which has altered my ranking. Last year I didn't include several albums that I should have. The issue was that I didn't get into said albums until after the new year. Take The Antlers, a wonderful band. I didn't listen to Hospice at all despite its place on many top 10 lists after the 09 music year. But when I saw them open for Editors I was blown away. I knew they would be good but not THAT good. I bought the CD and a T-shirt that night. Amazing album that I never gave love to. With that said not only do I accept that I'm no authority on music but that I am not even a true music generalist. I like what I like and spend perhaps too much time liking what I like! Its impossible for me to have a top 50 album list because I don't listen to 50 albums in a year. However, in defense I attempt to listen to lots and my shallow filter only allows so much through so what does make it tends to be very good, at least in my opinion. So here goes my favorite songs of 2010 (that I heard) From 20- 5 have no real order, they can change based on the day or mood. They are just great songs that differ greatly but result in the same end - joy.  From 5 -1 is as accurate as I can manage. The only certainty here is number 1. My favorite track of the year won't be touched and has immediately entered my top 10 tracks of all time. Albums will follow but for now, here are the tunes that touched me during this very dull year. I didn't duplicate any artists, that would have resulted in 20 songs by 6 or 7 different groups/singers!

20. The Drums - I Felt Stupid
- this song was on heavy rotation this summer. uplifting and a throw back to the 80's sound I love.
19. Arcade Fire -  Ready To Start
- maybe my fav song on the album but Sprawl II comes very close. Great melody, lyrics, and full of energy.
18. Warpaint - Composure
- The change after the intro is like Warpaints very own Paranoid Android. Hauntingly beautiful. 
17. Underworld - Scribble
- I love my melodic techno (even if this sounds more drum and bass) and this track was a constant through many workouts this year.
16. Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill
- Best song on Plastic Beach. Damon Albarn has one of the best voices in modern music and this song oozes happiness. A joy to listen to.
15. Superpitcher - Joanna
- Piano driven house music. Nothing big sounding, just a lovely melody that brought me back to 1995 and a hands in the air dancefloor. 
14. Stars - The Passanger
I love the way Amy and Torq bounce lyrics off each other. This is my fav from their new album.
13. Chemical Brothers - Swoon
- Tom and Ed, putting out masterpiece music for years. They transcend the dance music genre.  
12. Twin Shadow - Forget
- Its such a wonderful throwback to Nu Wave. Sounds of Tears For Fears, Echo And The Bunnymen, and early Depeche Mode. Love it.
11. Xiu Xiu - Gray Death
- Almost a top 10 and if I didn't burn myself out listening to it perhaps it would have been. Amazing song that reminds me of Morrissey. Love this album.
10. Niki And The Dove - Mother Protect
- This song really hit the spot this winter. Excellent Swedish pop music with a wonderful vocal.

9. Future Islands - As I Fall
- Excellent nu-wave influenced sounds. Lovely synths, drums and arrangement. The vocal delivery is so emotive and uplifting. Samuels voice is extreamly raspy and full of feeling, so much so that its difficult to only listen to one track. But this is the one that stood out for me. Really shines a light on my day. Check out the live version from KCRW.

8. Four Tet - Angel Echoes
- One of many standout tracks on the album, and one of the best tracks I heard this year. I love Four Tet's style of electronic music. Its real jazzy and dreamy. I can dance to this track and equally it can send me to sleep. The vocal repetition is euphoric. No youtube clip so soundcloud will have to do.
Angel Echoes (BBC session) by Four Tet

 7. Interpol - Lights
- The song and the album didn't favor well with the critics but from the second I heard Lights I loved it. It helps that I love Paul Banks vocals so much so when he opens his mouth I usually like it. This track however was the lead single and set the tone for what came on the album. Typical dark and moody Interpol, bringing so much joy into my life. 

6. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
- I couldn't get past this opening track from the album. I just kept saying, one more listen. This track is like being in the middle of a crowd that is getting ready to do something really awesome. Its a gathering of friends forgetting their problems and coming together to dance. Its organic and despite the slow jam brings me back to the old rave days. When James Murphy raises his voice and changes the tone coupled with the drums and synths, its time to take off. Fantastic tune.

