Over a week in to 2011, and I’m finally posting my favourites of 2010. Thing is, I’ve had the list written up since before Christmas, it’s just that I did it as a three-part radio show that I’ve been producing prior to posting this. Fortunately, that’s included in this post (at the bottom — and downloadable). I’ve also put together a nice playlist with all 41 songs (don’t ask me how I arrived at that number), which is below. Click play and read on.
2010: Less Albums, More Singles
If there’s one thing I can peg 2010 too, it’s the year I officially transitioned out of listening to albums. There were very clearly great albums this year: Broken Social Scene, the Black Keys, and Kanye West all stand out as ones that I listened to every song on and liked as a whole. I suspect the same would hold true for a few other albums, too. But the fact is that everything I listened to this year was in the form of singles. If I did listen to the full album, it was after noticing that I had liked three or more songs off of the album already (the exceptions being Broken Social Scene, Wisconsin Dream Guitar, and Cadence Weapon’s Tron: Legacy Mixtape. Somehow, I managed to listen to these as albums before listening to individual singles).
I chalk this transition up to a number of factors. First, have you heard of the internet? It’s pretty cool. Sites like the Hype Machine, Soundcloud, CBC Radio 3, Stereogum, and Ex.fm combined with Tumblr all give me daily doses of new/interesting music. That’s not to mention all the other blogs out there. This year I just got really good at using them.
I got good at using them because for the first time in my life, I’m (sort of) making a living out of music. I help program CFUR Radio, and I do music picks at CBC. I need to be on top of what’s good, now, especially when doing stuff like the Top 30. So I’ve gotten a lot more efficient at absorbing albums and picking out what’s good and discarding what’s not.
With that in mind, I think the only fair list I can make is of singles. A few of these artists (Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Kanye West, Sleigh Bells, Wisconsin Dream Guitar) could have had pretty much any song off their album make this list, so I went with the one that really stands out for me. No repeat artists.
Music from 2009
From a personal experience, You Say Party! will stand out to me as the first concert I ever took the lead in organizing and promoting.
Also in the world of live music: Delhi 2 Dublin at the Ramada at Coldsnap 2010 as best live show. Runner-up status goes to Dan Mangan with Shane Koyczan performing at the Art Space, You Say Party! We Say Die!, and the numerous Jaime Bell/Concerns of Royalty/Cera/Wisconsin Dream Guitar co-bills.
Sorry, guitar-based artists. In 2010, if you were a guitar-based artist you had a disadvantage in getting on this list. Not that I consciously am disliking the music, but I’ve been a lot more interested in whatever you call dance-based pop these days. To that end, Arial Pink, Zeus, Yukon Blonde, Fred Eaglesmith, Ghostkeeper, Wolf Parade, Spoon, Vampire Weekend, Black Mountain, and Cera all released solid guitar-based albums that I listened to more than once. Unfortunately for them, I was not feeling the rock much this year. I get the feeling these will probably grow on me.
Song that didn’t make it but probably would have earlier in the year: The Modern Men “Electric Romance“, the Drums “Let’s Go Surfing“, Best Coast “Boyfriend“, the Ghostwaves remix of Best Coast “Boyfriend”, the Limouines “Internet Killed the Video Star“, Smalls Sins ft. k-Os – “Deja Vu“, k-Os feat. Sebastien Grainger – “Blackwater“, Cut Copy – “Take Me Over“, Gigi – “No My Heart Will Go On“, Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La” all got heavy rotation from me. They’re great, but I’m not sure about their ‘classic’ status. Right now, I’m just not feeling them, even though I loved them at the time– I mean, they’re still great, but none feel “essential.”
Big omission: Arcade Fire is not on here. I like the Arcade Fire. But this album just had too much hype around it for me to fairly assess. It is not album of the year, by any means, but it probably has a song or two on there worth putting on this list. But at the moment, I don’t want to listen to them.
Big omission two is My Chemical Romance. I hadn’t listened to the album at the time I made this list. I still haven’t fully absorbed it, but it’s probably the second-best rock album of the year (after the Black Keys), and I’m sure a couple of the songs deserve a place here. A lot of people write the band off, but the fact is they take truly classic rock and filter it through their own sound. They’re the only guys really taking the modern/arena rock thing in an interesting direction.
Apollo Ghosts – Things You Go Through
Besnard Lakes – Albatross
Black Keys – Tighten Up
Big Boi – Follow Us (feat. Vonnegut)
B.o.B. – Past My Shades (feat. Lupe Fiasco)
Bonjay – Stumble
Brasstronaut – Slow Knots
Broken Social Scene – World Sick
Caribou – Odessa
Cee-Lo – Fuck You
Concerns of Royalty – telescopes
Daft Punk – Derezzed
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim feat. Nelly McKay – How Are You
Eminem + Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
Freelance Whales – Hannah
Ghostwaves – Something I Can Reach
Gorillaz feat. De La Soul – Superfast Jellyfish
Hanna Georgas – Bang Bang You’re Dead
Jamaica – I Think I Like U 2 (Breakbot Remix)
Japandroids – Younger Us
Kanye West – Monster (feat. Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver)
Kate Nash – Kiss That Girl
LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls
Library Voices – Party Like It’s 2012
Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette – Hello
MIA – Born Free
Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me (Gigamesh Remix)
Morning Benders – Promises
Nas and Damian Marley – As We Enter
The New Pornographers – Crash Years
OK Go – WTF
The Pack AD – BC Is On Fire
Pogo – Wishery
Robyn – Dancing On My Own
the Roots – How I Got Over
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em
Shad – Yaa I Get It
Suuns – Arena
Uffie – Neuneu
Wisconsin Dream Guitar – Silver Fall
Here are the 41 songs divided up into three episodes of “Almost Mainstream,” my radio show on CFUR. Songs are in the same order as the playlist above, the difference is you hear me talking a little bit (boo!) but you can download it and take it with you (yay!).
Best of 2010 Part 1 [download]
Best of 2010 Part 2 [download]
Best of 2010 Part 3 [download]
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