BEST SONGS OF 2010
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 

These are my 100 favourite songs of 2010: songs I love more than gold & silver & snowstorms on the smaller side.

I follow just one arbitrary rule: that no artist may be listed twice.

I made similar lists in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. There were just so many rattling bingo tunes this year that I expanded the list from 75 to 100. Guys, I had to.

The best way to browse this list is to click the little arrow beside each song and then to listen as you read. The things you like you can then download by right- or ctrl-clicking with your mouse.

You can also download the complete 100 songs, in two parts: part one, songs 1-50 (290mb) / part two, songs 51-100 (281mb). (mirrors: 1-50/51-100)

Said the Gramophone is one of the oldest musicblogs. We try to do just two things well: finding good songs, and writing about them. We don't mess about with tour-dates, videos or advertising. We post new songs and old songs, write clumsy dreams of what we hear. If this is your first time here, I hope you'll bookmark us or subscribe via RSS. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Said the Gramophone's Best Songs of 2010 - Cole Rise's 'Lunar'
original photograph by Cole Rise

  1. Robyn - "Dancing On My Own" (EP version) [buy]
    I don't think that 2010 had a song, the song, unless it was #69. Any of the next three songs could have taken the crown. But let's give it to Robyn, to "Dancing On My Own", a song which lacks "Tightrope"'s ambition and "Broken Heart"'s depth, which offers instead a perfect pop moment, shining and concise. Robyn hasn't just made a sad club song - she's tried to make a quintessential one, majestic in its melancholy, fragile and unrepentant. Misty-eyed disco is so often demure, wilting: here it's both self-composed and desperate, cold and hot. Over a grim bassline, skeletal woodblock, Robyn is the only source of warmth, singing bare and bittersweet. She has made the song's context its subject, its title, its refrain. She's given us a salve, and told us when to use it.
  2. Janelle Monae ft Big Boi - "Tightrope" [buy]
    Outer space funk, but only barely unfamiliar, just the far side of uncanny. Janelle is plainly, so plainly, extraordinary; she raps like an unflappable rattlesnake-snatching Missy Elliott, sings like a backstage soul queen, dances like a new genius. There are horns, strings, turntable scratches - but these vintage signifiers are part of a fresh weird thing, alive and electric, dancing free. No other song was as exhilarating in 2010; it's just a little too long.
  3. Alicia Keys - "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" [buy]
    Alicia Keys had three big singles in 2010 - "Un-Thinkable", "Empire State of Mind pt II", and this. It's only my stupid arbitrary rule that's kept all three from my top 20 - they're marvelous, not just as works of melody & harmony, but as productions, arrangements, altogethers. "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" owes equal debts to Prince and JS Bach, to synths and thunderclaps. Like Robyn on "Dancing On My Own", Keys has to sing her melancholy and then beyond it. It isn't just that she'll make it, without you; first she has to find a way. The finding's not always easy. (thank you kelly!)
  4. Sleigh Bells - "Rill Rill" [buy]
    "Rill Rill" is breath & snap & jingle, like the office Xmas party that might go late, that goes late, with the girls you weren't sure would come; there they are; hi. It's hot as steam on glass, such a nimble groove.
  5. Joanna Newsom - "Good Intentions Paving Company" [buy]
    Dan told this song almost impossibly well, as a very small story. Still, it bears saying - "Good Intentions Paving Company" is the grooviest song Joanna Newsom has ever written. This is not, admittedly, saying much; but "Good Intentions" is effortless in its adaptation of 70s singer-songwriterisms, roving and wry, soft pop with a sharp right hook. Joanna's lyrics are still daft & gorgeous filigree (So with a solemn auld lang syne, sealed, delivered, I sang...), but "Good Intentions" is nothing too complicated - just a losing love-song, a fist-fight with the fog.
  6. Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" [buy]
    The strongest moment on The Suburbs is the song that sounds least like the group I first fell in love with, almost a decade ago. And this makes me so happy, so foolishly happily. In 2003, scarcely a writer, scarcely a critic, scarcely an adult, I dreamed that maybe one day Arcade Fire's Neil-Young-meets-New Order [sound] could climb the pop billboard. Tonight, they were nominated for the Grammys' best album of the year. They played the O2 Arena. They're making arpeggiated synth-pop, and Régine is still singing, devoted and free.
  7. Surfer Blood - "Swim" [buy]
    The first of these songs to have male lead vocals, and do they ever sound like boys. From February: I have not yet written about this song, "Swim". I have been too busy repelling invaders and repairing avalanche-flattened sunglasses. I have been too busy in the corner of my fort, high in the Laurentian mountains, where I rest sweaty in my snowsuit and write a log of my adventures. The log is based on an elaborate metaphor: I am not a man with a snow fort; I am a surfer with a longterm career-path and two marvelous shiny revolvers.
  8. Eternal Summers - "Bully in Disguise" [buy]
    Eternal Summers' Silver is one of the very best albums of 2010, a record of damned blueberry pop songs, messy and fast. So many great ones - "Able To", "Safe at Home", "Dye" - but the one that's won me deepest is the one that's most unalike. "Bully in Disguise" is an epic ask, a slow ascendancy, the Velvet Underground & 90s lo-fi & today's garagey ba-ba-bas. Love lost, lost found, going on.
  9. Fantasia - "The Thrill is Gone ft. Cee-Lo" [buy]
    While the memesphere somersaults for Cee-lo's other song, I'm letting this one swing around the wooden frames of my apartment. The production's classic, hot, with uncowed drums; Cee-lo raps (his rapping always > his singing); and Fantasia sings with every confidence (later, this slipped). It's one of those rare songs where the verse is stronger than the chorus, gold-knuckled. With one glance over her shoulder, a knock-out.
  10. PS I Love You - "Starfield" [buy]
    PS I Love You's debut LP, Meet Me At The Muster Station, is awesome & bristling, yet this first shaggy single is still my favourite. Paul Saulnier channels the Pixies, McLusky, "Louie Louie", brandishing a song that's catchy and elastic, romantic and stupid, a string of "#$&%" with a starry sky at the end. And, like all classic works of songcraft, it's got a line about having sex on the back of a "flying space lion".
  11. The-Dream - "Yamaha" [buy]
    If you could do this, you would. You would have to. Terius falls in love, listens to (some more) Prince, writes a song comparing his girl to a motorcycle. Ok. The crucial bit is this: Terius is better at this than almost everyone.
  12. Tonetta - "My Bro" [buy]
    Tonetta's back-story can overshadow his music: middle-aged Toronto weirdo, part Lou Reed and part Roy Orbison, making music for 25 years before he is discovered on YouTube, parading in suits, masks, ladies' dresses. But I only heard the story later, when I had already been beguiled by his extraordinary songs - by the gentle soft pop + the ones which are darkly fucked up. That's when I spilled, saucer-eyed, into the Tonetta fanclub underground. He makes so much music - he needs archivists. Anyhow, "My Bro" is menacing, catching, darkly sensational. I wrote the dream of it here.
  13. Basia Bulat - "The Shore" [buy]
    For this, Basia brings only her autoharp. She carries it alone. & this song, too, feels like something to carry alone, cradled. You do not sing "The Shore" in chorus with your friends, arms on shoulders. You bring it with you when you pace in boots through the sand, pass through the poplars, walk the cracked sidewalk slabs, snowdrifts rising. She sings of love, and storms, and of safe harbour; and you can hear the lighthouses skimming, somewhere out there, sending glances across the bay; and looking for you.
  14. Caribou - "Found Out" [buy]
    My favourite albums of 2010 were Spoon's Transference, Eternal Summers' Silver, Land of Talk's Cloak & Cipher, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, PS I Love You's Meet You at the Muster Station and Caribou's Swim, but that last one's the record which feels like new music. Icy jingle, bruised throb, music that's gentle and club-ready, sharpened to a golden knife edge.
  15. Sharon Van Etten - "Love More" [buy]
    A song of harmonium, tambourine, voice. Plain and gorgeous. I called it steamy - but not steamy like parked cars, closed bedrooms, breath on cold glass. It lacks the loneliness of ones and twos. I meant steamy like a hothouse, summertime and spring, greens softly curling.
  16. Blue Hawaii - "Blue Gowns" [buy]
    A sneering, nervy, luscious pop song from the Montrealers' debut. A song like fresh almonds. I wrote a story about "Blue Gowns" and the days after a relationship ends. It begins with curdled milk.
  17. White Hinterland - "Icarus" [buy]
    She told me how she decided to learn to sing better. She showed me her gold rings and Shawn Creeden's dark beats. Now Casey Dienel stands here in all her new skin, holding the microphone like it's a black lotus. She left the jazz and folksong in New England. She threw her sheet-music into the Atlantic Ocean. Now she draws her songs out of loops of lifted voice, the floors of scuttled Pacific ships; she sings fewer words, more clearly.

