Top 5 songs of 2010

bestof-2

I’ll tell you what, it’s a lot harder than you think, narrowing down the all the new brilliant songs we’ve heard this year to a top 5. But here at Nerdy Nothings we are dedicated to doing the tough jobs for you! Without further nonsense, here are each of the staff’s top 5 tunes of the year. Let us know what we missed in the comments below.

Noah Nickels

deerhunter

5. Deerhunter – Basement Scene

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The final spot on my list was a tie between this song and “Common Heat” by No Age. Both of these bands create some of the best pure indie lo-fi rock right now. Lyrically “Basement Scene” offers a little more which gets it the 5th place spot on my list.

frightened rabbit

4. Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land

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You’re probably beginning to hear this song all over the TV and radio now. It’s a tune that once it’s in a car commercial it’s in every car commercial, not to mention just about every indie movie trailer. You can think of it as the “Home” of 2010.

clem snide

3. Clem Snide – Denver

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Another lyrical masterpiece. Eef Barzely (great name) tells a melancholy story of love lost and forgiveness. It’s an absolute gem and he sings it with the emotion of a sunken soul. My heart breaks every time I hear it.

Jonsi

2. Jonsi – Animal Arithmetic

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This entire album is a must-buy and is best summarized in this song, with its many layers of complex arrangements encompassing a variety of exotic instruments. Jonsi hit a homerun with his first official solo release.

sage

1. Sage Francis – The Best of Times

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I’m not usually a lyrics guy but these hit home, they are both poignant and funny at the same time. The backing track composed by Yann Tiersen is gorgeous and adds just the right touch of indie-classical to make this my favorite song of the year.

Special Mentions:
No Age — Common Heat
The Wild Hunt — The Tallest Man on Earth
Too Much — Sufjan Stevens
My Pet Snakes – Jenny and Johnny
Worst to Come — Male Bonding

 

Spaceman Spiff

Rose Elinor Dougall

5. Rose Elinor Dougall – Find Me Out

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This song is truly haunting, I mean it… I can’t listen to it just once, as soon as it’ll wrap up on my iPod I’m furiously tapping the button on headphones to play it again. Nothing I had read about or heard from the Pipettes had prepared me for how stunning this debut album is. Definitely my biggest pleasant surprise of the year.

Carl Barât

4. Carl Barât – Run With the Boys

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Coming out of the Libertines and Dirty Pretty things—probably my two favorite British bands of the last decade—Carl Barât decides to strike out solo, and this, his first single, is a wonderful throwback to late 70′s/early 80′s music from the British Isles. Catchy as hell and always brings a smile to me face. Plus it reminds me of later records from the Jam, and that’s always a good thing.

Blur

3. Blur – Fool’s Day

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The only disappointing thing about the Blur reunion was that it only yielded one song. One lousy, measley song. Oh… but what a song it is. If this is a glimmer of things to come—if any—from Blur, then some of their best material may still be ahead of them!

Forgetters

2. Forgetters – Too Small to Fail

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Blake Schwarzenbach and Jawbreaker were the soundtrack to my lovelorn teenage years. And after listening to this song almost constantly for the last month or so I think Forgetters will be the soundtrack to my lovelorn thirties for some time to come. Combining the punkier elements of Jawbreaker with some of the lyrical stylings Blake used in Jets to Brazil, truly a band to keep an eye out for.

Grinderman

1. Grinderman – Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man

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Loud. Dirty. Sleazy. That’s the only way I can describe this leadoff track from Nick Cave’s second outting with side-project Grinderman. I don’t think I own a stereo system that can belt out this song as loud as it deserves to be played.

Special Mentions:
The Tallest Man on Earth – King of Spain
Dean & Britta – I’ll Keep It With Mine
Edwyn Collins – Do It Again
Trent Reznor & Atticus Finch – A Familiar Taste

 

Rebel Rikki

Old 97s

5. Old 97s – Champaign, Illinois

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This dirge dedicated to the home of my alma mater actually re-writes Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row,” changing the lyrics but not the sentiment. As much as I love Champaign-Urbana, the feeling behind this song rings true enough to make it an instant favorite of mine.

