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« Best Songs of 2010: 70-56 | Main | Best Songs of 2010: 100-86 »
Sunday
Jan022011

Best Songs of 2010: 85-71


85. Kyle Andrews "Bombs Away"
Television advertising has always utilized jingles to promote their products but recently Madison Avenue has been increasingly looking to the independent music scene for help. Featured in Doritos' Late Night Cheeseburger commercial this year, "Bombs Away" is one of Kyle Andrews' most rock-centric songs, sinister and foreboding without abandoning his pop sensibility. – Jon Kjarsgaard


84. Dirty Projectors + Björk "All We Are"
The mixing of four unique voices in this track creates a beautiful style that is unlike anything each individual has produced thus far. Raw vocal harmonies accompanied by solo cello chords are the only tools used here. While Björk's expansive voice intertwines with David Longstreth's soothing tone, the conception lies somewhere between a sacred ballad and a beautiful lullaby. – Amanda Hammermeister


83. Hot Chip "Take It In"
"Take It In" begins pretty edgy, with a dark industrial kind of beat. But the ominous verses blend seamlessly with the dreamy, anthemic chorus — and by the time that chorus first kicks in, it's typical Hot Chip love. – Jon Kjarsgaard


82. Inlets "In Which I, Robert"
Slinky and cool, "In Which I, Robert" colors indie rock with a jazz filter. The taut repetition of fuzzy bass eventually breaks and gives in to the tap-a-tap of drumsticks on rims and the loose-jointed swing of woodwinds. Unexpected and weirdly right, the end of the tune will have you shuffling along the city's concrete stage. – Stacey Lansing


81. Peter Wolf Crier "Down Down Down"
The stark beauty of "Down Down Down" is a lovely respite from Peter Wolf Crier's usually spirited style. The subdued song is comforting in a melancholic way, with Peter Pisano's simple guitar and sorrowful lyrics enhanced by Brian Moen's great instincts behind the drum kit. – Claire Tiller


80. The Walkmen "Woe is Me"
Reflected in the line "don't be heavy, let's be light," the Walkmen take a step away from their aggressively depressing songs (a la "The Rat") and toward a brighter, more cheerful sound (even if the song title itself is still about self-pity). It is this tricky twist that makes "Woe is Me" one of the standout tracks on their newest album. Now to figure out how to mope to this beat... – Lindsay Juley


79. Dessa "Dixon's Girl"
Chanteuse Dessa purrs and coos over a throwback big-band beat, then busts out an effortless sounding flow. Originally a spoken word artist, Dessa's smart, sharp lyrics are as strong as the beats they unfold over. – Claire Tiller


78. Beach Fossils "Daydream"
As Dustin Payseur muses about the love that’s always on his mind, his slightly distorted vocals fade just far enough behind jangly guitars to evoke the feeling of passing thoughts that never completely come into focus, as if actually caught up in a daydream. – Derek Hagen


77. The Decemberists "Down By the Water"
"Down by the Water" is a departure for Colin Meloy and the gang from their usually ornate, involved songs. The scaled-back Decemberists' tune is a bluesy tip of the hat to R.E.M. (it even features the Athens band's Peter Buck, alongside Gillian Welch), with a opening harmonica riff that would be at home in a Blues Traveler back catalog. – Claire Tiller


76. Tanlines "Real Life"
Have you ever been to a tiny island that no one travels to? And danced all night at a club on the beach? And watched the sun rise over a warm ocean? No? Even if you haven't, it's clear that "Real Life" would be the soundtrack for that sunrise. The song is at once upbeat and bittersweet, with danceable percussion and synths leaving room for melancholic vocals and guitar. Apologetic and vulnerable, "Real Life" is not just a rave dance track. Once you've listened too many times, try out the Memory Tapes remix for a change of pace. – Brigid Hogan


75. Laura Marling "Rambling Man"
The cornerstone of a great sophomore effort, "Rambling Man" explores the elusive redefining of self post-heartbreak. Marling's earnest vocals are still in play, but progressed (and complemented) by more aggressive guitar work. Honest and sage at 20 years old? Inconceivable. – Kelli Cohen


74. Gayngs "The Gaudy Side of Town"
Greeting us with the sensation of not quite knowing what we're getting into, "The Gaudy Side of Town" opens Gayngs' sublime Relayted. At once sultry and trance-like, its saxes and steady snares set the pace (quite literally: Relayted plays out entirely in 69 bpm) gently pulling us ever deeper into one of 2010's most singular releases. – Seth McNitt


73. Karen Elson "The Ghost Who Walks"
Karen Elson evokes both retro-soulstress and banshee in a tale of a love gone awry. Elson's ghostly voice murmurs and wails over somber organ, culminating in a final shriek and flurry of shimmering guitar and organ. – Claire Tiller


72. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. "Nothing But Our Love"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s "Nothing But Our Love" is typical of their four-song EP: mellowly upbeat. The bare melody follows a simple, driving baseline while surf harmonies drift above. If their album, due out in early 2011, lives up to the buzz from the EP, here's one name you haven't heard the last of, for better or worse. – Drew Mosley


71. LCD Soundsystem "Dance Yrself Clean"
"Dance Yrself Clean" starts out simple — a two-note bassline and meager percussion with James Murphy's half-sung, half-spoken lyrics intertwined within the barebones texture. Three minutes in, fat synths and a slick beat burst on the scene, inciting an instant dance party. – Claire Tiller

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