I know that I posted this on our Facebook page the other day, but that playlist didn’t have Kite Club and this one is updated. So if you are too lazy to go back through our Best of 2010 archives then here are all of the tracks in one playlist for your streaming pleasure.
And if you’re hungry for more “Best of” lists, check out the Largehearted Boy blog (theres around 500 links here). He’s been kind enough to compile links to basically ever single existing publications year end list. Highlights include Pitchfork, Spin, and Largehearted Boy himself. Enjoy and Happy New Year.
#1. Broken Social Scene-“World Sick”
And now for the other moment you’ve been waiting for…our favorite track of the year. And the honors go to none other than Kevin Drew and his band of merry gentlemen (and woman), Broken Social Scene. We featured BSS previously on our Best Albums list and its no shocker that this giant of a record produced one of the catchiest and most powerful songs of the year. BSS are no strangers to political and social commentary, especially on this record (see: “Texico Bitches”, “Forced to Love”) and “World Sick” is the defining track on this album. When it comes down to it, Drew just wonders why we all just can’t be friends. “I get world sick every time I take a stand/Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man.” The cymbal crashes, swooping guitars, and the fade-in and fade-out all contribute to making this the epic (and most fitting) track of 2010.
So it’s come down to this, the moment you’ve all been waiting for– our choice for the #1 album of the year. It’s the album you couldn’t help but listen to all the way through, the album with the song you couldn’t get out of your head, and the album where you hear something new every time you spin it. That album is Spoon’s Transference, and while it may not be the sexy choice, it’s the one that deserves the honors. After 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was released to virtually universal acclaim, it was hard to see Spoon top that effort especially since they were already pushing 10 years on the indie circuit. And it’s debatable whether or not Transference actually meets that mark but we’re not comparing Spoons with Spoons here, its the fact that Transference shines brightest among the ’10 crop.
We get how buzz bands are constantly pushing music forward, releasing trendworthy albums that are popular for a few months and make a big splash. But more often than not, we see these bands quickly fade away into obscurity, whether it be the fame getting to their heads or their inability to complete an album that can stand up to grand expectations. Even so, it takes work for a buzz band to make a splash. But it takes even more work for scene veterans, such as Spoon, to continuously make waves in the music world. Lead singer/writer/producer/the man Brit Daniel knows the winning formula, but also knows how to tweak his albums just so — that moment in a song that makes you think “Did I just hear that?” — that will keep you coming back for listen after listen. The album gets a swift kickstart with “Before Destruction” and “Is Love Forever?” before my personal favorite track on the album “Who Makes Your Money” (check out the amazing live version below). And from there you get M&T top track “Written in Reverse”, slow-burner “I Saw the Light” (best rock-out track), “Goodnight Laura” (best bedtime sing-along track), and “Nobody Gets Me But You” (best use of piano mashing). Transference may be Daniel’s most personal album yet, but that’s not why it’s good…it just makes it that much better.
#2. Local Natives- Gorilla Manor
The Maimed and Tamed crew were lucky enough to see Local Natives perform Gorilla Manor twice in 2010, once at Bonnaroo and once at The Middle East in Boston. They just bring so much to the table, great percussion, great harmony, snappy/catchy songs, and absolutely electric energy. Every single song on this album has been stuck in my head at one point in time, for instance, the morning after seeing them in Boston, I woke up singing the guitar part to “Sun Hands” and scared the hell out of my Nana, she thought I was possessed. This is one of those instant classic albums that has a little something for everyone. “Wide Eyes” has your awesome percussion, “Airplanes” and “World News” are your catchy radio singles, “Sun Hands” is your epic build-up to absolute rock-out, “Cubism Dream” is your sweet finger-pickin’ love song, and you even get a Talking Heads cover song in “Warning Sign.” We’re looking forward to some more great stuff from the Natives in the future, hopefully they will make another Bonnaroo appearance this year.
