The 25 Best Songs of 2010… So Far (Jan-June)

As I’ve been compiling this best songs list I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a great track. Last year I went by play counts to determine what songs I “loved” the most but this year I noticed that the list that came out didn’t really match my perception of my favorites. A lot of my top played songs this year are indeed great songs, but they also happen to be on a great album so they get played by themselves as well as in the course of the album. So I got to thinking about which are the tracks that I seek out, that I crave, that I have to hear every night before bed or every morning to wake up. Those are the songs that make up this list. Songs that for whatever reason hooked me to the point where I need(ed) them in my life this year. Those great albums (and their highlight jams) will get their moment but for now we celebrate the song, or as we like to call ’em around here, the jam. Oh, and as usual around here, the order of things don’t mean much. Well, it means some, just not much. And year of release is not as important as year of hitting my ears. Most of these are 2010 but a few came out last year and only got to me recently. That’s life.

As always I want to know what were your favorites this year? Is my list ass backwards? Was your favorite jam never even mentioned on TBE? Do you agree with me 100 percent and are wondering if I enjoy long walks on the beach? Let me know!

Follow the tag links at the bottom to find the original post if you want more on an artist/track. Enjoy!

25 – ♫ Ratatat – Neckbrace / If the other songs on LP4 were as bonafide as this jam then we’d have ourselves a best album contender!

24 -♫ Georgia Fair – Picture Frames / The word ‘catchy’ just doesn’t do this toe tapper justice. What may seem like a straightforward folk-rock jam has been steadily climbing up my play-count list since it was recommended 3 months ago.

23 – ♫ I Blame Coco – Caesar feat. Robyn / Yes! This song gets me hyped every time! Tear shit up! Rawk n Roll! Grrrl Pwwrr! Whutehver!

22 – ♫ Javelin – Oh! Centra / The best rapping squirrel spitting rhymes about abusing zoo animals over a nintendo beat and you’ve got one of the weirdly freshest jams all year.

21 – ♫ Moneybrother – Born Under A Bad Sign / A perfect introduction to Moneybrother and his bag of talented tricks. I keep reaching for this jam when in need of a big stomping sing-along. I recommend you do too.

20 – ♫ Is Tropical – The Greeks / Gritty, fuzzy, bleepy, and massively huge, this jam is for pumping loud and getting weird.

19 – ♫ Germany Germany – Radiowave ft. Jessica Morgan / I put this song on for my brother the other day and when it drops in at 0:24 all I heard him say from the other room was “Oh, shit!” That’s just about the same reaction I had the first time. And really every time since.

18 – ♫ Hot Chip – Alley Cats / Hot Chip can do great dance but this is a reminder that they can do even greater chill. Emotional, delicate, infectious, and even groovy, this jam is undeniable.

17 – ♫ Robyn – Dancing On My Own / Robyn brings her A-game with this “comeback single” of sorts. Big enough to rock out too while tender enough to hit the heart. Pop music at it’s finest.

16 – ♫ Museum of Bellas Artes – Who Do You Love? / I have no idea what’s going on with that percussion but it’s pretty damn awesome. Part crunchy, part slappy, part floppy, but all funky, and perfect underneath that great voice. And that synth soloing!? Epic!

15 – ♫ Biffy Clyro – Bubbles / A mountain of an epic album is capped with this rock nugget that had me on a mandatory listening schedule for weeks. Singing along to that chorus at top volume is a total blast! There’s a girl, there’s a girl,… And that guitar build up at 3:26? Whaaaaaaa! Spine tingling!

14 – ♫ Minus The Bear – My Time / This is just a jam. Plain and simple.

13 – ♫ Steel Train – You and I Undercover / This song lifts me off the ground every time I hear it. It’s an audio adventure! Which reminds me, I really should listen to the rest of the album, I’ve had it for weeks. It’s just hard to move past this jam.

