20? Why 20? I'll tell you why. 20 was as many tracks as I could possibly fit onto an 80 min CD-R, and even then I had to trim some fade-ins and fade-outs by a couple of seconds. I tried really not to let track length influence my selections. If my favorite song from an artist really was the 7 minute song and not the 4 minute radio single, so be it; even if it meant shortening up my list. It could have just as easily been a Top 17 or 23 list.
Favoritists? Yes, that's not a word and yes, these are my favorites. Not necessarily the "best" tracks, just the ones that continually found their way onto my various iPod playlists and sundry mixtapes I made for my friends. This also meant that I had to fight my urge to make this a mixtape instead of a "Best Of" playlist. Usually I would take things into account like song length (as mentioned above) as well as song placement and overall pacing. All of those went right out the window.
2010? Yup, only tracks from albums released in 2010 were eligible. I struggled mightily with the idea of an including a song from The Promise by Bruce Springsteen, but that album was largely b-sides from Darkness On The Edge Of Town, which was definitely not released in 2010. Also, if I included that I was opening the door for the Pinkerton re-issue by Weezer, which would in turn open other doors. It's 2010 and I'm going green, so I closed as many doors as possible.
One final caveat: one track per artist on this list. Otherwise there would have been only four or five different artists on here.
20. "In The Sun" She & Him, Volume Two
Don't call it a sophomore slump. True, Volume Two may not have been as good as Volume One, but it still had it's share of highs, including this song. As if Zooey Deschanel could do any wrong in my eyes.
19. "Post Acid" Wavves, King of The Beach
Singing this song at the top of your lungs (quite poorly, at that) is a great way to pass the miles on the I-90 headed East to Syracuse.
18. "Tighten Up" The Black Keys, Brothers
The breakdown in this song gets me every time. And the rest of it is pretty good, too.
17. "My Time" Minus The Bear, Omni
I introduced my friend Shennen to this band. He really dug their stuff and ending up doing some Internet research on them and told me how they got their band name. Apparently one of the band members had a proverbial hot date and the other guys asked him how it went. "Do you remember that show BJ and The Bear? Well, like that, except minus the bear." This song feels like an extension of that anecdote.
16. "Garbage Truck" Sex Bob-0mb, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
We are Sex Bob-omb and we are here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!
So sayeth Scott Pilgrim just before his band faces off against The Katayanagi Twins. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was favorite movie of 2010, which really isn't surprising at all considering how much I loved the Scott Pilgrim Graphic Novels (which was "immensely"). Graphic Novel adaptations are dicey enough, but a Graphic Novel that depends heavily on music and fictional bands is almost asking to be butchered on the big screen. However, just like the 1987 Detroit Pistons forgot about Larry Bird, and rappers in the late '90s forgot about Dre, all the pre-movie release haters forgot about Beck. Yes, that Beck. He wrote the Sex Bob-omb songs for the movie, and he killed it, obviously. Also deserving of credit is Chris Murphy of Sloan, who served as the film's Music Performance Supervisor. He pretty much made sure the actors looked like rock stars, and he, too, killed it. Obviously.
15. "A More Perfect Union" Titus Andronicus, The Monitor
Tramps like us, baby we were born to DIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
This band tries so hard to be the new Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, even if they fall well short of their mark. It was a lofty mark to begin with, after all.
14. "Everything at Once" Superchunk, Majesty Shredding
This year I found myself oddly gravitating to either the first or last song of a given album. For Majesty Shredding, I oscillated between both. In the end, the closer won out.
13. "Giving Up The Gun" Vampire Weekend, Contra
Another problem with making "Best of The Year" lists is time. Contra came out in January and I had all but played out "Giving Up The Gun" by March. Perhaps if this album had come out later in the year it would have placed higher. Or maybe I was actually able objectively rate this song. But I highly doubt that.
12. "K.O.W (Kings)" Cody B. Ware, Kings of Wrestling Entrance Music
I love Professional Wrestling and Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli, The Kings of Wrestling, are easily my favorite Tag Team today. I love them so much that I drove with my brother all the way to Syracuse to see them wrestle in a small gym allegedly packed with 350 fans and also because I thought there was a slight chance that we'd be able to meet the Kings (and even the Queen, Sara Del Rey).
We did. And they were awesome. Claudio is a fellow coffee enthusiast (I alerted him to a nearby Starbucks on Twitter, to which he replied, "Sweet!"). Sara Del Rey wrestled alongside the Kings that night in an awesomely horrible Christmas sweater vest, which ended up costing her the much when one of the dastardly Olsens pulled it over her face and rolled her up in a small package. That Young Knockout Kid, Chris Hero is a huge Hip-Hop fan and loves their theme song just as much as I do. OK, maybe not as much. I mean, my SMS and BBM alert on my BlackBerry right now is "K.O.W. Kings" taken right from this song.