P.S. you gotta love bands that rock sweeeet mustaches
#2. LCD Soundsystem- “Dance Yrself Clean”
The first time I heard “Dance Yrself Clean” was when I was living in London and a friend asked if I had heard the new LCD Soundsystem album. At that point I had yet to download the album, but my friend wanted me take a listen to the opening track. He said something to the effect of, “I’m not sure how I feel about the first 3 minutes or so, but listen to this.” He fast-forwarded to the 3:08 mark and my mind was blown. The drop in this song was unrivaled in 2010 and I will fight you if you don’t think that this song is the dance hit of the year. In some ways the intro to the song, which my friend was wary of, is the best part. The rising tension creates the groundwork for the rest of the song and when it gives way to Murphy’s wide range of vocal chops there is no looking back. I think that the YouTube user with the most recent comment on the video put it best when he said, “Listened to this song with a bunch of friends in a club on E. We all lost our shit and exploded into a million pieces all over the world.”
So take a listen below and be prepared to collect all the tiny little pieces of your body that will be exploded across the globe.
#3. Arcade Fire-The Suburbs
Ever since their debut release Funeral blew up to unexpected proportions, the hype machine that is The Arcade Fire has been garnering critical acclaim for everything they do. Expectations for this album were high to begin with, so it is a feat in itself for the band to not only meet those, but crush them with ease. In the relatively short time they’ve been around The Arcade Fire have grown to be bigger than life and the scope of The Suburbs certainly adds to that notion. Trying to encompass the hardships, small joys, and overall quality of life in the suburbs is no small feat, but tracks like “Sprawl”, “The Suburbs”, and “City With No Children” all strike a specifically dissonant chord, with Win Butler and Regine Chassagne using contrasting, yet equally effective vocals and lyrics. There’s a few standouts on the album, but to really appreciate The Suburbs one must take the album as a whole piece, as a bold message, a statement.
(Most of Arcade Fire’s vids use vevo, so bear with a few commercials to enjoy these clips)
#3- Delta Spirit- “Bushwick Blues”
In today’s music scene there are some promising young folk singers whose storytelling abilities hearken back to the greats like The Band and Neil Young. Taylor Goldsmith and Ben Knox Miller come to mind as well as Matt Vasquez from Delta Spirit. Vasquez’s voice can be soothing at times and then before you know it the true strength of his raspy voice will take over. The energy level that he brings to Delta Spirit’s live shows is incredible and he carries himself with a swagger that everyone in the crowd can feel. On “Bushwick Blues” Vasquez delivers one of the most heartfelt songs of the year. It tells the story of a man whose feelings for a bygone lover are so intense that he feels weak for not being able to get over her. Vasquez reveals this feeling of loss and yearning for love in the songs chorus when he pleads, “Because my love is strong/And my heart is weak/After all.” Continuing with lines like, “I met a young girl/Well I couldn’t manage her/Because I think of you/In every girl I meet/It’s no relief/That sounds to me just as sweet,” Vasquez and the rest of the boys from Delta Spirit create an anthem for the heartsick, one that is good enough to give you goosebumps.
#4- Arcade Fire- “We Used To Wait”
Arcade Fire’s second appearance on our top 20 is the hit single “We Used To Wait.” The Canadian rockers produce yet another melodic tune with great use of piano and a tremendous hook. The uplifting anthem will have you singing along for years and years to come. In another words, this song is BEEFY…like Neil.
#4. Beach House-Teen Dream
2010 saw many a great album and Beach House’s Teen Dream was certainly the darling of quite a few blogs and magazines come the end of the year. The duo’s third release solidifies their status at the top of the “dream pop” genre and features 10 enchanting tracks that you can listen to over and over again. The ethereal vocals of Victoria Legrand combine with Alex Scally’s guitar to create beautiful soundscapes that span the whole album. It is difficult to single out one track as being the best, but my personal favorites can be found below. If you don’t already have this album then you are crazy and we may not be friends anymore or at all.