Top 50 songs of 2010: #30-11
(Originally posted here on the 29th December 2010. Again, thanks to Makersten for the awesome intro line..)
Desperate divas, breakneck beatmakers, a back-to-work boyband and a sweary Cee-Lo jostle for position as our countdown of the year’s biggest tracks continues.
Welcome to Part Two of our countdown of the 50 top tracks of 2010!
As before, make sure to comment below with any songs that you think can’t be missed, that you can’t believe we included, or just ones that you’re glad to have discovered.
30 : Make Me Wanna Die – The Pretty Reckless
Sure, Taylor Momsen pretty much looks like a walking STD these days, but there is no denying that this is actually a pretty kick ass tune. Besides, if you’re going to play dress-ups in a fading rockstar’s old clothes, you could do a lot worse than Courtney Love’s cast offs circa 1996. Who knew Little J was just as adept at writing a gut-wrenching tune as she is at over-applying eyeliner?
29 : Bang! Bang! – Liz Phair
One of the most sexy and obliquely desolate tracks of the year off indie-pop goddess Phair’s controversial Funstyle release. Right until the very end, it’s never clear whether she wants to f*ck or blow her brains out, or both. Sure, the album may have divided fans when she tried to be the new Ke$ha but, when she’s content to just be the new Liz Phair, this is proof that is no one does it better.
28 : Love The Way You Lie – Eminem & Rihanna
Because exactly what we needed in 2010 was a new Domestic Violence anthem for Wife Beaters worldwide. A disturbingly well-rounded dissection of both sides of the story, Love The Way You Lie reminded us that Eminem’s fame wasn’t based on throwaway puerile pop tunes as much it was ability to use rap music to create affecting character studies. Finally, after ten long years, Stan has a worthy successor.
27 : On Your Side – Danielle Spencer
The fact that Danielle Spencer isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Tori Amos, Regina Spektor et al will always be considered a total crime against modern music. Especially with this, the lead single off her sophomore effort, which should have been the breakaway pop hit needed to firmly establish her on the world music scene – a loving, wistful laundry list of wishes for an estranged lover that is jaunty, catchy and heartbreaking in equal measures. Plus, the way her voice just soars on the key change on the second chorus can’t help but melt the coldest of hearts. Gorgeous.
26 : Commander – Kelly Rowland
The start of 2009 was a scary time for Kelly Rowland. After almost ten years of ruling the pop landscape as part of American Girl Group juggernaut Destiny’s Child, she was beginning to be recognized solely as ‘The One Who Isn’t Beyonce’ and ‘The One Who Doesn’t Look Like An Extra From Planet Of The Apes’. But then French DJ extraordinaire David Guetta swooped in and got her to contribute vocals for his crossover dance smash hit When Love Takes Over and, suddenly, a career was reborn. Guetta repaid the favour with this aggressive slice of dominatrix club-pop from Rowland’s upcoming third solo album. Hopefully, this will open the door for Kelly’s time in the spotlight yet.
25 : Boys – Gabriella Cilmi
Turns out the one thing that no one wanted from the 2008 ARIA Award darling was an album full of disco and 80’s pop pastiches. Which means only approximately 17 people worldwide heard this, a bruised and defiant mid-tempo electro tale of girls being cheated on and kicking their guys to the curb. The “Go sleep with your boys tonight” chorus was born to be an ironic gay anthem much more than failed lead single ever was and, in an ideal world, would have been the lead single instead.
24 : Broken Heels – Alexandra Burke
You can never consider your life truly lived until you’ve seen a Drag Queen perform this ‘live’. Think about it, the meta irony level it would bring to the performance (a man pretending to be a woman singing a song about how women can do anything better than men ever wearing broken heels) would be like watching Victoria / Victoria condensed down to 3:30” and told in reverse. The tune, by the 2008 UK X-Factor winner, is pretty damned amazing too, carried along with a breakneck beat and diva attitude to spare.
23 : Acapella – Kelis
After a nasty divorce (with American rap savant Nas), a flop album and a few years in wandering the career wilderness, US purveyor of dairy-inspired r’n’b pop Kelis turned her attentions to the dancefloor and a disco diva was well and truly born. Produced by David Guetta and taking its cues from Donna Summer, this sublime slice of club pop should have been the biggest hit of her career but never quite crossed over to commercial radio. Which is a shame since this ode to her newborn son has a chorus is just spine-tingling gloriousness – “Before you, my whole life was acapella” might just be the pop lyric of the year.
22 : The Flood – Take That
Who knew that all it would take for Robbie to record the perfect ‘Robbie Williams anthem’ again would be rejoining his former band Take That? Rather than being an admission of waning popularity of either’s part, the new album saw both acts reinvigorated musically and creatively. Whilst this, the lead single from 2010’s fastest selling album in the UK, might have played it the safest, it was still a piece of mature power pop perfection. Emotive vocals? Check. Anthemic chorus? Check. Stirring lyrics? Check and check. Suddenly, manband wasn’t a dirty word anymore…
21 : Rich Kids – Washington
Because CLEARLY not enough people (even with a top three album and a bucketload of ARIA nominations) are familiar with the total amazingness that is Megan Washington. One of the best singers and songwriters to out of the Australian music scene in years. Can’t even remember the last time I have been so genuinely excited for a debut album to be released. Cement cleaned up the Triple J Hottest 100 last year and this bouncey treat of a track proves that the best is yet to come.
20 : Get Outta My Way – Kylie Minogue
It’s been a bit of a topsy-turvy year for old Kylie. First, new album Aphrodite was hailed as a long awaited return to form by critics and the gay community alike, and then all the subsequent singles were met with complete and utter indifference. Which is a shame as this, the 2nd single (and pretty much her worst charting to date, ever), was amazing. The catchiest, most exuberant thing she’s done since Spinning Around, you have to wonder whether a Minogue will ever top the singles chart again. If Kylie was able to move her face right now, you know it wouldn’t be smiling.
19 : New York City’s Killing Me – Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs
Beg, Steal or Borrow may have been the track that managed to squeak through and nab a surprise Song of the Year nomination, but it was this, a mournful, bluesy lament about being stranded in the Big Smoke, that was the albums true highlight. Rarely has LaMontagne’s famous raspy, cigarette and whiskey-soaked voice sounded more soulful or sad. Loneliness and isolation have never sounded so good.
18 : Indestructible – Robyn
Lead single Dancing On My Own sometimes felt like Robyn was writing to a formula and was fully aware of her newly carved niche in the music industry as the go to girl for tear-stained dance numbers. Indestructible, however, was a different beast all together – colder and faster beats, like being trapped inside a computer in the Artic Circle, were complimented by the a earnest, yearning vocal performance and the most optimistically hopeful lyrics of her career – “I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been hurt before, I’m gonna love you like I’m indestructible’. The fact that this is STILL only the second best song she released in 2010 is a swedish pop triumph in itself!
17 : Dear John – Taylor Swift
Otherwise known as the exact moment that John Mayer got his ass handed to him in song by a nineteen year old. Sometimes, you just have to pray that Taylor Swift is nothing more than a studio-funded front for a cotillion of really talented songwriters as no nineteen year old should be able to so clearly understand and be able to articulate the intricacies of love and heartbreak so succinctly. One of the best written songs of the year hands down (solely written by Swift) that should finally convince the naysayers that she is a genuine talent to be watched and admired.
16 : Hollywood – Marina & The Diamonds
The fact that Marina Lambrini Diamandis wasn’t the breakout crossover popstar of 2010 is somewhat of a major pop injustice. Really, almost all of the singles off her debut The Family Jewels could have made the list (in particular, my apologies for not including I Am Not A Robot), but this tale of a woman unhealthily obsessed with US celebrity culture (“Hollywood infected my brain/I’m living in a movie scene puking American dreams”) was a complete fizzy-pop standout. The “Oh! My! God! You look just like Shakira. No, no, you’re Catherine Zeta – Actually my name’s Marina…” bit at the 1:19 mark remains the best self-referential moment in pop music since Miley was busy “just being Miley”. GREAT song too.
15 : Pacific Coast Highway – Hole
The only genuinely great song off the last Hole album. Like an older, gentler and wiser cousin to late nineties career highpoint Malibu, Love sings her heart out and reminds you that, when she’s focussed, she’s still one of the best singers and songwriters of all time. Brings back memories of a time when Courtney Love wasn’t just a crack whore – she was a crack whore with talent.
14 : Dinosaur – Kisschasy
Australian rock band Kisschasy just keep getting better and better, especially on this, the final single from their third Long Player. Between the adorable animated video of fighter jet-riding dinosaurs and the tender, yearning lyrics of a love that will never die, you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful track. If you weren’t listening to Triple J this year, you probably didn’t hear it. You really should have.
13 : In The Sun – She & Him
So many actors have tried to become credible musicians over the years (We’re looking at you Keanu, Bruce Willis and David Hasslehoff), but few have done it with such success as indie film pixie Zooey Deschanel’s side project She & Him. Beautifully sunny 60’s style pop melodies combined with that voice and produced one of the true highlights of the year. Put this on your iPod and you can’t help but feel like it’s summer all year round, at least for three glorious minutes. The video is retro-fantastic perfection as well!
12 : Promise This – Cheryl Cole
What can be said about Cheryl Tweedy-Cole that hasn’t already been said? Already the most famous woman in the United Kingdom that is not currently marrying into the Royal Family, she finally released a song worthy of her level of pop fame (let alone, finally one that matched the dizzying highs of her former band Girls Aloud). Sure, the random french chanting doesn’t pack quite the same punch in a post-Gaga pop landscape, but the translation (roughly “Lark, spread your wings”) was a beautiful flourish on this up-tempo scorned stormer of a track. And she looked right stunning in the video – which showed just what kind of amazingness she could produce when the record company finally shelled out more than a tenner.
11 : F##k You – Cee-Lo
Where would the world music scene have been without this, its most inescapable and profane track. Popping up everywhere from the Grammy nominations to an episode of Glee, it was impossible to resist. By October, Doctors were using this, instead of the more traditional stethescope, to see whether people were truly alive. Amazingly vicious lyrics and a toe-tappingly brilliant backing track, few songs shone brighter than this number from Cee-Lo’s debut solo album. Except, of course, for the following ten on our countdown…