12 – ♫ Tokyo Police Club – Breakneck Speed / Sure, so maybe I love this jam for it’s dizzying rock-ness as much as I do for it initially signaling TPC’s return. That’s hardly a bad combo!

11 – ♫ Kensington – Safe / Bam! And we’re off! “Safe” is a tightly would steel-ball of a reminder that an overdone sound can still be rocked with fresh style and energy. Don’t mind me if I remind myself again!

10 – ♫ Caribou – Odessa / Arriving in the dead of winter, “Odessa” brought a sideways hope for sparkling summer nights. I only wish the rest of the album was this flawlessly danceable and infectious.

9 – ♫ Nas and Damian Marley – As We Enter / If you had any doubts of the quality of this collaboration, they are annihilated within the fist seconds of this opening track. The Mulato Astatke sample provides the perfect backdrop for both of these vocalists to let us know they mean serious business.

8 – ♫ Miike Snow – Billie Holiday / Oooooo hooooo hooooo! That intro get’s my blood pumping! New Miike Snow is killing it! I only wish they had played this jam one of the times I saw them last year.

7 – ♫ Local Natives – Who Knows Who Cares / This non-single mellow jam from Gorilla Manor snuck up as the standout deep-breath, eyes closed, sing along track that I have been using to introduce the band to everyone who will listen. Though, it could be that I’m the only one so in love with this jam.

6 – ♫ Erik Hassle – Hurtful (2010 Single) | Erik Hassle – Hurtful (2009 album) / Ok, so we’ve got two very different versions of the same excellent song. Take your pick which one you like (They are almost tied in my iTunes) and enjoy accordingly. Last year’s album version is more spacey and sparse but somehow so much bigger. This year’s single version is much more produced and full, giving it more instant dance/radio appeal. Erik is working with more sugar than spice on both but it’s so soulful and well crafted that I just love it.

5 – ♫ Civil Civic – Less Unless / And now we get the spice, hold the sugar! It’s Civil Civic beach party apocalypse time! Surf your way to the next dimension on this distorted-to-hell dance party that I can’t get enough of!

4 – ♫ Theophilus London – Humdrum Town / Oh man, so many nights I played this before bed. Theo may be singing about my former home instead of my current, but it still strikes a timeless chord. “Humdrum Town” feels like more of an emotional state than an actual place, anyway. Perfect for dancing alone in the dark and reflecting on the day/week/month/year.

3 – ♫ Safe – Twenty Years On / I didn’t get into this one right off the bat but once I did it was game over for any other track trying to take top mellow-song status. It’s appropriate that he is singing about dreaming here because that’s exactly what this song feels like: a perfect dream.

2 – ♫ Das Racist – Rainbow in the Dark / Das Racist snuck onto last years Part 1 list almost as a joke but this year’s jam is all business. Ok, so it’s actually pretty funny too but you get the point. I am not a big rap guy but I can’t get enough of this track and still crack a smile every time.

1 – ♫ The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio / 6 months ago I would never have guessed that a National song would be topping this list but looking at it now it completely makes sense. Their albums are such smooth affairs that they never jump to mind but more than a few of their individual tracks have vice-gripped my ears. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is a jolt of soul to the heart and moves me every time I hear it (in both senses of the phrase).

––>  Get The Best Songs of 2010… So Far in a zip file!  <––

Be sure to catch all the 2010 “best of” lists!

34 replies
  1. Dd1600
    Dd1600 says:

    what about anything by Best Coast, LCD Soundsystem, Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene, Wild Nothing, Blitzen Trapper, Beach House or for the love of god “the Fire” off the new Roots album

  2. NappingDuck
    NappingDuck says:

    Hey TBE, great list again this year! I've been looking forward to you posting this for some time now. A lot of your songs overlap with the ones I've compiled so far (…) .

    Have to disagree with you on two points though – first, I Feel Better is definitely the jam from Hot Chip I can't stop listening to. Also, no Yeasayer?

