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.
20) “For Ash” – Marnie Stern Marnie Stern is wicked good. She has wicked guitar skills, and “For Ash” is a wickedly triumphant song. It always makes me feel a little bit like crying. Plus, the drum part is really so good, too, which elevates this song from another sick Marnie Stern guitar track to a moving work of art.
19) “Gone to the Market” – Pill Wonder This song is 2010’s “Ob-la-di Ob-la-da.” That’s a complement, I promise. I don’t know why, but “Gone to the Market” makes me think of that every time I listen to it. And it’s been on heavy rotation this year. Maybe it’s the fact that they are both related to the word “marketplace,” or maybe it’s the optimistic melodies of both. I don’t mean to draw a literal comparison- one of the best things about Pill Wonder is their originality, especially when it comes to electronics.
18) “Excuses” – Morning Benders Kind of a popular one this year, huh? Not without good reason! The first time I saw Morning Benders perform “Echo” I had to get a sweater because I got the CHILLS. Haha. No, seriously, it was amazing. Who doesn’t want their life to sound like the modern soundtrack to the perfect 1950s love story? Warbly strings reminiscent of “At Last” and a barber-shop quartet bridge made on a loop pedal. It’s beautiful.
17) “King Of Spain” – The Tallest Man On Earth Speaking of love songs, did anyone do more to everyone’s hearts this year with just an acoustic guitar than the Tallest Man on Earth? Every time he gets to the “I wanna be the King of Spain” chorus, I get chills, too. Maybe I should start rating songs based on how badly I need a sweater. I give this song three very wam sweaters.
16) “Jail La La” – Dum Dum Girls Dum Dum Girls grew on me this year. I started off irritated by them. Their slick black hair and matching tights and ass-revealing skirts pissed me off. “Oh great, another group of women who are alright getting popular because they look good.” And then I started listening to this album. All the time. And I understood the reason the band dresses the way they do. Because Dum Dum Girls is about slickness and order and perfection. The band looks perfect, and the guitar sounds on the album are perfect. They all play matching vintage Danelectros, for goodness sake. It’s about a whole package, and it makes the album even stronger than it would have been. To me, this song best embodies everything Dee Dee is trying to accomplish. Every note hits just right.
15) “Diamond” – Your Youth The sixteen year old Weezer fan inside of you will love this song. Catchy, angsty, pop-rock, off of yet another one of the most promising new releases from one of the most promising new young new acts of 2010.
14) “O.N.E.” – Yeasayer Ooooh, and another boring choice from Madalyn. But I like it so much!! Come on, you know you got home from a bar more than once this year, slightly tipsy and kind of mad at some guy/gal in your life, and you put this song on and mouthed all the words and danced around to it in your bedroom. You know you did.
13) “Newports” – Golden Girls More guitar solos! More teenage angst! Another one going out to all the ex-sixteen-year-old-Weezer-fans out there. It gets really schmaltzy when he starts speaking the words, and then the guitar part gets really crazy and messy- just like it ought to. I officially dub “Newports” the best enthusiastically exuberant song of the year.
12) “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” – The National Everyone agreed it was The National’s year. From the New York Times to Pitchfork to My Dad, nobody could get enough of these Brooklynites. High Violet is an outstanding album with no shortage of soul-stinging tracks. I picked this one because when I saw The National at The Wellmont earlier this year, they played it maybe fourth or fifth to last. And as the crowd was slowly filing out of the venue at the end of the show, I heard this song in particular humming under everyone’s breath. It nearly turned into a sing-along. Maybe there’s something about self-identifying as a geek, but “Vanderlyle” gets me every time.
11) “it’s only love / sov gott rose marie” – tonstartssbandht Tonstartssbandht hands down gets most original band of the year. What other song starts out with a 70s style repeated melody, morphs into a psychedelic freakout and ends in a monk-esque chant? Well, I can’t think of any anyways. These two brothers aren’t afraid to explore an idea to its end, and that definitely works in the listeners’ favor on this incredible track.