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Top 100 Tracks of 2010 (100-76)

 

Just like every other year end list I’ve done for 2010, I decided to up the anty with my top tracks list by taking it from 50 to 100 songs. I know…I know…it may seem like a bit much. I can explain. Every year I compile my best songs list while making the 18 hour, cross-country drive to my parent’s house for the holidays. As I drive, I explore my i-Pod for the year’s stand-out songs and jot down titles into a notebook when I feel one is worthy of the list (not the safest driving method, I understand). By trip’s end this year, my list totaled 114.  I had a lot of fat to trim, and as I reached the 100 mark, it became more and more difficult to cut great song after great song. As a result, I’ve doubled my workload, but I don’t mind. These tracks have meant a lot to me this past year – the least I can do is give them the recognition they deserve.

 

100. “2012”

PS I Love You

What better way to start a 2010 list than with a song titled “2012”? Okay, it doesn’t make much sense, but I couldn’t help but squeeze this song on as the caboose to the list.

 

99. “Who Fingered Rock n’ Roll”

Cornershop

Back in the mid-90s Cornershop scored a hit with “Brimful of Asha”, a groovy track saturated with sitar and lyrics about using bosoms as pillows.  Unbeknownst to me, Cornershop survived the 90s and are still kicking out strange middle-eastern versions of the theme to “Wonder Years”. And they do ask a great question: who did finger rock n’ roll? My bets on Richard Marx.

98. “Arkansas”

Damien Jurado

Its nice to see Damien still thriving in the music world. His 2010 “Saint Bartlett” shows him taking his sound back to the sparse environs of “Ghost of David”, but the stand out song of the album, “Arkansas”, is probably the most produced. In the tradition of love songs to states, Jurado focuses his break-up with Arkansas.  It doesn’t necessarily have the double meaning found in a “Georgia On My Mind”, but then again, I did once date a girl named Rhode Island.

97. “I Don’t Believe You”

The Thermals

“I Don’t Believe You” is one of the only songs on The Thermals 2010 release “Personal Life” that features distorted power chords and – SHOCKER – it’s the best song on the album. A lesson in not straying from what works.

96. “Thank You For Your Love”

Antony and the Johnsons

A few months ago a fellow BDWPS contributer, PtheStudP, asked me if I’d purchased the new Antony and the Johnsons. I replied by saying, “Nah, I think I’m kinda done with Antony and his voice.” He of course berated me and called me a fool.  His verbal beating forced me to give The Johnsons one more chance, and I was quickly humbled by my disrespect.  Antony and the Johnsons – I want to thank you for your music.

95. “Racer X”

Japandroids

The Japandroids covering the Big Black song “Racer X”? YES PLEASE!

94. “What To Say”

Born Ruffians

2010 was a rough year for Born Ruffians with their disappointing release “Say It”.  Amidst the sloppy collection of songs, “What To Say” is a stand-out due to its memorable melody and its discussion of the age old inability to talk to women. Is it sad that a 32 year old man still relates to this teenage dilemma?

93. “Ain’t No Grave”

Johnny Cash

Would it be wrong of me to accuse Rick Ruben of manipulating Johnny Cash near the end of his life? I understand that Ruben’s production helped give Cash a rebirth in the music world, but now that Cash has died, more and more music keeps coming out from their sessions together, and it seems lik 90% of the tunes are about dying. I’m just saying… Despite the discomfort associated with listening to the ghost of Johnny sing on the 2010 release “American Recordings VI”, I can’t deny what an excellent song “Ain’t No Grave” turned out to be with its layers of dragging chains, spooky organs, and creaking piano keys. “Ain’t No Grave” is more evidence that Rick Ruben, manipulator or not, can make a good song great.

92. “38 Souls”

Bottomless Pit

Although I loved the music of 2010, I have to admit that the year was truly defined for me by Pavement. I spent most of my life scoffing at the suggestion of Pavement, but this year I opened up to the possibility that they may actually be good, and damn it, they were! As a result, I spent a large portion of the year searching for the modern equivalent of Pavement. I thought Bottomless Pit could fill that void, but I found that they are influenced by more than just Pavement.  For example, on “38 Souls”, a song about capturing souls, the band is able to conjure the ghosts of the 90s, channeling the sounds of Jawbox, Sebadoh, and even Dinosaur Jr. Now if they could just capture the soul of Stephen Malkmus.

91. “One Polaroid a Day”

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

This song stood out to me simply because it shows Ted Leo trying something new.  Instead of his usual falsetto rantings, this is a slow groove with Leo exploring his lower register.  He’s no Isaac Hayes, but the change of pace was welcomed in 2010.

