50 Songs of 2010


Mar 3 2011, 23:38

Before Spring-2011 finally reigns let’s take a nostalgic look back at some swell 2010 songs for one last time.

During the last year I’ve listened to over 250 albums. And God knows how many new songs overall. But still, most of even Pitchfork list is still an unheard mystery to me.

I guess this list may look conciderably weird. Consisted mostly of popular songs with some drops of country and noise... Yes, indeed it is weird. But I can’t help it – I tried pretty hard and this is what I came up with. Moreover, I feel really strong about this – if I die today, burn a CD with these songs with me in the crematory.

Sorry for writing all of this in English (or something that resembles English). All of these songs are in English. I stopped thinking about them in Ukrainian a while ago. Besides, my thoughts aren’t that deep, so my poor English vocabulary should cover it.

50. “The Open Road” by John Hiatt (The Open Road, New West)

Isn’t it just the song with a proper name to open the list with?

Keepin' her eyes on the open road
No tellin' where that son-a bitch goes

49. “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” by Tokyo Police Club (Champ, Mom + Pop Music Co.)

They’re from Canada, actually. And I’d call police on them because the most of the album sounds horrible. But this song is too catchy to disregard.

I'm on your side
so introduce me to your friends
with the music and the lights and everything

48. “It’s Working” by MGMT (Congratulations, Columbia)

Forgive me for saying that, but this song reminds me of Pink Floyd. Besides, seems like they’re singing here about drugs. Or love. Or both.

Turn the noise on
I'd like to feed my poison
assembly lines

47. “South” by The Dead C (Patience, Ba Da Bing!)

I didn’t listen to a lot of noise lately. That’s ‘cause I rarely hear the noise this good.

46. “Airplanes” by Local Natives (Gorilla Manor, Frenchkiss)

A promising young band from LA. Our prayers should keep them from evil minds of major labels.

I keep those chopsticks you had from when
you taught abroad in Japan

45. “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz (Plastic Beach, Parlophone / Virgin)

When our planet melts down of global warming and getting staffed with advanced technology so we’d stay alive anyway – this is the song to celebrate our survival with.

There's a plastic tree
are you here with me?

44. “Communist Friends” by Kaki King (Junior, Rounder)

Unlikely candidate for the best song off the Junior collection, but as I’ve learned, this song represents the message and the mood of the whole album most literally. Cold War isn’t over.

My communist friends, they wanna help me, or so they tell me, but hey
Where are you when I need you?

43. “Kill Me Carolyne” by The Whigs (In The Dark, Ato)

What can I say? These guys rock. And I love everything with dying and killing – especially if it sounds like a lot of fun.

But you'd feel better
If you just suck it up and
Kill, kill me Carolyne

42. “Eyesore” by Women (Public Strain, Jagjaguwar)

I always gladly use a bit of lo-fi indie pop. And if I can’t understand what the song’s about it only means a heightened quality.

Lying next to me, just below the swaying palms

41. “Children Of The Grounds” by Midlake (The Courage Of Others, Bella Union)

Even though consciously I don’t like these medieval notes jumping off the song, they’re like half-dead plague-carrying knights winning over my heart.

Mother calling out
To bring the end around
We weren't quite done
She blames it on the sun

40. “Wrong Room” by Naked On The Vague (Heaps of Nothing, Siltbreeze)

Sounds like strings on these guitars are about to commit suicide.


39. “Over It Over Again” by She & Him (Volume Two, P-vine/ MERGE/ Double Six)

Zooey Deschanel brings vocal pop back in style. At least for me.

Every day I’ve gotten over it over and over again I’ve gotten sick of it, a lick of it will suck me back in

38. “That's Why I Write Songs” by Jamey Johnson (The Guitar Song, Mercury Nashville)

Genuine country song. Won’t find the better one from 2010.

Most songwriters never get the fame
Some folks wouldn’t recognize their names

37. “I Don't Wanna Know” by Peter Wolf (Midnight Souvenirs, Verve)

An anthem of denial. Or non-hip way to express the feeling of “whatever.”

