100. Glasser – Plane Temp
Cameron Mesirow has an ear. In fact, she most likely has two. Human biology aside, this woman hears melody different from most. On “Plane Temp”, it’s the way she ferrets out a sense of mild alarm with her voice, accompanied perfectly by those serene musical textures. Strangely, for such a modern-sounding song, the music also sounds like a communal chant from the 1800’s. This song is the sound of a particular scene from Last of The Mohicans, the scene where cutthroat Magua kills Uncas and callously dispatches his body over a cliff, tragically followed by Uncas’ love, Alice Munro, taking her own life and dropping off the same cliff as a vacant stare washes over her. The scene, like the song, is intense but calm.
99. Jimmy Eat World – Coffee and Cigarettes/Invented
They’ve done it again. At this point, Jimmy Eat World are such professional hitmakers, they can pretty much pump out any kind of song they like. Instantly nostalgic and hook-filled with a story: check. That would be “Coffee and Cigarettes”. Heart-tugging, neck-hair-bristling and honest: check. That would be “Invented”. Having a knack for every-time-out awesome album closers unfortunately broken this time around with the okay Mixtape, JEW should have put “Invented” last. There’s so much to like about “Invented”, including the chilling way Jim repeats, “You’re always in my head, you’re just what I wanted,” the subtle backing vocals from Courtney Andrews and the way the end of the song explodes into life. Well done chaps — I don’t know how many times I’ve said that about you — and keep it up.
98. Girls – Thee Oh So Protective One
It’s the way the trumpet dances like the discount DVD bin deserves Ella Enchanted.
97. Longo & Wainwright f. Craig Smart – One Life Stand
96. Big Boi – Shutterbugg
In no way, shape or form is Big Boi in anyone’s shadow. Delayed for eons because the label(s) wanted a hit. Were they even listening to “Shutterbugg” at all?
95. Cold War Kids – Audience/Coffee Spoon
Two extremely solid tracks from the underrated Behave Yourself EP. Something tells me Cold War Kids could have a huge radio hit if they wanted, but for now, they’re content with releasing solid effort after solid effort. Looking forward to seeing what their 2011 LP has in store.
94. The Good Natured – Your Body Is a Machine (Zebra & Snake remix)
From the clutch Kitsune Maison compilation (#9), this song wouldn’t miss a beat if it were sung by La Roux. And it would be one of their better songs. An eminently likeable Electro-pop ditty.
93. Finger Eleven – Stone Soul
The best song from the generally disappointing Life Turns Electric record. It’s just Them vs. You vs. Me was such a good record, that I expected more from their follow-up. “Stone Soul” is the exception. It’s far-and-away the catchiest tune on the album. If I could only ask One Thing, I’d simply ask, more of that next time boys.
92. Caribou – Kaili
The most I’ve ever liked a Manitoba or Caribou song. Reminiscent of a really good Junior Boys song, the core melody of “Kaili” is Bounty strong. The wayward sax and layered synths make this one a rewarding listen the more it’s inspected.
91. Linkin Park – Burning the Skies/Iridescent
The first proper song on A Thousand Suns, “Burning The Skies” is a statement of intent. Linkin Park have grown up and care about different things than they did ten years ago. There’s nothing wrong with that. For all the lyrical and sonic shifts, Linkin Park have remained true to one thing — melody. “Burning The Skies”, and “Iridescent” for that matter, are brimming with life, the sound of a band that collectively has as strong of an ear for songcraft as ever. On “Burning The Skies”, Chester Bennington relents, “I’m losing what I don’t deserve.” Not yet you haven’t, not yet.
90. Against Me – Suffocation/High Pressure Low
89. Jenny Berggren – Gotta Go
The last remaining sister in Ace of Base is no longer with the group. Probably something to do with the record company wanting younger girls to front the “new” Ace of Base. Whatever. What’s surprising is that big brother Jonas and family pal Ulf most always wrote the hits for Ace of Base (the non cover ones anyhow), and it always seemed as though the sisters, replete with their pretty and unthreatening voices and faces were mere fodder for the cameras. It appears that idea may need to be revisited. “Gotta Go” is better than anything from Ace of Base’s latest LP, so kudos must go to Jenny for this song, presumably about the split from the group. This is one hell of a catchy break up song.
