Every December/January I put together a CD of the songs that Mac & I listened to the most throughout the year. Every year I struggle to get that list down to the 1.2 hours of music that will fit on one CD, and end up ruthlessly cutting really fantastic songs. So here are the songs that made the cut for this year's CD, complete with a few liner notes, as well as the ones that were also awesome but just wouldn't fit. Enjoy.
Mac & Dinah's Best of 2010
1. Black Sheep / Metric (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Soundtrack)
Two words for you: Power Chords. I love them. Love! I also love that they bring more of a rockin’ edge to Metric’s typical “pretty alternative girl pop” offering—a style I also enjoy as a general rule on its own, but one that really goes well with some good old-fashioned power chords.
2. Dog Days Are Over / Florence + The Machine (Lungs)
When this album came out in 2009, the only song I listened to from it was “My Boy Builds Coffins,” a great song that my friend Amanda put on a mix for me. Then I heard this song and a bunch of others from the album on this summer’s season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and just fell in love with their Big Anthem qualities. And then, yes, this song was everywhere and overplayed, but by that point I was already in love with it, so there you go.
3. Learnalilgivinanlovin’ / Gotye (Pre-Release Singles Compilation)
A song that sounds like a lost track from The Temptations is an unlikely creation from an artist AllMusic.com describes as an “Australian electronic pop trickster.” And yet.
4. Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) / Janelle Monáe (The ArchAndroid)
Loving the Motown-revival movement much? Yes, yes I am. This young lady holds the honor of being the only artist to ever perform on “So You Think You Can Dance” who was so good I not only didn’t fast-forward through her, I automatically hopped on iTunes & bought her single. Effective marketing, yes. It’s an even more effective dance song.
5. Opposite Of Adults / Chiddy Bang (Opposite Of Adults – EP)
MGMT’s “Kids” has been covered & sampled more times than I can count, but this one is the best. It also might be Mac’s favorite song of 2010.
6. WOR / Django Django (Wor/Skies Over Cairo)
Also experiencing a revival in recent years? Surf rock. I don’t know much about this band, but I know I love the hell out of this song.
7. Howlin' for You / The Black Keys (Brothers)
This whole album is so good it’s hard to pick just one song. This one is a little reminiscent of Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part 2,” I admit, but it also sounds like a sexy striptease. Ow.
8. More Or Less / The Soft Pack (The Soft Pack)
As long as Motown & surf rock are experiencing a comeback, why not garage rock? Why not indeed. This whole album is great. This song is my favorite.
9. Hellbound Train / Magnolia Mountain (Redbird Green)
Growing up in Evansville, IN in the 80s, the big local band was called Stop the Car. Today, a couple STC alums have put together this outfit that’s a little more country than rock & roll, but just as sexy & fun. I just wish I knew how to get this song in front of the music supervisor of HBO’s “True Blood."
10. How You Like Me Now / The Heavy (The House That Dirt Built)
Technically from 2009, this song grabbed the nation’s attention in a car commercial featured in the 2010 Superbowl, with toys that came to life and went carousing around western bars, bowling alleys & tattoo parlors. Then it hung out on the down-low for the rest of the year as simply one of Mac’s favorite songs until The Fighter came out in the fall, and became a whole new anthem for scrappy badasses everywhere.
11. Momma's Place / Róisín Murphy (Momma's Place – EP)
Straight up late 80s/early 90s dance pop.
12. I Can Change / LCD Soundsystem (This Is Happening)
I first listened to this on my niece Sydney’s Facebook wall, and it reminded me of songs I loved when I was her age. Maybe because we both moved away from our best friends when we were 14, I always think of her and my old friends when they sing, “Never change never change never change never change…”
13. MoneyGrabber / Fitz & The Tantrums (Pickin' Up the Pieces)
A treat from my friend Alf, and another neo-Motown jam, with a dash of funk.
14. Sorrow / The National (High Violet)
I love this guy’s voice and I love this album, but I love the heart-wrenching sadness in this gorgeous breakup song the most.
15. What Part of Forever / Cee Lo Green (Twilight: Eclipse Soundtrack)
It never fails to amaze me that these goofy teen sparkly vampire melodrama movies can boast these really great soundtracks that compile a lovely mix of pop, rock and indie acts. Most people will remember Cee Lo’s delightful “F--- You” from 2010, but this catchy, strummy pop number is the one that gets stuck in my head the most. Maybe it’s the whistling?
16. Grey X Sage / Theophilus London (This Charming Mixtape)
Mac calls this the “muppet song” because it sounds like there are muppets singing counterpoint. He’s not wrong. It is, in fact, one of the reasons I love the song. Because who doesn’t love muppets?
17. We Used to Wait / Arcade Fire (The Suburbs)
I feel like such a victim of marketing with this song. The Arcade Fire released this song as part of a viral marketing campaign to introduce Google Chrome by having the viewer punch in their childhood home address, which would then play the song while all these pop ups & animation come up around satellite views of the old neighborhood. I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but it was really cool, and by the time the song was over I wanted to hear it again and again.
18. Write About Love / Belle and Sebastian (Write About Love - Single)
Less Motown but still a 60s throwback, this song reminds me of my days of punching the clock in my old corporate gig with lyrics like, “I hate my job. I’m working way too much (every day I’m stuck in an office).”
19. Light Of Love / Music Go Music (Expressions)
Wait, did I sneak in a lost ABBA track on here? No. But I did sneak in something just as joyful and fun.
Burnable CDs should be longer for songs like these:
The World Was Made For Men / The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – A gorgeous, dreamy boy/girl duet ballad from this new group made up of Sean Lennon and his girlfriend. The whole “Acoustic Sessions” album is lovely, if you don’t mind the slightly haunting fact that Sean sounds an awful lot like his dad when he sings.
Bang Bang Bang / Mark Ronson – A fun, highly percussive indie pop song for anyone who likes that sort of thing. Like me.
Excuses / The Morning Benders – I like anthem-y tunes constructed in waltzy, ¾ time like this one. Another find from my niece Sydney.
Angela Surf City / The Walkmen – This one is another great surf rock homage, filled with all the jangly guitars & strong drums you expect, and some authentically angsty vocals that maybe you wouldn’t expect.
Not in Love / Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith – The Cure’s old front man lends his unique vocal stylings to dancey, electronic pop with fantastic results.
Lovesick / Lindstrom & Christabelle – This electronic dance track was a present from my sister Amy, and a slinky, sexy good time.