Best Songs of 2010 (Halfway Point)

Back in early May, over at the Higher Ed Music Critics blog, I posted my top 20 songs of the year so far. Now, with it being the halfway point of 2010, I face the task of compiling the next iteration of this last. I agonized over paring it down to 20 before I realized, “Hey, it’s my blog, I can do what I want!” So, 30 songs it is. In December, it will likely be a top 50 of the year.

Unseen here is the document wherein I list the dozens of amazing songs from the year so far, trying to narrow down to this list. This is a tough, tough task. But I want to hear what your favorites are and your feedback on these selections. As always, the caveat is that this list is only a valid representation of my opinion at the moment it was committed to paper. If I compiled it right now, I’m sure it would vary to some degree.

P.S. Do you want to kick back and listen to this playlist in all its glory at your leisure? I’ve created a YouTube playlist with all of the below-linked videos. Works just like a radio station. (Well, one with a 30-song catalog, anyway.)

Without further ado (and in no specific order — that’s a December task *gulp*)…

Magnetic Fields – You Must Be Out of Your Mind – An emotional, delicate tune

Yeasayer – Ambling Alp – “Speak up for yourself, son…” Uplifting and upbeat.

Tanlines – Real Life – One of my favorite dance tracks of the year

The Hold Steady – Hurricane J – More anthemic goodness from Craig and co.

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio – Matt Berninger at his befuddling best

Surfer Blood – Swim – This’ll wake you up, that’s for sure

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – Bottled in Cork – A classic romp with a killer hook

Teenage Fanclub – Baby Lee – A return to form for these Scottish popsmiths

Hot Chip – I Feel Better – An alluring, classy dance track

David Byrne/Fatboy Slim feat. Steve Earle – A Perfect Hand – A perfect song, plain and simple

New Pornographers – Crash Years – Another epic single from the NewPs

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man – Enthralling and relentless

Alphabeat – Heatwave – Groove IS in the heart

Gorillaz – Stylo – Bobby Womack owns this song

Butch Walker – Trash Day – Another WERS discovery, and a nice throwback pop tune

LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yrself Clean – This song builds into a frenetic dance floor meltdown, oh yeah

School of Seven Bells – Windstorm – Swirly, melodic goodness

The Roots – How I Got Over – This song grooves so damn well

Freedy Johnston – Don’t Fall in Love with a Lonely Girl – A classic. The singer-songwriter at his poppy best

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Home – Unabashedly heartfelt, and a fine use of whistling, at that

Stars – Fixed – O Canada! Captivating pop via Montreal

Ten Bears – Braces – They have bears in their name, what could go wrong? Also, this song just rocks hard

We Are Scientists – Rules Don’t Stop – More quality pop from these spiffy Brooklyn dudes

Peter Wolf – The Green Fields of Summer – Anything with Neko Case is a win, and Peter Wolf is a revelation here

Futureheads – Struck Dumb – More tour-de-force pop from the UK band

Club 8 – Shape Up – A fun, shimmery pop song

Local Natives – Airplane – These guys churn out some top-dollar indie rock.

Math & Physics Club – Love or Loneliness – Lucksmiths-style pop

Two Door Cinema Club  – Something Good Can Work – A fun, catchy song with a vaguely island-y feel

Dan Black – Symphonies – A nice, mellow groove with orchestral flair


97 responses to “Best Songs of 2010 (Halfway Point)

  1. WOW! Some great ones I know, and a bunch of new ones to check out. Great post! I love Magnetic Fields and a bunch of others on here.

  2. Pingback: Best Songs of 2010 « Fringe Element

  3. So many great picks on there! Mumford have got to be band of the year, that Hot Chip video is the creepiest thing I have ever seen, and the Dan Black vid is just brilliant 🙂

  4. Just saw your blog on the front page of wordpress, but you got some sweet tunes listed here, chief. Haven’t heard all of these before, but there’s definitely some quality shit here.