Don't try to explain
Just lie to me some more

36. “Reeling the Liars In” by Swans (My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, Young God)

I think many were surprised by this album. Somehow Michael Gira sounds even more frightening and seeds more hopelessness in us with these “calm” songs rather with good old no-wave. But then again, the rest of the album doesn’t sound as calm as this one eerie song.

Now the sun will hide beneath the ridge tonight, clear flames of revenge will lick the black sky, and I,
I will sing as you eat their tongues, for I am the saint who will lead them to us.

35. “Tennessee Me” by The Secret Sisters (The Secret Sisters, Universal Republic)

Not since The Carter Family I’ve heard such pleasant vocal harmonization. From the production point of view this record sounds the best, most rich and organic of all delivered by T-Bone Burnett last year.

I'm nothing special but I can hold you
If you want to, you can stay
Tenessee Me won't you stay?

34. “High and Unhinged” by Les Savy Fav (Root for Ruin, Frenchkiss)

I was ready to pronounce the guys dead for me. But the album “Root for Ruin” became one of the biggest surprises last year – even though they didn’t move further with it, but at least they’re few steps back to their strong uncompromising indie-pop.

You know dress just right
And you speak so fine
They've turned you so uptight

33. “Scissor” by Liars (Sisterworld, Mute)

A slasher of a song. I’m washing my hands right now.

I drag her body to the parking lot
I tried to find her a savior out there amongst the cars

32. “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses (Infinite Arms, Brown Records/ Fat Possum/ Columbia)

A little melancholy lullaby for the depressed young people who are still in hope for sweet dreams. Even though they’re bound to sleep alone.

And if you're ever left with any doubt
What you live with and what you'll do without
I'm only sorry that it took so long to figure out

31. “Time of the Assassins” by Charlotte Gainsbourg (IRM, Beacuse Music)

As if she got out of the MRI machine and found out that tumor didn’t grow back, but there’s still a feeling of post-chemo depression.

The shoulder that turns
The flame that goes out
The chapter I close

30. “Thank You For Your Love” by Antony and the Johnsons (Swanlights, Sectretly Canadian)

No need for a comment – just enjoy the divine voice of Anthony.

When all is falling in the seizure of pain
Oh thank you for your love

29. “Dr. Watson, I Presume” by Elvis Costello (National Ransom, Hear Music/ Universal)

Mr. Costello trying out some Bob Dylan kind of lyrics. Only more desperately sounding ones. T-Bone Burnett produced record – could’ve done better job, Mr. T.

Brides turned into old wives tales
Your complexion colours then it pales
And into the sunset it sails

28. “Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man” by Grinderman (Grinderman 2, Mute/ anti-)

Another scene of the crime. Keep moving, keep moving, there’s nothing to stare at.

We sucked her and sucked her dry
I was Mickey Mouse. He was the Big Bad Wolf!

27. “Death Rattles” by Woods (At Echo Lake, Woodsist)

Maybe after their 10th album I’ll get tired of them. But yet – they’re right on the money with old tricks.

God only knows just to be by your side I would be there all night
I would be there alright alright

26. “Desire Lines” by Deerhunter (Halcyon Digest, 4AD)

Yeah, it starts off like Arcade Fire but then turns to something more 90’s. Which I like even more than Arcade Fire.

Is that the way things go
forever reaching for the goal

25. “Long Shadows” by Josh Ritter (So Runs The World Away, Pytheas Recordings)

Elliot Smith turned into an angel and keeps singing.

I'm not afraid of the dark when the sun goes down
and the dreams grow teeth and the beasts come out and cast their long shadows
every time they start I'll be right here with you – I'm not afraid of the dark.

