Top 25 Songs 2010


Jan 1 2011, 2h00

Honestly speaking, 2010 didn't musically excite me like 2009 did. It's funny how the true value of something arises when a comparison is being made. I described 2009 as a 'good' year. How wrong was I. During this year I realized that I had been spoiled with lots of great songs, even legendary ones - Growing Old Is Getting Old as one of the best songs ever! 'Great' would have been a more proper description and that's just the tag 2009 has from now on.
Does this mean that 2010 is that bad? Certainly not. If you check my profile, you'll see that from my Top Artist about 10 high-listed ones released an album this year. Well, did they deliver? Interpol, The Walkmen and CocoRosie all released solid albums, but they don't appeal to me that much. Guess I'm being spoiled and suffering from unreasonable high expectations concerning my Top Artists. But fortunately, some of my Top Artists managed to create some great songs, as a result of which I think 2010 has been a 'good' year - and perhaps even a 'great' year, but that may take some time to settle.

Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel became known because of a T Mobile commercial in which her music was used. With Philharmonics, she delivered a gloomy, melancholic and atmospheric album, mainly because of the use of strings and piano. In itself Philharmonics isn't a great album, but it does contain a gem: Riverside. The combination of the great use of the piano and her soft voice makes this song really one to cherish.

This songs reminds me in a way of I Gave You All by Mumford & Sons. They both deal about - very simply put - a one-sided love and in both songs you can actually hear the singer getting angry, which gives both songs so much more depth. Draw Your Swords is about a man who is in love with a girl, with whom he has a sort of (sexual) relationship, at least not a regular one. While he desperately tries to convince her to start or at least fight for a real relationship - hence the songtitle - she refuses, being satisfied with the way things go and clinging to her freedom. This leads to big frustrations to the man, but he just can't let her go. Because to him, she's the only one with whom he wants to get old. The composition of the song - slow and soft first, loud and angry at the end - really amplifies this theme: everytime Angus gets angry, I feel for him.

It's all about the violin in this song, which provides this song the sadness it needs because of the story. Two childhood friends, first too young to let love in and when finally a more mature age is reached, it's already too late: seperate roads in life have been taken. It's something most of us have experienced: a love that just couldn't happen because of circumstances beyond our control. A harsh reminder about how cruel life can be. The exact feeling this song gives.

Multi-talented Janelle Monáe managed to fuse soul, hip-hop, funk, electro, classical music AND science fiction into one great album: The ArchAndroid. Being a concept album, The Archandroid tells about a love relationship between a human and an adroid. Troughout the whole album Janelle Monáe flies from one musical genre to another to deepen this theme out and thruthfully said: she never fails. My personal highlight of the album is 57821, a medieval fairy-like serenade, in which Mrs. Monáe shows how much potential she still has.

This song also deals with a one-sided love and again the girl is afraid of commitment. For that reason, she holds a distance between the two of them, never allowing him to get close and eventually transforming him into a ghost - something that once was, but now isn't anymore. Even though he realizes this, he still wants to be with here: "But I Don't Want Anybody Else!". The distinctive, deep baritone voice of Matt Berninger, along with the great guitars and drumrhythms, gives this song the edge it deserves, making it the best song on one of the most praised albums of 2010, High Violet.

Some unexpected combinations can result in great things and Broken Bells is a good example. I used to listen a lot to the Shins, but because of the lack of a sharp edge I lost interest. Dangermouse provides Broken Bells the sharp edge The Shins are lacking, by using subtle electronica and reserved drum rhytms. Although in the basic nothing much has changed in the music James Mercer provides, it easily holds my attention, even more than that. Best song on the album is The High Road, which tells about coping with the meaningless of life. A very heavy theme, in contrast with the music which sounds really laidback - even an ABBA piano is being used, listen to the outro and hear for yourself! - amplifying the heaviness in this song.

When you take a look at the Last.Fm page of this song, you'll see everybody's talking about seeing/hearing this song live. Many people came to love this song after experiencing it live and I'm definitely one of them. This song starts really slow and soft, setting the tranquil pace. After 4 minutes the outro sets in and the songs explodes, but in a distinguished way. On the album, that is. Jónsi always ends his concerts with this song and while doing so, he stretches this song past the nine minutes - notice that this song is about 5 minutes on the album! And If I tell you that this 'stretch' mainly concerns exploding the amazing outro of this song - you should get a clear view of what everybody experienced who attended a concert of Jónsi.

