Saturday, December 25, 2010

Favourite Songs of 2010

  still from Young Empires' "White Doves" music video

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone. So before all the presents hoopla and face-stuffing-with-food begins, perhaps you might fancy some light reading.

This may be my one and only 2010 list this year. These are my favourite songs (most of them being actual singles) of the year, at least the ones I could remember with at least half amount of effort put into it. On the whole, I'd had neither the time nor patience to sit through many new albums this year and as each year goes by it seems I find I'm either spending more time dusting off my vinyl collection (much of it of that late 70's punk / early 80's post-punk period) to listen or get reacquainted with albums I had never spent much time with or catching up with more recent albums such as last year's Reservoir by Fanfarlo, Lungs by Florence & The Machine, or this year's Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons. Yes, every year brings it's own crop of good to outstanding music, but it seems that the enormous attention given to whatever is currently hot is fleeting then everyone is on to something else. The beauty of the single or individual song is that if the time and mood is right, a song can absolutely knock you off your feet or one might find oneself humming the tune for days. These were the ones that fell into that category:

"White Doves" - Young Empires (video)

It's hard to pick my favourite track of the year above all else, but this track by Toronto's Young Empires very well may be it. With a solid drum beat, subtle guitar and keys and soaring vocals and melodies, this anthemic, world-class number never ceases to amaze me.

"Hey Boy" - Magic Kids (video)

Shamelessly pilfers Brian Wilson / Beach Boys influences but with vocals (lead & choral) so charmingly reminiscent of a high school glee club.

"Society" - DVAS (video)

I came across this track only last month but this song, merging an 80's influence with some Daft Punk-isms, by Toronto electro-dance pop DVAS quickly became a favourite. This makes me long for summer.

"Fuck You" - Cee Lo Green (video)

It's funny that I never heard the original of this song until after hearing Gwyneth Patrol's decent though censored version of the song featured in a episode of Glee. Cee Lo Green's version is a stone cold soul classic.

"The Cave" - Mumford and Sons (video)

I was teetering between including either Mumford and Son's "The Cave" or "Little Lion Man". The latter is the obvious single, a consistently urgent bluegrass pop number, but in the end I chose "The Cave". I feel this song in my heart, and have bordered on shedding a tear at times.

"Something Else" - Diamond Rings (video)

Casio beats, electric guitar and vocals combined with one of the most infectious melodies in recent memory make for one of the best songs of the year.

"I Didn't See It Coming" - Belle & Sebastian (video)

With Sarah Martin's delicate vocals guiding this song along, it's pop songs like this that remind me why I loved Belle & Sebastian in the first place.

"Rocket" - Goldfrapp (video)

This unabashedly 80's influenced infectious dance pop track from Goldfrapp is so drastically different from the band's previous material it should qualify as a guilty pleasure.

"Scissor Runner" - Jenny & Johnny (video)

I get all giddy inside every time I hear this song. Lovebirds Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice duet nicely on this track, a country-ish rocker that never fails to get me tapping my foot.

"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" - The Arcade Fire (video)

My favourite song of the summer. The Arcade Fire get funky, so to speak.

"Faster" - Janelle Monae (video)

"Tightrope" is the single but "Faster" is the song that made me take notice. Living up to it's song title, it's like a sped-up, Motown number.

"Down In Your Valley" - Dead Letter Chorus (video)

I'd first caught on to this Aussie band when they played Canadian Music Fest in Toronto earlier this year. Their debut full-length "The August Magnificent" came out in Canada in March through Bumstead Record and the song above was the first single. This mid-tempo folk-rock number is nicely sung by vocalist Lee Carey and was one of the most charming singles of the year.

"One Life Stand" - Hot Chip (video)

At its core, it's a pop song but it's made doubly more intriguing and fun by Hot Chip's uncanny ability to intricately weave an array of instrumental sounds both electronic and organic into this fully knit electro pop beauty.

"The East Wind" - Gord Downie and The Country of Miracles (video)

From this year's album "The Grand Bounce", the first single "The East Wind" is melodically and lyrically simplistic but gathers momentum as it goes along. I was first drawn in by the comforting vocals of Mr. Downie and the opening pensive acoustic guitar strains, but then with a "1,2,3,4", the drums, bass and electric guitar kick in to push the song into a higher gear.

"Dancing On My Own" - Robyn (video)

As hummable, electro-dance pop numbers go this was one of the best ones of the year.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see Hot Chip on someone's list --- I just discovered their song accidentally the other day through an internet radio station I wake up to in the mornings.