5. Crystal Castles - Not In Love
- There are two versions of this song. The original and then the version where Alice Glass has her singing replaced by Robert Smith of the Cure. The track is so beautiful, extremely emotional, and very uplifting. I don't know which version I prefer but I'll include the Robert Smith version here. He has such a unique voice and it works so well with the Crystal Castles sound. This song makes me bounce off the walls.

4. The Knife (ft. Mt. Sims and Planningtorock) - Coloring Of Pigeons
 - This is one of the most intense songs I heard all year. Its based around Charles Darwin's On the Origin Of Species. As the opening track of an Opera performed with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock the track spans all the epic space one would expect from a stage production. Terror meets fascination throughout the 11 minutes. It builds with romantic tones through different vocals and more dark and eerie sounds. And underneath it all there is so much beauty.

 3. Jonsi - New Piano Song
- This is such an important song for me. It wasn't featured on the album GO and I hadn't heard it until I stood in front of the stage at The House Of Blues in Boston. Things were far from good in my world and then I heard this. I love the piano and I love Jonsi's voice, and both sounded perfect. Despite not ever hearing the song before I knew it so well because it had everything I was feeling at that time. It literally blew me away that night. One of the most beautiful tracks I've ever heard.

2. Wolf Parade - What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)
- It was touch and go whether or not Jonsi got the second spot but I couldn't pass over this track. The simple reason being that it was the first song I heard off the new album and when we saw Wolf Parade practice the songs in Toronto earlier in the year it stood out so clearly. I remember leaving the show and this was the song stuck in my head even though I only heard it one time in my life. Spencers humming at the end was swirling around in my head all night. When I finally heard the recorded version I immediately knew it. It was exactly the same with the Jonsi track above but Spencer Krug has a vocal that really hits me. Throughout the whole tour this song has sounded amazing and despite playing the album on repeat for months I never get sick of it.The guitars and synths sound really great together and the song captures Wolf Parade's sound so perfectly. Love it.

1. Moonface - Marimba and Shit Drums
- I don't know if this qualifies as a song per se. Its over 20 minutes long. However , as the title says, it has only two instruments (not counting the most important instrument - Spencer Krug's voice), a Marimba and some electronic, 8-bit sounding drums that could easily be thought of as Shit Drums. In the context of this song however they are anything but that. The song is by Spencer Krug under his solo alias Moonface and the 20 minutes covers a dream sequence. The imagery is very descriptive and powerful. Spencer released the song for free at the beginning of the year and when I listened to the track straight through I was indeed transported into dreamland. And even now almost one year later I can sit and listen to the twenty minutes and drift back to that dream state. The vocals are delivered with such emotion and the looping of the Marimba, Spencers backing vocals and the drums all create magic that is unlike anything I've heard in years. If you don't like Marimba (think wind chimes) you will hate the song. I happen to love the sound and with Spencer singing the way he does I find it very difficult to control my own emotions. At times I get angry and other times I feel so much happiness. If there is one perfect tune this year, Marimba and Shit Drums has to be it. It is broken into 2 youtube clips. Enjoy this track because you will find something in it. "and I've been here before, and I know your face from the last time I dreamt I was loosing control".
A quick story. When I told Spencer that this was my favorite song this year he said you mean your favorite song with Marimba? I laughed awkwardly because I knew he was being self deprecating. But he thanked me after.

Love Kel


  1. Fantastic list, thanks so much for posting.

  2. think i am going to have another listen to moonface marimba and shit drums, and slowly work my way back through the rest of the list. the beauty of having the list, right here: having a listen and doing a bit of writing along the way.

  3. No "Brothers" on your album list, and no tracks. Shocking. Have you not heard it?

  4. Scotty, don't know these "Brothers" you speak of? In other news, Roy has to go. He can't handle the Reds.

  5. "Brothers", the outstanding album by the Black Keys. Give it a listen.

    As for Roy, you're probably right. Such a nice man though! Who would be your replacement? Not Rafa again!?