  18. Loscil with Dan Bejar (Destroyer) - "The Making of Grief Point" [buy]
    Loscil's collaboration with Bejar (which is inverted, as "Grief Point", on Destroyer's Archer on the Beach 12") is haunting, vivid, like a film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a book by W G Sebald. Scott Morgan's beats swim, flourish, recede; and Bejar speaks. It seems a straight telling, an email read aloud, but also it is not; the context is discarded, the object obscured. It's a profound portrait of making art - yet also more than this, not just conceptual, sonically beautiful. Bejar says, "I have lost interest in music. / It is horrible. / I should only make things I understand, I should only make things I know how to construct, however imperfect."

  19. Little Scream - "The Heron and the Fox" [buy]
    I spilled a lot of words, introducing you to Little Scream. She is from Montreal. Her songs are not always so simple & soft as this. Next year, when The Golden Record is properly released, I'll write about another one. But "The Heron and the Fox" is perfect in its rude splendour. We measure distances in miles of highway. It doesn't matter how the bird flies, or how the fox runs. We are men and women, locked in cars and buildings and jobs and lives, parked at truckstops, and we cannot slip through the forests, swim through the lakes. We are far away, sometimes, and we cannot take the shorter route. Sometimes the shorter route is closed.
  20. Beach House - "Zebra" [buy]
    Victoria Legrand gives even looks. She sings her metaphors as if they're landmarks on a map: the fact of them is more important than the awe. "Zebra"'s great strength is its guitar-line, the chords that rise and dip in unexpected grace. Each change is premature, unimagined, perfect. I have not yet learned it by heart.
  21. James Blake - "I Only Know (What I Know Now)" [buy]
    Human and ghostly; ok so - half-haunted. James Blake's vocals-heavy debut LP is perhaps my most-anticipated album of 2011, but I don't need him to be singing. I like him like this, evoking Burial, Nicolas Jaar, Talk Talk, Sleeping States. Electronic music that feels no more electronic than my best friend's face, staring back at me from a screen.
  22. The Good Ones - "Sara" [buy]
    A lovely song, a love song, from Rwanda. Sara, look here. Look this way. I call you Sara.
  23. Camilo Diaz Pino - "Scott Pilgrim (Plumtree) - 16-bit cover" [source]
    Hard for me to figure out why I love this so much, a chiptunes cover of a song from the late 90s. I guess I just love the hook, the weird panning, the timbre of these 8 bits and those 8 bits, packed-in together. It forgets every detail, forgets the clutched hopes and back-story. Chugging nostalgic and unburdened, fragile and bittersweet.
  24. Peter Nalitch - "Gitar" [website]
    Peter Nalitch seems an unlikely champion for the strong & steely-eyed nation of Russia. But that shows what I know. Buoyed by "Gitar", a viral video hit, Nalitch represented his country at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. (He was singing another, sappier song.) "Gitar" is part lo-fi pop, part yearning serenade, part post-Borat joke. What makes it so special, what lifts it so high on my list, is the way these three genres are confused. As in the video, it's never clear which is on the ascendant. Nalitch's heart is his own.
  25. Big Boi - "Hustle Blood ft. Jamie Foxx" [buy]
    Big Boi released the best hip-hop album of 2010, but upbeat singles like "Shutterbugg" and "Shine Blockas" didn't do for me what "Hustle Blood" does. Together with Jamie and producer Lil Jon he builds an emotional world that's large, subtle, complicated - this is love-song, sad song, brag song, my-dad's-an-absentee-hustler song. It's lusty and melancholy at the same time, incorrigible and just barely regretful. Plus & obviously, Big Boi's a terrific rapper - listen to the way he spits the simplest lines, "Give it up, give back, hands up / hand cuff with the wrist back / back up."
  26. Young Galaxy - "Peripheral Visionaries" [Shapeshifting is due next year / website]
    Young Galaxy's new songs, produced by Studio's Dan Lissvik, are lithe, shimmering, ashen. "Peripheral Visionaries", with its high-flown lyrics and open groove, is a little Fleetwood Mac ft Paulo Coelho, or Ariel Pink ft Nicholas Mosley. It's a mystic duet, beautiful & strange. She did not know what it meant, to dream of the end of a garden.
  27. Titus Andronicus - "A More Perfect Union" [buy]
    Two years ago, Dan described a Titus Andronicus song as a slow dance with the wolfman, four aspirin, a shooting star and a swimming pool. That works for "A More Perfect Union", only it's a riot not a slow-dance, six aspirin instead of four, and the whole constellation's got guns. Arcade Fire wrote an album about the suburbs but Titus Andronicus recorded one too; The Monitor is less universal but more anthemic, precise and furious and gloriously still living.
  28. Kate McGarrigle - "Proserpina (live)" [video/buy other things]
    This lullaby was Kate McGarrigle's last song. It was never properly recorded, just here in this concert at Royal Albert Hall. She sings to her daughter and grandson, so long stranded across an ocean. She still has her voice of wildflower and thorn. It's a song about coming home.
  29. Kanye West - "Power" [buy]
    Not even West's mediocre rhymes can slow this manowar track, the most tightly spooled of anything on (deep breath) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Hay has been made of the King Crimson sample, but the advancing drums are just as important, the way Kanye simply does not stop rapping, verses like lines of legionaries.
  30. The Lightning Bug Situation - "This Body" [buy]
    Murmur, hidden drums, tiny bells. Perhaps it's Bon Iver who has popularised this kind of folk music, but Brian Miller's songs are differently flickering and less abstract. A story like this is almost direct - yet still partial, dreaming. It began with his recollection of the dogs, at the park, running raggedly past. They had not even looked at him. This was not so strange; they were running. But the ghost had this odd sense, this shadowing or premonition, that animals never looked at him.
  31. Kurt Vile - "I Know I Got Religion" [buy]
    "Everyday when I feel blue / I write a strummer for you." I don't know if Kurt's "you" is Jesus, a friend, or lost souls like me. I know that he's written something beautiful and rough. He grasps with a straining heart, he drives all night. (thank you, kelly)
  32. Unknown Mortal Orchestra -"Ffunny Ffrends" [buy]
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra are one of 2010's best new things. But somehow I've never written about them here, only on Twitter - ceding authority, I guess, to Catbirdseat. They've loosed just a handful of songs, one 7" and a sweet drag mixtape. They're from Portland and they've never played a gig. Whereas Wu Lyf use mystery to isolate themselves, cordoned-off, I feel like Unknown Mortal Orchestra's anonymity is friendly, universalising. Maybe it's the kids in the apartment across the hall. (It doesn't surprise me that they've inspired brilliant little fan videos.) "Ffunny Ffrends" is a sour distorted clomp, pop with lemon edge, lo-fi buzzness with every kind of hook, for raincoats, umbrellas, or a suitcase full of diplomatic cables.
  33. Gyptian -"Hold Yuh" [buy]
    A ping-ping ting. "Hold You" is so simple, pop music reduced to a series of curves: rudimentary, almost childish piano loop; a coolly shuddering snare; Gyptian's gentle delivery of a not-so-innocent chorus. Yet this dance-hall earworm (and mega hit) isn't some factory-farmed single - it's one of the indie-est things on this list (and, more importantly, magnificent.)
  34. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - "I Built Myself A Metal Bird" [buy]
    When I first wrote about this song (NSFW), I accompanied it with photographs of an elephant being taken apart. It was a true event, recorded. This was, I think, pertinent. This is a song about bombs. At a certain point you say, "Enough". A river freezes. A bough breaks. A black cat dreams of the night it will be skinned. But devastation will not relent. Or as Efrim puts it, "Dance motherfucker."
  35. Erykah Badu - "Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" [buy]
    Astral funk.
  36. Vampire Weekend - "I Think Ur a Contra" [buy]
    You could tell me there is still snow on the mountaintop. You could say the birds were all jays. I'd rest there softly, and I'd listen, and I'd be sheltered. But I think maybe I think maybe I think I maybe I too would be lying, love.
  37. Radio Radio - "9 Piece Luggage Set" [buy]
    Now it was May and blazing hot in St-Hippolyte and Ghislain still couldn't listen to tunes. As soon as school finished, he'd get a job stocking shelves at the SAQ. For now, he loped glumly around town, counting bars in his head, rapping under his breath. On Saturday afternoon, while everyone else was reclining in the A/C, watching Iron Man II at the cineplex, Ghislain went down to the river. He sweated in the sun. The grass was packed flat. Ghislain practiced his break-dancing moves and cottonwood-seed blew on by.
  38. My People Sleeping - "Take Anything" [buy]
    A song of luminous interwoven choruses, answer and call, from one of Montreal's best (and prematurely finished) indie rock bands. I could rattle off some shit about stepping through mirrors and the steam of a kettle, but all I really want to say is: you wonder if all it takes is choice to make something easier. You decide ok, and then it is; you shed your skin like you're just taking off a shirt. Maybe if you step through the mirror, you can hold your face right up against the steam.
  39. Standard Fare - "Philadelphia" [buy]
    This is why I still love indie pop. Dan told the tale: Emma Kupa tests a melon. A slight depression, with sweet smelling skin. Cuts clean and slices, drops of melon juice on the cutting board, the counter, the knife. Emma Kupa sings like a proud young bird, chews the rind and watches the traffic, the city is suddenly full of cars.
  40. Bertrand Belin - "La chaleur" [MySpace]
    A stranger duet than it seems: a game of poker where your hands are Tarot cards. Understated but very slightly off, Ethan Iverson & Satie & Lambchop, but French, deeply French. It's a song of thaw, crooked victories, undefeated spring. Courage / Avançons / Un jour arrivera / où nous arriverons. (mille mercis to my friend Alex)
  41. Land of Talk - "Quarry Hymns" [buy]
    From an extraordinary LP, an album of caches, cloakings, this song of angle and crest, loud want. A track about picking things up and leaving them. There are 26 trails behind me, grey trails like single threads; each trail leads to a person and a pair of hands. These threads are thin enough to break, but I have not broken them. I haul them. I feel them behind me, passing through fields, forests, shallows. One of you lives in a skyscraper now, one by a crack in the earth.
  42. Owen Pallett - "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt" [buy]
    Owen Pallett, formerly Final Fantasy, is a master & a safe-cracker and although Heartland is not an album of stand-alone singles, "Lewis" stands like a lone adventurer, a rogue in finery. It's a song that revolts against its own writer: "No I won't!" shouts Lewis. And of course he says it amid this manifold sound - overlapping horns, coursing synths, climbing strings, lifted hooves. Lewis stares steely at a point in the sky.
  43. Drake - "Shut It Down ft. the-Dream" (mixtape edit) [buy other version]
    One of my favourite production jobs of this year - woozy, elegiac, slowing and speeding, stopping altogether. This conjures the album I wish Drake had made; with the-Dream as his hype-man, two crass druids. Also: "ice-cream conversations".