  5. Some of my favorite songs of the year as well. Excellent list.

  6. girlonthecontrary

    I am over the moon you included Mumford and Sons on this list. They are brilliant! I do think Marina and the Diamonds should have been included though and possibly one of the new releases for MIA- overall stellar list. Thanks for putting it together!

  7. WOW! Ambling Alp changed my entire mood today. Until listening to that song I was feeling rather shitty. Thank you so much! I’ll probably spend the next hour or so listening to the rest of these. I’ve never heard of half of these musical acts but I have now thanks to you!

    Keep Rockin!

    • Thanks for the comment – I’m happy that song changed your mood. It’s done it for me many a time 🙂

  8. Wow. Impressive. An Almost perfect list. I took off 10 points for The New Pornographers. 🙂

    Love me some Tanlines.

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  10. Not only am I excited that Surfer Blood is on here, but to learn that you’re a BU alumnus as that is where I’ll be attending school in the fall. Nice to see that I chose a school that churns out grads with excellent musical taste! Great article.

    • Hey, very cool! What are you majoring in? BU is great, and Boston has an awesome music scene. If you’re not already local, you’re about to get acquainted with some awesome new bands 🙂

  11. Amazing, some great picks!
    I love stumbling upon different music other than the typical mainstream.

  12. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to think, “they don’t make them like the used too”. I’ve heard a couple of new songs this year that I like but She Said – Plan B is probably the best of them.

    I’m getting old…


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  14. Loved it. My sister introduced me to Mumford and Sons earlier this year and I had almost forgotten about them! Thankfully you reminded me of the goodness. I would also recommend the new Avett Brother video: Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise.

  15. I Feel Better has the best video ever! And I love Airplanes from Local Natives, that one came out of no where and blew me away the first time I heard it.

  16. I don’t really like any of these bands, but at least this wasn’t a list of mainstream hip-hop and radio hits.

  17. thanks for this, i just added a few new bands to my playlist :]

  18. Nice choices! I definitely love The Hold Steady. And wow, I remember seeing Butch Walker live about 6 years ago…it’s been a long time.

  19. Ashling Cranford

    I’m with Simon; Plan B – She Said is easily my favourite song of the year so far.

    Great list!!

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  21. nice. Gorillaz Stylo wins best from the entire list. please do check up on my blog, call this “shameless self-promotion” 😛

  22. are these ,,country song?

  23. Wow – excellent. Fun to explore some new sounds. I’m quite distracted from work now!

  24. I ❤ Butch Walker! And I totally agree that "Trash Day" is worthy of a spot in the Top 50 Best Songs of 2010. 🙂

  25. The ONLY reason I looked at your list was to make sure you included Mumford & Sons. ANYTHING by those blokes would have sufficed. You passed the test =)

  26. Wow. Impressive. An Almost perfect list. I took off 10 points for The New Pornographers.

  27. You included Two Door Cinema Club! I’m flipping out! I love that song and the band so much. I bought their whole album (Tourist History) and I listen to every track every day. They’re a special band, and I can’t wait to watch their career unfold.

    You have excellent taste in music. 😉

  28. OMG I haven’t heard of ANY of these. I tried to play Gorillaz because I love them, but it didn’t work 😦 Will have to check it out! congrats on freshly pressed though!

  29. Awesome list. I was ready for some shitty Top or something, but you just rocked my world. Butch Walker is the greatest. Love LCD Soundsystem and Ten Bears.
    It’s good to know that out there still are people who listens to music like this.
    I guess you should check out these artists/bands as well (if you haven’t already): The Temper Trap, The Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sea Wolf, The Editors, Bon Iver. You might like them. 🙂

  30. Ooh…. so many new songs and artists for me to discover…. I agree on Mumford… and Alphaville- they are OK… Just discovered The Stars – Five Ghosts album… Have you heard of Delorean? Balearic dance from Barcelona… youtube “Stay Close”etc… songs for when the sun is high and the sangria is low…

  31. >David Byrne/Fatboy Slim feat. Steve Earle <

    There's a trio I would not have imagined – and it turned out very nicely! This must have taken quite a bit of time and effort to put together. Well done.

