Normally I do my music countdowns at the end of the year, but of course, I wasn't blogging then so here we are. I know what you're thinking, couldn't I just let 2010 go by without doing a list? Obviously the answer is no. It's not as if I didn't do this list already when I wasn't blogging. Just because you don't see an alcoholic drinking doesn't mean he or she isn't in fact drinking. I may say that I can quit list making any time I want but the reality is, I haven't yet.
As with 2009, last year was a bit of a lite year for me on the music buying front. Certain economic factors meant that I wasn't able to buy as many records as I would have liked. In fact I bought fewer than 25 full records in 2010 and many of them were from eMusic so I only paid a few dollars for each. I did buy a fair amount of singles from iTunes and eMusic and so I will be able to field a more complete list of the TGWOOfY Top Songs of '10. I know that sets your mind at ease. Now here's the list.
#10) The Walkmen - Lisbon. It's amazing that it's taken a decade and 6 records for this D.C. rooted band to start to make big waves. I know some people don't like Hamilton Leithauser's vocals but I think they are missing out. This is a powerful group who make some really unique and amazing music and I wish even more people would notice.
#9) Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now. I love Jenny Watson music be it with Rilo Kiley, The Watson Twins or all on her own. And now she's teamed up with her boyfriend and former producer Johnathan Rice for more great music. I always liked the songs Jenny did with Blake Sennett in Rilo Kiley and I think the male/female duo suits her well, like her cover of "Handle With Care" from her first Solo record where she teamed up with Ben Gibbard and Conor Oberst. So it was nice to have a few tracks like that on this newest project.
#8) She & Him - Volume 2. Sometimes you get a sophomore record and hope for a departure from the first one. Sometimes you want more of the same and that is just what Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward brought to the table in there aptly titled successor to Volume 1. The songs are well crafted, and to those of us who love Zooey's voice, beautifully sung.
#7) Angus & Julia Stone - Down the Way. I really wanted to put this disc by the Aussie brother and sister team higher, but I couldn't. If it was Angus Stone - "Down the Way" I might have because as much as I love all 13 songs on this record, I'm not a huge fan of Julia's vocals. I don't hate them, mind you, I just like the songs Angus sings WAY better, which would come as a surprise to most people who know my strong affinity for female singers. In the end, the record is still amazing and Angus and Julia deserve more fame in America then they have up to this point.
#6) Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks. As much as I liked "Living With The Living" I think this record is the peak of Ted Leo's powers. A friend of mine and I recently saw the U2 Live in 3D show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and he said to me that there were no bands like U2 any more. He meant it more from a stagecraft point of view, but I told him about Ted Leo and told him to sit down and take a listen. The result? One more mind blown.
#5) Bettie Serveert - Pharmacy of Love. Inky first turned me on to Bettie Serveert back in College and they are just as good today as they were in the mid 90's. Pharmacy is the Dutch groups 9th record but one of the nicest things I can think to say about it is that it would sound just as good on the College Radio airwaves of the 90's as it does wafting out of my iPod now. Greatness is great for ever and BS show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Thankfully!
#4) Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks. When I first heard the single "Swim Until You Can't See Land" (#98 TGWOOfY 100 '09) I knew I liked what I heard from these Scots. That is still a great song, but with the addition of other great tracks like "FootShooter" and "Fun Stuff" you end up with a really great listen all the way through.
#3) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs. I may be one of the few people who did a year end countdown that includes Arcade Fire but doesn't have them at number 1. It was funny to watch the response from the "main stream" and Twitterverse after their performance at the Grammys and realize just how segmented the music world has become. I think The Suburbs was amazing and a worthy successor to Neon Bible. I just wish more people knew who they were and less knew who Justin Bieber is.
#2) Stars - The Five Ghosts. I really enjoyed Stars' last offering and I also love Amy Millan's solo work too, so It's no surprise that they find there way to number 2 on this year's list. This is another great record that flows really well both sonically and thematically from track to track. While Arcade Fire garner much more attention as a great art-band from Canada I think Stars are every bit their equal if not their superior.
#1) Washington - I Believe You Liar. I stumbled upon Megan Washington in November of '09 thanks to the genius that is the web. She has an amazing voice and is a fantastic song writer, which as anyone who knows me will tell you: I am a sucker for. I love her playful turns of phrases like in the song "Sunday Best" where she sings "I want you to make a mess of me and my Sunday best..." but what really gets me is her more serious lyrics. The song "Underground" is like a last will and testament in song and is really poignant. She is already working on the songs for her next record and I, for one, can't wait.