It’s nearly the end of the year, so I’d better do some sort of round-up (aside from the CMU Artists Of The Year list I already posted up here). Here are my 25 favourite tracks of 2010, which I’ve put together into a rather fine Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. I also wrote a couple of sentences about each track, which you can choose to read or not. Listen to the playlist though, that’s the important bit.
Four Tet – Angel Echoes
Like much of Four Tet’s There Is Love In You album, this is just one simple idea tended to gently until it reaches perfection.
Jakwob – Here With Me
Much as I like the Magnetic Man album, I can never quite get my mind past the fact that it took three people to make it. I think this Jakwob single is far more interesting when it comes to latching dubstep onto other sounds.
Pantha Du Prince – Satellite Snyper
I really love Black Noise by Pantha Du Prince, and I think this is my favourite track off it. It’s so intricately put together but the result is something that sounds completely effortless.
Gold Panda – You
This is Gold Panda’s most immediate track, thanks to it’s high-pitched one-word hook, but it’s one that keeps on giving once you’re past that initial rush of excitement, too.
Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
Surely one of the tracks that will go on to define 2010, the first single from Tinie Tempah’s debut album started the year as one by a relative unknown and end it as the signature of one of the country’s biggest new pop stars.
Katy B – Katy On A Mission
Another year-defining track, I love Benga’s production on this, but what really gets me is Katy B’s intonation and the way she wraps her voice around words.
Losers – Flush
Envy was brought in on this track to give some balance to Riz’s original lyrics. The result works incredibly well, and is also the best vocal performance I’ve heard from Envy. The track also has an amazing video.
Deftones – Rocket Skates (M83 Remix)
I really like Deftones’ Diamond Eyes album, but this remix of Rocket Skates totally blew me away the first time I heard it. I just played it over and over. Anthony Gonzalez completely makes the song his own.
James Blake – Limit To Your Love
I have to admit, the outpouring of love for James Blake in the early part of the year went totally over my head, but I’m completely on board when it comes to this track. Beautiful.
Emika – Drop The Other
If pushed, I think I’d make this my track of the year. Having first heard it in December 2009, it’s consistently found itself on my stereo for a full twelve months. It’s just stunning.
Cappo – Loyalty
Cappo’s Genghis album is totally underrated. It’s one of the best hip hop albums I heard this year. This track samples my favourite Arab Strap song (and one of my favourite songs of all time) Love Detective, which obviously earns it bonus points.
Janelle Monáe – Cold War
Janelle Monáe is brilliant, I won’t hear a word said against her. The ArchAndroid is a fantastic album and she’s one of the most amazing live performers I saw in 2010. Cold War is my favourite of her songs and shows of her vocal talents perfectly.
The Hundred In The Hands – Commotion
I love this song so much. Love it. Yes I do. Yes. It’s possibly my favourite chorus of 2010, if I were to go around awarding such things.
Marnie Stern – Building A Body
On her third album, Marnie Stern still shreds as hard as ever, but this track that sees her tone it down a bit and concentrate more on the basics of her songwriting talent.
Bo Ningen – Koroshitai Kimochi
Bo Ningen are brilliant. I still haven’t managed to see them live, but if this track is anything go by it will be very much worth the wait when I finally do.
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em
As the opening track of their album, this track firmly states what Sleigh Bells are all about. Heavy compressed drums hammer into your skull, guitars sprawl and Alexis Krauss’ vocals float sweetly over the top.
Fang Island – Careful Crossers
Fang Island are a band of pure fun. Pure, fist-in-the-air fun. This track is the peak of that fun for me. All the different elements of the band combine to grab you and shake you around shouting and whooping like an idiot. Whoop!
Yeasayer – Madder Red
Odd Blood by Yeasayer is a great album, and this is a great track. Sometimes I think people can go a bit overboard with insisting that they’re a pop band (most mainstream pop fans would run a mile), but then the chorus of this makes it difficult to argue.
Fallulah – Bridges
Fallulah is a big deal in her native Denmark, but pretty much unheard of anywhere else, which is a shame because she writes amazing pop songs like this one. What she’s banging on about though, I do not know.
Glasser – Apply
Cameron Mesirow is almost so perfect an indie solo artist it’s hard to believe someone didn’t make her up. She is definitely real though, I have seen her. She was dressed in what looked like a large bin bag.
Josephine – I Think It Was Love
This song is so good, and it’s hard to believe it was the product of 2010. I Think It Was Love sounds like it’s a lost soul classic, not a brand new song by a musician in her early twenties from Manchester.
Active Child – Wilderness
Active Child’s been a little bit of an obsession of mine this year. It was tough to pick a favourite from the handful of tracks he’s released, but the bouncing bassline of Wilderness just swung it.
Warpaint – Bees
I really like the intricacy of Warpaint’s songwriting, particularly the way the play different guitar parts against each other.
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
It’s the understatement in The National’s music that really gets me. Their songs aren’t actually that far from being balls-out rock, but the band weave subtlety in at every turn to create something quietly beautiful.
Steve Mason – Boys Outside
I’ve always been a big fan of Steve Mason’s solo work as King Biscuit Time and Black Affair, so it’s been very nice to see so many new people catch on to him with his first album under his own name, of which this is the title track.