Top 10 Singles of 2010

December 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

Well, it’s the end of the year and that can only mean two things: 1) time to figure out what New Year’s resolutions I’ll create and ultimately break w/in the first two weeks of January and 2) time to create my top 10 music lists of 2010.

But before I make my lists known, I need to go through a couple of disclaimers. First, I work in radio…so I’m exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. Some will argue, that whatever the radio plays is crap…that the only good music is the stuff that’s played on NPR or college/independent radio. While I don’t disagree 100%, I will say, that a lot of what is played on radio is popular for a reason – it’s catchy, sung well, it’s well written and it’s easily accessible to the masses* and because of that, there are many artists that I really enjoy and several of them actually made this list. Secondly, I can’t rank these songs. It’s impossible for me to say what songs are better than others because each song is so different. This list highlights my top ten favorite songs of 2010 – songs I’ve listened to on repeat for days on end…songs I’ve turned up to 10 and sung aloud with in the car…songs that make me yearn to be better at the guitar…so on and so forth.

So, with those disclaimers in mind…here are my top 10 favorite singles** of 2010.

1. Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

This summer I spent three days in Chicago at the largest musical festival in the midwest – Lollapalooza. I wandered the grounds of Grant Park checking out some of my favorite bands (The National, Spoon, The Black Keys, etc) as well as catching some new acts I’d never seen before (Jamie Lidell, The Temper Trap, Dawes, etc.) One of the new acts that I managed to see was Mumford & Sons. I knew absolutely nothing about this band but the one request my friend Rooney had was to catch their set. I was completely blown away by what I heard. To see Mumford & Sons in a festival setting was amazing. The crowd was going crazy – dancing and singing – throughout the entire set. They were definitely one of the highlights of the entire festival for me and I immediately downloaded their album when I got back to Des Moines.  Little Lion Man is by far my favorite song off their album “Sigh No More” (not to mention their first radio single as well.) Little Lion Man is also the first song I played on the guitar in public….so it’ll always have a special place for me.

2. Breakeven by The Script

Have you ever listened to an album completely through and thought that a particular song would be an instant hit? That’s how I felt about the first time I heard Breakeven by The Script. Their first radio single was The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and it, in my opinion, was a huge flop. Since I work in radio, I was able to listen to the entire full length album and after the first listen, I just had this feeling that, if given the chance, Breakeven would be The Script’s breakout song. Well, it was, and throughout 2010 you could not escape this song! This song, no matter how many times I hear it, still makes me turn the stereo up and sing along.

3. Draw Me a Map by Dierks Bentley

I grew up listening to country music and while I don’t listen to it as much as I used it, it still holds a place close to my heart. I was instantly drawn to this song because of the harmony sung by one of my favorites of all time – Alison Krauss. Dierks Bentley’s solid baritone voice, complimented by Alison’s spot-on harmony, make this song almost three-dimensional.

You’re my destiny and destination
Understand my desperation – you
The only place I wanna be
So get us back to you and me

Most people know that I’m a sucker for harmony and the harmony during this part of the song sends shivers down my spine.  The combination of the beautiful lyrics, angelic harmony, fiddle and mandolin make this one of Dierks’ best songs in his entire catalogue. If I could make music, this is the kind of music I would want to make.

4. Let Go by Everest

A few months ago, I was chatting w/ one of our record reps and asked him if he had any musical recommendations that I might enjoy. He mentioned the band Everest and suggested that I check out their song Fallen Feather. A few days later, I did a google/youtube search to hear some of their songs and the song that kept popping up was Let Go. I listened to this song several times and ended up buying the entire album based solely off of Let Go. While Everest’s album, “On Approach,” is a decent album, Let Go, is definitely the stand out song. It makes me bob my head in beat whenever it comes on my iTunes and also makes a great song to include on a running mix.

5. Radioactive by Kings of Leon

Let me start off by saying, I haven’t really decided if I’m a Kings of Leon fan or hater. Before you ask, yes…I have all of their albums. And yes, I’ve seen them in concert. But there is just something about them – maybe it’s just their arrogance and inflated egos – that make me want to join the thousands of others and proclaim my dislike for them.

But I can’t help liking them, despite all the things that make me really despise them. Their music is extremely catchy and Radioactive is no exception.  There is something about the opening bass line and guitar riff that pull you in from the get-go and give this song an energy that you don’t hear in a lot of music. Caleb Followill’s raspy voice makes this song. Had someone else sung this, such as Daughtry or The Killers, the song would lack mass appeal because it would be missing one of the core elements that make Radioactive a hit. Despite my like and dislike for KOL, this song is too damn catchy to hate and is one of my favorite songs of 2010.

6. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

Sometimes the perfect remedy for a bad day is a sugary pop-song and Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream is a perfect prescription for those bad days. There is a reason that Katy Perry is as popular as she is…she’s a damn catchy song writer that knows the right producers to put a shiny gloss on everything she touches. When you get to the core of the song – it’s really just another song about a girl singing about a boy – but it’s done a little more tongue n’ cheek.

