Thursday, December 16, 2010

100 Songs for 2010: 46-50


We're counting down our 100 favorite songs of the year.  Today, 46-50.  Check out previous posts here.

50) Sambassadeur - "Stranded"

Is there anything better than Swedish album-release propaganda? Exhibit A:

Their third album “European”, which is due to be released February 23rd 2010, has taken almost two years to finish and they’ve once again employed the talents of Mattias Glavå, who produced “Migration”. According to the band he did very little. He merely lay on the sofa and cursed how badly they played their instruments and continued to bring in more and more musicians. A string quartet, three drummers, a saxophone player, clarinet, the list goes on...

This is said to be the extrovert album from Sambassadeur. They’ve finally accomplished making the grand, classic and orchestrated album they’ve always wanted to. So don’t miss it for the world!

You will also be able to catch Sambassadeur live in various places during 2010. Don’t hold your hopes too high on them going too far away from Sweden though. The guitarist Joachim Läckberg suffers from severe flying anxiety and has to take the train!


Sambassadeur - "Kate"
Hello Saferide - "Anna"

49) Ra Ra Riot - "Boy"

Ra Ra Riot - Boy from Arts & Crafts on Vimeo.

For me, the sound of walking through the gates at a rain-drenched Treasure Island Music Festival, wrapping myself in a plastic garbage bag and hoping for the best. It is the sounds of the rains letting up. It is the sound of optimism winning out.

Even apart from my positive memories associated with it, though, this song grew on me more than almost any other this year. For most of the songs on this list, I fell in love almost instantly. This one took some time to win me over, and I think that’s a good sign for the longevity of my relationship with it. I’m sure there will be some songs on this list that I get sick of. I don’t think “Boy” will be one of them.


Ra Ra Riot - "Too Dramatic"
Ra Ra Riot - "Ghost Under Rocks"

48) Matt & Kim - "Cameras"

Probably more swagger than two pale, skinny hipsters from Brooklyn are allowed to possess.

Also, c'mon Matt & Kim ... you're basically doing The Hood Internet's work for them.


The Hood Internet - "Virginia is for Cameras"
Matt & Kim - "Block after Block"

47) Mates of State - "Long Way Home"

It’s hard to get excited about a covers album. It’s so rare that a band really does a cover version right, really makes it their own. And, on Crushes, Mates of State occasionally fall into the trap of just faithfully reproducing an already-great song (like their carbon-copy take on the Belle & Sebastian classic “Sleep the Clock Around”). On “Long Way Home,” though, they stamp their unique identity all over it. Originally written by Tom Waits, recently covered by Norah Jones, this version is absolutely a Mates of State song, with a couple of their signature moments of overflowing exuberance: the horns behind the “hat full of rain” line at around 1:15, and the drum buildup to “Watch your BACK if I should tell” at 1:55.


Mates of State - "Punchlines"
Mates of State - "Think Long"

46) Superchunk - "Digging for Something"

Superchunk - Digging For Something from Merge Records on Vimeo.

There’s discovering a band right at the beginning of their career arc, following them all the way through to the end. Then there’s discovering a band when they first break through into the mainstream. Then there’s basically ignoring a band while they were critically and culturally relevant, living most of your life largely unaware of their existence, only to stumble across their reunion album more than twenty years after their breakthrough hit. That last one is me with Superchunk. “Slack Motherf***er” made then alt-rock stars in 1989, and I’m just discovering them now. I am the least authentic Superchunk fan on the planet.


Superchunk - "Slack Motherf***er"
Superchunk - "Rosemarie"

1 comment:

  1. To say I'm a fan of this group of five is just too weak. Great stuff.