November 23, 2010

The Best Songs of 2010 :: 20-11

Yeasayer - "O.N.E"
Who knew the world-music-inspired eccentricity of 2007's All Hour Cymbals would lead to such a straightforward and well-crafted pop single? That's what "O.N.E." is after all: pop music, albeit a style decorated with uniquely distinctive and creative instrumentation. Lead singer Chris Keating and a devestatingly fun syntheseizer motif take the reigns here and deliver this Brooklyn band's most accessible and re-playable song to date.

Walkmen - "Woe Is Me"
Despite singer Hamilton Leithauser's narrative of a failed relationship that left him "lost," "Woe Is Me" somehow proves to be one of the most upbeat and playful songs the Walkmen have ever recorded. The song's sprightly and bright tone is due in large part to the jazzy splash and thump of underrated drummer Matt Barrick and Paul Maroon's clean syncopated guitar riff.

Cut Copy - "Where I'm Going"
The band has reported a less poppy version of "Where I'm Going" will appear on their forthcoming highly-anticipated third album Zonoscope. That's fine, just make sure to keep this absurdist amalgamation of Gary Glitter hand-claps and "whooos" and The Who's "Who Are You"-era keyboards on hand for a rainy day pep talk or late night dance party.

The Love Language - "Heart To Tell"
The sound of the drum and hand-clap bridge in "Heart To Tell" is a thing of true Phil Spector-inspired beauty. Stuart McLamb moved out of his parent's basement and into a real studio for the recording of his band's second album and that upgrade is loud and clear on this infectious fireball of rhythmic hooks and one-liners. "I'm no sailor, I want to rock the boat," quips McLamb. Indeed.

Tennis - "Marathon"
"Marathon" doesn't sound like sailing music, but that's exactly what it is—a song by husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley about pulling into a cove at night during high tide on their recent adventure along the Atlantic coast. Moore's cooing vocals and a dizzyingly fuzzy guitar crescendo and supplement each other perfectly in this chorus—perhaps especially potent because it's wordless.

Mudrer Mystery - "I Am (If You Are)"
If you dig early Madonna—especially danceable tracks like "Into The Groove"and "Physical Attraction"—and enjoy the silly synths of "I Just Can't Get Enough"-era Depeche Mode, then Murder Mystery's "I Am (If You Are)" is going to pluck at all the right heartstrings. And if you don't, you'll probably appreciate it anyway. There's hasn't been a moment this year more carefree, fun and blissful than Laura Coleman's turn on vocals for this New York City band.

Fang Island - "Daisy"
Group-sung harmony, rolling tom-toms, and blistering guitar solos prove to be a winning formula for Providence, Rhode Island band Fang Island, especially on their anthemic first single "Daisy—an exuberant and infectious bit of high-five rock.

The Soft Pack - "Answer To Yourself"
San Diego's Soft Pack devise the perfect vehicle for their mixture of devilishly fast punk rhythms and Matt Lamkin's talk-sing vocals with the uplifting do-something-with-your-life-before-you-die kick-in-the-but that is "Answer To Yourself."

Blake Mills - "Hey Lover"
Blake Mills' combines humor, smarts, and personal insight with ease into this pronouncement of love to his girlfriend. In fact, there may not be a better worded verse this year: "Blue and white racing-stripe pick up truck / And when did I decide to grow this beard and gut? / Well I may be white but I don't like my people much / but I'd want to raise with you, and watch the younglings hatch / Fucking make the first letters of their first names match / Hey lover!"

Radio Dept. - "Heaven's On Fire"
Is "Heaven's On Fire" the Radio Dept.'s answer to its opening monologue's notion of "bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture"? If uptempo pop sunshine is business men's kryptonite, then just maybe. This Swedish band captures an absurdly chipper vibe here with a repeating "Steal My Sunshine"-worthy keyboard riff and a chorus that's as easy and fun to sing-along to as they get.

The Radio Dept.

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