2010 Song List

As has been my practice before, this only lists songs which aren’t already mentioned in my forthcoming (yes, really!) 2010 album list. They’re not necessarily songs that were released as singles either, they really are just songs from 2010 that I especially enjoyed.

First, some Honourable Mentions (where I like the song, but am sharing it more for fun value than because I see myself listening to it years from now):

  • Deadly Medley (Black Milk featuring Royce Da 5’9” and Elzhi): The beats are blah, but the line “My shit is Martin Luther / Your shit is Martin Lawrence” literally made me laugh out loud in a crowded bus.

  • Map Of Tasmania (Amanda Palmer & the Young Punx) (Video possibly NSFW, but unforgettable): Probably the best song about pubic hair in the world.

  • If Love Whispers Your Name (Richard Thompson): Richard Thompson’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but I listen to him for his guitar work, and it’s killer here.

And now the song list proper:

  • Catholic Pagans (Surfer Blood): Most reviewers of Surfer Blood’s well-received debut album saw Swim as the standout track, but I prefer the uncomplicated naiveté of Catholic Pagans, which closes the album. I have this thing where I’m quite mean about indie pop, like being mean about it is part of my identity or something, and then this little gem comes and disarms me. It’s okay to change for love, it explains: “When I met you / I broke the mould / I fell apart and combed my hair”. Two minutes fifteen seconds in, it breaks out into cascading layers of joy. I fall apart. I comb my hair.

  • Tune In (The Bug featuring Roots Manuva): If you are in a jurisdiction that has legalized cannabis, roll the biggest spliff you’ve ever smoked before you listen to this track. If you are reading this in Singapore, consider the price you are prepared to pay for the UlTiMaTe BAEHSSSS XpErIeNcE. Ten years’ prison and/or S$20,000 fine? Could still be worthwhile.

  • Time Xone / We Want War (These New Puritans): I’m cheating a bit here – these are two songs, tracks 1 and 2 of These New Puritans’ Hidden album. They’re very different from each other, with Time Xone’s refined brasses and woodwinds giving you little warning of the onslaught of battle trumpets, doom drums and creepy choirs that are forthcoming in We Want War. But somehow, taken together, they catapult the listener very effectively into the album’s rather distinctive aesthetic, and I like when that happens. I didn’t ultimately feel the album sustained its initial promise, but for these two songs I was utterly riveted.

  • Rude Boy (Rihanna): I’ve had a few of Rihanna’s hairstyles but haven’t liked much of her music since Pon De Replay. To be honest, I can’t explain what makes this particular autotunefest catchier to me than all her others, except to say that in the course of exploring my occasional penchant for dance class videos of fabulous boys rocking choreography, Rude Boy has given me great pleasure.

  • Carry Out (Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake): Lines like “I’ll have you open all night like the IHOP” suggest that this song is to lyrical subtlety as Sarah Palin is to geopolitical knowledge, and in case you didn’t get the message from the song alone that Timbaland and Justin love ladies as much as I love a McSpicy meal, the video features a lot of ladybooty-pumping taking place in front of a neon “Hot Cakes” sign. (True story: when watching the video in the course of writing this post, my computer overheated.) So yes, I’m totally a bad person for loving this song, but I blame those insidious bells in the beat.

  • Katy’s On A Mission (Katy B, produced by Benga): Yeah, so some people will call this the sellout that assraped dubstep. Who cares? You and I both know that the UK “urban” artist far more likely to make it big in the mainstream than Katy B or Benga is Taio Cruz, and would you rather have this song overplayed or Dynamite? (People who give the wrong answer will be assraped. With dynamite.)

  • Dancing On My Own (Robyn): Combines such lyrical heartbreak with such soaring, indomitable music that I almost wish I had experienced a breakup in my own life so that I could dance to this in a club near the end of the night and have one of those transcendental clubbing moments that sound really lame and clichéd until you’ve experienced them yourself.

  • Hold My Hand (Michael Jackson and Akon): It is rather bittersweet to listen to a posthumous release that begins with the line "This life don’t last forever" and (given the circumstances of his life and death) later contains the lines "The nights are getting darker / And there’s no peace in sight", but it’s hard to describe how much enjoyment I can get from just his "yeah" that follows the "Akon and MJ" introduction, or the little crescendo in "alone" in "Being miserable alone" at the end of the first verse, or the way he emphasizes the s in "just" at the end of "Nothing can come between us if you just". The song has grown on me too – it’s pretty catchy, their voices sound good together, the bridge works well, and the video is, dare I say, heartwarming. It may not go down in history as one of his great songs, but for someone like me clinging to every opportunity to hear "new" things sung in that voice I love, even as I am dubious about the moral provenance of milking every cent out of songs Michael certainly did not see as finished or satisfactory works, this song (more or less finished, according to Akon) is probably one of the best compromises I’ll ever get between those competing impulses.


  1. I really hate Akon. He’s on the new Dr. Dre single as well with his horrible metallic howl. I’ve got respect for him on the three wives front cos that’s BAWSE but beyond that..

    I like Katy B as well. Sings with a degree of subtlety. I can’t stand these really over the top powerful singers like Florence Welch.. no restraint. Plus she’s Irish think her real names Caitlin or something hehe. There’s an Irish/English lad I know is becoming a very popular vocalist in dubstep/grime at the moment should download the EP it’s great. Run To The Roof is massive.

  2. Akon is a musical non-entity to me except for the song with Michael but I love how he handled MJ-related questions here. Refreshingly no-nonsense.

    I don’t mind Florence that much in manageable doses. I quite enjoyed her album, although watching her live was like getting beat up by VOICE.

    I’m not wild on the Maverick Sabre chap’s voice on first listen to Run To The Roof, but will give it a bit more time.

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