Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Favorite Songs of 2010 - #5 - 1

By Paul Steven Brown

Here they are... my five favorite songs of 2010:

5. "Boyfriend"
Best Coast

I don't care what the haters say, I love this song. Sure, this theme is a well-travelled road, but it's the execution that puts this above some of the recent "leave her for me" songs. I wrote more at length about "Boyfriend" earlier this year.

4. "Heartbreaker"

This is just solid jangle pop perfection. Also a wonderful example of "you broke my heart, but I can't help loving you" sort of song. This is punctuated even more with the simple, repeated chorus of "But why?" Also, "Heartbreaker" has one of the best guitar solos of the year. It's all pretty straight forward, but sometimes that's the most effective approach.

3. "I Just Sighed, I Just Sighed, Just So You Know"
Los Campesinos!

"First and foremost, let it be said..." that I'm a huge Los Campesinos! fan, so it's without a doubt that I would have a song on this list from their album released earlier this year, Romance is Boring. "I Just Sighed..." was the true highlight for me (it's made even better when mini-song/intro piece "Heart Swells/100-1" leads right into it). A choppy, chaotic verse leads into a chorus that swoons with Harriet Campesinos! violin and one of the most touching, yet sexually playful lyrics of the year, "Please let me be the one that keeps track of the moles on your back". Gareth Campesino! continues to perfect the ability to marry pathos with a wry self-awareness, not unlike Jarvis Cocker or Morrissey before him.

2. "Undertow"

While Warpaint's sound on their first EP felt a bit like a strange marriage between Throwing Muses and Slint, the band has gotten more melodic on this year's album The Fool. Despite being over five minutes long, "Undertow" evolves during its course and doesn't overstay its welcome. Bass player, Jenny Lee Lindberg is vital in provoking the tempo and mood changes as the song progresses, but it's the hypnotic interplay between Emily Kokal's lush voice and Theresa Wayman's ghostly sung responses that makes this such a beautiful number.

1. "E is for Estranged"
Owen Pallett

I had only heard one song by Owen Pallett, "Lewis Takes His Shirt Off", before I saw him open up for The National, earlier this year. Pallett began the set alone on the stage with only his violin and a series of pedals that allowed him to loop various parts. His voice was elegant and flexible. The result was stunning and I was almost moved to tears. The recorded version of "E is for Estranged", which has a full string section, piano, and horns, is just as powerful as that intimate performance.

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