I talked about songs getting played out on the previous entry, which is ironic, because I don't think I could ever play this song out. No matter how many times I've heard it, if it comes up on my iPod I'm listening to all the way through. I can't even so that about my so-called favorite song of the year. In fact, sometimes I found myself skipping through a 100+ song playlist in search of this song. Not bad, considering about 3/4 of the lyrics are simply the Kings of Wrestling's catch phrases and signature moves, yet Cody B. Ware somehow made it work without sounding cheesy at all.
Finish the competition wicka-with the KRS-ONE, the Rolling Elbow, the European Uppercut, son, Riccola Bomb, Flash Kick, your vision is done.
11. "Goodnight Laura" Spoon, Transference
Don't mind Spoon, all they've done this year is release yet another solid album. This album was so solid that I had a hard time deciding on my favorite song, always a good problem to have. Ultimately, I decided that I can never have enough lullabies for my niece, Aiyana; especially when delivered with the sand papery voice of Britt Daniel.
10. "Let's Get Out of Here" Les Savy Fav, Root For Ruin
I'm a sucker for these types of songs, I really am. The song starts out I want you. I want you. Right now. Simple, sweet and succinct. In other words, every thing I am not. Throw in some "oooooohhh"s and you've got yourself a Top Ten song.
9. "The Curse" Josh Ritter, So Runs The World Away
Zombie Love Song of The Year.
Music Video of The Year.
That is all.
8. "Boyfriend" Best Coast, Crazy For You
At first listen, it will seem like there is nothing at all to this song. It's just you're average, run-of-the-mill indie pop rock song about a girl longing after a boy. It's basically a Taylor Swift song. But, is it really? Is it really? Is it really?
7. "Norway" Beach House, Teen Dream
Best Coast made me talk about about Taylor Swift and with Beach House I feel obligated to mention Katy Perry, whose similarly titled album Teenage Dream dominated all sorts of charts this year as well as my cousin Andy's stereo. But on my list, the dream pop of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally reigns supreme.
6. "Laredo" Band of Horses, Infinite Arms
There's just something so warm and inviting and familiar about this song. It's probably Ben Bridwell's beard.
5. "Power" Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West's latest albums is so good (how good was it?) that not only did I have a hard time picking my favorite song from it, I had an even harder time picking out my favorite line. The winners? This song (obviously) and "You got too many Urkels on your team, that's why their wins low" (from the album opener "Dark Fantasy"). I went with "Power" partly because of his electric Saturday Night Live performance, but also because it perfectly illustrates Kanye's self-doubt, but also his self-awareness as not only one of the best rappers today, but as one of the best musicians today, and also the dangers that come along with that recognition. It's a rather vicious cycle, actually. And even if you don't relate to this song that way, I guess every superhero needs his theme music.
4. "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" The National, High Violet
I had the hardest figuring out which song by The National was going to make my list. "Terrible Love," "Blood Buzz Ohio," "Conversation 16" and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" all dominated my iPod this year. And if that wasn't bad enough, later in the year The National released an "Expanded" edition of High Violet featuring an alternate version of "Terrible Love." After much consternation, "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" was awarded the 4 spot. The lines Man, it's all been forgiven/The swans are a-swimmin' and All the very best of us string ourselves up for love haunted me (in a good way) more than any other from High Violet, except for maybe I was afraid I'd eat your brains 'cause I'm evil from "Conversation 16." The strings and piano accompaniment are lovely as well.
3. "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
They heard me singing and they told me to stop/Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
As a 26-year-old who works in a factory right in the middle of a suburban sprawl, this album and this song in particular hit really close to home with me. There really isn't a whole lot to do in Western New York. On my days off I often find myself driving around aimlessly and I usually stop at one of the various shopping malls just 'cause. Everyday I ask myself can we ever get away from the sprawl? I guess I'm not the only one.
2. "Infinity Guitars" Sleigh Bells, Treats
This. Song. Rocks.
1. "Dance Yrself Clean" LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening
How dare you, James Murphy? How dare you start this song out almost painfully slow only to catch me off guard and cause me to dance like a fool every time the beat kicks up? How dare you write lyrics that are obvious jabs at me like acting like a jerk, except you are an actual jerk and living proof that sometimes friends are mean? How dare you make me put a 9 minute song as my favorite of the year? How dare you release such a perfect album and then claim it's LCD Soundsystem's last? How dare you?
God bless you, James Murphy.
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