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  33. Wow…quite the compilation of songs you found for us! Thanks! I always love listening to some new stuff and I didn’t recognize some of these bands! I’ll be coming back when I have more time to listen to them all!

  34. Really good, interesting choices.
    I’d have added ‘This Orient’ by Foals too.

  35. Have your heard of the Canadian, Maiko Watson’s Sweet Vibration. I think it belongs on your list. It’s different, fresh and the lyrics are solid. Check it out at

  36. thekarmamortgage

    You brought out the music geek in me today! I agree with the others that you lose 10 points for the New Pornographers. You could have gained 10 points by putting The Broken Bells or Sleigh Bells on there. Personally, I would have added Dessa to it all, but she isn’t the traditional indie rock that was on your list.

  37. Great choices! However, I just cannot get into Yeasayer. I’ve tried, repeatedly, to enjoy them. It hasn’t worked as of yet. Mumford & Sons = one of my new fav. artists!!

  38. Great choices. But what constitutes a song as being of 2010? I thought the Edward Sharpe album came out in ’09? In any case, lovely. I appreciate the YouTube videos as well!

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  40. Pingback: Best Songs of 2010 (Halfway Point) « My Buddy

  41. oh my. this is a dream come true. so much great music…and some new ones i get to check out. im on a constant mission to find new music to add to my life. So thank you VERY much for the post.

  42. Some great tunes, but Home and Little Lion Man came out in 2009.

  43. Never heard of these bands. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  44. Wow, very nice list. The new Teenage Fanclub disk has been on infinite loop here for way too long.

    For the local music lovers, we will be having a free outdoor music and arts event in Somerville tomorrow (FossFest/SomerStreets; Sunday, 7/25/10, from 12pm-4pm; Winter Hill/East Somerville). Please join us at noon in front of Foss Park on the Corner of Broadway and Fellsway W!

  45. i agree with you in most of the songs and the other ones i don’t, it’s because i didn’t listen to them yet… so i will check them out!

  46. for the second half consider broken bells” high road” and for fun…..sunglasses “whiplash” the youtube video a hoot

  47. Since my internet connection is terribly slow, I have to watch (in fact, download one by one 😉 ) at a later time. For now, your post goes to my “Liked” list. 😀 🙂

    Thanks for listing up.

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  49. Great list of great songs! Gorillaz are one of my fav. Thank u so far, have a great weekend!


  50. Omg. Awesome playlist!
    Love Magnetic Fields. ♥

  51. amorvincitomnia831

    You’ve scored some major points for including the great Mumford & Sons, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on your list…Most of the other ones on your list, not so much though…However, there are a few gems that I’ve either not seen or heard about yet but I really like them…Dan Black’s Symphonies video was a work of art, and so was the Gorillaz video too…And I will have to check out more of the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim cd simply because of all the woman who’ve collaborated on it…So thank you very much for your time and effort Georgy…I appreciated it…Be well…

  52. All things considered this is a pretty fantastic list. I really like that you included The Roots and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I think it would’ve been really hard not to include The National or Mumford and Sons this year. I probably would’ve taken off Ten Bears and I definitely would’ve included one of the tracks off the new Josh Ritter album, but I really like this list nonetheless. New iTunes playlist being compiled right now!

  53. Does Two Door Cinema Club Tahiti 80 much? I say yes. More Two Door Cinema Club (and tons of other stuff) here:


  54. I really like your site. You just got a new avid reader.

    I also run a music blog — I am a writer for a local paper, and write strictly on the music scene.
    I also do a song of the day, and write about that.

    Really like your blog!

  55. nice hipster playlist

  56. GREAT choices! Definitely appreciated your inclusion of David Byrne/Fatboy Slim, Gorillaz & The Roots.
    I would for sure add The Black Keys & Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings!

