“Best”, “Favorite”, “Greatest” – These are scary words when it comes to making musical decisions, as musical preference is an inherently subjective, relative, and an ever morphing reality. That being said, all of us here thought and discussed upon this quandary for some time and below is the OurVinyl picks for the best songs of the year 2010, plus a few honorable mentions.
1. Cee Lo Green’s Fuck You: Morphing his version of neo mo-town with a funky R & B vibe Cee Lo created here a beat that is pleasantly old-school, but even more so timeless. However, it’s the lyrics that set this song apart. By singing about a relationship situation that most of us have been through he created for universal appeal. By using a profane expression in a witty and ever so musically catchy manner, he created for instant viral success. But it’s not novelty or obscenity that drove that success – it was one well deserved. It’s a damn good song that will not be forgotten for some time.
2. LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yourself Clean: This track is the opener off of LCD Soundsystem’s attention-grabbing & remarkable LP, “This Is Happening.” And quite the album opener it is. At about 9 min, it is a slow builder of emotion, strength and groove. It at first makes you pause, then it makes you nod your head, then it makes you dance chaotically. And as the title implies – that may just be the point. This is an electronic band at this best, pivoting around the bass untz – but clearly comprised of numerous musician’s input. If this wasn’t on your party mix this last year, you probably don’t throw good parties.
3. Mumford and Sons’ Little Lion Man: The first single off of this band’s breathtaking introductory album, “Sigh No More”, Little Lion Man – while still instigating movement as the previous two “best of” choices – is about much more than a party. Mumford’s best attributes are their ability to build musical-emotional-momentum in a folkish/bluegrass/rock manner that is hard to put one’s finger upon and is quasi-unprecendented, and that their lyrics make you pause and think about, well to put it simply, life. Many bands try to do that, few succeed in such a manner as these guys.
4. The Naked and Famous’s Young Blood: This band from New Zealand created for one of the most contemporary, yet non-ignorable, albums of the past year, with Young Blood being their self-defining single off the album. It is fully in line with the current generation’s love of electro-dance-rock. But with their ability to use background/highlight melodies, clever ebbs and flows of energy, they created for a song that is simple – but more than that – very much a statement of “what the kids like” these days. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, get on it.
5. Kanye West’s Runaway: It’s so simple, a few stepping piano strokes, a gritty low end, and a harking hip hop shuffle. Runaway is probably the best song off Kayne’s beloved recent released, “My Dark Beautiful Fantasy” (although there are lots of favorites on that LP). But Runaway’s simplicity, combined with it’s common emotional sentiments (who doesn’t often feel the need to runaway?), is what put this song upon this list. That and the brilliant level of production. Now we remember why so many people actually follow Kanye on Twitter…
Mansions On The Moon’s Satellite: It wouldn’t be a proper look back upon 2010 if we didn’t acknowledge that the place of the DJ and purely “in the box” electronic music has grown in leaps and bounds. In this song we find reverence to two of those most involved in that movement; Diplo and Deadmau5. It’s just good electronic dance music. It’s not for everybody, but it’s for a lot more people these days than most realize.
Eminem’s I’m Going Through Changes: We haven’t heard much of substance from Em in a while, until this year’s LP “Recovery.” And while many have mixed feelings about how this LP compares to his others, at least in this song we see why we once fell in love with him: brutal self-honesty, put to genius rhymes and intense hip-hop beats. He may have made this song more for himself than others, but we are still the benefactor of his new found self-reflection.