Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite songs of 2010 (21.30)

21. Tyree Harris - I Rap For
Tyree was 15 or 16 when I met him in a high school newspaper class. I was there to help edit some articles, and he gave me his rap CD. I didn't expect much, but I was blown away as soon as I listened. This kid can rap. He's 20 now, and this song comes from his latest album REALmatic. It's a spin-off of sorts of Nas' seminal "Illmatic." This song twists words from Nas' "Memory Lane" into a slow-buzzing, thick hook. I like Tyree because his songs tell a story.

22. Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
Cee Lo knows how to write a viral hit (Remember "Crazy" in 2006?) I guess I'm not different than anyone else in saying this was immediately my favorite song when I heard it. Its overplay might have made it less likeable, but I don't want to forget that first moment, when hearing the doo-woppy, cussing songjust made me absolutely happy.

23. Japanther - $100 dollar remix
This song is just down-right infectious.

24. Drake - Over
The beat in this song is just so freaking good. I love every change it makes, but the best part starts in at about 42 seconds and sounds like frenetic bells. It's addictive and even if its lyrics aren't as interesting as some of the other songs from Thank Me Later, it is a perfect pop song.

25. The Magnetic Fields - Walk a Lonely Road
Claudia Gonson totally makes this song for me. Stephin Merritt's voice is so deep it's almost harsh, but then suddenly he, and all the musical bells and whistles, disappear, leaving only Gonson's pure, pretty voice. It is one of my favorite moments of any song this year. I don't mean to diss Merritt's part. Without his juxtaposition, that wouldn't be so special.

26. The National - Terrible Love
I read about this gorgeous song before I heard it. That line -- singled out by the New York Times -- "It's a terrible love, and I'm walking with spiders" was baffling on paper, but listening to it is a different experience. It still doesn't make total, regular sense, but hearing it makes it so much prettier. The song sounds so understated but that line says so much. Maybe the NYT said it best: 'Matt carries around a notebook that he fills with fragments of language, single lines he invents like “terrible love and I’m walking with spiders.” “The challenge,” he says, “is to write the rest of a song that holds up to that feeling of anxious, nervous love.” He likes images that are blurry and suggestive, snapshots that don’t exactly mean anything but allow the listener to feel that they do.'

27. Lovers - Boxer
I love the way the boop-boop keyboard beats play with Emily Kingan's steady drumming in this song. And I love (even more) the way Cubby Berk's voice stays steady and pretty under Kerby Ferris' ridiculously catchy harmony. Something about this song makes me want to march in step. It stays stuck in my head for weeks at a time.

28. Lil Wayne f/ Drake - Right Above It
Lil Wayne was behind bars when this track dropped, but he sounds no less in control because of it. I first heard this song at a football game, playing loud over stadium speakers on a cold night. As soon as it started, I felt strangely warmer, like I was in some special moment. Maybe it's the beat -- a slowed-down crunk soundalike that's high pitched enough to nearly harmonize with Drake and Wayne's voices. There's nothing special about these lyrics, but I find the song totally hypnotic.

29. Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em
For the record, I do believe that "Crown on the Ground" and "Rill Rill" are far and away the best songs on "Treats," but both of those songs also came out on Sleigh Bells' 2009 EP, so I don't consider them options for best 2010 songs. That said, I feel fairly equally about all of the other songs, but I wanted to highlight one because I love that album. Anyway, I chose this one, maybe because it's the first song and that thundering open set the pace for the whole album. This is the perfect soundtrack if you ever find yourself biking up monstrous hills on your lunch break.

30. Lovers - Barnacle
I love this Portland band. This song, in particular, has such pretty lyrics. "You hold on, dear, like a barnacle on your ship of fears. And I am out here, like an island on a sea of tears. If I could tear you away, I would."

No comments: