Linds’s Favorite Songs of 2010
Ranking stuff is hard, so here’s a list of songs I loved this year in no particular order.
“Palaces of Montezuma,” Grinderman
Nick Cave’s Grinderman is a raunchy, brash, psychotic mess of a band…ie, totally bad-ass. This is the lightest cut off Grinderman 2 and it’s a beauty. Cave lists off cultural artifacts he’d give his lover in exchange for her affection—a sweet idea that gets graphic and gruesome, in prime Nick Cave fashion.
“New York Is Killing Me,” Gil Scott-Heron
On his first album in 13 years, poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron sounds older, gravelly, and introspective. The minimal production on this blues track—just hand claps and fuzz—emphasizes his weathered voice, exhausted and trapped in a city of millions.
And check out this remix video by director Chris Cunningham, with all music replaced by the sounds of the New York City subway.
“Fall in Love (Your Funeral),” Erykah Badu
New Amerykah Part 2 is brilliant and beautiful front-to-back, with Badu in full-on soul siren mode, singing about love and affection and relationships. This track samples Eddie Kendrick’s 1977 “Intimate Friends” and finds Ms. Badu feisty and coy: “You don’t want to fall in love with me,” she says, “If you stay, prepare to have yo shit rearranged.” It’s a playful taunt, and even if you don’t want to fall in love with Badu, it’s pretty impossible not to.
“Lower Leg,” Wetdog
London’s Wetdog plays noisy, chaotic post-punk a la the Raincoats, Kleenex, and the Slits. Cacophonous, playful, and weeeird, oh my! They’re not reinventing the girl-punk wheel here, but holy crizzap is it exciting to find a band of ladies making this kind of music in 2010.
“Norway,” Beach House
Team Dream owned this year in internet love. This track exemplifies how Beach House has evolved since earlier singles like “Apple Orchard”—rather than brood and linger and sink in, it shimmers and bounces and sweeps you away.
“Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout,” Dum Dum Girls
“On Melancholy Hill,” Gorillaz
Surprisingly, on an album full of stellar cameos—Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of the Clash on “Plastic Beach,” Lou Reed on “Some Kind of Nature,” Mark E. Smith on “Glitter Freeze,” Mos Def and Bobby Womack on “Stylo,” and lots more—it’s Damon Albarn solo that affected me most. This is the prettiest, most heavenly perfect pop song I’ve heard all year. It’s a declaration of love and longing, and a sad acknowledgment that even if you don’t love me back, I’ll be here waiting just in case you can’t get what you really want.
“Shorty Said,” Das Racist
Das Racist sound like hyper-educated stoner dudes shooting the shit in a dorm room. And they’re hilarious. Their 2010 releases Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man are packed with pop culture references and observations on race and ethnic stereotypes in America. In “Shorty Said,” the social commentary is layered in one-liners about all the celebrities they’re told they resemble: “Mario Lopez with no lats and no traps and no pecs,” “Slash with no hat on,” “a chubby Jake Gyllenhaal,” “Osama plus Obama, minus the drama.”
“Dancing On My Own,” Robyn
Like Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” this track also finds Robyn dancing her ass off in a club—but instead of an icy drunk party girl, Robyn is furious with heartbreak, busting moves like a boxer while watching the guy she loves kiss his new girlfriend. Her voice is all pain and anguish, but she’s not gonna hide and weep and eventually one day move on. She’ll stick around to see her love with someone else, dance the hell out of this new wave beat, and find catharsis her own way.
“Wedding Song,” Anaïs Mitchell feat. Justin Vernon
Mitchell’s Hadestown “folk opera” restages the Greek myth of Orpheus in Depression-era America. (According to the myth, Orpheus, a gifted musician, searches the underworld for his lost love, Eurydice.) Mitchell mines classic American folk, blues, jazz, gospel, and ragtime to bind the ancient story to its contemporary setting. This track features Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon, who plays Orpheus to Mitchell’s Eurydice, and their swirling voices are elegant, chest-swelling stuff.
The Nicki Minaj cameo on Kanye West’s “Monster.” Possibly the best minute-and-a-half on this entire album.
Entry filed under: Bands We Like, Best of 2010, Jams, Lindsarella. Tags: Anais Mitchell, Arthur Russell, Beach House, Bon Iver, Das Racist, Dum Dum Girls, Erykah Badu, Frankie Rose and the Outs, Gil Scott-Heron, Gorillaz, Grinderman, Jams, Kick-ass Women, Nick Cave, Robyn, Wetdog.