88. Young Money f. Lloyd – BedRock
The Young Money family get together on this insidious little slice of pop. Everyone puts in a yeoman’s effort here, but even Lloyd’s punchy hook is upstaged by scene stealer du jour Nicki Minaj. The best line is both cringe- and laugh-inducing, as Minaj carelessly flaunts, “Ok I get it, let me think, I guess it’s my turn; maybe it’s time to put this p***y on your sideburns.” Yup, she went there.
87. Civil Twilight – Letters From The Sky/Teardrop
“Letters From The Sky” is pure drama. It’s caliginous, mysterious and soaring. The song comes up from the ground, slowly but surely like a brain-craving zombie, and bursts flaming into the air, torching falling letters from the sky as it rises. And yes, this does sound like U2. Good U2 (read: not recent), so it’s a major compliment. As for “Teardrop”, I suppose it’s a good thing that everyone knows the song now because of House; Massive Attack undoubtedly got some new fans and a great song was put on a plate for the masses. It’s nearly impossible to match the heartbeating metronome and scathing, emotional resonance of the original, but CT make it different enough that it’s not a slap in the face to the originators.
86. Gyptian – Hold You (Hold Yuh)
Packaged in a sweet sounding reggae-pop tune, “Hold You” is probably the dirtiest song of 2010. Khia would be proud.
85. The Magnetic Fields – You Must Be Out of Your Mind
The best track from Realism, The Magnetic Fields’ biggest strength is that they don’t really sound like anyone else. Lyrically, a biting reproach of a song; musically, a comforting, playful ditty. Neat trick.
84. Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
83. Scissor Sisters – Night Work/Fire with Fire
Gosh I love this band. No one in pop is more energetic. No one cares for as much (ass) cheek. Lead single “Fire With Fire” is a winning tune. “Night Work”, in spite of its title, is possibly the most playful song of the year. So bloody catchy it hurts.
82. Kanye West – Hell of a Life/Monster f. Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver
That beat. That ferocious, kick-stomping, funk you of a beat. Kanye’s verse — Kanye’s esophagus punching verse. Jay-Z’s (insufficient) attempt to keep up with the Jones’. Rick Ross’ 0.4 second appearance. Indie torchbearer Bon Iver’s spot. All of it — I mean all of it — is upstaged by Nicki funking Minaj. Listen and weep at her skill, schizophrenia and ridiculousness. You want me to stop with the gossip? Ok. It’s not gossip anymore — it’s fact.
81. Edward Maya f. Vika Jigulina – Stereo Love
80. Rihanna f. Eminem – Love the Way You Lie (Part 2)
Better than part 1 because of: the drums, the melody being allowed to breathe and Rihanna’s triumph as the hook-bearing siren.
79. BOB f. Hayley Williams – Airplanes
Monster hook from Ms. Williams. She is, as the kids say (or said, 15 minutes ago), hot.
78. Brandon Flowers – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas
If only the album didn’t die (save for one other track) after this canyon-sized opener. The best pitch-man Vegas could ask for, BF sounds alive on the track. It’s a welcome departure from the rest of Flamingo and only serves to further emphasize what could have been. He needs Keuning, Stoermer and Vanucci back. Hopefully the break has served them well.
77. Holy Fuck – P.I.G.S./Stay Lit
Toronto’s noise peddlers push hard on their Latin America LP. An absolute terror live, Holy Fuck transfer that energy as best they can on these two stunners. “P.I.G.S.” is the no-bullshit proof of strength, showing off its generously proportioned muscles; “Stay Lit” is slightly more reserved, choosing to bring only its eyes above water, crocodile style. Both work.
76. Frightened Rabbit – Living In Colour/The Wrestle
If this band was an uncle, they’d be avuncular and wise. Both of these songs are apple pie warm at their cores.