90. “Threshold”

Beck

Doesn’t Beck sound happy on this song? That’s the sound of a man escaping the clutches of Danger Mouse. Rejoice!

89. “Be Yourself”

Robin Pecknold

I’ve always thought that Fleet Foxes sound a lot like CSNY, so it’s probably fitting that the best song on the tribute album to Graham Nash be by Robin Pecknold.

88. “Jail La La”

Dum Dum Girls

Only the Dum Dum Girls could make being “covered in shit” sound adorable.

87. “In Every Direction”

Junip

If I were to make a year end list for video games (which I have no right attempting), I would put “Red Dead Redemption” at the top due to its never ending landscape that I wasted hours of my life exploring.  My favorite part of the game’s storyline though is when you first enter into Mexico – the game shifts from its annoying harmonica music to an actual soundtrack of Jose Gonzalez’s “Far Away”.  A month after passing the game, I purchased Junip’s 2010 release “Fields”, and everytime I listened to it, Jose’s voice would bring back the image of John Marston entering Mexico where there is nothing but desolation “in every direction”.

86. “General Patton”

Big Boi

When your nickname is General Patton, you better have a song that lives up to Patton’s legacy, and Big Boi steps up to the challenge with this song, an operetic-orchestral chaos that is more fit for Darth Vader than Patton.  It’s possibly the only song that will have you nodding your head to the chants of a concert choir.

85. “Heartbeat Song”

The Futureheads

When I posted my list of the “Best Summer Albums of 2010”, my friend Tim emailed me, pointing out that I once made fun of him for liking The Futureheads. I was forced to admit defeat writing, “Yeah, that’s because I’m a pretentious douche”.  Not even a pretentious douche can deny the melody of “Heartbeat Song”.

84. “Angry World”

Neil Young

Neil Young was a bit misleading with he called his new album “Le Noise” a folk metal album.  Lyrics about the plight of polar bears and bison aren’t necessarily the most metal of subject matter.  If only the album had more songs like “Angry World”, matching the wave of distortion with lyrics that delve into the darker side of the human psyche.  I’d like to believe “Angry World” presents what it may have sounded like if Neil had joined Black Sabbath when Ozzy left.

83. “Roman Candles”

Suckers

I present to you the Seven Dwarves of indie rock!  “Roman Candles” is a reminder that whistling was fun before Andrew Bird came along.

82. “July Flame”

Laura Veirs

Most depressing 4th of July song ever.

81. “Norway”

Beach House

I don’t necessarily love this song. It’s more of an addiction to the disorientation felt while listening to the sickly guitars.  Not even Robitussin can save you from the nausea of “Norway”.

80. “ONE”

Yeasayer

Yeasayer’s “Odd Blood” pissed me off. When did they become a dance band? Unfortunately, “ONE” made it very difficult to hate them for long.  I would be lying if I said I’ve never danced to this song while cooking pork chops with a plum-ginger sauce. I’m straight, I SWEAR.

79. “Early Warnings”

Love is All

What if John Lennon woke up and didn’t fall out of bed, rather knocked his head on a bookshelf? What if instead of dragging a comb across his hair he almost choked on his toothbrush?  Yes my friends, we’ve discovered the anti-thesis to The Beatles “A Day in the Life”.

78. “Odessa”

Caribou

The actual city of Odessa, Texas is not nearly as fun as this song would suggest.

77. “Kids On the Run”

Tallest Man on Earth

With “Kids On the Run”, Kristian Matsson ditches his acoustic guitar for a piano, and surprisingly it’s the best song on the album.  It could be due in part to the poignant lyrics that reveal a story of two scorned lovers, still running away from their past like children. Basically, it’s “Born To Run” except in this version Wendy is trying to escape Bruce and his velvet rims.

76. “Fuck You”

Cee Lo Green

Yesterday I was riding in the car with my mom when this song came on the radio. Even though I’m a grown man, I still felt uncomfortable as the chorus arrived, knowing the YouTube sensation lyrics of “Fuck You!” were just ahead. Then, just when it arrived, the lyrics “Forget you!” came out the speakers as my mom sang along. I took comfort in knowing my mom was oblivious to the actual lyrics, and it made me realize this song is great, with or without the cursing (although I’ll take the cursing version if I must choose).

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Top 100 Albums of 2000 (100-81)

Finally the countdown begins.  Get in touch with us if you want to know where to get ahold of the album legally.  Again, an asterisk next to the album’s title signifies Android50’s approval.  – Songssuck

2000: the year I really began paying attention to music not heard every day on the radio.  This should be fun.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.