    Anyways keep it up.

  3. NappingDuck
    NappingDuck says:

    ps, also like the image from the google speed tests, just watched them yesterday. great choice.

  4. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    What about them? Any particular songs you had in mind? I've posted on LCD, Wolf Parade, and Wild Nothing, but so far the other haven't put out anything to get me pumped. Send me some specific suggestions and I'll get on them.

    And I havent heard that Roots song but I think I should get that whole album.

    For the love of god, is that a good enough explanation? :)

  5. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    Thanks ND! I hear ya on “I Feel Better,” it's definitely a jam, but “Alley Cats” just grabbed me the most off that album. And “Ambling Alp” dominated my best of list last year! There are plenty other gems on Odd Blood but none made the cut. It's stiff competition over here! :)

    Jesus! That's quite a list you have over there! I barely did that many posts since the new year! And I'd love to see some mp3 links on your best covers list. Some I definitely want to hear!

  6. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    I will totally back you up on “Who Knows Who Cares”. I got the album recently during one of Amazon's sales, and when I was listening to it while reading something else, that was one of the songs that made me stop and check out what the name of the song was. It's since become one of my favorite songs on the album.

    Been coming here since last year, but this is the first time I've left a comment. I love the blog! A few reasons why: I like it because you update enough to keep things fresh, but not so much that if I don't visit the site for a week or two I don't feel totally overwhelmed by the backlog.

    Our music tastes overlap enough where I don't end up liking everything you post, but there's enough that we agree on to keep me interested and having someone recommend music that doesn't always in line with your tastes means that your boundaries get widened. I've been introduced to a lot of great music through this blog and I'm thankful for it.

    I think another one of the reasons I love the blog so much is because of the player, so I don't have to download all the songs and sift through the ones that I don't like, and then delete them later. That usually makes keeping up with music blogs way too much work to keep up with. At TBE I just hit the player, listen to all the songs on a page, and download the ones that stand out. I love that you don't have an expiration date on the files, too. I'm still working my way back through the posts I missed before I started coming here!

    So all in all, great work, great jams. Keep it up.

  7. Dan
    Dan says:

    I really like this list and found a lot of songs on here I haven’t heard before.

    Personally I like a lot of loud music so I would add something from Liars, M.I.A. or maybe Big Boi.

  8. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    Thanks Andrew, notes like tis mean a lot! Everything you mentioned here is a conscious decision on my part and part of my gameplan for TBE that I formulated over a few years of studying other music blogs and making my own list of Dos and Don'ts as a reader. And the player is key! I have no idea why more mp3 blogs don't use it.

    Thanks again and I hope to keep your music supply fresh! Don't wait until next year to drop another comment :)

  9. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Thanks for the reply! Whoa, I did not realize just how many grammatical errors there were in my comment until I reread it just now. That's kind of embarrassing. Sorry about that!

    Yeah, I've tried to follow music blogs in the past but just couldn't keep up, so I've been really glad to find TBE. I appreciate that you've put so much thought into it from a reader's perspective, it really shows. As to comments, now that I've taken the step of writing a first comment, writing more should be easier, hopefully :)

  10. jonathan_uk
    jonathan_uk says:

    Great list – agree with much of it. It's unlikely I'd have heard of most of these tracks if I didn't read your blog so I thank you greatly for that.

    Agree with the earlier comments about how great the player is on the site – brilliant.

    Obviously I'd have Unsung by Delays in my list :)

  11. Siegs
    Siegs says:

    Enjoying this list. One thing to note is that Theophilus dropped that song in Feb 09 on This Charming Mixtape. You should definitely check it out if you haven't, there are a few real gems on it. That particular song “Hum Drum” is actually a bit different on the mixtape as it's produced with lead ins and lead outs for the mixtape flow, but I actually like the original version better. It has more build up that way and leads into a pretty rad song, “Crazy cousins.”

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