If you listen to nothing else from this past year, listen to these 15 gems.* Without further adieu, the Must Hear Songs of 2010…**
1. “White Sky“- Vampire Weekend
This infinitely catchy song showcasing the spastic yelps of Ezra Koenig will be in constant rotation on your iPod for months.
2. “Do the Astral Plane“- Flying Lotus
If you don’t find yourself bouncing along to this rapidly progressing, multi-layered track you may not have a pulse.
3. “Fright Night (Nevermore)“- Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
An ’80s style vibe infused with pseudo-spooky guitars, synths, and comically macabre lyrics like “I used to talk to demons with my Ouija board but… not anymore.” What’s not to like?
4. “Yamaha“- The-Dream
The-Dream takes a page out of his idol’s book with this heavily-synthesized ode to a girl whose name he doesn’t know. We’ll just call her “Yamaha” instead.
5. “All of the Lights“- Kanye West
This one hits like a Rocky punch and only lets up at the very end once you’re down for the count.
For the music lover who wants it all, this is your song. At over 25 (yes, 25!) minutes long this track has everything—electronic funk, spacey atmospherics, auto-tune crooning, exuberant horns, and gentle acoustic guitar plucking. All in a day’s—er song’s—work for the ever-ambitious Stevens.
7. “Good Intentions Paving Co.“- Joanna Newsom
Newsom weaves strings, horns, and her easily distinguishable and uniquely singular voice together to churn out a bluesy/folksy gem that will have you longing for more well after it’s over.
8. “Cubism Dream“- Local Natives
Easy flowing guitar, piano, and drums provide the perfect complement to lead singer, Taylor Rice’s, pitch-perfect and melodious voice.
9. “Rill Rill“- Sleigh Bells
There’s something uniquely endearing about this oddball pop gem that has quirky high school gossip/gibberish for lyrics.
10. “Your Love“- Nicki Minaj
This irresistibly catchy bit of ear candy samples Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love You’s” and gives it a reinvigorated hip-hop bounce fit for the 21st century.
11. “The Suburbs“- Arcade Fire
A brooding and reflective look back at youth, growing up, and the dissolution of innocence and childhood. All interesting fodder for a band that’s never shied away from deep subject matter and the chance to provide social commentary.
12. “Faster“- Janelle Monáe
Buzzing along at a breakneck pace, “Faster” is a song that certainly lives up to its name. Monáe puts on display her ability to swing with the best of them on this up-tempo track.
13. “Norway“- Beach House
Beach House channel their inner Fleetwood Mac and combine it with their dream-pop aesthetics to produce this little slice of heaven.
14. “You & Me“- Diamond Rings
Infectiously poppy tune that will have you believing rainbow-colored eyeliner is cool—if only for 3 and a half minutes.
15. “If You Want It“- TV Girl
Any song that samples Todd Rundgren’s classic “Hello It’s Me,”*** drops a nifty beat in the background, and has poignant and humorous lyrics about drunken hook-ups and the resulting awkwardness of the morning after gets an A+ in my book.
*Limit one song per artist/band.
**Songs listed in no particular order.
Check back soon for my “Best Albums of the Year” roundup.