  57. Nathan Spicer

    Gotta say, I wasn’t expecting such a good list when I came here. Fantastic choices, just fantastic.

  58. Thank you for sharing some brilliant music!!!! You have incredible taste! Love it!


    I listened to every song you mentioned. You picked some good music!

  60. One hell of a list! This is the list I am talking about. BTW, congratulations for the well-loved list and site.

  61. interesting selection.. I’m glad I stopped by

  62. I really enjoyed Ambling Alp. As well as a few others. (I have an odd ball taste in music.) I was a bit surprised to see Two Door Cinema Club on the list, but I definitely think that song deserves to be on the list. I got the song when it was free on itunes a few weeks ago. I think it is a great song.
    I need to get out of my whole charade staying with older music and get out there and find some good new stuff.

  63. great collection..and amazing music.. thanks for putting up the links as well… Good luck..

  64. Queen of Hearts

    Awesome list. Thanks for sharing. Lover of music so thanks for introducing me to some new stuff.

  65. There are many tracks on this that deserve to be here. A great list! Yeasayer has been a favourite of mine since I first heard Ambling Alp.

    Time to listen to the the tunes I have managed to miss. How about something from Art v Science?

  66. great post, awesome list. love mumford & sons and edwarde sharpe! keep on keepin on….

  67. thank you so much for putting this together. you have opened up a new frontier of music for me.

  68. Some really good selections there, especially Something Good Can Work. Two Door Cinema Club are one of my favourite bands to have emerged this year and their album Tourist History is fantastic.

  69. Nice. I like it.
    Tanlines music too.
    Keep on it.

  70. New pornographers, We are scientists, LCD soundsystem ❤ indie music for the win

  71. Great list. I even learned a few new bands thanks to you!!

  72. I can’t wait to listen to this playlist. new tunes are always good!

  73. Thank you for your share!I like it very much!

  74. I’ve been going back to this list frequently. I wish I could get it to play through like Pandora!

    If you get a chance, could you check out my “Song of the Day” on my site?

    My blog is relatively new, but it has everything i’ve gotten published (concert reviews, cd reviews, interviews, etc.), and I try to keep a “daily flair” with a “Song of the Day” update each day.


    [Again, i’m highly impressed by this list. You better do a best of 2010 come December!]

  75. oh wat a great collecton! u jus made my day…now i can listen to all these great songs at the same place…tx..

  76. Wonderful post thank you for sharing!! Love your blog!!!!


  77. I work at Manchester Academy which is collectively one of the busiest music venues in the UK and I have had the good fortune to see a few of these bands while pouring pints for the paying customers! Yeasayer were incredible… they really know how to put on a show. And yes, as much as I loved their more prominent success song ‘O.N.E’, ‘Ambling Alp’ is the song to be treasured. It does that thing to me where I don’t know what to do with myself because it’s so good.
    Mumford and Sons were possibly in the top 5 of my best live shows I’ve seen this year. They were simply magical. And the ones that I hadn’t heard… they have instantly been made into a ‘stuff to listen to’ playlist on Spotify! I do like soaking up new music.

  78. this is the best playlist, going to entertain me for the day 🙂 thanks heaps!

  79. Pingback: A musical interlude! « För att även jag kan ha något vettigt att säga.

  80. Wow what a great collection of songs. Have to make a plan to get these so I can listen to them over and over again. Thanks for opening my ears!

  81. I dugg your fantastic collection. 🙂 Thanks for a great list.

  82. Thank you for your introducing good musics in this year. I like music but I want the blog like this which picks up good musics.

  83. Pingback: Take Five: The Digest Returns! « Safe Digression

  84. imagination26at

    i laaaarve this music!
    good work on the choices 🙂

  85. Broken Lamp Post

    Wow! A lot of different songs that I have yet to listen to, and a lot of my favorites also! 🙂 I think that Daughtry should be up there (I think I’m just biased) but I love your song choice!

    Oh and thank you for not listing Justin Beiber -.-

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