24. “Constellations” by Balmorhea (Constellations, Western Vinyl)

Balmorhea’s their most haunting piece. Yeah, I know it can be hard to hear from what appears to be a little insignificant piano étude, but there’s something that almost mystically grabs all my attention and thoughts, and places them right in the middle of some darkened room where a terrible irreversible deed is about to happen. It may seem for a brief moment like you’re given a chance to prevent whatever’s going to go down, but reality is, you’re most likely to become the only human being that’s left in that abandoned drafty, chilling room – paralyzed and sentenced to slowly suffer from hands of an unseen danger. That is inevitability of constellations.

23. “Never Go Hungry” by Hole (Nobody's Daughter, Mercury/ Universal)

The kind of songs Courtney should sing from now on. Or just stop making music altogether, ‘cause it the best thing I’ve heard from her, possibly, ever. But I hope she’ll end up better than Scarlett O’Hara.

And we owe each other nothing
There's nothing left here
To defend
We will never go hungry,
Go hungry again

22. “Save Some Time To Dream” by John Mellencamp (No Better Than This, Rounder)

A couple of simple advices from a man who knows what he’s talking about.

Save some time for living
And always question your faith

21. “Boyfriend” by Best Coast (Crazy for You, Mexican Summer)

Right. Screw feminism.

“When people ask of me,
What would you like to be
Now that you’re not a kid anymore.
(You're not a kid anymore)

I know just what to say,
I answer right away,
There’s just one thing I've been wishing for...

I want to be Bobby's girl
I want to be Bobby's girl,
That's the most important thing to me...” – Marcie Blane (released 1962).

The other girl is not like me
She's prettier and skinnier
She has a college degree
I dropped out when I was seventeen

20. “Colouring of Pigeons” by The Knife (Tomorrow, in a Year, Rabid)

This song is just too epic to dislike, to ignore, or, in fact, to do anything with it but admire.

Six weeks old
Henrietta smiled for the first time
Tail habits proof
Instinct that moves

19. “Norway” by Beach House (Teen Dream, Sub Pop)

Just like anybody else I love that “nor-way-eh-eh-ay, eh-eh-ay...” New voice of pop meditations.

Hang on to the things that you're supposed to say
Millions of stars, they open to your fate

18. “Twenty Miles” by Deer Tick (The Black Dirt Sessions, Partisan)

Sometimes I forget that I have a terrible voice and start to sing along with the guys. That’s called a real folk song.

I deserve every stone that's thrown out at me
And I think of your smile, I'm in love with your teeth

17. “Radio Daze” by The Roots feat. Blu, P.O.R.N & Dice Raw (How I Got Over, Def Jam)

Well 2010 was certainly very radio year for me. And I was never left alone.

I'm going through things; headaches, abdominal pain
Try'na numb it with that kettle like I'm from the Ukraine

16. “Ready to Start” by Arcade Fire (The Suburbs, MERGE)

Even though they shrunk from mini-orchestra to a simple indie band, their ambitions only grew wider. And ambitions are what matters the most in the suburbs.

I would rather be wrong
Than live in the shadows of your song

15. “Does Not Suffice” by Joanna Newsom (Have One on Me, Drag City)

Joanna is a magical bird. But we can only hear her heavenly singing after ripping off one of her feathers. It’s sad, but it’s the way it works. And first of all – it is magic.

The tap of hangers swaying in the closet
Unburdened hooks and empty drawers
And everywhere I tried to love you
Is yours again and only yours

14. “Depletion” by No Age (Everything in Between, Sub Pop)

Some of the best noise-rock out there. Two insanely great Angelinos.


13. “Did Trouble Me” by Tom Jones (Praise & Blame, Lost Highway)

I’m starting to believe in God. ‘Cause only God could create such a voice. Gently banjo on the background suggests that God lives somewhere in Dixieland. But Tom Jones doesn’t live there. Overall, Praise & Blame the most powerful collection of gospel covers and traditional songs I’ve yet to hear.

When I slept too long and I slept too deep,
Put a worrisome vision into my sleep.
When I held myself away and apart,
And the tears of my brother didn't move my heart.

