50. “Real Love”
For a song that is supposed to be about “Real Love”, it sure has a bittersweet sound. The lyric “Will we ever meet again?” doesn’t help things.
49. “Bang Pop”
I had a summer love relationship with this song. I couldn’t get it out of my mind; I listened to it any chance I had. But now, I can’t stand the sound of it. I destroyed my adoration by loving it too much. It should probably be higher on this list, but my current feelings for it have hindered its position. Like the Delorean song “Real Love” discussed at #50, maybe this song and I will meet again five years from now and our love will be rekindled.
48. “I Used to Do”
The Clogs 2010 release “The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton” is all over the place. One song features what resembles a choir of whooping birds, another is a simple folk song featuring Sufjan Stevens, and others resemble baroque love serenades. Despite all these textures, my favorite song is the most unassuming. “I Used to Do”, an instrumental swell of sound, catches you when you least expect it and builds off of that emotion. Don’t be surprised if you hear this in an episode of “Friday Night Lights” next year.
47. “Heaven’s On Fire”
The Radio Dept
The introductory audio of Thurston Moore raging against “the bogus capitalist process” would lead you to believe you are about to hear either a passion-fueled punk rock song or an ambient build-up a la Mogwai. But neither happens. Instead, out of Thurston’s rant arises a happy-go-lucky love song about Heaven being on fire. This combination boggles my mind…yet I love it. Maybe it comes down to the fact that Thurston’s dream won’t happen until Hell freezes over, so we might as well love like Heaven’s on fire.
46. Joanna Newsom
“Good Intentions Paving Company”
While Joanna’s 2010 release was a little self-indulgent (3 CDs!), it has its moments with “Good Intentions Paving Company” being Joanna at her best: great lyrics about the journey of a broken relationship, Newsom’s endearing, warbling voice, and a melody that survives the eight minute journey unscathed.
45. “Who’s that? Brooown!”
A song dedicated to another song? It would have to be a pretty damn good tune to deserve such recognition. Well, it is. Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” to be more specific.
44. “It Happened Before Our Time”
“It happened before our time. They disguised themselves as pirate invaders. They set out to sea and threw their love lockets overboard, as the salty air sweeps their hair.” Now that’s a romance novel I’d read.
43. “Fot i hose”
When I was eight I would have liked this song because I would have thought the bass line sounded like a dwarf farting….wait – that’s why I like it now.
42. “Let Spirits Ride”
Somewhere Rob Halford is smiling.
41. “F Kenya RIP”
What? You think this song is simple and repetitive?
Then why are you still listening to it?
And now you’re singing along to it?!
40. “Texico Bitches”
Broken Social Scene
This would have been the #1 song in America if they’d only gone with “BP Bitches.”
39. “Younger Us”
I like to listen to Japandroids because their energetic punk rock anthems brings me back to my carefree youth. And now they’re singing about the yearning to be young again? Double whammy.
38. “I Walked”
“I Walked” is an auditory “choose your own adventure” book. You have two options: be happy or depressed. If you choose to be depressed, listen to the lyrics of a man walking away from a relationship knowing that without his lover he’ll be lost and won’t get very far. Or you can choose to be happy by listening to this sugary-sweet pop song and block out the lyrics by shouting, “I’m not listening! I’m not listening!”
37. “No Barrier Fun”
“No Barrier Fun” is about a man (or a beast), trapped (or hiding) in a basement (or a dungeon). He hears (or imagines) the footsteps of a girl (or a woman), which makes him decide to emerge (or escape) from his dark hell (or heaven) to meet (or murder) her.
36. “How I Got Over”
The Roots (featuring Dice Raw)
Over the past few years a lot of bands have been trying to recreate the funk/soul sound of the 70s, utilizing a variety of retro-recording techniques and employing large horn sections. Then in one full swoop The Roots come out with their own recreation of the classic sound with “How I Got Over”, and in the process they show everyone else up. If that won’t lead you to not giving a fuck, I don’t know what will.
35. “Let’s Go Surfing”
Having your song featured in a commercial is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it gives you the opportunity to gain new listeners that you may not have reached otherwise. On the other, you alienate those who love your music by beating your melody over their head and cheapening their affection. For me, the endless loop of “Let’s Go Surfing”s whistling on car commercials has moved me to revulsion, when only months ago I couldn’t get enough of it.
My favorite documentary of the year was probably “180 Degrees South”, although I’m not sure how many other documentaries I actually saw in 2010. Throughout the film, glimpses of Mason Jenning’s “Machines” emerge, but the big pay-off comes when Doug Tompkins reaches Patagonia only to find that industrialization has scarred the majestic terrain. The lyrics support this message with Mason singing an outro of “The machines are gonna cut us down!”
33. “Butt-House Blondies”
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Of any song this year, “Butt-House Blondies” is the one I sang the most around my apartment. Not a day goes by that I don’t stroll around my humble abode singing, “Butt-house Blondies! She used to care!” For the first month, my roommate would always ask what song I was singing. Eventually, he figured out it was Ariel Pink and learned to ignore me. But one day he returned to his questioning ways asking, “What is a Butt-House Blondie anyway?” I hadn’t thought about it. Then, after reading the lyrics of “She used to be a square at 16; now all she knows is she can breed” I figured it out. This song is about Jodie Foster’s character in “Taxi Driver”!
“Excuses” has a dreamy, innocent 1950s sound, but I doubt Ricky Nelson ever sang about taping his “tongue to the southern tip of your body.”
31. “White Sky”
What if instead of Africa, Paul Simon recorded “Graceland” in Super Mario World?
30. “Answer To Yourself”
The Soft Pack
I recommended this album to you back in June, and I also included the same video clip below for the best song on the album “Answer To Yourself”. If you still haven’t bought The Soft Pack’s 2010 release, you can answer to yourself why you’re so lame.
29. “Pimpin’ Chipp”
Method Man, Ghostface, Raekwon
Me, me, me, me, me. These days, that’s all rap is about…that is except for the members of Wu Tang who still understand the art of the narrative. In “Pimpin’ Chipp” the three MCs create a comical story of a pimp, his hoes, and a run-in with Ray Charles.
28. “Real Life”
When Michael Vick wins the MVP this year, I’m hoping NFL films has the foresight to play “Real Life” over highlights of him. Just look at the lyrics and tell me this isn’t Vick’s swan song in 2010:“For a minute I was lost, I looked away Trouble was, I was alone, Trouble was, I was alone. You might think I’m still that way. It’s only natural It was a past life thing- It was a past life thing- It wasn’t anything at all.”
27. “Castles in Snow”
“You’re my favorite daydream. I’m your famous nightmare. Everything I see looks like gold. Everything I touch turns cold.” So yeah, not only does it sound like a 1980s song, but its lyrics could have easily been pulled from the journal of “American Psycho’s” Patrick Bateman.
26. “King of the Beach”
I like to sing along to this song, but I change the chorus lyrics to “Bash at the Beach!” and giggle to myself, imagining this as a theme song to an old WCW pay-per-view.