100.  Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of the Bewilderbeast *

I checked out this album because of Damon Gough’s soundtrack to the movie, About A Boy. Whether you like this album as well as the music to that movie depends on your tolerance for eccentric self-indulgence and experimentally laced White Album length pop album. – Kid Kilowatt

99.  Death Cab for Cutie – We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes

The first band on this list I checked out because of Built to Spill comparisons.  Even though they are probably now the biggest/most popular of the Pacific Northwest bands, they have never gotten that many plays at my crib, they’re usually too mopey and depressing.  But this is their best album, it has some great songs and if you’re in the mood it hits the spot. – Songssuck

98.  Go-Betweens – The Friends of Rachel Worth

I’m not that cool, so this was the first Go-Betweens album I heard.  I had read about how great their 80’s output was, but had never dived in to find out for myself.  Actually, it was hearing that Elliot Smith, Sam Coomes and the ladies from Sleater-Kinney were the backing band that made me check it out.  I was at first disappointed as it was only on 3 songs I could tell S-K was involved, the riffs on “The Clock” and “German Farmhouse” were clearly S-K’s doing, and Corin Tucker sings on “Going Blind” even though she is so subdued one cannot tell it is her.  It was the Australian duo’s first album after disbanding in 1989, so it should have been a disaster, but these two clearly know their way around a pop song. — Pthestudp

97.  Burmese – Monkeys Tear Man to Shreds, Man Never Forgives Ape, Man Destroys Environment

Literally probably the aural equivalent of the album’s title.  Two basses, no guitar create some intense noise with lots of low end crushing with spastic drumming. – Dr. Anonymous

96.  Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump *

I remember buying this album based solely on comparisons to the Flaming Lips and Radiohead.  I could never hear the Radiohead, but listening to it now it does remind me of the Lips a bit. – Kid Kilowatt

95. Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy *

The Eels’ Daisies of the Galaxy is an album you put on to lay back, chill and drink an ice cold beer.  This album has attitude, despite being the Eels’ softest album.  The attitude can be summed up with the chorus of the closing track: “Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day.”  Mark E’s vocals and overall simplistic style make this album worthy of any music lover’s collection. Mondo Topless

94.  Mouse on Mars – Niun Niggung

Oftentimes when an artist releases an album that has a lighter, happier feel than their previous works, it is dismissed as a lesser or somehow trivial work.  (I’ve often said that Radiohead only need to release a “party” album to get horrible reviews).  For some reason, playful and fun albums are seldom considered as significant; when is the last time one heard one described as “timeless?”  So even though Niun Niggung probably isn’t as good as Iaora Tahiti or Idiology it is not because of its bouncy playfulness and it is worthy to sit along side them in the Mouse on Mars canon. – Suzy Cream Cheese

93.  Two Lone Swordsmen – Tiny Reminders

Small aide memoires?  More like bitch slaps to the face (delivered via fucked up electro, call it techno if you must). – Songssuck

92.  Sonic Youth – NYC Ghosts & Flowers

NYCG&F’s tribute to beat poetry, bohemian New York, and avant-garde noise was recorded shortly after all of Sonic Youth’s inimitable, custom-tweaked & tuned guitars were stolen.  Pretty much the redheaded stepchild of the SY discography (it was given an unwarranted ‘0.0” by Pitchfork). – Dr. Anonymous

91.  Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows *

Really these songs could be on any alternative/modern rock station.  But I keep coming back to it after all these years and I wasn’t even expecting to like this anymore when I listened to this again for this list.  But I did.  I’ve heard them compared to Nirvana and R.E.M. a lot, though I don’t hear it.  But something about it makes it impossible for me to describe so I’ll go with it.  It’s like Nickelback + Green Day with awesomer guitars and a better vocalists.  No one is going to want to hear it after that comparison. – Pthestudp

90.  Cave In – Jupiter

In high school all one had to say was “Slayer” to get my attention.3 So when I heard about this band who equaled an addition of Radiohead + Slayer (even though I am pretty sure all I knew about Radiohead was that “Creep” song) I had to check it out.  I fucken loved Until Your Heart Stops, and couldn’t wait for their next album.  What I got next was a shit sandwich: it was obvious to me that Jupiter was a full-scale sellout.  Soaring falsetto vocals, ornate poppy melodies fit for arenas, this shit was an obvious attempt to get on MTV (and I do believe I was right, after this they signed to a major label).  Revisiting it years later I began to like it, and now; 10 years later I can appreciate what they were trying to do (it’s called making money.  I cannot appreciate it as much as I appreciate their metal albums though). – Songssuck

