Often I’ve gotten in the car this year and driven, just so I could listen to music. There’s something about blurred motion passing all around you that amplifies the effect. I have discovered songs from dear friends, seen music left on shelves and delivered from strangers. New music has come to me while showering, when least expecting and in middle of acting powerful. My year has been characterized by the many wonderful women entering and exiting my life. In reaction, wonderfully powerful songs have fallen right in line with quiet ones, providing celebration and woe-cure alike. This year more than any other, I have relied on sound to get me through the things life has given and taken. And though music is a luxury, for those who have time, money and safety, it has felt like a required part of my whole being. 2010 has brought me this growth and these songs.
Best Songs of 2010
<Matt’s # 25-1>
[See #26-50 Here]
25. Keepaway – “Yellow Wings”
This is the running song. Way up loud.
24. Pearl Harbor – “Luv Goon”
23. Pomegranates – “Create Your Own Reality”
22. Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose – “Boreas Borealis”
Rose weaves and Gibson eeks. Her voice just barely manages to make it out of her throat, but it carries so much of her heart. This is the sound of 1000 years of waiting.
21. Nightlands – “Suzerain (A Letter to the Judge)”
20. Anna Calvi – “Moulinette”
19. Mountain Man – “Soft Skin”
18. UNKLE – “May Day Revisited” (ft. The Duke Spirit & The Radio Dept.)
17. Active Child – “I’m In Your Church At Night”
16. White Hinterland – “Icarus”
15. The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before the Funeral”
14. Glasser – “Home”
13. Gorillaz – “Empire Ants” (ft. Little Dragon)
On their record Plastic Beaches, this is the one that felt like rolling around on warm sand. I’m also a glutton for Little Dragon, the drop beat transition at the halfway point where Yukimi Nagano’s vocals enter move me every time. See an amazing live performance here. By the time this song ends, the warmth has turned your beach into glass. And it shines.
12. Lia Ices – “Daphne”
11. The Tallest Man on Earth – “Burden of Tomorrow”
10. Sharon Van Etten – “DsharpG”
9. Jesca Hoop – “Bed Across The Sea”
8. Efterklang – “Modern Drift”
The Danish band have always had a huge lush sound, but on “Modern Drift” it becomes epic. The reinforcing strings at 3:40 give me shivers every time, and I still have yet to understand how.
7. Wye Oak – “My Creator”
All seconds of this track are devoted to pleading. To a woman’s nature, to a higher force, to dignity and to a future. Even the instrumental span sounds like movement towards an ill-regarded, but necessary inevitability. Thank you to Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner for creating such a wonderful thing.
6. The National – “England”
5. Jónsi – “Tornado”
Sounds Like: 50 pianos, 50 orchestras, 1 angel.
4. Regina Spektor – “Ode to Divorce” (Live in London)
I was no where near a blog much less mp3s when “Ode to Divorce” came out with Regina’s Soviet Kitsch in 2004. I’ve always wondered what exactly makes me love that record, and when Spektor released her Live In London DVD late this year, I found it was all because of this song. Her voice and piano is best heard live, only feet away, in the dark. This is classic Regina, with all her history pent up and gushed into her debut, except you can be THERE with this song. I challenge you to give me another woman that whispersings so well.
3. Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
It threatens to explode three different times, teasing and luring, but instead begins to build. It unleashes itself at the 4:15 mark and you’re suddenly simultaneously wishing to return to the beginning/wanting to see the ending. Throbs and chills this song gives me, and the video is no small part of it. Be sure to watch it too.
2. Zola Jesus – “Lightsick”
“Lightsick” preys on your expectations. What I love about this song is it’s ability to resist becoming some stadium anthem, molding the simple piano march into a temperance rather than a catalyst. To be sure and secure in one feeling and moment, allowing it to wander and permeate…damn that’s brilliant. When every other song would take off to elsewhere, Zola Jesus explores.
1. Sarah Jaffe – “Stay With Me”
Whenever I thought of you, Emily, I was this song.
More From Sarah Jaffe:
[See #26-50 Here]