If you prefer a good song to a good album, then this is the TDvsBL post for you. Listen to the ten best songs I heard in 2010 with a glass of champagne. It's the end of the year and we should only listen to the best music until 2011 (then the list-making process starts all over again).
LCD Soundsystem - Home
If This Is Happening is indeed the final LCD Soundsystem album, James Murphy found the perfect song to close out a career. It does what all of the best LCD Soundsystem songs do (Get Innocuous, Losing My Edge, All My Friends), it builds and build and builds and builds until you look down and realize that you've been dancing and you're not how sure how long this has been happening.
Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
Joanna Newsom was one of many artists who took her ambitious tendencies to new heights in 2010. It paid off for Newsom if only for Good Intentions Paving Company. With this one she transcended her indie quirkiness with soulful singing and toe-tapping orchestration. Who ever thought it would be possible to dance to a Joanna Newsom song? Not me. But it's a smart move for the voluptuous harpist.
Sufjan Stevens - I Want To Be Well
Rather than bringing fans and critics together in universal adoration as he did in 2005, Sufjan has decided to divide in 2010 with a noisy experimental EP and album. But I've been hard pressed to find a music fan who didn't adore I Want To Be Well, the second-to-last track on Age of Adz which debuts Sufjan's first F-word in song. Not only is it the best track on the album, it's one of Sufjan's best songs, period.
Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Maybe it's because the first hour of The Suburbs was a chore compared to this late-album marvel, but Sprawl II sounds like a revelation. The song is the Arcade Fire at their very best, but also a bittersweet thing too. Every time I hear Sprawl II I audibly cry, "why the hell doesn't the rest of the album sound like this?".
Baths - Hall
I first played Hall on my radio show simply because it was one of the tracks in our station's "heavy rotation" playlist. I hadn't heard of Baths before it. But I've since made a point to play the song during my shift every few weeks. For music fans looking for that exciting new 2010 sound (which wasn't witch house), Hall provides the goods.
Here We Go Magic - Collector
My little sister is one of those girls you see at outdoor music festivals dancing with the hula hoops. She assured me that the best "hooping" music is Here We Go Magic. I'm not surprised, especially with all of those dizzying loops and chants on Collector. This song spins outward like a centrifugal kaleidoscope. By the end you feel so good you can't help but play it again. ("You find the love in repetition")
Stornoway - I Saw You Blink
I knew that a Stornoway song had to be on this list, but I had a really hard time deciding between I Saw You Blink and Zorbing. But English folk pop doesn't get any better than this. These two songs were probably stuck in my head more than anything else I'd heard this year. If only Americans weren't so daft... these are such charming songs.
Gayngs - Cry
I think this is the only cover on the list. Gayngs didn't even do much to alter the Godley and Creme original, but after I heard Cry, I didn't know if I wanted to laugh, or die. It's so bad it's good, except I secretly don't believe it's bad at all. Gayngs' Last Prom On Earth is equally as awful/amazing.
Real Estate - Out of Tune
It's possible that we rode our last chillwave in 2010, but Real Estate rode it to perfection with Out of Tune. A humble single, but a song that demands its listener either get high or just take it easy in the afternoon. I generally opt for the latter, because this song is cool enough without the aid of self-medication.
Yeasayer - ONE
Yeasayer seems like they have problem making albums with no more than two or three standout tracks and a majority of filler. But the stronger songs on their albums are separated so far from the pack, the band is on their way towards one hell of a 'greatest hits' album (as long as they keep pace for another decade). ONE speaks for itself though. This is as good as "indie" can sound in 2010.