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Top 100 Songs of 2010: 90-81

Posted by Ben Collins, Today's Soundtrack  December 31, 2010 02:28 PM

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NOTE: Songs 100-91 are located here. We're also having trouble embedding video. It's very confusing. We're working on it.

90 - Passenger (Feat. Boy & Bear) - Shape of Love

Australia is gaining on us considerably. Passenger is writing twangy alt-country songs better than anyone in Nashville. And Newstopia is doing fake news better than anyone in this country ever has. They’re also better at explaining the electoral college than any news outlet here.

Don’t worry. Shows this good get cancelled in Australia, too.

89 - The Grand Spectacular - Being a D**khead’s Cool

(Note: Sort of not safe for work language.)

We should take it as the greatest compliment, as a society, that novelty songs are now so good that they’re completely indistinguishable from good pop songs.

I listen to this thing in earnest. It’s a straight up American Idol audition in the car when the chorus rolls through on this song. I think this band would be happy with that, too.

There’s a lot to be said about hipsters this year. We’ll get to it eventually. Arcade Fire is on this list, anyway. We’re going to need to explain that one away. Until then, here's NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams making fun of them. With gravitas. Enjoy:

“I think the media story of the year, in 2010, was the NYT’s discovery of Brooklyn. Once a day, there’s a story about all the riches offered in that borough. There are young men and women wearing ironic glass frames on the streets. There are open air markets, like trading posts in the early Chippewa tribe, where you can make beads at home and then trade them for someone to come over and start a small fire in your apartment that you share with nine others. Artisinal cheeses. For sale, on the streets of an entire American borough ... They are making grilled cheese sandwiches in the streets. There are roving wagons that will make you a – Brooklyn. Yes….it’s just a fantastic … it’s like Marrakesh over there.”

88 - The Heligoats - Goodness Gracious

Chris Otepka’s band used to be a four-piece called The Heligoats. He now tours the country by himself and usually tells the audience that his band is out back in a van too nervous to get on stage. If that’s not enough reason to listen to him, I don’t know what is.

87 - Mt. Desolation - State of Our Affairs

I just wanted to remind you all that the earthquake in Port-au-Prince happened in 2010. I don’t want to do it in that awful way one of your friends might, so I’m giving you a head’s up. You will go out tonight, on the penultimate day of I-Can’t-Believe-That-Was-This-Year conversation, and have to defend yourself from this line of questioning.

Friend: “You thought the earthquake was years ago but believed Balloon Boy happened in August?”

You: “Yep, sure did. Had to look it up and everything.”

Ex-Friend: “Here is a ball peen hammer. Go do something so terrible to yourself that everyone at this party is arrested.”

Sure, go ahead and bemoan the state of media literacy in this country for a second. But you’re going to go through this exact situation tonight, whether you like it or not. All you can do is hope it’s too loud wherever you are to get caught.

Oh, and here’s a protip: Remember the Olympics? The 2010 Olympics? Yep. Me neither.

86 - Gepe - Por La Ventana

Oh! And the Chilean miners, too! Remember to pour one out at your party tonight for every brave soul who died in that horrible tragedy.

Wait, that’s right: Nobody died in that. They completely dominated that task. Thirty-three for thirty-three. If Chilean Miner Rescue was an X-Box game, they weren’t playing it on easy. They were playing it on broken.

This was, in fact, the best news story in years and it will be impossible to explain to anyone who was born after 2004 when it’s brought up in passing in 15 years.

Future 20-year-old: “Hold on. Thirty-three miners were trapped in a mine, there was elaborate news coverage anyone could follow even though this wasn’t in the United States, there were awesome infographics, all of the petty, gossipy intrigue was limited to one miner and an affair, we got just about one inspirational story per day, then all of them were rescued by way of groundbreaking technology, and all of them were in good health, so much so that one of the miners went on David Letterman to sing an Elvis song, like, two weeks later?”

You: “Yes.”

Future 20-year-old: “You’re telling me it wasn’t a celebrity drowning a puppy and it was on the news?”

You: “Yes.”

Future 20-year-old: “Don’t believe it.”

Anyway, this song is not about the Chilean miners. I didn’t even know Gepe was Chilean until I looked it up. He just writes catchy songs in Spanish, as far as I know. Let’s see if Google Translate gives us ambiguous enough lyrics to relate this to the mining incident:

“Radio says it sounds like a song now Life is like life in many ways can change now”

...Close enough.

85 - Cave Singers - Swim Club

Award for the best accidental club or conference 2010 goes to James Ward of South Orange, N.J.

Boring 2010 sprang to life when Mr. Ward heard that an event called the Interesting Conference had been canceled, and he sent out a joke tweet about the need to have a Boring Conference instead. He was taken aback when dozens of people responded enthusiastically.

Soon, he was hatching plans for the first-ever meet-up of the like-mindedly mundane. The first 50 tickets for Boring 2010 sold in seven minutes.

"I guess the joke is on me," said the laid-back Mr. Ward. "I've created this trap and there's no way out."

Proceedings at the sell-out event were kicked off by Mr. Ward himself, who discussed his tie collection at great length, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

84 - Family of the Year - Hero

Hasn’t your year just consisted of you singing “We can whisper things—secrets from our American dreams” while slowly being pushed towards your closet, which now has nothing in it and has at some point been vandalized?

83 - Matthew and the Atlas - Deadwood

The lead singer of this band, Matt Hegarty, is my favorite kind of musician. This guy should be chopping wood, or something. Or maybe beating up that guy who is saying horrible things to women in a high-pitched voice at the other end of the bar. He doesn’t look or sound like someone who would even be talking if he wasn’t singing. But when he does sing, he has the raspy, authoritative voice of someone who has killed a man with his bare hands before, possibly lost his wife to scarlet fever in 1893 and fought in a colonial war in which his side lost—but he refuses to talk about any of it.

Unless! Unless, of course, he’s in a bar not far from his hometown singing about it.

82 - Delafé y Las Flores Azules - Espiritu Santo

Check out all of these people walking around happily in the sun. I wonder what that’s like—the sun thing?

It’s been a long time, so correct me if I’m wrong—but we always sing songs in Spanish in the street when it’s tee-shirt weather, right? When the snow melts around the folding chair that is currently my parking space, don’t I automatically get good at the trombone?

Yes. I think that’s how it works.

81 - Bombay Bicycle Club - Ivy & Gold

Admit it: You just want to see more Newstopia.

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About the author

Ben Collins can't help but search beyond Feist for the zeitgeist of Today's Soundtrack, his pick of a song or songs capturing the mood or events of the moment. His musical tastes vary from Strawberry Fields to The Magnetic Fields, from Low to Skee-Lo. A North Shore native, Ben has worked at The Boston Globe and Spin and is an Emerson grad. Make your own nominations to him at ben.t.collins@comcast.net or on Twitter @globesoundtrack. More »

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