Friday, January 07, 2011

Tae's Tracks for 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

As promised, here's Part II of my favorite songs of 2010! To link back to the first part of the list, click here.

(artist names link to official websites and song titles link to audio/video webpages)

Das Racist - "Who's That? Brooown!"

These hip-hop pranksters released two free mixtapes in 2010, chock full of goofy rhymes. One of my personal favorites is this opener from Shut Up, Dude. With lyrics like, "Brown Elvis, I can't help it, Brown Larry Birdie on the '97 Celtics" who can deny it?

Erykah Badu - "Window Seat"
Soulful. Intelligent. Funky. Erykah Badu's got it, and her latest was no exception. The video stirred controversy when it filmed Badu stripping naked in Dallas' Dealey Plaza and being mock assassinated near the site of the historic JFK shooting.

Rihanna - "What's My Name?"
Rihanna doesn't need my help getting her music out there. She's one of pop's biggest stars. My finger usually isn't on the Top 40 pulse, but this track did it for me. A guilty pleasure. Recorded as a duet with Drake, I much prefer Rihanna's solo takes on the song, such as this one from Saturday Night Live.

Ryan Bingham - "The Weary Kind"
The theme to Jeff Bridges' highly-acclaimed film, Crazy Heart. The movie worked, in part, because the music central to the plot was so well written. A heartfelt country western song that makes the list by showing you don't have to look and sound like Taylor Swift to have a mainstream crossover.

Local Natives - "Wide Eyes"
Multi-part folk harmonies complemented by thunderous percussion. Local Natives caught my attention early in the year and their album, Gorilla Manor has stayed with me after many spins.

Civil Twilight - "Letters from the Sky"
South African alt-rock trio hit their stride on this impassioned piano rocker. Could they be the Coldplay of Cape Town?

UNKLE feat. Sleepy Sun - "Follow Me Down"
UNKLE made some big strides on Where Did the Night Fall. Their brooding, trip-hop underpinnings grew into a more vibrant garage rock sound. The rhythms on "Follow Me Down" are intoxicating, dense and tribal. Dark and atmospheric. So is the video (though probably not safe for work).
The Roots w/ John Legend - "The Fire"
On top of being a wonderfully adaptable house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, The Roots found enough time to put out a new record. This jam with John Legend has got some fire in its belly.
Kings Of Leon - "Pyro"
KOL hit the big time on their previous album. Even the band seemed stunned to find soccer moms and pre-teen daughters showing up to their concerts. But a single like "Use Somebody" was perfectly suited for that level of arena rock appeal. On their latest, the band tries to recognize their success without selling-out their roots.

M.I.A. feat. Jay-Z - "XXXO"
M.I.A.'s eclectic dancehall style created an internet buzz before she'd ever released an album. That said, I never really got into her music. Several years later, with a third LP under her belt, it was this collab with Jay-Z that finally snagged me.

Klaxons - "Echoes"
Heralded a few years back as the leaders of the U.K.'s "new rave" dance-rock movement, Klaxons eventually faded from my radar. After having an entire album scrapped for being too uncommercial, the band recorded Surfing The Void. The song "Echoes" is shouty and bold, like Mr. Bungle-meets-the Arctic Monkeys. A massive chorus brings accessibility the chaos.

Ray LaMontagne - "Beg, Steal, or Borrow"
LaMontagne's husky vocals on this rootsy folk song speak to the pains and angst of youth coming of age.

How To Destroy Angels - "Fur Lined"
Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor formed a band with his wife. The uptempo industrial beats sets this track somewhere between nihilistic and quite danceable.

Minus the Bear - "Into the Mirror"
This group's prickly prog atmospherics and knack for pensive pop melodies returned on this casual, yet complex tune.

Best Coast - "Boyfriend"
Sweetly melancholic, straightforward, no frills indie-pop from this duo. Simple - but simply well-done.

Caribou - "Odessa"
Caribou's latest is like electronic shoegaze for an introvert's dance party. On "Odessa", Dan Snaith takes his experiments to the club for a strangely invigorating jaunt.

The Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs" and "Ready to Start"
Expectations were understandably high for this Montreal band's third outing, due to the quality of their earlier work. On The Suburbs, Arcade Fire delivered, writing some of their most poignant, nostalgic material to-date. The opening two songs set the tone for a middle class crisis. On the outside, everything is fine, but its the tension growing underneath the surface that stays with you. It's best when digested in album form, but the songs stand up on their own, too.


This concludes Tae's Tracks for 2010. I'm certain I've left some great ones out. So, now it's time to ask... What were some of your favorites?

Coming Hits
I Want Love Lyrics
Someone Like You Lyrics
Don't You Remember Lyrics
Mr. Right Now Lyrics
Kidz Lyrics
Take That
El Lay Lyrics
Snoop Dogg
Walk Away Lyrics
Limit To Your Love Lyrics
James Blake
International Love Lyrics
Animal Lyrics
Lady GaGa
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