Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 50 Best Singles Of 2010: 40-31

[Welcome back to my yearly countdown of the finest individual tracks of the year. As always, the rules and regulations: This list is limited to commercial singles and/or videos released in 2010. Album tracks and fan-made clips, good as they might be, don't count. Official YouTube links are included when possible to avoid unwelcome deletions. Thanks and happy listening!]

40. Gorillaz featuring Mos Def & Bobby Womack – Stylo

Kudos to Damon Albarn for introducing a new generation to the raw, uncut greatness that is Bobby Womack; that sinister electro-funk groove is just a bonus.

39. The Hold Steady – Hurricane J

Craig Finn and company ended their run of consistency this year with the disappointing Heaven Is Wherever, but flashes of early greatness abound on this pounding single—particularly in its final thirty seconds.

38. Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – From Above

North Carolina’s favorite piano-playing son turned out his best album in almost a decade thanks to novelist Nick Hornby; this jaunty track is merely one of many Lonely Avenue highlights.

37. Arcade Fire – Ready To Start

The Montreal collective revisit the go-for-broke energy of “Keep The Car Running,” turning it inward and down. “Businessmen drink my blood,” sings Win Butler, the entire weight of Dylan’s mantle on his shoulders.

36. Robyn – Hang With Me

Bouncy and effervescent on its surface, but of course nothing is ever that simple in Robyn’s world, and gradually “Hang With Me” reveals itself to be that rarest of love songs—one with eyes open and feet planted firmly on the ground.

35. Underworld – Scribble

Long after the fickle tides of dance music should’ve relegated them to the bargain bins, Underworld resurface with their best single in forever, as rapturous and expansive as anything from Second Toughest In The Infants. A marvelous, welcome return to form.

34. B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You

The less said about guest-rapper-on-his-own-song B.o.B. the better; instead, treat this track as the coronation of Peter “Bruno Mars” Hernandez, whose of-the-moment production and sweetly naïve vocals were all over the charts in 2010.

33. Spoon – Written In Reverse
The minimalists of the indie world finally let their hair down and it suits them well. More throat-scraping vocals and atonal piano on the next album, please.

32. Mark Ronson & The Business INTL featuring MNDR & Q-Tip – Bang Bang Bang

Brit producer-turned-celeb Ronson ditched his trademark retro-soul this year (and Winehouse to boot), exchanging it for a new muse (Amanda Warner of MNDR), a new sound (ridiculously catchy electro), and the always-glorious return of Q-Tip.

31. No Age – Glitter

Easily the most accessible single yet from this no-nonsense punk duo, recalling the best moments of Nineties “alternative” radio with extra dollops of noise.

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