  44. Laura Marling - "Alpha Shallows" [buy]
    Folk music with looming strings, hammered dulcimer, lyrics like torn paintings. Marling lays mazes. "They said we would only be paid when it rained. That didn't seem so bad. Just different. We all wanted difference. So on clear days we'd be poor; on rainy days, we'd be rich. I didn't think it'd matter. I worked in my room. I squinted at the sun. I watched the streets fill with people, praying for storms. I wrote you letters. I wrote, I hope we all drown."
  45. Grimes - "Devon" [buy]
    Mirrors, oil-fires, glaciers, sinking ships, dream processions. And remembering, suddenly, that someone is gone.
  46. Spoon - "Is Love Forever?" [buy]
    Spoon's Transference is the best album of 2010, but it's not an easy knot. An album of crunch and yip, filled with a deep sadness; yet the sadness is camouflaged, sublimated, transferred. Transference rarely sounds sad. "Is Love Forever?" = two minutes of reverberating rock'n'roll, forceful and clear-eyed. You have to listen closer, carefuller: the drums' constant collapse, the riffs' grotesque repetition, the way Britt Daniel keeps asking himself Is love forever?, lost and looped, and the way he is (every single time) cut off.
  47. Girls - "Carolina" [buy]
    Slow to start, like a Sunday. But at 2:06, you get yr first sense of where this is going. It's going wide. New and vintage, blushing delirious, bluzzzy pop with a druggy haze. For a long while it sounds like Elbow, of all people; but then the jukebox cracks open, Phil Spector crawls out w Elvis Costello, and there's lava fucking everywhere. D'doo-wrong-wrong.
  48. Wolf Parade -"Semi-Precious Stone" [buy on iTunes]
    Expo 86 is great. This is even greater. Wolf Parade singing jumbled prophecies, rocking out, their faces lit up.
  49. Belle & Sebastian - "I Didn't See It Coming" [buy]
    In the moment the car sails off the cliff, E has a great idea. It is such a great idea that is it at once the culmination of his career as an artist, and of his relationship with M. M is presently standing on the middle seat, hooting out of the sun-roof. First, E lights himself on fire. Next, as flames lick his sleeves, he skips the CD player to the track "Dancing Queen". Finally, with the ocean rocks hurtling toward the windshield (& M still hooting), he freezes time. He freezes it right before a downbeat. There is fire everywhere, and water, and a high-hat ridging the universe. He is plunging with his lover toward the end, and yet not.

