The Best Songs of 2010

  1. Beach House – Zebra - I had a pretty good feeling this was my favorite song of the year when I first heard it back in January. Competition actually turned out to be way more intense than expected — 2010 was full of gems, any of my top 5 could have been #1 in recent years — but I’m still gonna go ahead and give it to “Zebra.” I’ve gotten sick of many songs I’ve listened to much less often over the last 12 months. I’m not claiming it’s groundbreaking, but I really don’t think this gorgeous track will be any less captivating to me in 20 years.
  2. Caribou – Odessa – On the other hand, maybe this should be #1. It’s honestly a close call. Caribou/Manitoba never really clicked with me prior to this year’s Swim, but this little electro-pop-house-Arthur Russell thing just kills me.
  3. Big Boi – Shutterbugg (ft. Cutty) – The monster hit that was just too good to be a monster hit. But everyone has to love the beat, right?
  4. Twin Shadow – I Can’t Wait – Easily my top new artist this year. Many standouts on the album, Forget, but this romantic number rises to the top. Fall in love with the moustache.
  5. Deerhunter – Helicopter – The kind of song on the kind of record that can make a band your favorite band.
  6. Kanye West – Runaway (ft. Pusha T) – How can a song with that horrible extended vocoder breakdown be a consensus pick for song of the year? I can’t answer that question. This song is amazing, and you know it.
  7. Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For? – Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg is the anti-Bieber. These children sure can write a pop song. Can’t wait to see what they’re doing when they’re old enough to drive.
  8. The National – Conversation 16 – This could also be “Afraid of Everyone,” or “England,” or even the second-best “Runaway” of the year. The zombie refrain makes this track the winner (and it doesn’t hurt that it also contains my favorite line from 2010, “we should swim in a fountain / I do not want to disappoint anyone.”)
  9. Janelle Monáe – Cold War – “Tightrope” draws you in, “Cold War” knocks you out. The Sinéad O’Connor-style video doesn’t hurt. This girl is ridiculous.
  10. Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming – Every so often a perfect B&S melody comes along that makes me want to wear tight striped shirts and bob around like Stuart Murdoch. But I don’t. As far as you know.
  11. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round
  12. Owen Pallett – Midnight Directives
  13. Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
  14. Tame Impala – It Is Not Meant To Be
  15. The Walkmen – Angela Surf City
  16. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
  17. Gorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes
  18. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
  19. Best Coast – Boyfriend
  20. Surfer Blood – Floating Vibes

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