During a Silversun Pickups gig, Dutch band Noblesse was the suporting program. They delivered quite an interesting show, with their new wave influenced alternative rock music. Think Placebo and a little bit of Interpol. Until the end of the show I wasn't really amazed - despite the dancers accompanying the music in their own bizarre way - until the last song was played. It immediately grabbed my attention and held it for the whole 7 minutes. The composition/build-up of this song is great and it really pleases me that a Dutch band can deliver this kind of music. The song turned out to be named Life Support and is the last song of their new album We Are Not Humanity. If you like this song, you can buy their album at their website. It's up to you how much you pay and your payment goes directly to the band. Now, there is nothing wrong in supporting a band that makes good music, is there?

Combining indie rock with shoegaze, Snowden delivered an excellent album in 2006 with Anti-Anti. Great was my excitement when I learned that Snowden released an EP in 2010, Slow Soft Syrup. Although this EP definitely contains the trademark of Snowden's music, it also shows the progression the band has made. The emphasis of this EP is more on the atmospheric, dreampop side and that works out pretty well, with No Words No More being the best example of this. This song really sets you at ease, while containing a gloomy atmosphere at the same time. You can download the Slow Soft Syrup EP for free at their website.

Another band that has made a huge step forward with their second album is Blood Red Shoes. With Fire Like This they delivered one of the best albums of 2010. And despite of this, still two songs really stand out, which says a lot about those two particular songs. The first one is Colours Fade, described as "a Sonic Youth-tinged squall of grizzly discord and cracked snare that sprawls out to an epic seven minutes" by the BBC. Nothing to add to that.

Beach House set a new high standard for dreampop with Teen Dream, which is for me the second best album of 2010. Walk in the Park stands out because of the theme - breaking up and getting used to it - and especially the ending/outro, which really enhances the sadness in this song. The cinematic scene this song manages to picture is simply amazing: you can actually see a person taking a walk in the park, feeling really miserable about the break up. It's not so hard to picture myself walking in that park.

The moment I heard the intro of this song, I was sold. The way Kashmir makes use of organs is just my cup of tea. Furthermore, the ending of this songs really thrills me. I really like it when halfway during a chorus the singer stops singing at the right moment and gives the régie to the music. There aren't many bands which mastered that aspect of making songs. Really a shame, 'cause when executed right, it gives a song so much more depth. Kashmir managed to do just that in this song, earning the number 14 spot.

One of the biggest pleasant surprises of this year was Tame Impala. When I first saw them playing at Pukkelpop, they blew me away. They mesmerized me with their dreamy, hypnotical 60's/70's sound, provided only through the use of guitars. How on earth can guitars provide such a blissful sound? Alter Ego stands out for me, not only because of the use of those guitars (If you have your doubts about the use of guitars, here 's a movie that shows the proof), but the use of the drums as well. The message this song bears seems simple - just be yourself - but forces you to take a good look at yourself, which is really hard and easy at the same time when listening to this song.

If you take a look at My All Top 100 as well as My Top 25 Songs 2009, you'll notice that there aren't any standard songs (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus) taking the top spots. When non-standard composition seems like a necessity for a top spot for me, Becoming A Jackal is the exception that proves the rule. This song about growing up is just so well composed. Everything what happens in this songs connects so wel to the previous, giving it the exact right flow. A pleasure to listen to.

When I had some friends over and played this song, some of them fell asleep. And that's a compliment. The Daysleepers manage to bring dreampop shoegaze to a higher level, resulting in songs that are so relaxing, dreamy and soothing that the urge to close your eyes is almost impossible to neglect. Alone In The Universe is a good example of this. Indeed, the best way to listen to this song is to just surrender yourself to this song and let yourself be guided into the dream this song creates...

