2010 Songs of the Year (Jameson)

I have not done a true year-end songs list for a couple of years, so I figured I would give it a shot. One song per artist. Due to my general lack of time to pore over these write-ups like I used to (and hoping not to run out of gas prior to year-end), I am going to keep these brief. Also, if I think about this too long, I will probably move the list around a bunch. That being said, my top ten songs of 2010.

10. "Linus Spacehead" - Wavves: I love songs with a tight little rhythm section. The penultimate track from Wavves' pretty solid (and much more paletable) third album, King of the Beach, has just that. Throw in Nathan Williams' intermingling of beach pop and grunge, and "Linus Spacehead" is three minutes of what I imagine the underbelly of Southern California to be like.

9. "Dance Yrself Clean" - LCD Soundsystem: The first time I listened to the opening track of LCD Soundsystem's third (and final?) LP, This Is Happening, I was bewildered as to why the volume was so low. I turned up the volume on my receiver, assuming that it was just a glitch in the website from which I was streaming the album. At about the three minute mark, I was subsequently blown away by drums and a fuzzy bass line. I never turned the receiver back down. Mission accomplished, James Murphy.

8. "Infinity Guitars" - Sleigh Bells: The first one minute and fifty seconds of this song sounds like a cheerleading squad chanting about cowboys and indians over a Kinks sample. The last forty seconds will rip the guts out of your speakers.

7. "Monster" - Kanye West: When I read that Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, and Gayngs fame) worked on about ten (!) songs for the new Kanye West album, I had no idea what to expect. Then Mr. West released "Monster" as part of his G.O.O.D. Fridays project, and I saw that Vernon and Jay-Z both guested on the track. I was more than intrigued by that kind of firepower backing Kanye. After hearing "Monster" for the first time though, all I could say was, "How do you spell Nicki Minaj?"

6. "The Weekenders" - The Hold Steady: I will cut the suspense right now. The Hold Steady's fifth album, Heaven is Whenever, did not make my 2010 albums of the year list. If you are reading this blog, it has to come as a bit of a shock. A combination of a patchy album and what was a great year for music kept one of my favorite bands making music today out of the running. There were still a few tracks on the album that make it worth your time though. "The Weekenders" is one of them.

5. "The Diamond Church Street Choir" - The Gaslight Anthem: Some people have described the Gaslight Anthem as sounding like "a Bruce Springsteen led pop punk band". After hearing the soul and jazz rock and roll of "The Diamond Church Street Choir", I think we can drop the pop punk piece of that description.

4. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National: "Bloodbuzz Ohio" is pretty much textbook National; the drums drive the song while everything else swirls around on top of them. Of course, Matt Berninger (who, like the rest of the band, is from Ohio) adds the teeth by singing about the buzz one feels when returning home. Like any good drunk, there are highs and lows, but for better or worse your home is who you are. In other words, its in your blood.

3. "Cousins" - Vampire Weekend: There were a myriad of sounds on Vampire Weekend's sophomore album, Contra. Most of them polished. However, the raucous, screwball rock of "Cousins" was my most played track of 2010. Sandwiched between two (spectacular) songs that rely on some form of inorganic synth or beat ("Run" and "Giving Up the Gun"), "Cousins" was a welcome, angsty response to the VW haters.

2. "Younger Us" - Japandroids: From a blog post earlier this year: "If you read this blog, then you know I am a big fan of the Japandroids (#2 album of 2009). If up until this point, you have disregarded the Japandroids...well, every day is another chance to turn it all around. The formula has not changed here on "Younger Us" (single they released a while back as part 7" series they are doing this summer), and I don't think anyone is complaining. Fast, fuzzed-out guitars. Drums that are about ready to bust through the floorboards. Two guys singing their assess off. HUGE hooks that will make you nostalgic for a time you don't even remember."

1. "All Delighted People" - Sufjan Stevens