In anticipation of the annual year-end review, here is a collection of several favorite overlooked songs that were not included in last year's list. This is a recognition of some tracks released in 2010 that either got a raw deal last December or simply weren't discovered until after the calendar changed...
Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith "Not in Love"
Crystal Castles has the habit of bringing in outside influence to create a masterpiece (see "Crimewave"). For their single release of Platinum Blonde's "Not in Love," they employed The Cure's Robert Smith to turn an adequate cover into a work of art. Magnificent vocals accompanied by Crystal Castles' signature electronic beats create a tone that reaches far beyond any one demographic of listener. – Nick Crow
Lord Huron "The Stranger"
This song presents itself on the Mighty EP with a near-Celtic starscape of strings to provide two distinct feelings: a sense of the security of home and, once the vocals jump in, that of a fragile moment of happiness in an otherwise melancholy time. Perfectly timed rises, falls, and breaks make this song a rollercoaster of a journey worth revisiting over and over. – Sam Sklover
Maps & Atlases "Solid Ground"
Coming from their debut full-length, Perch Patchwork, "Solid Ground" shows how instrumentally diverse this Chicago-based band is. Straddling the edge between folk and rock, the song's rhythmic humming that transition between stanzas flow easily and peacefully — aptly fitting the stability felt by sleeping on "Solid Ground." Addressing emotions felt during "winter's decay," Maps & Atlases have produced a song that all Midwesterners, who face that dreadful winter, can relate to. – Erica Matlin
Joanna Newsom "Good Intentions Paving Company" Before you criticize, listen to this song three more times. You'll undoubtedly be hooked to the unique obscurity. Newsom's "childlike" voice is something she cringes to hear about — yet, paradoxically, her theatrical elegance sends her soaring on her own level of sophistication. And in the era of polluted airs and tunes, "Good Intentions Paving Company" could bashfully waft a scent of purity all over the globe. – Max Simon
Punch Brothers "You Are"
Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) sings of falling in love with a "very, very wild thing," as his vocals and the pristine, bluegrass-tinged strings behind them deftly alternate between intense, dramatic bursts that depict getting carried away in moments of passionate lust and softer interludes when his more rational conscience admits that he may be getting in over his head. – Derek Hagen
The Radio Dept. "Heaven's on Fire"
The Radio Dept. is Clinging to a Scheme in their plan to revive a youth culture being destroyed by "the bogus capitalist process." This scheme revolves around reaching out with heartfelt, enlightening, grounded music. Johan Duncanson, the Swedish singer, is staged with a static echo, giving off a feeling of depth. This constant distancing removes us from lucidity, ultimately challenging our mental stance. Profundity aside, this song is super duper relieving... especially after a long day of capitalism. – Max Simon
The War on Drugs "Comin' Through"
It's not Coldplay's "Don't Panic," but the opening surely fooled Chris Martin and me. This similar sound points this steady-strummer to a similar direction: a movie soundtrack. Adam Granduciel's composed yet perturbed voice makes it difficult to understand whether he is going to war on drugs or going to war, on drugs. Either way, the song has me convinced that he will seamlessly win. – Max Simon
Yellow Ostrich "Whale"
Self-released in 2010 by Wisconsin native Alex Schaaf, "Whale" is one of those songs that can just bury itself in your brain. The first part's simple construction, catchy lyrics, and comforting repetition set the stage perfectly for the bridge and heroics of the second half. The patience that Yellow Ostrich shows in slowly allowing the song to climb into its listeners' heads is incredible; warm simplicity is the greatest strength here. Each phrase of "Whale" builds on the last and the end result is a warm, optimistic, head-nodder of a tune. – David Ruiz