Snow on the ground, a new year around the corner, must be time for the Top 100. As always, this is not an exact science but that never stops me from painstakingly ranking each one. The list follows but first the same ol’ rules and caveats:
+ They are listed in reverse order because that is the only real way to do a list. Any of you with any sense of drama will listen to the whole thing from 100 slowly building up to number 1, at which point you will practically be bursting with excitement.
+ These are tracks, not necessarily singles. Covers qualify as well though I usually only include ones that are markedly different than the originals.
+ I only have one song per artist because the list is way cooler that way. Having 12 Arcade Fire tracks in the Top 100 feels pretty anticlimactic. Everybody gets a shot this way.
+ They were all released in 2010 on either an album or as a single. Sometimes the album came out last year but it was released as a single this year (or vice versa). That is a loophole I happily exploit.
+ If I’m wrong about the release date of something, blame Wikipedia and Rhapsody.
The list is below and every song title features a link to that song. It got much harder this year thanks to MySpace destroying iMeem and Apple ruining LaLa. Thank you corporate overlords. If you have Rhapsody, you can find 88 of the songs assembled as a playlist here. Know that the Rhapsody list is missing songs # 100, 91, 81, 73, 69, 65, 64, 48, 45, 42, 39, and 30 so you’ll have to revert to this post if you’re a completist (and bravo if you are). Either way, set aside just over six hours to make it through the list. And enjoy.
100. Thunderbusters by Wax Audio. These two are literally the same song
99. I Don’t Want To Live There by The Lonely Forest. Sounds like Christmas
98. Hannah by Freelance Whales. More words-per-minute than any other song in the Top 100
97. Isn’t It A Pity by Bettye LaVette. Somewhere George Harrison is smiling
96. Own Stunts by Breathe Owl Breathe. That must be some moustache
95. Way Down Hadestown by Anais Mitchell. Cartoon devils everywhere have a new anthem
94. Castle Walls by T.I feat. Christina Aguilera. Tears of a rapper
93. Back Down South by Kings of Leon. If a square dance took place in an arena…
92. Weekend by Smith Westerns. If you crossed an electric guitar with a kazoo
91. Wolf River by Denuo. And not just because of the band name
90. The Truth Is In The Dirt by Karen Elson. You can tell she’s married to Jack White
89. Rattling Locks by Josh Ritter. Like a friendlier sounding Nick Cave
88. Revival by Deerhunter. Sounds like Beck’s “Jackass” served scrambled
87. Heirloom by Sufjan Stevens. The musical equivalent of a fuzzy blanket
86. Shutterbugg by Big Boi feat Cutty. Someone got carried away with a vocoder
85. Two Fat Ladies by Paul Weller. He doesn’t sound old to me…
84. Vampire Money by My Chemical Romance. Like your bratty obnoxious little brother
83. Flynn Lives by Daft Punk. All grown up and orchestral
82. Beg Steal or Borrow by Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs. Cat Stevens back when he was Cat Stevens
81. Pearls by The Union Line. It was a good year on the Top 100 for acoustic guitars
80. Falling Dove by Crowded House. Crowded House! Absolutely McCartneyesque
79. Who Fingered Rock n’ Roll by Cornershop. The yogis are back in town
78. Goodbye Sweet Dreams by Roky Erickson with Okkervil River. As world-weary as they come
77. Crime Pays by Bear Hands. Maybe the funkiest indictment of Wall Street ever
76. Flying Up A Mountain by Sweet Apple. Devil horns in the air, y’all
75. Night by Zola Jesus. The goths may have found themselves a new high priestess
74. Love’s Gonna Bite You Back by Ray Charles. From the grave but released for the first time so it counts
73. Trout by Skybox. Tempo changes midsong are always a surefire way to get on the Top 100
72. Beautiful People by The Books. Even the SAT vocabulary study guide sounds great when sung right
71. Marlene by Lightspeed Champion. Someone finally rhymed “heart” with “Deutsche Marks”
70. Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts by Brandon Flowers. Behind that trembly voice are some pretty songs
