Saturday, January 1, 2011

STL's Top Songs of 2010: 20 - 1

Happy New Year folks - as the hangovers subside and attention centres on the year ahead, here's the final run-down of the tracks which made my 2010. Doing this list has reminded me of just how good 2010 was for music so here's hoping for something similar in 2011. There's very little between most of these choices and in truth, any of the Top 5 could have got the first place.

Anyhow, have a few panadol, check out Part One and Part Two, where you'll find tracks 60-21, and then jump into the final countdown from 20-1.

20) Not Squares - Asylum

An apt title for a song, the chorus of which buries itself into one's mental crevices upon first listen and then sets up shop - leaving you echoing "I wanna live in an asylum!" in random outbursts for the rest of the week.

19) Squarehead – Fake Blood 

A brilliantly languid, American sound with inklings of early Weezer from the Rathmines based three-piece.
  Squarehead - Fake Blood by lizpelly

18) Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Talk

The lads from Bangor have had a meteoric rise this year and have probably suffered from a touch over-exposure as a result. Their appearance in that Meteor ad probably stripped them of a few cool points but this is perfect indie-pop from a near flawless album, which is as catchy as anything this country has produced in recent years.

17) Janelle Monae – Tightrope

Behind the weird metropolis concept was an album brimming with the years finest mesh of pop, R 'n B, soul, funk and just about every other genre possible. Star of the year, no doubt about it.

16) Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

Blacc's appearance on Jools Holland earlier this year won over many and served as the biggest advertisement for soul music since those KFC ads aired a few years back.

15) Best Coast – When I'm With You

An instant sugary hit of blissful summer-pop, This is the sound of taking a car across America with a gang of mates for the best summer of your life.

14) O Emperor – Don’t Mind Me 

Lead single Po was a more intense chapter but Don't Mind Me, holds a slow, lingering charm which reflects the maturity this gang of Waterford lads hold. This is a polished, reflective throwback to diligently crafted 70's pop, with more than a hint of Fleetwood Mac present.

13) Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill

Plastic Beach was the moment Gorillaz stopped being a nice, occasionally brilliant cartoon project and became a consistently excellent and imaginative proposition. The Hollywood glamour, which was provided by numerous guest appearances (De La Soul, Bobby Womack et al), was kept afloat by the substance of a collection of great, great songs and this lovelorn tale is one of the very best.

12) RSAG – The Roamer 

Showing a grander, more explorative sound, master percussionist RSAG aka Jeremy Hickey carefully crafts his best song to date on a wonderfully expansive canvas.

11) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The latest album has yet to hit home with me fully but none the less there is a cluster of phenomenal tracks on it, of which this is my favourite. The accompanied Spike Jones' video is well worth checking out also.

10) The Count and Sinden feat. Mystery Jets - After Dark

If this doesn't get your toes-a-tapping then nothing will - a perfect slab of dance-tastic, disco catchiness.

9) The Cast of Cheers - Tigerfox 

Arriving out of nowhere, The Cast of Cheers quickly became Dublin's biggest buzz band in 2010. Making their album available for free certainly helped but there was too much ingenuity and passion bursting from their tight, indie-punk tunes to go unnoticed for long.

Download their debut LP Chariot for free over at Bandcamp

8) The National – Afraid of Everyone

The centre piece of the new album, this is a rousing retort to the cracks in the world, full of macabre imagery and drenched in the self-deprecation and baritone vocals from which The National have made their name.

7) Twin Sister – Lady Daydream

A sensual, hypnotic journey with screams beauty in the quietest of honey-dipped tones.

6) Beach House – 10 Mile Stereo

A haunting, melancholic opening, which slowly gives way and builds into a surging, passionate refrain. It's time to bash out that 'Dancing About Architecture' analogy again, as though this may sound simple, there's something indescribably beautiful and mesmerising about this track and indeed, much of Beach House's new LP Teen Dream.

5) Villagers – Set The Tigers Free 

In truth there could be seven Villagers songs in this spot such was the brilliance of their debut but something about this acoustic wonder stuck with me. On paper it's simply another tale of letting a loved one go but O'Brien's delicate delivery, hoists it far above the wide range of similar tracks, stirring the soul with careful enunciation and beautiful imagery.

4) Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands – Contact Sports 

While debut LP You Look Cold lived up to its name by being a predominantly stark and sombre affair, so too does Contact Sports as it glides along like a sensual 80's synth-pop wonder. Its departure from the debut only serves to undermine Kelleher's ingenuity, furthering his status as one of Ireland's most interesting and talented musicians.

3) The Drums – Forever and Ever Amen

With their floppy haircuts and awkward dance moves, The Drums appear to be the apex of the hipster scene but behind the style proliferation there lies substance and while the 80's influences are clear, the flamboyance underpins one of the best indie albums of recent years. A glistening, hopelessly romantic tune to dance, sing and fall in love with (and to).


2) Foals – After Glow

On follow up album, Total Life Forever, Foals grew up. If their debut was indie-by-numbers this is the most expressive of oil paintings and After Glow in particular is six minutes of tripped out bliss.

1) Caribou - Odessa

Daniel Snaith, the man behind Caribou, holds a PHD in maths and it certainly shows as he conjures up a sumptuous arrangement of beats which reads like the most beautiful of formulae. Much has been made of the link between the album's title 'Swim' and the fluid nature of the music but it's true, and Odessa in particular seems to flow along, sweeping you off your feet and engulfing you in a sea of psych-pop, fluorescent magic. Underneath all this are heart wrenching lyrics of a friend's divorce but you'll probably be too busy dancing for them to register.


  1. Very nice, especially Villagers!

  2. Cheers Jackie, Becoming A Jackal is definitely up close to being the best album of the year