Johnny Cash

4. Johnny Cash – Ain’t No Grave

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Though no track on Johnny’s American VI: Ain’t No Grave slouches, the titular opener truly conveys the inherently haunting nature of Cash’s posthumous releases like no other. Indeed, the song creates an ethereal environment for the tracks that follow by cleverly using distant-sounding links of chain as its only percussion. It’s really inventive and well-done.

the boss

3. Bruce Springsteen – Save My Love

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A new/old Springsteen song from The Promise, the music of “Save My Love” was originally composed in 1977, but the lyrics and recording belong to 2010. “Save My Love” has taken its place as my favorite Bruce song of the millennium so far… check out that great band build-up, rock & roll punch and killer lyrics.

elton

2. Elton John & Leon Russell – If It Wasn’t for Bad

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Who knew Elton John could still write songs with this much oomph? Of course it’s helped greatly by the presence of American singer/songwriter legend Leon Russell on lead vocals. For once my opinion and popular opinion match up; this song scored a 2010 Grammy nomination for best pop collaboration with vocals.

arcade fire

1. Arcade Fire – Modern Man

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It seems like “Ready to Start” and “We Used to Wait” got all the attention when The Suburbs came out, but from my very first listen I thought “Modern Man” was the stand-out track. Though it’s got a simple melody and fairly direct lyrics, they combine to form a perfect chamber-pop punch that I’ll continue to enjoy into 2011 and beyond.

Special Mentions:
Roky Erickson ft. Okkervil River – Be and Bring Me Home
Ben Folds w/ Nick Hornby – Picture Window
Murder by Death – Foxglove
Bruce Springsteen – Because the Night

 

Surely Steiner

Ben Folds

5. Ben Folds/Nick Hornby — Picture Window

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Such a beautiful and heart-wrenching song. It’s a dream team matchup with one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite authors. And this song was on repeat for a while as I soaked in the story and felt this woman’s pain, and yes, that bastard hope.

Kanye West

4. Kanye West — POWER

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Say what you will about Kanye, but he released one of the strongest albums of the year. And this song had me waiting for “The Social Network” commercials just so I could hear a snippet.

vampire weekend

3. Vampire Weekend — Cousins

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I love it all: That speedy guitar, those rolling drums, the lyrics (I mean, c’mon… “You, greatest hits 2006 little list maker?” Love it!) and the church bells ringing away at the end. Great song.

pilgrim

2. Metric — Black Sheep

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Big surprise here, it has a connection to Scott Pilgrim. But all bias aside, this song is absolutely catchy and fun, and as part of my most anticipated movie of 2010, it made me love the song even more.

sleigh bells

1. Sleigh Bells — Crown on the Ground

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Love — no, LOVE — this album. It was hard to choose one song, but I think “Crown on the Ground” takes the cake. I dare you to listen and not bust a move.

Special Mentions:
Robyn — Dancing on My Own
Cee Lo Green — Fuck You
The New Pornographers — Crash Years
Switchfoot — The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)

tags: arcade fire, blur, bruce springsteen, carl barat, clem snide, deerhunter, elton john, forgetters, frightened rabbit, grinderman, johnny cash, jonsi, leon russell, old 97s, rose elinor dougall, sage francis

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    Surely Steiner, we have similar tastes. “Picture Window”‘s in my special mentions (soon to be posted) and “Crash Years” nearly made it too.

  • http://comicmix.com Marc Alan Fishman

    The lack of any Demi Lovato, Justin Beiber, and the amazing Lady Gaga only show me how out of it you guys all are. Arcade Fire? Who the heck are they? Have they headlined Radio: Disney? Hecky Naw! I don’t recognize any of these bands. Isn’t Johnny Cash just Jaoquim Phoenix’s rap persona? FAIL!

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    LOL, Marc. I actually DO like Lady Gaga, tho.

    (says one of only two staff members with mainstream-ish tastes, apparently)

  • Surely Steiner

    Rebel Rikki!

    Ha ha — your Lady Gaga comment above reminds me — “Telephone” was on my list until I saw it was from 2009. D’oh! (And don’t judge me, Marc.) :)

    Glad you’re into some “mainstream-ish” stuff too! And I’m glad you gave Arcade Fire some love. I’m a pretty die-hard “Funeral” girl, so the new album is a little hard for me to get used to. But I just might have to give it a few more spins…

  • http://nerdynothings.com/about-us#rebel Rebel Rikki

    Yeah, I’m actually not crazy about “Suburbs” as a whole (“Neon Bible” is actually my fave) but “Modern Man” really stood out to me. I mean, there’s a few good songs on “Suburbs” but I find that the album is generally too long and mid-tempoed.

  • Mitzie Perez

    It is very hard to boil this whole year full of new music to the top 5 sounds of 2010. I have two amazing ones that I couldn’t stop listening to:
    #1 is “So Alive” by Tristan Clopet. I love his style and the funk he puts into his music it feels so fresh and new.
    #2 is “blame game” by kanye I agree with surely steiner love or hate kanye west his music never fails to blow your mind.

  • Rebel Rikki

    Hooray Marc Fishman! Thanks for playing our comment game. It LITERALLY came down to a coin flip on my phone… Marc was heads and Mitzie was tails. nnAnyway, for anyone who comes to this after the fact and wishes THEY could’ve won Tristan’s music, well, it IS streaming for free on his website, http://www.tristanclopet.com, so check it out!

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