  50. Connan Mockasin - "It's Choade My Dear" [buy]
    Like a slow jam for martians, tentacles carressing pustules, scarlet red and mint green. A Pink Floyd album rotates in another room, atop an off-balance record player. Vapours waft. The evening tastes of midnight, ice chips and tin.
  51. Snailhouse - "Living the Dream" [buy]
    Drowsy and ideal, reverbed and classic, wisdom for doomed & winning insomniacs. Such a terrific arrangement of girls and steel guitar, shuffle and stop. In my dream of Snailhouse as house band, Keith Richards, Garry Shandling and John Ashbery are all in the crowd.
  52. The New Pornographers - "Crash Years" [buy]
    The New Pornographers still doing what they do so well, turning their polished black cannons to the sea & going pop, pop, pop. Epic, hooky, with surprises around every corner - whistles, wheezes, prowling guitar. Neko Case commanding her bandmates to the edge of the battlements.
  53. Tindersticks - "Peanuts ft. Mary Margaret O'Hara" [buy]
    The breeze swept through my shirt like a woman's breath. This thought made me raise my face, made me look at you, and you laughed. Something in the salty air made you laugh. When it got dark we strolled through the sand to the boardwalk, trailing chutes. There were old men with ice-cream cones and little girls with toffee-apples. There were sections of shadow and sections of light. There were peanuts, roasted & salted & sugar-glazed & plain. The paper bags were perfect. We bought the sweet kind and they were still warm.
  54. This Is The Kit - "Waterproof" [buy]
    Ambivalence, worry, dream, with low trumpet, woodwinds, Kate's level voice. I wrote a story about waking, remembering, the unkindness of coincidence. Her eyes opened on the pillow and she thought of him in Victoria, at the very end of the world, in a flat filled with plants.
  55. The Morning Benders - "Excuses" [buy]
    "A dime?!" Charlie said. He looked back across the boardwalk. All the other Tunnels of Love were just a nickel.
  56. Maison Neuve - "Under Skies of Fire" [MySpace]
    Andrew found that when he cupped his hand and then hit his right ear, hard, he could see colours. He showed L. She gave him such a look. "I know I know but try," he said. She stared at him for a long moment. She had hair as golden as witchhazel. She cupped her hand and hit her left ear, hard. "Huh," she said. They sat side by side, socking themselves, in splendour.
  57. Valley Maker - "The First" [buy]
    A song of beginnings, the first track in Austin Crane's album about Genesis. But Valley Maker's story ex nihilo does not evoke cosmic dust, electron fizz, even the slow crawl of algae into orchards. Instead his call & answer speaks to apartments half-lit, faces half-lit, entrances and exits of a different kind. A singer-songwriter with creatures uncoiling at his feet.
  58. Wildbirds & Peacedrums - "Fight for Me" [buy]
    An extraordinary duo with such a singular sound, like wild birds and peace-drums. Here Mariam Wallentin and her husband Andreas Werliin are assisted by the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, and it's my favourite thing W&P has ever done - the bruised dance of those thundering drums, reflecting chorale, Wallentin's dry, wild voice.
  59. Steve Mason -"All Come Down" [buy]
    One of my favourite things about the Beta Band was the way that now and then they reminded me of Phil Collins. Most of this was Steve Mason's doing, with his Collinsian blend of wistfulness and bravado. On "All Come Down" he shows these same qualities, singing like a rising nobody, a humble champion. But whereas the Beta Band were shambolic, "alternative", here everything is perfect, gauzy, pristine. Soft rock and melancholy.
  60. Austra - "Beat and the Pulse" [buy]
    Marvellous new work by Toronto's Katie Stelmanis. The singer's conjurations are guarded by the titular beat and pulse - dark arpeggios, distant high-hats, a buried organ.
  61. Pat Jordache - "Radio" [buy]
    In May, I made up a story about Patrick Jordache, a man who does not exist. Patrick was was a mechanic; Patrick was a carpenter; Patrick was a virtuoso engineer. He spent the month of May turning furniture into radios. He hid tuning dials in freezer cabinets, slid antennas under seat cushions, smoothed speaker grilles to the underside of coffee-tables. He leaves the house and returns six months later, in the rain. He goes into the basement, he opens the fuse-box. He turned on the breaker, sent electricity into the system. The breaker was a radio. The stairwell was a radio. The doorbell was a radio. The marital bed was a radio. Everything was a radio, jubilantly howling. The whole house rang and spoke. It seemed to say, YOU WIN. Pat Jordache is a band, led by P Gregoire, and Future Songs is their triumphant debut.
  62. Soulja Boy - "Pretty Boy Swag (remix) ft. Gucci Mane" [buy]
    Love "Pretty Boy Swag"'s smug revision of ringtone-rap cliché - its (endlessly ringtone-able) hook is so slow-mo it's hardly moving. Gucci adds a certain degree of squandered smarts, but this is still just a cocksure boast with the barest skeleton of a production. And great.
  63. Matthew Friedberger - "Keep Me In The Dark" [buy]
    Matt's solo version of this Fiery Furnaces ballad, messed and melancholy. Listen to those drums. Dan wrote three stories about "Keep Me In The Dark". This one concerns, a brown Impala, a note that says, "ice ain't a meal".
  64. Maps & Atlases - "Pigeon" [buy]
    An electric guitar miniature, vibraphone, some simple questions. Larry Twin's first draft was his best draft. The first draft of the first thing he ever wrote. He was 22 when he wrote it, straight out of college. His whole apartment was packed up, ready to move back to Denton. Only his desk was left, and a pad of paper. He thought, Oh what the hell, I'll start being a writer right now. It took him fifteen minutes, the short story. "Pretty good," he thought. He went out for a beer with Lula. When he moved back to Denton he started tinkering with the story. He changed the sequence, the ending, the main character's gender. Then he changed the title. That first draft was lost. Eleven years later, he had never written anything as good. He knew this. For eleven years, he had published dregs, remnants. He had chased something he'd already forgotten. He had never been as close as on that first night. Larry Twin wished he had brought it to the bar; showed it to Lula. He wished he had showed it to everyone. He wished it had stayed.
  65. Pill Wonder - "Restless" [buy]
    Tape loop, VHS blur, nostalgia & all those things; but also steel drums, shopping mall radio, that pop song you can't quite sing. It falls away so fast, slips like ice in a hot hand. All you'll remember is the rhythm.
  66. The Vaccines - "If You Wanna" [website]
    A song of utter foolhardiness. The singer knows he is being foolhardy - not just fancy-free, reckless, but hardy as a fool. He knows he is singing a love-song to a lover who has not been loyal; he knows he is giving his catchiest chorus to someone who doesn't deserve it. But he doesn't mind. He just wants to get back to that place, running through the dry bright sunlight, with small fast plans, toward kisses with bumping teeth. His band-mates, the Vaccines, they are like: whatever. They are like: whatever, man. They are like: just tell us when we can start playing. They've got hooks ready, riffs stored up; they've got a tambourine beat they'll throw onto anything that moves. C'mon, they say, let's just become famous already.
