Since this is the end of the year, I feel obliged to create my own 'Best Of...' list as all others do. (It is a totally irreverent issue that no one reads my posts but that's a topic for another day). Today I will list out my favourite songs from this year. But before that a brief insight into my explorations into the music scene this year.
Ever since I got an internet connection last year, I visit sites like Billboard and Pitchfork often to search for new music. Being on Twitter also helps a lot while seeking new sounds to listen to. Besides, new friends at my Journalism course introduced me to lots of Indie music that I would've otherwise never listened to. At the same time, I also kept a ear out for the mainstream music that I like. So now, after I have given a short premise I list out my Favourite Songs of 2010, not in any particular order.
1. The Suburbs (Arcade Fire) - Not just the first single off their third album is worth listening to. I was introduced to Arcade Fire last year and Funeral (their first album) remains my all-time favourite album a year later too. With The Suburbs, they experiment further with their music, but not in entirely new directions; we had seen hints in Neon Bible (their second album). This third album is up for Grammys in the coming year. I do not know whether they will win or not but this much is sure that they do deserve the recognition they are getting. Their music is very cathartic and engrossing; music just got steroids in its veins.
2. Giving Up The Gun (Vampire Weekend) - Their music is chaotic and mad, yet it makes perfect sense. There is no other way I would love this band. Sure, Giving Up The Gun is not exactly in the same mode as their other songs (Oxford Comma, A-Punk) but Ezra Koenig's voice more than makes up for it. There's that same mischief inherent in their music that was visible in their first album (Vampire Weekend). With Contra, they just show that they are having a lot of fun (check out the video for Giving Up The Gun). Another good listen from this album would be White Sky.
3. When They Come For Me & The Catalyst (Linkin Park) - Linkin Park gave themselves a makeover, and how! 15 songs, all joined up with one theme: that of peace in violent times. Just like Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, it doesn't make sense to listen to songs in isolation in this album. But The Catalyst and When They Come For Me really stand out. Whereas The Catalyst still sounds typical Linkin Park to some extent, the latter explores new territory. Listen to the entire album; it is a very good listen.
4. Misery (Maroon 5) - Trust Maroon 5 to come up with good dance numbers. Misery and the MJ/Prince homage Give A Little More (also the first two songs in the album) will keep you tapping your feet. The rest of the album takes a little slower tempo but makes for good listening nonetheless. Stutter is typical Maroon 5, whereas the title track (Hands All Over) goes into an area which the band hadn't covered yet. Get hold of the deluxe edition. Their cover of Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You is plain lovely.
5. Becoming A Jackal (Villagers) - An Indie band that I found online, their first album (also Becoming A Jackal) is a poignant listen. Some very interesting lyrics thrown in with the uneasy yet reassuring voice of Conan O'Brien keep you on edge. This album hasn't received much publicity (it is up, though, for a Mercury Prize) but it can easily be one of the better albums this year. The title track pulls you in like no other off the album. Also pay attention to Set The Tigers Free: another good song.
6. The Flood (Take That) - I started listening to Take That after they regrouped four years ago. Shine from Beautiful World remains one of my all-time favourites. The Circus didn't impress me much. Now with Progress, Robbie Williams has returned bringing with him a new electronic sound previously unknown to Take That listeners. The Flood is the anthem-song for Take That, it has a 'reaching-out' feel to it. At the same time, it derides those who thought they would never be back together again. I am, yet, not a big fan of their music. But this song will remain on my playlist.
7. Tighten Up (The Black Keys) - Another band that I did not know much of. I downloaded this song only because it was number one on some Billboard list. I really loved the song, its Chinese influences and the video was funny. I didn't like their other songs, but in Tighten Up, I've got a nice earworm to deal with, although I don't mind.
8. Bad Bad World (Guster) - I downloaded Bad Bad World because they were giving it as a free download. I downloaded it, though, more so because I loved their song Ramona. (Thanks Ankita Kanwar) This is a very good band, I must admit, of which I just can't get enough. If Ramona (from 2003's Keep It Together) presents a love song like no other, Bad Bad World (from this year's Easy Wonderful) makes you want to believe that everything is alright with the world.
Over here, I'd like to mention one last artist that did not release an album in 2010. Their only album One EskimO was released 2009. The artist being talked about is One EskimO. With ambient electronic sounds mixed with guitar and piano beats and a voice that would make you believe that you are listening to James Blunt, One EskimO is surely an artist to look forward to. Listen to Chosen One and Kandi. Thanks Shubhra Rishi.
That's all for 2010. 2011 too promises to be a musical year. Here's a short list of a few of my favourite artists releasing albums in the next year. Will definitely be awaiting them.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Green Day (Live album)
The Ting Tings