the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

20/10 (Best songs, 20-16)

In music on December 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

(It’s December, which means I get to make Best-of Lists. For music, I’m listing 20 songs and 10 albums—get it—that I selfishly blasted through my headphones for 12 months and now would like to share with the rest of the world.)

Best Songs

20. The Tallest Man on Earth / “The Wild Hunt” – The octave jumps in the chorus of “The Wild Hunt” are surprising and beautiful—the musical equivalent of waking up to 3 inches of snow on your window sill.

19. Matthew Dear / “Little People (Black City)” – Mr. Dear is from Detroit, and while this club funk marathon doesn’t sound much like the Temptations or the Jackson 5, it carries on the Motown tradition of a song’s subtle changes in tempo or rhythm sounding revelatory even on the 100th listen.

18. Four Tet / “Love Cry” – This is a exercise in disorientation—after what seems like an eternity of echoing synths, a snare finally kicks in at about the minute mark, but can’t quite catch up with the shifting pulses of electronic fuzz. Tension (and downright stupendous release) doesn’t come in the form of a drawn out crescendo here—it’s as simple as a beat trying to give disorder a living, funky pulse.

17. Delorean / “Stay Close” – Delorean’s single, the leading track from the Spaniards’ debut album, was my summer jam. Revisiting it now, nothing sounds stale or overwrought. It’s still shimmery, sugary goodness.

16. Antony & the Johnsons / “Fletta” (ft. Bjork) – There are three unique instruments working together here: Antony’s alternately jaunty and somber piano, Antony’s voice, and whatever otherworldly thing it is that comes out of Bjork’s mouth. Coming from an exuberantly layered and orchestrated album, “Fletta” stands out because of the huge spectrum of sounds emerging from its minimalist structure. It helps that the song is knock-you-over lovely, too.

**15 – 11 Tomorrow.

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