  67. The National - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" [buy]
    Fruit do not know a single thing about love and longing, about loneliness; they do not know busy concert-halls and warm streets at night; they do not know mystifying conversations and opaque texts, waiting and wondering, and biking as hard as you can. Fruit do not know anything about searching another person's eyes. They know nothing about calling someone's name. Sometimes I am a single, perfect, burnished purple plum.
  68. Zola Jesus - "Lightsick" [buy]
    It's only the piano that keeps this from becoming maudlin - played failingly, stammeringly, losing the battle as Nika Roza tries to win the war.
  69. Willow Smith - "Whip My Hair" [whip it]
    You'd have to be crazy to deny Willow Smith's bizarro triumph a spot in the year's best songs - it's a demented hook, inescapable after yr first exposure. But what really made me love "Whip My Hair", what transformed it from pure corporate pop to a sort of outsider idée fixe, was John Seroff's straight-up brilliant analysis on the Singles Jukebox (worth reading in full): It's a rare moment where we hear Willow string together more than a few unedited syllables; her vocals have been cut piecework from dozens of different takes then frankensteined into a skeleton and you can clearly hear the sudden clips like sharp inhales after every verse ... But just here, at the peak of the song, right around 2:10, the whipped cream and firework recede ever so slightly and Willow is briefly allowed center stage. She steps up to the challenge ... [with] the best take they could get from her: "Don't matter if it's long/short/do it do it/with your hair/your hair/your haaaaaaaair" and here she holds the note as the various elements of the song rise up around her and this is her diva moment now, the moment where any professional singer, any grown woman would hop up an octave or at least belt out a harmony but all that Willow can do (and remember, this is her best take; this is the most they can ask from her), all Willow can do is let out a sad little keen, a whispering lost thing that wavers and crumples. And then she is gone, swallowed up by the tide of beats and her own mechanical voice quoting Devo and evoking Salt and Pepa and she does not know these bands but she has said the words into a machine that spat her out again and now her voice, her REAL voice in the climax of her first song is drowning under the weight of her infinitely echoing false voice and this song that is hers is absolutely not hers at all. It's that half-scream, the best that she could do, that is the reveal; the look behind the curtain. !!!
  70. Parlovr - "Hell, Heaven" [buy]
    Alex from Parlovr wrote to to tell me what "Hell, Heaven" is about. It is about when he was a teenager living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and he fell in love with a girl who lived on a military base. Her father was a helicopter pilot. When Osama Bin Laden threatened to blow up Alex's school, the principal declared a holiday. This is a true story, I think. These years later, Alex lives in Montreal. He drinks beers at Casa del Popolo and coffees at Café Olimpico. There is no sand, no gleaming bone-white city. There are boulevards garlanded by falling leaves, and places to lock your bike, and girls who say Bonsoir. Alex says Bonsoir back. It means Good evening, and Alex cannot help, now and then, from imagining a hidden bomb.
  71. Sufjan Stevens - "I Walked" [buy]
    Sufjan is still his own worst enemy, direly excessive, but even at five minutes, "I Walked" feels edged, charged, precise. With groans, bumps, scattering synths, it's seething soul music, a song of deep confusion.
  72. The Octagon - "Easton" [buy]
    Brambled, messy and sincere. I can say words like 'nirvana' and 'constantines'; I can say names like 'Lou Barlow' and 'Eric's Trip'. But I doubt any of these words & names were uttered as Zachary Mexico, Will Glass and a bassist called the Bunny recorded this lacquered disc of furious heart. They were too busy clutching & pitching & caring, caring keenly, sloppily; and playing hooks.
  73. Javiera Mena - "Acá Entera" [buy]
    From Chile, sequenced synth-pop, like fireworks in daylight.
  74. Ariel Pink - "Round and Round" [buy]
    I've never been sold on Ariel Pink's hollow Eighties pastiche, but "Round and Round" crystallizes as a consummate blend of blurry nostalgia anthem and gentle joke. Love the gang vocals, the just-sharp "Sentimental / heartbreaking / everything is my fault", and the phone-call interlude, like something excerpted from an early Weezer LP.
  75. Josephine Foster and the Victor Herrero Band - "Los Cuatro Muleros" [buy]
    Dan wrote, like a poet & genius, My husband, he is a great man. He drinks and he kisses me when he is drunk, and his cheeks are flush and warm. His hands are big and strong, and he laughs so his teeth show beneath his moustache. He will sing as he cooks, and we often cook together, with the help of our sons. The government is mean, but my husband does not get upset, he lifts his eyes up and thanks the Lord for his job and his family. He smokes too much, I do not like his breath when he smokes.
  76. Frog Eyes - "Flower in a Glove" [buy]
    A song from the edge of apocalypse, when everything can still be saved. Nine minutes long and I gobble it down. "I swept your flax bang / I swept into the currents of the river." Frog Eyes are a drowning, rapturous, from which we'll survive. (Dan wrote about this.)
  77. Khaira Arby - "Khaira" [buy]
    Dan and I both saw Khaira Arby at Pop Montreal, and it was one of the best performances we saw this year. A Malian singer with a valley of a voice, a band with exquisite unrestrained chops. An even bigger surprise was that Timbuktu Tarab, her album, is not an anemic imitation - it's great. This track's my highlight, just crackling with energy - shined and urgent, flying.
  78. Jai Paul - "BTSTU" [MySpace]
    Cooing electro cut-up that's a little Tune-Yards and a little Hudson Mohawke, but a lot good, and it's got one whoop and one "oy!" and saxophones doing the things that saxophones are really good at - not cheeseball ironic solos, or latin horn stabs, but oil-paint colour, surer than any samples. The debut's due on 4AD next year. (thank you, Ami)
  79. Warpaint - "Undertow" (single edit) [buy]
    A song of seduction, of taking; the grimmest sort of serenade. What's the matter? You hurt yourself? An old-fashioned indie-rock sound, bassline playing tricks with the light.
  80. Iron & Wine - "Walking Far From Home" [buy]
    Sam Beam vaulting, actually vaulting, over nettles and steel traps, and gesturing to the sky, and making soft stuff that's a little mean too, thank god, and not pansy hushy dishwasher. I love the rending doo-wop, the clumsy squelching, the aspiration to more than before. (thanks, alexis!)
  81. Tennis - "Marathon" [buy]
    From a wife-&-husband duo, a summer song which somehow escapes from being too beachy, too calypso, and is instead wildflower valley, full July, thistle and shade, bursting with glee but not sunbleached; just right.
  82. Cee-Lo Green - "Fuck You" [buy]
    The year's biggest youtube hit, virulent and glad (&, alas, deceptively unclassic).
  83. RatTail - "Green Guitar" [buy]
