So here we are, coming up to the end of another year. Now is the time that various best of the year lists turn up. I’m never one to disappoint anybody so here is my list of the best songs I listened to in 2010. It’s not necessarily like the lists you would get on normal websites, this is a list of my 10 favourite songs that I heard for the first time this year. It doesn’t matter the year they were released, just that I heard it this year.
I’m so selfish….
Before we start though, here is a link a Youtube playlist with all the songs on it for your convenience. Why only Youtube? Unfortunately, some of the songs are not available on Spotify. To make it up to you though, I’ve put a bonus song at the end of this playlist.
Crookers – Cooler Couleur (feat. Yelle)
There is something about Yelle, she just oozes cool and her classy vocals really add something to this song. A fairly standard dance number but every time I listen I can’t help but shake my hips to the beat. Maybe it’s because Yelle’s accent does funky things to me.
Citrus – Blue Mercedes – Simply Eternal Reality
Last year I said I rated Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana as album of the decade and some time ago I wondered: Does anyone agree with me? In the few websites I found that covered Japanese music, my pick did indeed feature highly in most of them but so did a 6 song EP from a band I’d never heard before.
That band was Citrus, they never made a full album but this 6 song 10 minute piece of glorious sunshine really is a great piece of work.
The songs on the EP work better as a unit but I have chosen the 1st song on the album because despite the unintelligible lyrics, number 1 is always a great place to start.
Tokyo Jihen – Denpa Tuushin
My love for Shiina Ringo and her band Tokyo Jihen continues unabated. Although I feel the quality of her product isn’t nearly as good as what she was producing almost 10 years ago, it remains wonderful.
From an album called Sports, in which almost every song feels like the video should be of some sort of relay race, this song is the fastest paced of them all (actually that is debatable). It will not be looked at 50 years down the line as one of her most thought provoking and beautiful but it is a lot of fun.
Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
This was the album that lead to my worrying Yoko Kanno itch finally boiling over. Ironically though, this song as plagiarism issues of it’s own. On original release the sample of Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling In Love had to be removed. Reinstated for this version, I can’t imagine how it would sound without it. This song gives a good indication of the direction the album goes in and it is one of the best albums I have ever heard. Not since Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana has an album have the power to completely envelop me in the music.
A Camp – Bear On The Beach
I’ve always loved the sound of Nina Persson’s voice. When I listen to this song it travels straight into my brain and creates the most interesting visual images in there. I’d love to be able to draw a giant watercolour painting of them but I doubt I could do it justice. It is great to listen to just before bed and does a great job of putting me at ease. Lovely.
Marina & the Diamonds – Numb
If I was a music critic working for one of those glossy music magazines, I would have reviewed the album this song was from by writing ‘A TRIUMPH *****’ in size 50 font across a double page spread. The album was great, it’s very rare I find an album where I love every song on it and Numb is my highlight. There is something about it that incites me to visualise colours, shapes and other imagery. Maybe by listening to this song I can get an idea what synesthesia is like. Maybe not, but I can think of an ace music video for it.
Nujabes – Reflection Eternal
In February this year Jun Seba passed away. Previous to this I had only listened to the soundtrack to Samurai Champloo, which he contributed to. After his death I was inspired to check some of his albums and I found out that his instrumental stuff is some of the coolest, most chilled out music I’ve ever heard. It is so calming, perfect stuff for mellowing out with after a busy day. It’s a shame he is no longer around to create more.
Midori – Sayonara Perfect World (Live)
I’m so glad there is a band like Midori in this world, they are quite unlike anything you have ever heard. I was going to compare them to the Pixies more shouty moments but that is just lazy. The Pixies never had a keyboard or double bass in the mix. Sometimes Midori’s songs can be a bit much, this one however nails their formula perfectly and this live performance is just brilliant. Please give it a listen, it will be a new expirience for you if you do. I even uploaded the video to youtube myself, the sound has randomly come out a bit tinny so it lacks the ‘oomph’ of the original but it’s still ace so give the link a click.
Shakira – Waka Waka (Esto Es Africa) [K-Mix]
Ah! Shakira, 12 years ago you were an intelligent singer/songwriter with songs about anger, lust, longing and politics. Now you are just a pop singer who can shake her hips. Shakira seems quite happy with this state of affairs though and as long as she keeps on pumping out fun, catchy songs I guess I have to be too. This song was the official World Cup song and unusually for such a thing it was very good. Every time I hear it I just want to get up and dance, surely that makes the song a success. This version, apparently mixed by the bloke from The Killers, is the best I reckon.
The Divine Comedy – Perfect Lovesong
I’ve always loved The Divine Comedy but for some reason the Regeneration album just didn’t appeal to me. I listened to it long ago, was sorely disappointed and forgot all about it. Recently on Twitter someone mentioned that she would be singing this song at a wedding and that it was beautiful. Intrigued I dug out the old album and was amazed. It was indeed beautiful and I felt ashamed that I had ignored it for so long. I then tried to listen to the whole album again but was left nonplussed. This song though is like a diamond shining in the rough.
So there you go, a nice list of songs. I kind of feel a bit of regret that I choose to limit this list to 10 songs, there were plenty of other things I loved this year such as Janelle Monaé, The National and Laugh & Peace. The Divine Comedy’s new album was great too and listening to the live version of Tokyo Jihen’s Kimaru was a great expirience, I had never seen a hall full of people in awe before that moment. Anyway, please take the time to give these songs a listen. It would be heartbreaking if all this was just ignored.