Welcome to The New York Rockmarket’s end of the year list spectacular. This is when I talk about how lists are fun but ultimately meaningless, and apologize for not posting the last few days because I’ve been compiling my lists. This is also where I talk about favorites as opposed to best,like I did last year. All of those things still apply. I’m making two lists this year: Favorite Songs and Favorite Albums. I’m going to attempt to skew my albums list a bit more towards the critical, but this songs list is just straight-up about fun, beautiful, moving songs. Some of the songs are actually terrible, but I like them. Each artist can only be listed once, for the sake of music discovery. (Why are there fish in the header, you might be asking. Because I like them. That’s my rationale for this list, as well.)
Here we go, my favorite songs of 2010. I hope you find some new bands that you really like.
40) “California” – Joanna Newsom Have One On Me is remarkable. The fact that Joanna Newsom’s voice doesn’t become annoying even after two hours is for some in and of itself a remarkable feat. But what I found most astounding about the album is the way she weaves unforgettable melodies throughout the entire three discs. To me, “California” best represents and pulls together all the most beautiful pieces of these melodic fragments. That’s why this one goes on my list.
39) “Crystal Necklace” – Total Slacker I’m not going to claim that “Crystal Necklace” is an amazing song that’s going to stand the test of time and go down in indie rock history. But when I look back on 2010, I will probably always remember how Total Slacker came out of nowhere, and I suddenly found myself watching them at nearly every show I went to. The image of the three members playing this song and screaming the “Crystal Necklace” chorus at Death By Audio and Monster Island and Cake Shop is permanently burned into my brain. These guys definitely deserve a spot on here.
38) “s.h.o.p.p.i.n.g.” – Art Museums Finally, a song that answers the age old question, “Why can’t we look good if we want to?”
37) “Girls With English Accents” – Fergus & Geronimo These recent Texas transplants are jangly and great at crafting both melodies and guitar sounds. Plus, they totally destroy live. Especially on this song.
36) “Bite Yr Tongue” – Big Troubles Big Troubles is another band that was suddenly everywhere this year, and happily so. This song kind of has that whole Wild Nothing feel going on here, but change any semblance of keyboards for a crunchy guitar part that you won’t be able to get out of your head. The song has excellent forward momentum, just like the band itself. Expect big things from these guys in 2011.
35) “I Want a House” – Twin Sister Everyone really started going crazy for Twin Sister this year when they released “All Around and Away We Go.” To me, that was just more of that 80s keyboard synth I was already tired of. This song, though, earlier than their real break through song, is so quietly odd that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Sure, there’s hints of what came after with the syncopated guitar part. But Andrea Estella’s vocal track is so eerily almost-perfect-but-not-quite that you can’t but help listening to this song over and over to savor all of the imperfections. I think some of the best music I’ve heard is good because of its slight imperfections. This song absolutely falls into that category.
34) “Crazy For You” – Best Coast I put Best Coast on this list last year (that song was better, too, I think) and I was so excited about her. She was just starting to blow up, and I was pumped to hear such a strong female vocalist making blunt, straight-forward pop with great little guitar riffs. Then she started dating Wavves and tweeting about her cat and doing lots of corporate stuff and maybe getting a little overexposed. I kind of forgot it by December, but this song is great.
33) “Idiot” – Wavves See above, replace all mention of “Best Coast” with “Wavves” and “Wavves” with “Bethany Cosentino.” (I picked this song because I think the crazy laugh in the beginning is kind of genius.)
32) “Answer To Yourself” – The Soft Pack It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was crammed into the basement of Cake Shop with a million other people waiting to hear The Soft Pack play their new album in its entirety, front to back, last Feburary. I remember this song as particularly fierce. Plus, words to live by. This year I listened to this song when I was running and getting ready to go out, and if I’d had any important trials or life decisions to make, I would have listened to it then, too.
31) “Never Come Around” – La Sera So, so sweet. So deceptively sweet. This song easily has one of the best videos of the year, with Kickball Katy as a creepy murderer with talking dead victims. It’s a simple song, but its sweetness hits all of the right notes and chords, down to the very last few seconds of the song when her voice takes on those Weezer-esque add-on harmonies for the last few syllables. It’s like eating really fancy candy: sugary sweet and appreciably well-crafted.