Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010 (10-8)

10. Tame Impala -- Lucidity

Once again, what was old became new this past year -- and while a lot of bands were reaching back for the mid-70s soft-rock sound, one band was busy digging up the corpse of the Nazz and taking lessons from it. Australia's Tame Impala sound like the last 40 years didn't even happen -- like time stopped right around the time the Beatles wrote It's All Too Much. Lucidity, from the band's debut album Innerspeaker was an absolute blast of an introduction to global audiences -- a fuzzboxed swirl of psychedelic nostalgia that grabbed you by the eardrums and refused to let go. Part big-riff stadium rock, part fierce power-pop and all cool-as-hell, it was one of the catchiest songs of the year.

9. The Heavy -- How You Like Me Now

From the same basic period but borrowing liberally from an entirely different genre come the Heavy -- and the debut single from their second album, which became ubiquitous in 2010 thanks to its being the go-to song for every commercial and movie trailer that wanted you to really think the product it was pushing was bad-ass. If omnipresence on its own translated into quality, How You Like Me Now might sit comfortably atop this list. As it is, though, there's no arguing that the song was popular for a reason: it was damn good. Tapping directly into the funked-up vein of James Brown, the band -- fronted by the soulful howl of singer Kelvin Swaby -- created something so instantly memorable that it was pretty much destined to be massive. What the Heavy proved this year is that originality is all relative -- it relies on context. Sure, you know the kind of thing you're hearing in How You Like Me Now is nothing new under the sun, but in 2010 it sounded like the freshest sound around.

8. Arcade Fire -- Ready To Start

Make no mistake: Arcade Fire are one of the bests bands on earth at the moment. Their 2010 album The Suburbs, while not quite as flat-out fall-to-your-knees excellent as the poetic Neon Bible, continued the Canadian band's tradition of recording ambitious, epically cinematic albums. They truly have become the thinking man's arena rock band, and nothing proves that like Ready To Start. It's an almost magical combination of flawlessly crafted, thoroughly accessible pop hooks, anthemic dynamism and enigmatic intrigue. It's one of those songs that's just damn-near perfect.

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010: 11. Ben Folds & Nick Hornby -- From Above, 12. Kanye West (Featuring Bon Iver and Gil Scott-Heron) -- Lost in the World, 13. M.I.A. -- Born Free

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010: 14. Sia -- My Love, 15. Middle Class Rut -- New Low, 16. The xx -- Islands

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010: 17. John Legend and the Roots -- I Can't Write Left-Handed, 18. Blonde Redhead -- Not Getting There, 19. The National -- Bloodbuzz Ohio

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010: 20. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti -- Round and Round, 21. P!nk -- Raise Your Glass, 22. Drive-By Truckers -- This Fucking Job

Listening Post: The 25 Best Singles of 2010: 23. Best Coast -- Boyfriend, 24. Anberlin -- Impossible, 25. Fences -- Girls with Accents

Tomorrow: 7, 6 & 5


e said...

Not particularly feeling the Tame Impala, but that video was really cool, do you know anything about it, was the near-space part cg'ed or real?

Anyway, thanks for these posts, no one seems to comment much, but I always like picking up new music, and with each post I only know like one of the 3 bands. Change of pace.

VOTAR said...

I was glad we get to see the camera come back.

Damn cool idea for a video, and I dig the Pink Floyd Piper At the Gates of Dawn atmosphere of that song.

Chez said...

The video was shot with a weather balloon launched from where the band was playing.