7. The Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machine

My friend Karri has a fantastic taste in music and often shares recommendations of new bands or songs she knows I’ll dig. Last year, Karri recommended that I pick up Florence & The Machine‘s “Lungs” – as she knew I was a sucker for a strong female singer.  I have many favorite songs on this album but The Dog Days Are Over is one of my favorites.  Maybe it’s the clapping or maybe it’s the sense of urgency in the chorus but regardless of what it actually is, this song will get stuck in my head for days on end.  Florence’s distinctively English voice is so powerful that it commands attention in each song on “Lungs” and makes for some fantastic road-tripping music.

Plus…the girl has got some legs! (I’m super jealous!) Check out her performance of The Dog Days Are Over on Saturday Night Live.

8. When I’m Alone by Lissie

I’ve read about Lissie throughout the year on various blogs like Daytrotter and I Am Fuel, You Are Friends (two of my favorite music blogs ever!) but never really gave her much thought. There is so much music out there and there wasn’t anything that really provoked me to give her a listen….that was up until last week. As I was searching for some holiday tunes on Amazon, I came across her album “Chasing the Tiger.” It was on-sale for $5 and since it was a fairly reasonable investment, I bought it sight-unheard, knowing that I wouldn’t be too upset since if it totally blew.

But, Lissie did the exact opposite. Her album blew me away. Every song is catchy and well written. Lissie just oozes that great sixties summer sound and makes for perfect music to roll your car windows down and take a roadtrip on country roads. When I’m Alone is my favorite song so far and I’ve had it on repeat since I first downloaded it last week. The two verses, where she speeds up as she sings, are my favorite. The combination of her fast singing followed immediately by slower, drawn out crooning just add something to this song that’s hard to put into words.

When I reach out and I only grab air
And it kills me to think
That you never did care and it’s hopeless
You’ve always gone off somewhere else

Plus, she does some rad covers…such as this Lady Gaga cover of Bad Romance.

9. Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National

The National have been my favorite band since Beverly gave me “Boxer” as a going away gift when I moved to Iowa. Matt Berninger’s voice just has this amazing syncopation and his choice of emphasis on the lyrics of Bloodbuzz Ohio make the song a standout. This song, leaked on music blogs across the interwebs before “High Violet” came out in May, made the wait until the album release a long one. This was the first new song I heard and is still my favorite song off of “High Violet” (but Conversation 16 is a pretty close second…who doesn’t love a song about Zombies?? C’mon!)  If you have a chance to see The National in concernt…do it. They are amazing.

10. Written in Reverse by Spoon

Britt Daniels. He is sooooo dreamy. Seriously. What’s not to love? Tall, handsome, mysterious, a musician. Dream Man. But I digress. Spoon is just one of those indie bands that always put out great music and continue to collect fans as the years go by. “Transference” is a completely different album than “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” in a good way. “Ga x5” was very polished. Very poppy.  “Transference” is gritty and angsty and I love it.  I love the way Britt screams I’m not standin’ here! / Oh I’m not standin’ here! / And I’m writing in reverse / I know it could be worse. He really just puts himself out in this song which is why it’s my favorite single off of “Transference” and why it’s on my top 10 singles of 2010.

So…that’s it in a nutshell. My top 10 singles of 2010. While I love these songs, you probably don’t…but that’s okay! I wanted to include more…but forced myself to limit it to ten songs total. Some fantastic honorable mentions though, include: Sara Bareilles King of Anything, Arcade Fire Ready to Start, Broken Bells High Road, Cee-Lo Fuck You, Eminem Love the Way You Lie, Miranda Lambert White Liar…

Here’s to a fantastic 2011 filled with all things awesome – including great concerts, music festivals and new tunes!

*not all songs on radio combine all four of those things.

**A single (short for promotional single) is a single that is made available to nightclubsradio stations, music publications, and other media outlets by a record label for the express purpose of promoting a new single or an entirely new album.


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The Enemy Lovers Best of 2010 Mix

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Chris  |  December 31, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Here’s a few more great one’s from 2010
    This song was everywhere in Ireland – the hottest club track of 2010 and will be the typical “I brought this track back from abroad” song for us:
    -Barbra Streisand – Duck Sauce

    Some of my favorite others:
    -Runnin’ with the Wolves and You’ll Be Bring – Cloud Cult’s
    “Light Chasers”
    -O.N.E. – Yeasayer off of “Odd Blood”
    -Something off of Vampire Weekend’s “Contra” – love that album
    -Even Heroes Have To Die – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists “Brutalists Bricks”
    -The Wild Hunt – Tallest Man on Earth “The Wild Hunt”
    -Boy – RaRa Riot “The Orchard” (Also “You’re Too Dramatic, same album)
    -Lovesick – Lindstrom and Christabelle “Real Life Is No Cool”
    -The Weekenders – The Hold Steady – “Heaven is Whenever”
    -The Diamond Church Street Choir – The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”
    -Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit – “The Winter of Mixed Drinks”
    -Audience – Cold War Kids “Behave Yourself EP”
    -Boyfriend – Best Coast “Crazy For You”
    -Howlin’ For You – Black Keys – “Brothers”
    -One Day – Kings Go Forth – “The Outsiders Are Back”
    -Bang Bang Bang – Mark Ronson (and Q-Tip) – “Record Collection”
    -Repo Man – Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise”
    -Becoming a Jackal – Villagers “Becoming a Jackal”

    And for your Cheesy Pop
    Dynamite – Taio Cruz… this song is just sooo damn catchy, along with any of Kesha’s Singles… yea, I said it…


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