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I’ve had this epic list prepared for a while now, and I’ve been putting off posting it because I hadn’t written any commentary for the songs, but you know what? Who cares? I’ll save that for my best albums list. So here are my favorite songs of 2010 (and I’ll provide links to listen where possible). And apologies if some of these aren’t technically from 2010. I checked them all, but god knows I make mistakes. Also, they’re not in any particular order.
“Twin Peaks” by Surfer Blood from Astro Coast
“Dancing on my Own” by Robyn from Body Talk, Pt. 1
“The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells from s/t
“Think Happy Thoughts” by Albatross from Bugs, Berfday, Gum
“Giving Up the Gun” by Vampire Weekend from Contra
“Boyfriend” by Best Coast from Crazy for You
“Brian Eno” by MGMT from Congratulations
“Let Me Dope You” by Childish Gambino from Culdesac
“Shampain” by Marina and the Diamonds from The Family Jewels
“Bees” by Warpaint from The Fool
“81” by Joanna Newsom from Have One on Me
“Here Lies Love” by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (ft. Florence Welch) from Here Lies Love
“Lovesick” by Lindstrom and Christabelle
“F**k You” by Cee-Lo from The Lady Killer
“Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells from Treats
“We Want War” by These New Puritans from Hidden
“Animal” by Jenny and Johnny from I’m Having Fun Now
“Brittany’s Back” by the Love Language from Libraries
“Power” by Kanye West from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
“ONE” by Yeasayer from Odd Blood
“He’s Not a Boy” by The Like from Release Me
“CP24” by Woodhands from Remorsecapade
“Everybody’s Out” by Dum Dum Girls from I Will Be
“hahahaha jk?” by Das Racist from Sit Down, Man
“The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire from The Suburbs
“Zebra” by Beach House from Teen Dream
“Crash Years” by the New Pornographers from Together
“Written in Reverse” by Spoon from Transference
“Heaven Can Wait” by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck from IRM [I’m pretty sure the single is from 2009, but the actual album was released at the beginning of 2010, so it counts… in my opinion]
“Tightrope” by Janelle Monae (ft. Big Boi) from Archandroid
Finally, my “Don’t Judge Me, Guilty Pleasure” song of the year…
“Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith
*Clicking on the image at the top will – if I’ve done this correctly – lead you to a wondrous place where you can download all of these songs. Like a mixtape. Just sayin’.*
I realized just now, while I was complaining about something elsewhere on the Internet, that I have a lot of hatred inside me. So, what better way to release that hatred than to complain about it on my blog, so I won’t irritate everyone on my Facebook (even though I know that I’ll continue to blah blah blah about my little peeves in every outlet I’m allowed, and that includes the FB)? Yes, a blog entry. Perhaps it will become a new feature here. As long as it’s a day that ends in “y,” I’m probably going to find something new to hate.
1. American Idol (or perhaps Americans who vote for American Idol)
Okay, just a few minutes ago it was announced that Lee DeWyze is the new American Idol. Good job, America. For the third time in a row, all those hormonal pre-teens who vote for American Idol have chosen a white, heterosexual, twentysomething male who plays guitar. Of these three dudes, Lee is most certainly the dullest. He seems to have little (or no?) personality, he’s terribly awkward on stage (especially without his guitar – he moves his hands around like a malfunctioning robot), and a person could go to any bar in America and hear at least two guys who sound just like Lee singing there every night. I don’t understand what’s so special about him. I think that Crystal would have been a much better choice, both musically and financially. Right now, female solo artists are having a heyday. Lillith Fair is back, Lady Gaga is huge, Christina Aguilera has a new album out soon, as does M.I.A., Taylor Swift swept the Grammys, and as I type this, Katy Perry has the #1 single on iTunes (La Roux, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus also appear in the top 10). While Crystal is hardly a Lady Gaga or Ke$ha, it’s clear that the world is ready to welcome unique female artists with open arms right now. Plus, she harkens back to the radio of the 90s – Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Sarah MacLachlan, Sheryl Crow – and I think that’s a time that we’re all nostalgic for. I’m probably looking too deep into this, but I really do think that she would’ve done well in the music industry right now. Or at least she would be more interesting than Lee Tweedle Dee.
2. Summer Movies
There are absolutely no good films out now, nor will there really be any at all this summer. Too many sequels, adaptations, remakes, and 3D cheesefests. Sure, I’ll give Toy Story 3 a pass because it’s Pixar and the first two films were great. Inception might be good. Get Him to the Greek has a good cast (minus Jonah Hill, who I also hate), as do Dinner for Schmucks and Scott Pilgrim. But then we have Prince of Persia, a video game adaptation; The Last Airbender, an adaptation of a cartoon TV show; Marmaduke, an adaptation of an ancient comic strip (which also looks like it could be the worst film ever made); Sex and the City 2, a sequel AND a film based on a TV show. There’s Iron Man 2, The Karate Kid, Twilight: Eclipse, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (god help us all), etc. etc. etc. Even the “original” films are bland, the typical mix of copycat rom-coms and copy and paste horror films. The most disappointing aspect is that I’m sure there are at least a few legitimately good films coming out this summer (Jeunet’s Micmacs is one I’d love to see), but if you live in the middle of nowhere as I do, you won’t get to see those until they get a DVD release (and still, that’s if you’re lucky). This points at a more consistent problem that Hollywood is having, though, and that is a loss of originality. It’s no surprise that they’re obsessed with money, to the point where art is almost completely forgotten. But never has it been as obvious or sickening as it is this summer. AND I HATE IT.
