Hipster music authority Pitchfork recently unveiled their list of the top 500 tracks of the last decade. Naturally, I’d never heard 400 of the songs. So I figured instead of crying about it, I’d get a few of the most fanatical music lovers I know to do their own Top Tens of the decade that still is. Every day this week you get a new list (with 5 honorable mentions). The list is in no specific order; the best ten songs out of ten years of recorded music is enough of an honor (and enough new stuff for you, dear reader, to devour).
Today’s list comes from Rich, who is British, making him European, therefore granting him better taste than all of us. He’s a supporter of stupid Aston Villa and DJs for an indie rock bar in the surrounding Midlands, wherever the hell that is. I’ve heard him seamlessly go from Animal Collective to Hot Chip to The Bug in an hour. That’s enough musical knowledge for me. Here are his Top Ten
Sigur Rós – Glósóli (iTunes)
The musical definition of ecstasy, in both esoteric and drug form. This track, along with many others from ‘Takk…” was used extensively by the BBC when promoting ‘Planet Earth’ and pretty much any other nature documentary you could care to mention, giving it the added dimension of being the musical parallel of natural beauty. Gradually building from a solitary bassline into an astounding crescendo, it sounds like melting snow becoming a raging glacial river. Is it possible to describe any Sigur Ros track without using the word glacial?
Of Montreal – The Past is a Grotesque Animal (iTunes)
A sprawling 12-minute epic, the ultimate indie break-up song. Kevin Barnes’ heart-on-the sleeve lyrics and the relentless, circular bass drive the track through his circuitous emotions at the demise of his marriage, through love, anger, fear and hope.
Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock (iTunes)
Sometimes the simpler, the better. When the opening bassline hits, you know you’ve been hit. Nobody–and I mean nobody–can resist moving to this song. I DJ in a smalltown UK biker bar where anything without a guitar solo is considered weird by most of the patrons, yet the dancefloor always fills up for this track. (I get dressed most mornings with this tune, bass turned way up high)
Antony and the Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone (iTunes)
There has never been a more affecting combination of lyrics and vocals in the opening line of the opening song of a debut album, and there may well never be.
The Walkmen – The Rat (iTunes)
Anyone who has ever had any kind of human contact can relate to the lyrics, and the urgency of the drums and guitars echo the frustration of city life and isolation within as effectively as anything Ian Curtis ever wrote.
The Streets – Let’s Push Things Forward (iTunes)
I can’t think of anything released this decade that sounded as fresh, original and downright different, yet accessible as this upon release.
The Libertines – Up the Bracket (iTunes)
The Libertines first album is a fantastic representation of how it felt to be lower-middle class, white and English in this decade, and the angst generated by rebelling against it. If Pulp’s ‘Common People’ was a question/challenge, this could be the response.
Johnny Cash – Hurt (iTunes)
I’m loathe to include a cover version in this, and to be honest I very rarely listen to this track, because it’s too upsetting, because of and despite of it’s brilliance. Cash managed to turn a heroin episode into a metaphor for an old man’s deathbed regrets, and who amongst us isn’t fearful of that?
Roots Manuva – Witness (One Hope) (iTunes)
I forget which song it was, but Prince once described someone as ‘dancing like a white girl’. Drop this track into a nightclub at midnight and you’ll see exactly what he meant.
Cornelius – Drop (iTunes)
I find it difficult to explain why I love this track so much, the blend of ultra-clean samples and vocal harmonies just tickles my wrong parts, I imagine.