50 Best Songs of 2010

Yay! It's time for my annual Favorite Songs post that a handful of my friends love because they get to download new music, while everyone else complains that all the music files make my blog near-impossible to load. You're welcome!

I think it's worth your perusal considering that last year I was ahead of the trend on Mumford & songs and the xx. Not to mention that my #1 song, "Bulletproof" by La Roux actually became a genuine hit in America... a year later than it should have taken. Will I be as prophetic or just pathetic this year?

After compiling this list, I've made three observations: 1) There are fewer indie bands and more mainstream acts than in the past. 2) There are more R&B leaning songs than it usual. 3) I'm really into dance tracks. So does this mean that the dance-y, mainstream R&B tracks released this year are better than usual or just that my taste has skewed that way? Probably some of both.

You can either download all fifty songs at once HERE or sample and download them individually. Or go out and buy the music. Yeah, maybe you should do that.

50. Crutch and Cane – Peter Wolf Crier

Pitchfork called this song “as airy and breathable as gym shorts.” Let’s all take a moment to laugh at their review, and then acknowledge that none of my descriptions will be much better.

49. Go On – Basia Bulat

I’ve been enjoying Bulat’s music for a few years now, and I’m always happy to discover she’s consistent without becoming monotonous.

48. Down by the Water – The Decemberists

A new Decemberists album is coming early next year, and this is the one song they’ve leaked thus far. Here’s hoping for a CD full of equally good songs.

47. Sprawl II – Arcade Fire

Admittedly, I’m not as big of an Arcade Fire fan as most people I know. But this one has been growing on me as of late, and I’m sure I’d regret not including it on my list later on when it has more fully latched on to me.

46. Bully – Lissie

I’ve followed Lissie for a while as a great cover artist, and I’m excited to finally become familiar with her original work. She’s quite a songwriter in her own right.

45. Get Some – Lykke Li

After making a name for herself with a sweet, soft voice, Li has pulled a 180 with this song. If the ferocious drums weren’t enough of an indication, her declaration of, “I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some” sure is.

44. Crash Years – The New Pornographers

I love the New Pornographers, and while I found their most recent album a bit of a letdown, it’s mainly because I hold them to such a high standard. There are still great songs like this one, though.

43. Hello – Martin Solveig & Dragonette

I’m often guilty of only dancing to songs I know. Here’s a song that’s infectious enough that it prompted me to dance even on the first listen.

42. VCR – the xx

If I hadn’t exercised restraint, probably ten of my favorite songs would have come from the xx last year. As this was the last single from the album, I’m throwing it on this year’s list.

41. All Summer – Kid Cudi & Bethany Cosentino & Rostam Batmanglij

This song may be a blatant attempt to be a “summer” hit, but I’m a fan of anything that Kid Cudi touches – certainly the talented artists he’s collaborating with here don’t hurt either.

40. Bed Intruder Song – Antoine Dodson

Most people might be too ashamed to count this viral video turned autotuned smash amongst their favorite songs, but I’ll take Antoine’s lead and hold nothing back. Don’t get raped, y’all.

39. Go Outside – Cults

My only hesitation in liking this song is that kids who are legitimately enslaved in a cult are being kept to sing catchy songs like this one.

38. Dynamite – Taio Cruz

This song exploded on mainstream radio this year. Admittedly, it rides the line between “catchy” and “annoying,” but more often it falls on the correct side of that battle for me.

37. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

I don’t listen to much country, so I’m definitely late to this song – something I can best describe as a twangy version of a drunk dial. It got me, though. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a threesome.

36. You’ve Changed – Sia

Sia’s taken a change of tone toward from a more gentle songstress to a singer who fully embraces a dance-y background track. I personally like her either way, but I’d be in for more songs in this style.

35. Include Me Out – Robyn

All hail the queen of dance pop. To many, Robyn is mere a footnote in 90s pop culture, but those in the know understand that she’s consistently putting out great tracks.

34. California Sunrise – Dirty Gold

I haven’t been able to learn much about this band, but I like its sultry style.

33. Older Brother – Pepper Rabbit

While folk-rock has made quite a comeback this year, Pepper Rabbit comes across as a band that is helping to lead the trend rather than following it. Good chill music.

32. One – Sky Ferreira

“I’m not a robot, but I feel like one.” An apt lyric for a song that blends elements of electronica with dance/pop. It’s like if Daft Punk had a kid sister.

31. Awake My Soul – Mumford & Sons

I was all over these guys last year, and my interest has yet to wane. You’ve got to get the whole album, none of it disappoints.

30. Rich Girl – The Bird and the Bee

Not many artists would dare release an album consisting entirely of Hall and Oates covers, but the Bird and the Bee managed to not only do it, but do it well. Take it from me: you don’t have to be a Hall and Oates fan to like their interpretations.

29. The Only Exception – Paramore

Previously, my impression of Paramore was a screamy Evanescence clone. Not my thing, but there’s a market for it. This song, however, is a vast departure, a stripped down love song… which is also not generally my thing, but let’s call it my only exception.

28. Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner

I didn’t want to like this song initially, but there’s no denying… it’s cooler than me.

27. Vesuvius – Sufjan Stevens

Stevens has become a mainstay as a indie artist with overly-orchestrated, experimental sound, and this is my favorite song off his latest album. It’s also my favorite song of the year that was named after a volcano.

26. Holidays – Miami Horror

I’m not sure what this Australian group has against Miami, but they can sing whatever they want about America as long as they set it to catchy music.

25. Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble

I know, I know… I’ve been suckered in by a crooner. I feel like such a suburban mom in admitting I enjoy this one, but ‘tever!

24. One Day – Kings Go Forth

This band is ten members strong and you can hear each of them. More is better with this funk tune.

23. Excuses – The Morning Benders

This song received a lot of deserved buzz early in the year before finally hitting the indie jackpot by scoring two commercials with both Sony and Reese’s.

22. Crave You – Flight Facilities

Beautifully smooth, this song sets the mood for relaxation… and perhaps even seduction. I feel sufficiently seduced after listening to it, anyway.

21. Rude Boy – Rihanna

On my first listen, I found the lyrics to be so raunchy that I blushed… because obviously she’s singing about me – the rudest boy of all.

20. Everybody Knows – Alex Lambert

I’m not normally in the habit of downloading songs performed on American Idol, but I love this John Legend cover for reasons I can’t entirely pinpoint. How this Lambert got cut early while (no relation) Adam Lambert could become a household name demonstrates a skewed perception of talent.

19. OMG – Usher & Will.I.Am

Though fun, I’ve always thought Usher’s mega-hit “Yeah” was overrated. On the other hand, “OMG” has the beat to back it up. I first heard this song three times en route to Las Vegas – radio selection is limited in the desert - and it cemented itself as my new party anthem.

18. I Want the World to Stop – Belle & Sebastian

Although Belle & Sebastian were my dance band of choice in college, I haven’t paid them much consideration since then. Finally the band has a new track that demonstrates some restraint, while still making it impossible to stay seated.

17. Soldier of Love – Sade

Thank goodness Sade is back. She is a wet dream come true. The title track from her most recent album is the epitome of fierce. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another decade to get new music from her again.

16. In My Head – Jason DeRulo

It’s the ultimate club song… about being in a club. Whatever, it doesn’t need to be deep to be good. Catchiness trumps.

15. I Need a Dollar – Aloe Blacc

With magnificent horns and soulful vocals, on my first listen, I assumed this song was recorded decades ago rather than a new release. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because it’s timeless nature is great.

14. Tighten Up – The Black Keys

If I could sing like Dan Auerbach, I’d do nothing but perform. When I put on this song, I break into a strut – it inspires confidence.

13. Fight for this Love – Cheryl Cole

Evidently this song was huge in Europe last year; thanks to a solid cover by Vampire Weekend, I learned of it belatedly. Deceptively simple on first listen, the song could be a major hit in the States if promoted, I believe.

12. The Cave – Mumford & Sons

It’s a wonder that the repeat function on my car CD player didn’t wear out with this song. I certainly tested its limits.

11. Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People

I don’t know much about this LA band… they don’t even have an album out yet, but after stumbling across this solid song, I’m looking forward to hearing more.

10. Satellite – Lena

Eurovision is probably the best (or cheesiest… the two are synonymous in my world) phenomenon that America is oblivious to. In this televised event, every European country sends a musical artist to compete and all of Europe votes for their favorite songs. Most of the songs are laughably horrible, but this year’s winner is legitimately cute and catchy.

9. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

If I had only learned of this fantastic band sooner, surely “40 Day Dream” would have been on this list last year. Better late than never, however. Playful and unforgettable, this duet released as a single early in the year is a standout.

8. Whip My Hair – Willow Smith

When I heard Will Smith’s nine-year-old daughter had a song out, I put it on my mental list of things to avoid. Fortunately, this song was unavoidable, and I succumbed to its charm. I may not have hair to whip around, but it never stops me from trying.

7. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine

I was fortunate to learn about Florence after the xx covered one of her songs last year and it’s been love ever since. The power and crescendos in this song, a re-release from a couple of years ago, make it impossible not to smile.

6. The High Road – Broken Bells

I think it’s fair to call this song one of the strangest of the year. Going through several stages, “The High Road” is like a tiny, subdued opera wrapped up in under four minutes.

5. Runaway – Kanye West & Pusha T

Sure Kanye’s a douchebag, asshole, scumbag, and jerk-off, but in this song where he cops to it, he won me over again. Do I wish someone as cocky as him didn’t have the talent to back it up? Sure, but there’s no denying that this song is a masterpiece. Judge him, but you’re only depriving yourself by ignoring his new album.

4. Hang with Me – Robyn

I’ve sang Robyn’s praises earlier in the list, now listen to her sing her own. After previously releasing an admirable acoustic version of “Hang with Me.” she jazzed it up with her trademark style for a tune I find amazing.

3. Giving up the Gun – Vampire Weekend

As much of a Vampire Weekend fan as I am, even I expected the band to suffer a sophomore slump. Though their second album is hardly perfect, a song as strong as this one shows me they have staying power.

2. Tightrope – Janelle Monae & Big Boi

If you can resist dancing to this song, then you’re probably not human… which would probably be okay with Monae given her android image. No song oozes cool more effortlessly than this one.

1. Fuck You – Cee Lo Green

Green proves that his genius is boundless with this incredibly fun track. I love the interplay between the perfectly imperfect lead vocals and the silly background singers. Honestly, who doesn’t need to sing/scream a chorus of “Fuck you” from time to time?

Download all fifty songs at once HERE.


Ted said...

I hadn't heard the Bed Intruder song, but it should definitely be #1.

KirstB said...

I have been eagerly anticipating this post for awhile now. Whoohoo!!
You should start doing this seasonally..once a year isn't enough for me.