Seriously, how are they still going through with this legislation? How is it that supposedly around 68% of Americans agree with this whole idea? I’m glad to see people and cities boycotting Arizona, because they deserve it, but what is the major disfunction with folks that they could think it’s a good idea? Here’s the thing, people, let me explain it in easy terms: The idea is that police officers have the right to pull over “suspicious” looking people to check and see whether or not they are “allowed” to be here. Like a Nazi who spies a person with dark curly hair on the streets of Warsaw, they’re going to ask to see their papers. And how are we to interpret “suspicious looking people?” I’ll tell you how: skin color. If you aren’t as white as Dracula’s pasty thighs, you best watch out, and keep your papers on you at all times. This legislation basically assumes that every brown person living in Arizona is a non-citizen, and as a result, they will be harassed as if they are. News flash, folks: there are people living in Arizona who aren’t white but are still – GASP! – citizens of the United States of America. I know, I know. That’s a crazy idea; dark skinned people can’t be from Amurrka! So, do we see the issue? About how if you’re not “white,” you’re going to have a hell of a time dealing with this insanity? I personally would be incredibly angry if I were a darker complected U.S. citizen living in Arizona, and if I were constantly being pulled over, if I always had to have my “papers” on me, and if I were consistently treated like a fugitive by the countless white, entitled cops crawling all over my state. I’d have to leave 15 minutes early for everything I did because I’d have to anticipate getting pulled over and put through the ringer. I’d have to live in constant fear that I’d leave my ID and citizenship papers and whatnot at home. What the Arizona government is doing is creating an environment of fear and inherent racism. Which, in 2010, is completely hideous. To the people who dare to say that we live in a post-racial America, and that racism is something we don’t have to worry about anymore, you should shut your mouths.
And if you still don’t get it, have this handy picture that explains it all (and with crayons, yay!).
One would think that musicals based on the rags-to-riches life stories of controversial politicians’ wives rest solely in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s wheelhouse. Yet, he now has some competition in the forms of David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) and Fatboy Slim (the DJ best known for his hit “The Rockafeller Skank”). The two recently teamed up to release Here Lies Love, a sprawling pop-rock opera based on the life of Filipino first wife, Imelda Marcos.
The project is imagined as a musical heavily featuring Marcos and Estrella Cumpas, a servant from her childhood who also reappeared at various important points in Imelda’s life. Byrne and Fatboy Slim recruited a gaggle of trendy, fresh female vocalists (and a few trusty veterans like Cyndi Lauper and Tori Amos) to take on the role of Imelda or Estrella in each song. St. Vincent, Florence Welch, Sharon Jones, Santigold, Sia, Nellie McKay, Martha Wainwright, and Shara Worden all make appearances. Male voices are scant, but Byrne himself takes a turn at the mic in “American Troglodyte” and “Seven Years,” and Steve Earle pops up on “A Perfect Hand.”
The epic album starts off with the title track, sung by Welch (of Florence and the Machine). It serves as a great introduction to the album, setting the tone of the music and the story. The track has a solid disco foundation that seeps its way through a good majority of the album, and guides us directly into “Every Drop of Rain,” a bouncy duet between Candie Payne and St. Vincent (as Imelda and Estrella). Despite its apparent sunniness, the lyrics make a stark point about Imelda’s destitute childhood, and the feeling that accompanies poverty in general: “When you’re poor/it’s like you’re naked/and every drop of rain you feel.” It’s a touching duet that establishes the closeness of these two women, just before their paths diverge like two negative magnets.
Like the sweeping Broadway epics penned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber, Here Lies Love also features quite a few throwaway tracks. Some that fall in the middle are considerably less memorable than the few that we begin and end with. Certainly, the project is consistently good; it’s just not always consistent in its stubborn catchiness. But, this could be said of almost every album ever made. The benefit of a rock opera or musical is that the album has a distinct story and each song is a chapter. Take one song out and the story doesn’t advance in the same way. Knowing the background of each song is unbelievably beneficial to the listener, and the information is readily available, in detail, on DavidByrne.com. Of course, this also makes the listening experience a much more involved process – an aural journey, perhaps. Besides a few select songs that could act as singles, the project is best ingested as a whole, and with a fully devoted mind. This is ideally how every well-crafted album should be treated, but Here Lies Love almost demands it of its listeners.
I’ve put together a mix of songs I like right now and older favorites that I think are good for a nice spring or summer day. To listen to the songs, just use the playlist I posted below (a few songs couldn’t be found in the Playlist.com database, so I’ll post YouTube links for those, also below).