69. Red Wine by Pepper Rabbit. Especially for the sunny piano riff
68. Angel Dance by Robert Plant. Has now nearly completed his transformation to full-fledged gypsy
67. All to All by Broken Social Scene. Apologies and forgiveness are big themes in this year’s Top 100
66. Rope & Summit by Junip. Like jamming to the organ part of “Riders on the Storm”
65. Away Frm U by Oberhofer. Proof that an entire song can be built on a single riff
64. The Bold Arrow of Time by Tame Impala. If Pink Floyd was a modern day indie band
63. Solitary Gun by Rogue Wave. Especially for the ice-cream truck jig at the end
62. Hi by The Paparazzi. Power pop lives!
61. Invincible Hero by Versus. Somehow obligates your head to bob back and forth
60. Heaven And Earth by Blitzen Trapper. This demands an immediate cover version by Crowded House
59. Wild And Young by American Bang. AKA Princes of Leon
58. It’s Working by MGMT. Surf music + drugs = this
57. As We Enter by Nas and Damien Marley. Nas: “I got the guns”. Marley: “I got the ganja”
56. Titus Andronicus Forever by Titus Andronicus. Paranoia never sounded like such a hoot
55. Give It To Me by Rhymefest. ’”While you were tryin to bang the chick with the moustache, I was hanging out with Tiger Woods when his truck crashed”
54. Xxxo by M.I.A. The complications of love/lust in the digital age make for good dancing
53. Absence Of Light by Maximum Balloon feat. Tunde Adebimpe. 2/4 of TV on the Radio sure feels like TV on the Radio
52. When I’m With You by Best Coast. Hazy and dreamy
51. Shadow People by Dr. Dog. No one sounds happier than Dr. Dog
50. Your Hands (Together) by The New Pornographers. Same great New Pornographer sound, now with meatier guitar riffs!
49. This Too Shall Pass by OK Go. A great song even without the video
48. Something Somewhere Sometime by Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore. A primer in beautiful two part harmonies
47. Telephone by Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce. I want a pair of those cigarette glasses
46. It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re from Alabama) by Phosphorescent. I have a soft spot for song titles that read like ironic T-shirts
45. TAOS by Menomena. This is already a kickass song. Then come the horns.
44. Move Up by Patty Griffin. Testify
43. Rocket by Goldfrapp. ”Heart of Glass’ for the Space Age
42. Red River by Rocky Votolato. The sound of someone singing with conviction.
41. We Want War by These New Puritans. Next time I go into battle, this is the song I’m blaring from the loudspeakers.
40. Between The Lines by Stone Temple Pilots. When we used to take drugs? We’ll let that one slide.
39. Plastic Shadow by Mr. Gnome. Good for shaking your fist and chanting in unison
38. Mange by Deer Tick. Nothing kicks off a jam like the piano player finally waking up.
37. When I’m Small by Phantogram. They must be Portishead’s cousin
36. Let’s Go Surfing by The Drums. This was the year for indie surf music
35. King of Spain by The Tallest Man on Earth. A modern-day troubadour
34. Odessa by Caribou. A flute solo Ron Burgundy would approve of
33. Liquor Pang by Galactic. This song is about heavy drinking and New Orleans. What’s not to like?
32. Birthday Boy by Drive By Truckers. Sad songs can still be rockin
31. Runaway by Kanye West feat Pusha T. Know that guy who doesn’t really seem sorry when he’s apologizing? That’s Kanye.
30. Whip My Hair by Willow Smith. So stupid it’s brilliant
29. The Best of Times by Sage Francis. Hip hop as autobiography/personal therapy
28. Compass by Jamie Lidell. He actually hits pause on the drum machine to offer up a tender love song
27. Treeton by Fang Island. Good for running with wild abandon in any direction
26. Answer to Yourself by The Soft Pack. The perfect modern rock song
25. Animal by Neon Trees. The Strokes and The Killers give birth to a catchy overplayed track
24. Fuck You by Cee-Lo Green. Al Green with a dirty mouth
23. Swim by Surfer Blood. The big 80′s sound of echoey vocal and tasty waves
22. The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel. The year’s best cover will give you chills
21. The High Road by Broken Bells. Knob-twiddling + indie acoustic = pop heaven
20. Art Czars by Japandroids. It’s always such a pleasant party until Japandroids show up
19. Drunk Girls by LCD Soundsystem. The point at which the club erupts into pandemonium
18. I Saw the Light by Spoon. Perfecting tenision-filled build-ups since 1994
17. Tightrope by Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi. A James Brown for the space age
16. Sun Hands by Local Natives. Preapre for a four part-harmony smackdown with Fleet Foxes
15. Tighten Up by The Black Keys. This band has inisidiously found a way to lace their songs with something that spurs consumption of alcohol.
14. Roman’s Revenge by Nicki Minaj feat Eminem. Matches Eminem note for note in terms of total insanity
13. Are You Here by Corinne Bailey Rae. Heartbreaking.
12. Free Energy by Free Energy. The perfect lost 70′s FM radio anthem
11. Not in Love by Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith. Disintegration with a beat
10. U + Me = by Dan Black. I always imagine that right before the chorus he explodes into lasers
9. Airplanes by B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams. Listen to this song while you run and I guarantee a minimum 25% imrprovement in your pace.
8. City with No Children by Arcade Fire. This song stayed stuck in my head for the second half of 2010
7. O.N.E. by Yeasayer. Like Depeche Mode and Talking Heads getting together to throw a party
6. Crown on the Ground by Sleigh Bells. Sleigh Bells beat M.I.A. at her own game this year
5. Heartbeat by Nneka. Stuttering never sounded so sexy
4. Lemonworld by The National. Glorious
3. Hard Times by The Roots and John Legend. Marvin Gaye meets Isaac Hayes
2. Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons. If the chorus is catchy enough, you can repeat it over and over (and over)
1. Cousins by Vampire Weekend. It’s not easy to make songs both happy and complex but VW pull it off every time.