Rocks Off's Favorite Songs Of 2010
Jamey Johnson, "Lonely at the Top": Ouch.
Merle Haggard, "I've Seen It": Double ouch.
Patty Griffin, "Move On Up": Help me, Jesus. Please.
Best Coast, "Boyfriend": The bare-souled lyrics of Crazy For You's standout single read more like a hush-hush diary entry than a pop song. Its blend of lo-fi garage pop and breezy surf-rock help make this track downright infectious. It's the song in which front woman Bethany Cosentino steps into the role of the consumate edgy, insecure, hopeless-romantic single girl, speaking for droves of ladies who can relate to lyrics like "I wish he was my boyfriend/ The other girl is not like me/ She's prettier and skinnier/ She has a college degree/ I dropped out when I was 17/ If only I could get her out of the picture/ Then he would know how much I want him."
Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs": Considering 2004's Funeral remains one of my favorite records of all time, Arcade Fire has since had a lot to live up to in my eyes - and in my opinion, until this year's The Suburbs, they hadn't. The album's title track carries a certain maturity that implies the band members' shift in mood since Funeral, including front man Win Butler's endearingly honest expression of his desire to start a family. As he sings about a "suburban world," I inevitably visualize him back in his old suburban sprawl Woodlands stomping grounds. And cringe.
Scott Lucas & the Married Men, "What Fools Allow": From the debut EP of the Local H front man's side-project, George Lassos the Moon, this subtle sleeper gem has become one of my favorite tracks of the year because it celebrates Lucas as a musical chameleon. He's unpeeled layers previously masked by the Local H distortion pedal, baring a stripped, tender side of his songwriting and incidentally, himself as well.
Buxton, "Oh My Boy": It's not out in recorded form yet, but it blew me away when they debuted it mid-year - enough so that I declared a desire for it to be played at my funeral.
LCD Soundsystem, "Pow Pow": This is pretty much guaranteed to result in my dancing like a fool. It's just too much fun.
Something Fierce, "Where Ya Goin' Man?": From its chunky, palm-muted beginning through its ending refrain, this song is pure punk bliss. This came out at the end of January, on a 7" backed with an equally fine cover of Party Owls' "Spray Coat" - and really showcases why Something Fierce ought to be loved around the world.
John Seaborn Gray: Sage Francis' Li(f)e, aside from being undervalued by critics, also contained one of the best songs of the year: "Three Sheets to the Wind," the best example of garage rock-rap I've heard since Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot teamed up on the Judgment Night soundtrack. Frightened Rabbit's "Nothing Like You" is both lyrically and musically catchy and was one of the highlights of their stellar live show. Crime In Stereo's "Republica" was probably the punk-rock anthem of the year.
Gorillaz, "Cloud of Unknowing": The best track for me on the Gorillaz's Plastic Beach didn't have members of the Clash or Lou Reed on it. Live, this song was amazing with Bobby Womack's mournful voice filling Toyota Center to the brim. "Like setting suns at the rodeo/ Trying to find someone you'll never know."
Kings Of Leon: "The End": I started and ended my day regularly with this songs for months. "I ain't got a home/ I'll forever roam /I ain't got a home" resonated with me as I got wave of bad news after bad news. Not professionally, but personally. People were getting engaged, growing up, having kids. Odd times.
Murder By Death, "Foxglove": "A girl came in the night/ She brought me a fever" goes the song, and so did every night of 2010. I discovered this through song from a very dear, new friend in my life. The future is unwritten.