1. “I’m Not Your Toy” – La Roux
2. “Crystalised” – The XX
3. “Modern Love” – David Bowie
4. “Giving Up the Gun” – Vampire Weekend
5. “Here Lies Love” – David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (feat. Florence Welch)
6. “Twin Cinema” – The New Pornographers
7. “Written in Reverse” – Spoon
8. “Killer Queen” – Queen
9. “Two Princes” – Spin Doctors
10. “In the Sun” – She & Him
11. “Street Fighting Man” – The Rolling Stones
12. “Love and War (11/11/46)” – Rilo Kiley
13. “Girlfriend” – Phoenix
14. “Raspberry Beret” – Prince
15. “Relator” – Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johannson
16. “This is Love” – PJ Harvey
17. “Manhattan Avenue” – Nellie McKay
18. “The Girl from Ipanema” – Stan Getz
19. “Empire State of Mind, Pt. 2” – Alicia Keys
“Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys)
20. “I’m Amazed” – My Morning Jacket
21. “ONE” – Yeasayer
22. “Talk” – Woodhands
Listen to the songs after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
iTunes 9. What can I say? You suck. That’s about it. Updating my iPod has become a nightmare of an experience because of you, fraught with anger and that little spinning rainbow circle of doom that represents my computer saying, “Hey, hold on, there’s just too much going on right now.” I have a healthy musical diet, and iTunes 9 is starving me right now, AND it’s probably giving me an ulcer. Yeah, I’ve tried to go on Apple’s sorry excuse for a support site. The message boards are full of people who are having the same problems as I am, and NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO. There are no answers. And now I can’t burn CDs… which, admittedly might be (probably is) a problem with my CD drive or something. But, I’ve only had problems with it since I was FORCED to download the travesty that is iTunes 9. Yes, forced. My sister was trying to put videos on her iPod and couldn’t do it unless she upgraded (pshaw – downgraded is more like it) to iTunes 9, so she did. AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HER. Just kidding (but I’m certainly not happy).
So, Apple. I beseech you to fix this glitchy piece of crap called iTunes 9. Seriously. Was it forged in the pits of hell or something? I’m about to rip my hair out and then I’m going to make you pay my medical bills when I have to have it surgically replaced. I’m sure you’ll heed my advice. I like you, I really do, but this is putting a serious strain on our relationship. You don’t want that, now do you?
I’ve been listening to music a lot while doing my homework, and specifically I’ve been listening to Broadway musical songs a ton. I always go through phases with that, it’s not something I listen to consistently, not really (although I could listen to Spring Awakening any time). So I just thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been listening to and whatnot.
Rolling Stone put some famous musicians through the ol’ PhotoShop machine, and they came out on the other side looking uber-creepy – mostly because they now look like Na’vi, from “OMJC bEsT mOvEe EvAh!” a.k.a. Avatar. (By the way, let’s start a trend of saying OMJC – “Oh my James Cameron!” – instead of OMG, just because James Cameron is apparently God now).
Let’s take a look at Madonna from Pandora
Finally, I’m making my list of the best albums of the year. Admittedly, there are a few more albums from 2009 I’d like to give a listen, but since I don’t have a way to stretch time, unfortunately, this will have to be it. But it’s still a solid list, I think. Enjoy!
I recently compiled a list of my top ten favorite musical moments or performances from the first 13 episodes of Glee, for discussion purposes with some fellow fans. Let me just say that it was very difficult to whittle this down to just ten performances. My rules were that we had to see a good portion of the song on screen, and… actually, that was really my only rule. That kept out numbers like “Taking Chances,” which was a great song, but we didn’t hear more than a snippet of it on the show. I also tried to take into account lots of different aspects, like singing, music arrangement, dancing/choreography, emotional meaning behind the song (particularly for the character(s) singing it), context, and impact. I narrowed it down to twenty options, then peeled a few away until I was left with ten. I’ll post the other ten at the end of the list.
The Top Ten Musical Moments from Glee (Thus Far)
10. “Take a Bow” – performed by Rachel (Lea Michele) in Episode 1×02, “Showmance”
This is both a great performance within the episode (well-shot and acted) and as a regular song. I definitely prefer it to the original Rihanna version. It’s a defining moment for Rachel, who is beginning to realize that she can’t have everything that she wants. If she is going to aim for stardom, some other aspects of her life, like friendships and romances, might have to fall by the wayside. Rachel faces disappointment a lot – I think we tend to forget that because she’s so upbeat and determined – and that’s why this peek past her “I’m going to be a star” exterior is so emotional. I think it was a star-making moment for Lea Michele as well, as it showed that she can do more than play an all-singing, all-dancing version of Tracy Flick.
…when you could watch this video instead (although I’m guessing that acid would make it so much more awesome… but I’m not advocating that).
“Sophisticated Side Ponytail (Extended Version)” by Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head.
I want to hang out with these people. And maybe we can go see Shamu (even though… didn’t Shamu die not too long ago?).