We're just getting started counting down our 100 favorite songs of the year. Today, 86-90. Check out previous posts here.
90) Foxy Shazam - "Oh Lord"
I think I would read an entire book of Band Name Explanations. Here’s one of the better ones, from frontman Eric Nally: “I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was one of two white boys in an all-black high school. The band name Foxy Shazam came from a saying in my school meaning, “cool shoes.” If you had cool shoes kids would say those are “foxy shazam.” Because of this we have a lot of soul, and try to let it bleed through our music as much as possible. Mom and Dad were pretty poor as I was growing up but always supported my musical interests nonetheless. In the early years they bought my band cheap guitars and amps and drove us to shows in the family Thunderbird. I owe them big time and will someday repay them.”
Queen - "Don't Stop Me Now"
Foxy Shazam - "Wanna-Be Angel"
89) Scissor Sisters - "Whole New Way"
It’s a weird thing to say, since they’re basically a drag show in musical form, an over-the-top experiment in glam-rock dance excess, but almost all of the very best Scissor Sisters songs feature prominent acoustic guitar. “Take Your Mama Out.” “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin.’” And now this one. I can’t be the only one breathlessly looking forward to the Scissor Sisters Unplugged album, right?
Saw these guys at the Fox in Oakland, and it was definitely my Concert of the Year.* A spectacle in every sense of the word. If you’re wondering, the band confirmed that this song is exactly as obscene as you think it is. I’ll just leave that one to your imagination.
Finally, I went to this concert with JD. We also saw Brokeback Mountain together in theaters, and we’ve been roommates together at three different locations. Are we basically common-law gay married at this point? Are there, like, tax breaks associated with that?
* Apologies to Robyn, The Very Best, Shout Out Louds, Paul McCartney, Gaslight Anthem, Free Energy, Foxy Shazam, Little Boots, La Roux, Gold Motel, and of course The Hold Steady. Wow it was an incredible concert year.
Scissor Sisters - "Take Your Mama Out"
Scissor Sisters - "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'"
88) Two Door Cinema Club - "You're Not Stubborn"
A shiny, lighthearted sound that could only come from … Northern Ireland? That can’t be right.
This is still Curt’s pick for album of the year. Jamie skipped a Hold Steady show to go see these guys at Popscene. A lot of people with excellent taste in music really love Two Door Cinema Club. You could be one of those people. I hear it’s like a secret society.
Two Door Cinema Club - "What You Know"
Two Door Cinema Club - "Eat That Up, It's Good for You"
87) The Radio Dept. - "Heaven's on Fire"
The Radio Dept. - Heaven's On Fire from Thal on Vimeo.
Let’s recap The Year In Sweden. Nine songs in the Top 100 (three Robyn, Jens Lekman, Sambassadeur, Teddybears, Tallest Man on Earth, The Radio Dept., and jj). Enough near-misses that they filled up an entire Outtakes post. A two-disc Best of Sweden mix back in the spring. Some of the best concerts of the year (Robyn, Shout Out Louds) and one of the most bizarre concert-like experiences (jj). Chances that Ilana and I will visit Sweden next summer and never come back because I get a job at Labrador Records: Still threat level orange.
The Radio Dept. - "David"
The Radio Dept. - "I Don't Need Love I've Got My Band"
86) Kanye West - "All of the Lights"
In 1997, Trey Parker and Matt Stone got George Clooney as a guest star for an episode of South Park. That episode was “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride.” Parker and Stone used Clooney as the voice of Stan’s dog, Sparky.
In 2001, Welsh band Super Furry Animals got Paul McCartney to guest on their Rings Around the World album. The band used the sound of McCartney chewing carrots and celery as a percussion track on the song “Receptacle for the Respectable.”
So, in 2010, the fact that Kanye got Elton John to provide backing piano somewhere on this track … it’s not the smallest, most bizarre celebrity cameo of all time, but it’s up there.
I’m purposefully avoiding saying anything really substantive about Kanye or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy because I think almost everything has been said. If I had to guess, I’d say the Kanye album and the Arcade Fire album are the two lasting cultural artifacts of this year, the albums that – for better or worse – future generations will look to in an attempt to figure out what was going on in 2010. While neither one was among my absolute favorites of the year, I can’t really quibble with the choices.
Kanye West - "Gorgeous"
Kanye West - "Never Let Me Down"