    This three-piece band is from Toronto. Their debut is due next year. Dan did it good. Your breath like grassy breeze, your stare like taut string. The clouds lap like sky waves against the back of your head, bursting behind your hair. Suddenly, like blowing out a match, you disappear. But only your body; your clothes, your rings, your gold tooth remain. I will put it all in a small bag, take it home, and leave it by the front door. In case you ever return.
  84. the1shanti - "I ♥ Olivia Munn" [website]
    This is not an ode to Munn - the1shanti only mentions her in the hook, nervously. It's instead a show of bravado, skills, of rhyme & dance & tip-of-tongue. No flattery, just backflips; the tang of novelty-rap, sure, but the1shanti evokes the mincemeat chaw of MF Doom, even MIA's elastic flow. When he tells the story of the Bean, his little clone, it's as if he knows he's getting distracted, knows he's digressing, yet it doesn't matter. He's having too much fun. He'll wriggle through the seaweed, gather nonsense. He'll make her fall for him.
  85. Fulton Lights - "Staring Out The Window" [MySpace/buy at iTunes]
    Fulton Lights' song of a million launchings and crisscrossings, motors revving on dreams. "Staring out the window," it begins, "I'm thinking about my days," but the banality is up-ended, shown to be banal, at least next to the song's riotous chug and booming horns. A man sits in the passenger seat, head leaning on the window, trading talk of tomorrows; but in his heart is the meteoric Next next next next next next, like the snick of white lines under tires.
  86. Ô Paon - "Sainte Patronne de Rien Pantoute" [buy]
    Ô Paon is Geneviève Castrée. This song is wandering and specific, each line unfurling like a path through a wood. Godspeed's Thierry Amar stands behind the controls, helping capture something dark and forceful, a lovely mournful bassline, a forging-on. Castrée's looped vocals fill the distance, like an army's birdcall signals through the trees.
  87. Nana Grizol - "Cynicism" [buy]
    Nana Grizol didn't want us posting this song. Dan wrote a story of childhood grace, and the album was released that day, but Nana Grizol wrote and said, "No, you're only allowed to post something else." And this is a little like making the most extraordinary crown, inset with emerald and azure, and locking it in a chest, and hoping that everyone will know to buy a key. So here's your instruction: You should buy a key. You should buy Ruth. This is a very beautiful small song, about believing.
  88. Katy B - "Katy on a Mission" [MySpace]
    London's new club queen, singing straight lines over a wobbling thump. It's Katy's tale of a night painted ruby, and the montage is exact & familiar: "When we erupt in to the room / And hear the sub go boom / A feeling easy to resume / This right here I swear will end too soon / So I sink in to the tune." If you are struggling to love it, here is a hint, you dear nincompoop: try dancing.
  89. Glasser - "Apply" [buy]
    Cameron Mesirow made this album with Apple's GarageBand software, which I believe calls for this emoticon: O_O. Because I have made music in GarageBand, hell I have used "Apply"'s same drum sample, and let me tell you, no one was signing me to True Panther Sounds, no one was putting me in their best of 2010. No one was going O_O or even o_o. "Apply" will plow you down with torrential synths, yipping vox, the sound of a fine artist a-comin'.
  90. Fabolous - "You Be Killin' Em" [buy]
    A song that's instantly, disarmingly appealing, like the theme to a TV show; and so I get my hackles up, bored by an easy gleam. Yet the neat, even rhymes, the short-long beat, the high-hat like an inhalation of breath - it proceeds, darkening, never more likable than in that first second. Tougher than it seems. And a love song! As Fabolous puts it, "Nice." (kudos, kelly)
  91. Sam Amidon - "Way Go Lily" [buy]
    Sam builds a whole world, asking one question. In spite of all its orchestration, it's a folksong still hidden, a story not quite said. Once again, I'm dreaming of losts and founds. Beth Orton guests. (thanks for bringing it back, tyler)
  92. Foals - "Spanish Sahara" [buy]
    A geode. Foals know the bands who preceded them - Blur, Radiohead, Doves, Bloc Party. There's no naiveté to "Spanish Sahara", just unshrinking love. (cheers milo)
  93. Elton John and Leon Russell - "When Love Is Dying" [buy]
    Finally, a torch song. It's got it all: piano, back-up singers, slow drums, and that chorus, like an arrow set on a bow-string. Sung by two men who could order a glass of water and make it sound iconic. And made with Bernie Taupin, the man who wrote "Daniel" and "Tiny Dancer". You can try to dismiss it, but you will fail; this one's for the aching-, breaking-hearted. Dan told the story much better than me.
  94. Twin Sister - "All Around and Away We Go" [buy]
    Strobing pop song, with Twin Sister's characteristic coo and flick, a strangely predatory bassline, and a melody that dwindles, recurs, dissolves. A disco ball pushed into a candy oven.
  95. Waka Flocka Flame - "Hard in da Paint" [buy]
    Waka Flocka makes a silly, snarling song: spends half his time braggin' burly, the other half just repeating his own name or making handgun sounds with his mouth. But his name sounds awesome, shouted (especially the amazing eponymous verse at 3:08). And he's really good at making handgun sounds with his mouth. And this is all such a taut banging nonsense that my vague desire for um subtlety is just blasted, buried, left six feet under. A little Busta Rhymes, a little Sonny Corleone.
  96. Sade - "Soldier of Love" [buy]
    Sade's "Soldier of Love" is eerie, almost sinister - more kindred to Portishead's "Machine Gun" or Tricky's "Overcome" than to the burnt honey of Lover's Rock. Besides the martial snare, the desert-baked guitar licks, there's that gunmetal bassline chug - heartstrings made of steel. (again, thanks kelly)
  97. Lykke Li - "Get Some" [website]
    Aside from a great line about a shotgun, "Get Some" has some of the direst lyrics of any indie song this year. But that ends up almost irrelevant, swallowed up in a killer hook and a thundering avalanche of drums.
  98. Killer Mike - "Ready Set Go ft. T.I." [buy]
    No ID's beat, deep as the Mariana trench. He walked into jewellery stores, grabbed fistfuls of rings. He took angelfood cakes out of the Loblaws freezer. He stole cars and records. He walked up to a woman waiting for the bus, said, "Give me your phone." She looked at his amulet, glinting like an ember. She swallowed. "Why are you doing this?" she asked. Michael delicately lifted the cellphone from her hand. He said just, "Magic."
  99. Delicate Steve - "Butterfly" [buy]
    Full of warm zing and soft skitter, like the cute small stuff of Penguin Cafe Orchestra or an amphetamined Maher Shalal Hash Baz. But when the big buzz arrives in the last half, Ratatat-packed, it feels more like a wrecking ball, gently pushing some edifice over. (thanks bryan!)
  100. The Tallest Man on Earth - "Burden of Tomorrow" [buy]
    Kristian Matsson, singing like a demigod, singing like, well, Bob Dylan, about his exploits and adventures - fording rivers, melting glaciers, leaping buildings. "I drink my water when it rains", he claims, "and live by chance among the lightning strikes." They're beautiful lies, impossible ones, but the beautiful & impossible does sometimes feel true, in those doubled spotlights of your lover's eyes.