89.  Zion I – Mind Over Matter

Old school loops and beats, but totally off kilter, smooth but hiccupping and rapid fire. But frankly, at 21 songs and almost 75 minutes this is a bit too much of a good thing, even if most of it is catchy and funky.  – Dr. Anonymous

88.  Damien Jurado – Ghost of David *

Sometime in 2003 I burnt Android50 a bunch of cd-rs.  He reviewed a lot of them.  Here is what he had to say about Ghost of David: “The first time I listened to this CD I almost cried… literally.  It was a rainy afternoon, had a rough day at school, and stuck this in on the way home.  Not bad… sniffle sniffle… pretty good stuff… sniffle sniffle… You’re SO right Damien!  His lyrics are great; they tell a story yet they still have that emotional edge that is sometimes lost in the narrative song.”  That’s Android50’s ’03 take and to that I would add, “it’s pretty folky and there are some really good songs.”  — Songssuck

87.  Giant Sand – Chore of Enchantment

Convertino and Burns of Calexico fame join Howe Gelb for his 10th or so album as Giant Sand.  The desert always attracts a certain type of person, and that explains where this music comes from.  It will be interesting to see where Songssuck ranks this one with Calexico’s offering from this year, but for my money I’ll take Chore of Enchantment. Add even more drugs to Neil Young’s more deserty albums or Meat Puppets’ II and one can begin to put their ears around this one.  Like tequila, an aquired taste. – Suzy Creamcheese

86.  Six Organs of Admittance – Dust and Chimes

Sunny and druggy, ragga influenced, vocal chants coming from some hallucinogenic otherworlderness.  John Fahey, Robbie Basho and early Tyrannosaurus Rex are all good reference points.  Ben Chasny is an amazing guitarist who also plays with Comets on Fire.  Should check it out if you are a fan of the acoustic guitar. – Willie Rambo Strider

85.  Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker*

Android50 and Suzy Creamcheese are the Ryan Adams fans of the BDWPS writers and the only Whiskeytown I own is a cd-r he gave me.  But I’d say this is his most country album and is overrated in my opinion.  Having said that, it has two of my all time favorite songs on it: “To Be Young (is to be sad, is to be high)” and “Come Pick Me Up.”  I could talk shit on Ryan all day long (and used to) but it would be worthless when he is capable of writing two songs like that (in fact that is why I picked up this album, after finding out that song on the movie Old School was on this album).  I listened to “Come Pick Me Up” four times in a row first time I listened to this album and once more after the record was spinning. – Dr. Anonymous

84.  Eternal Elysium – Spiritualized D

Japanese doom band carrying the torch of earlier Japanese heavy psych bands, like Flower Travellin’ Band, Blues Creation, Speed Glue & Shinki, and Flied Egg.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.

83.  Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

Everyone who knows knows that YLT is one of my all time faves.  But I must say this album still throws me for a loop.  You see, this album is completely devoid (except for the excellent “Cherry Chapstick”) of distortion, noise and hard rocking anthems.  It is what I call their ‘wussy’ album.  I mean the songs are great, but they are all gentle lullabies.  We have heard songs like these before from these guys, but where is the diversity YLT are known for?  I realize that they were going for something else on this album, but it just doesn’t do it for me.  Still, a good album (and a critic’s favorite by the way), but I have a feeling it is one of the maybe three on this list my mother might like. – Songssuck

82.  Frogs – Racially Yours

Supposedly this album was finished in ’93, but no one would release it due to the controversial cover and lyrics.  If you are not familiar with the Frogs, they are two brothers from Milwaukee who had previously written It’s Only Right and Natural an album about being gay (by two straights).  Racially Yours is sung from different first person perspectives: a slave, a slave owner, a racist, a revolutionary minded black man, a slave trader, and other various characters.  The controversy over this album is overstated, it is an indictment of racism, anyone who cannot figure that out has their head way too far up their ass.  I understand if one thinks this album is too irreverent, offensive or absurd, but it is hard to actually listen and find it actually racist.  Whether this is insulting or thought provoking depends on one’s viewpoint.  The actual music is wonderful (although out of 25 songs there are some duds), real lo-fi, glammy, melodic, lush and fun.  The lyrics are not as funny as on past releases.  Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain, Kim Deal, and The Smashing Pumpkins are all bands I remember championing them back in the day.  – Dr. Anonymous

81.  Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun

How much you like this album will depend upon whether you like chaotic, spastic noise punk anthems Boredoms or cosmic hippie psychedelic trance Boredoms, Vision Creation Newsun being one of the latter.  Everyone choose sides. –Wille Rambo Strider

Boredoms?! Better than At the Drive-In “Relationship of Command”!? What a disgrace. – Android50


3 Some things never change.

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