12. “Save My Love” by Bruce Springsteen (The Promise, Columbia)

Who cares this song was written long before 2010? It was released like this last year, and it is the way I first heard it. If it was written now maybe The Boss would sing about Skype or something like that...

Just let the music take us and carry us home

11. “Lucifer's Symphony” by Japandroids (No Singles, Polyvinyl Record Co.)

And this divine wall of rhythmic noise rock was recorded in 2008 and released independently by the band. Released last year on a legit label. Only two guys again, by the way. It takes two to make some noise.

We know what you've done

10. “They Are Coming” by Husky Rescue (Ship of Light, Catskills/ Sony Music Entertainment (Finland) OY/ Columbia)

A space ship of a song. Even if it won’t take you permanently to another world – 4 minutes 37 seconds of weightlessness guaranteed. You can’t hear what these Finnish guys are singing about – just like in outer space.


09. “Howlin' for You” by The Black Keys (Brothers, Nonesuch)

Back to Earth. Dusty and bluesy. “Howlin’ for You” is a song by band The Black Keys from the album named Brothers.

I must admit
I can’t explain
Any of these thoughts
Racing through my brain

08. “Runaway” by Kanye West feat. Pusha T (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Roc-A-Fella/ Def Jam)

Someone on the Internet wrote: “Kanye takes autotune to the whole other level,” along with it he takes there hip hop, and all of us who are willing to join.

And I always find, yeah, I always find something wrong
You been putting up with my shit just way too long

07. “Born Free” by M.I.A. (MAYA, Interscope)

M.I.A. is moving as fast as bandwidth, G3 and wi-fi allows toward planet-wired freedom. Apparently, Middle East is with her on it.

Oh Lord? whoever you are, yeah come out wherever you are
And tell em!

06. “My Plants Are Dead” by Blonde Redhead (Penny Sparkle, 4AD)

It’s interesting how the song called “My Plants are dead,” but she sings “do you want your keys back? Your plants are dead.” There’s no one else except of her. Either there are no friends, or they all are far away. In any case, this song seems like epitome of solitude. And it is very lonely indeed in its excellence beside the rest of the tracks on Penny Sparkle album.

I woke up this morning, didn't feel for a part
I let the boys party but I'm just gonna chill

05. “Hitchhiker” by Neil Young (Le Noise, Reprise)

Neil is always on the road, always in search for something. This time he takes a look back to muse whether it all was worth travelling. “Le Noise” is hardly a destination, but it is an important milestone.

When I was a hitchhiker on the road
I had to count on you
But you needed me to ease the load
And for conversation too

04. “The Weekenders” by The Hold Steady (Heaven Is Whenever, Vagrant/ Rough Trade)

Of course I admire this Jewish New York guy who mixes indie-rock with Bruce Springsteen.

She said the theme of this party's the Industrial Age
And you came in dressed like a train wreck

03. “Afraid of Everyone” by The National (High Violet, 4AD)

Every time it steals you, and drags you along to a whirlpool of magnificent, yet dark and alarming music. Each time you have no idea when and how it’ll come to an end – in a mental institution or on a couch in front of TV.

With my shiny new star-spangled tennis shoes on
I’m afraid of everyone

Your voice is swallowing my soul

02. “Only An Expert” by Laurie Anderson (Homeland, Nonesuch/ Elektra)

Every time Laurie performs this song she changes/adds verses. Everyday there happens something that inquires a hand of an expert. They have to give her a slot at MSNBC.

So if there’s no expert dealing with the problem
It’s really actually twice the problem
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

01. “The Wig He Made Her Wear” by Drive-By Truckers (The Big To-Do, Ato)

Based on a true story. Just like Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” Only this is quite different kind of a true story. Same disturbing though. Modern folk needs modern musical accompaniment, and Drive-By Truckers fulfills that requirement most masterfully.

Made her dress up slutty before they had sex
In the courtroom that day there was an audible gasp
What they put on display the locals couldn't quite grasp


  • rex_nemorensis

    Lovely journal! I like your methodology in picking out a choice lyric.

    Mar 22 2011, 11:34
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