And that's 2010's century of songs, as honestly as I can tell it. 100 is simply the cut-off; the year had mountains-more tunes, plus the myriad I didn't hear. Said the Gramophone spent the year writing about as many as it could, and old songs too, treasures kept in boxes. If you're new to the site, please come again (or subscribe). We update almost every weekday, penning tales about the songs we love.

Thanks for reading, sorry for the broken links, support the artists, share & share alike - and happy holidaze.

Posted by Sean at December 13, 2010 1:25 AM
Comments

Speechless. This is brilliant.

Posted by Lee at December 13, 2010 1:57 AM

It's been 3 years to the list that I've been following this beautiful creation. It's almost overwhelming how much good music there is being made today, and I fucking LOVE that StG tries to find a place for all of it. Thanks for the beautiful visions, keep 'em rolling.

Posted by cliffdogg at December 13, 2010 2:12 AM

Amazing list. Thanks for the roundup, a lot of agreement over here.
One omission IMO: The Radio Dept.

Posted by Morgan at December 13, 2010 3:24 AM

Was waiting for this with bated breath. Astonishing what u do with words. A glorious list. Truly.

Posted by Ami at December 13, 2010 3:40 AM

This couldn't have been more perfectly timed! I was desperately in need of new music. Thanks!

Posted by nickoris at December 13, 2010 4:08 AM

Awesome. And congrats on the new look.

Posted by Pedram at December 13, 2010 4:25 AM

Lovely as always, but I was expecting at the least a Walkmen number... :)

Posted by Jimbob at December 13, 2010 5:11 AM

This list sucks. 90% is pop lame-o-tard hipster shit.

Posted by janice at December 13, 2010 6:38 AM

Always look forward to reading this, Sean, and listening. Funnily enough, my top 20 of 2010 (I'm posting one a day until new year's) starts with exactly the same tune...

Posted by David Belbin at December 13, 2010 7:10 AM

Congrats to another year and a fine list of songs (and another year of zero advertising or annoying site clutter...)! This will accompany me this work week and beyond.

Posted by Matthew at December 13, 2010 8:03 AM

Fantastic and almost unbelievably good. An embarrassment of riches (in both words and music). Thanks, guys.

Posted by Kevin at December 13, 2010 10:37 AM

Sean,

You are amazing. Your indepth knowledge and and your way with words make this list my encyclopedia of todays POP music. Thank you for your efforts. Said the gramophone rules!

Posted by tom at December 13, 2010 11:55 AM

IMHO (and considering I'm studying in Sweden), Robyn is a bit overrated everywhere.

Posted by Pedram at December 13, 2010 12:57 PM

i appreciate the kind words on the willow single.
a great and fun list to explore as always.

Posted by john at December 13, 2010 3:34 PM

Just wanted to let the blogosphere know that not every Janice hated this list. I think it's great and I think you're great Sean!
xo

Posted by Janice Wong at December 13, 2010 3:35 PM

Excellent list. It's one of the few year end lists by music bloggers I actually look forward to and discover music from. Thank you.

Posted by Bruce Warren at December 13, 2010 4:05 PM

Such an honor to be included on a list with so many consumate badasses. Thank you Sean.

Posted by Brian (aka The Lightning Bug Situation) at December 13, 2010 4:49 PM

that is one sick list! so many of these songs are on my own list for the year, but so many new discoveries as well. thank you!

Posted by jeanine at December 13, 2010 8:38 PM

Posted by r.k.a. at December 13, 2010 9:13 PM

thanks thanks thanks!!!!!!!!

Posted by robin at December 13, 2010 10:20 PM

nice list, and admirable effort in the write-up. will provide some good listening. thanks.