With Total Life Forever, Foals continued the direction they had taken with Big Big Love (Fig. 2), my personal stand out song of Antidotes. Unlike the first album, mainly characterized by fresh, math rock and dance-punk infused songs, Foals showed a more mature, composed and shoe-gaze inspired side, resulting in more tranquil, well-composed songs on their second album, with 2 Trees being my favorite. The In Rainbows-like drum rhythm carries this song - seemingly effortless - very firmly,. Implemented shoegaze elements take this song to a higher level, but what really finishes this song is - how obvious - the ending. This song climaxes in such a fine, tranquil way, that it grants immediate peace to the listener. Pure bliss!

It was great to see when This Will Destroy You broadened its horizon, they tagged me along into the world of ambient drone. To be honest, I wasn't really excited when I first heard this song. This Will Destroy You delivered some of the greatest post-rock songs (Burial On The Presidio Banks!) and now had left that save haven, stepping into the world of experimental, ambient drone with their new song Rituals. But with This Will Destroy You being one of favorite bands, I really felt that this song deserved a fair chance, so I listened to it multiple times. And the more I listened to it, the more I discovered in this song and the more I liked it, resulting in the number 9 spot. A friend of mine said that nothing and everything happens in this song at the same time. A fitting description for a great song.

MGMT created a masterpiece with Siberean Breaks. Influenced by 70's classic and psychedelic rock, they sound like Pink Floyd in their best days. They managed to fuse about eight songs into one, without harming the unity of this song. It contains a gently flow which makes you really feel like you've arrived in the seventies, never wanting to leave from there ever again. A 12 minute trip, and so much more.

The second stand out song of Fire Like This is When We Wake, which has been described as "a beautifully sung reflection on mortality that forsakes big rock moves for quiet choruses and raw feeling." The power of this song lies in the composition and -indeed- the withheld rawness, which really suits and strengthens the theme of this song, making it one of the best songs of 2010.

We Were Promised Jetpacks delivered a solid album with These Four Walls, even containing some stand out tracks, which discussed some social difficult themes while also bearing an outspoken rawness, making those songs very genuine. When they released their EP in 2010, a new stand out track was presented to me. A Far Cry deals about someone who's at the point of committing suicide. The title refers to past moments, when his life seemed worth living, A Far Cry from the past. Through the music you can really hear the frustration and the despair, making you realize this song will have no happy end.

The most pleasant surprise for me of 2010 was Warpaint. They managed to take my breath away with their dreamy, psychedelic and shoegaze laden music, which also bears Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney characteristics. Best example of this is the opening song, Set Your Arms Down, which made a big impression at the first listen and never ceased to impress me afterwards.

As their band name implies Esben And The Witch makes music like a fairytale. A dark one, that is. Throughout the use of ambient electronica they manage to create a very dark and gloomy atmosphere in their music. The cool part is that this atmosphere is combined with a great build-up, this band really takes the time to reach the climax. With this song, when finally the climax is reached, they finish it off with electronica beats and XX's guitars, making Lucia At The Precipice one of my favorite songs of the year.

Suburban War is by far the best song on The Suburbs. Being a concept album, The Suburbs deals about the good and bad sides of (living in) the suburbs. Suburban War, as the name implies, deals about a bad side: drifting apart from your life in the suburbs as your grow up. The guitar in this song got me instantly hooked and the further the song progressed, the more hooked I got, with - again - the ending as ultimate finish off. Arcade Fire really managed to implement all the feelings that arise by drifting away from your old life in this song. Feeling the sadness, the bitterness, the pain, the anger and the regret everytime I hear this song, it makes me treasure this song more and more.

Wow! As soon as I heard this song, I knew that it was something special. The Walkmen are masters in creating a 30s atmosphere in their songs, while giving their songs also an honesty that really touches my heart. And they did well, very well with this song. Blue As Your Blood is an exceptional song, which sets my heart on fire. This song manages to make me feel down and (because of that) happy at the same time, a quality only a few select songs posses.

Love at first listen. For certain a love that will never die, a love that will only get stronger. Interpol created my perfect cup of tea. The composition of this song is exceptional: the guitars repeat while every single time something more is added to the music, making the song progress smoothly to the perfect climax. Lights does represent everything I like about Interpol. For me, this is what music is all about. Song of the year 2010, most definitely.


  • Mitting

    Mooi overzicht weer!

    Jan 10 2011, 14h20
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