Posted by topomodesto at December 14, 2010 2:10 AM

Nice list!

Posted by Zwammer at December 14, 2010 4:54 AM

Dudes. I don't even like a bunch of these songs, but this is just some high quality work. Well done. I love StG. You guys have spirit.

Posted by Sean at December 14, 2010 6:59 AM

I was just curious if you heard the new Shapes and Sizes record? It's a great list and all, but you know...shapes an sizes....they're uh...pretty good.

Posted by Lukas at December 14, 2010 9:26 AM

1. This list is awesome.
2. Does #58 have a name?

Posted by stephestellar at December 14, 2010 10:10 AM

Quarry Hymns and All Come Down are really good picks. Neither might be considered hip or edgy enough by lots of sites, but both are terrific.

Posted by Dan at December 14, 2010 12:08 PM

I love that this list gets longer every year! May it continue to do so, because it makes me happy all throughout December, and beyond. Thanks for all the care you put into this. (Also, I'm glad that Sufjan made the cut, even considering your...complicated relationship. It was on your 2005 list that I first heard "Casimir Pulaski Day." Ah, memories.)

Posted by Alison at December 14, 2010 12:16 PM

oh Sean, this is the only present I ever want for Christmas! Beautiful Beautiful songs, there were some I just knew would be here, and then all the fabulous surprises like buriedtreasure! I'll be smiling all day!

Posted by c.h. at December 14, 2010 12:42 PM

Nice List.
Thanks mate!

Posted by Dean at December 14, 2010 1:19 PM

Glad to see Ô Paon and Sam Amidon getting some love. Two favourites of mine.

Posted by Michael at December 14, 2010 5:15 PM

I always look forward to your lists and the songs I haven't considered. Thanks for an expanded list this year - appreciate all of the write-ups and enjoy reading here regularly!

Posted by G at December 14, 2010 5:49 PM

great list as usual, been checking them since you started, i noticed less folk and more "pop" this time. so glad the shore made the list, one of my favorite songs of the year.

Posted by gil at December 14, 2010 6:06 PM

Thanks, many thanks, again.

Posted by G00blar at December 14, 2010 9:10 PM

Thanks so much for another year of magnificent songs. It's amazing that day after day for so many years now you're finding all these gems, irrespective of trend or genre. being it pop, are sad acoustic fragments or african tribal chants or whatever else it is you find.
We might spend a couple of minutes of our days reading and listening to it, I can only imagine how much of real time and effort it is to actually write it and find it in the first place. So thanks for another magnificent year of Said The Gramophone. And I feel really bad for missing this year's funding drive.

Posted by Tom at December 15, 2010 4:39 AM

Thanks for directing me over here from the previous post. These links are working.

Posted by Chainsaw Chain at December 15, 2010 1:08 PM

Really fascinating list, happy to see a few artists there who also featured in my top 100 songs - http://musictodiefor.wordpress.com/top-100-songs-of-2010-page-1. I was about to berate you for leaving out The Tallest Man on Earth, but he just sneaked in at #100 !

Posted by Nick Wall at December 15, 2010 2:56 PM

As always, this is my favorite time of year, not because of the holidays or the pretty pictures of snow (I live in Florida), but for the StG list of favorites. I have been browbeaten over the last 4 years over my obsession with Robyn, and even though you are simply one man, this list is my vindication.

Posted by John at December 15, 2010 5:14 PM

Sean, you're amazing! I ache from how spot on you are at writing around a song's feel. What an epic list, will work through it all one day.

Posted by Adam F at December 16, 2010 1:59 AM

This post is always one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Thanks so much.

Posted by Carrie at December 16, 2010 11:41 AM

incredible list. thank you. greetings from francfort, germany

Posted by ayayay at December 16, 2010 1:06 PM

thanks for this.

however, i have to say (and it might just be me) i thought overall this year sucked for music. i just couldn't find much i really liked except maybe a few songs here and there.

Posted by er at December 16, 2010 7:27 PM

The Radio Dept had three of the best singles of 2010. So, you leave all three off, and put Willow Smith's Whip My hair on this list.

IM JUST SAYIN.

Posted by Stephen at December 17, 2010 4:30 PM

I know I say this a lot and its kind of cliche, but i want to put my tongue in your rectum. Almost every song on this list made me whip my hair back and forth. A lot of these songs I liked and its glad to know someone else does too.

Posted by Kevin Bailey Crum at December 17, 2010 4:43 PM

I pulled out your 2009 mix about a month ago and have been driving around listening to it. There were a lot of tracks I'd missed back then, or even when that mix had first come up, that I've really been enjoying since. Thank you for doing these.

Posted by Abhay at December 17, 2010 7:53 PM

It's a great list, I think it's a lot of work. I appreciate for what you have done but I would say that you do not listed Liars or Hot Chip. But I know you can't talk about all the groups. Or and I doubt about it, you think that they don't have their place in this top, it will be so sad for me...

Posted by pmb at December 18, 2010 12:26 PM

Sean, the inclusion of Pretty Boy Swag is a slap in the face. There is nothing intelligent, nothing clever, nothing enjoyable, nothing original about it. The slow beat makes the whole thing just that more painful. 'No homo shorty but my chest is straight flexing' ?!! Every single line of soulja boy's sounds like a bad parody of the worst parts of rap. shocked it's on this list.

Posted by mc at December 19, 2010 2:32 AM

I Love You!

Posted by Gabriel at December 19, 2010 8:48 AM

I love your year-end lists. I find that I already have only a quarter of the tracks. I find about half of them baffling. But the last quarter? Spectacular. Of course no one has exactly similar tastes, so I appreciate the music y'all turn me on to.

Great job, in other words.

Posted by Mark Perkins at December 19, 2010 2:55 PM

Well done indeed, a few that I thought were pooh, but hey. full on kudos for doing a 100 track list, you clearly enjoy it and I hasten to add so do I. Thank You.

Posted by Simon at December 19, 2010 3:09 PM

Great list. I couldn't agree more with Drake/the-Dream's "Shut It Down," it's gotta be one of my favorite tracks of the year. As well as "Yamaha." Pretty much anything the-Dream touches is gold in my mind. Favorite artist out there.

Posted by Eric at December 20, 2010 9:05 PM

No "Bombay"? For real?
Otherwise, pretty great list.

Posted by Dee H. at January 4, 2011 12:35 PM

i am totally in support of this list

Posted by sarahspy at January 6, 2011 4:51 PM

Excellent list!

[this is good]

Posted by mcd at January 8, 2011 10:13 PM

The effort and thought you put into the StG Best Songs list every year is amazing! I look forward it and always discover new bands (and re-discover a few old ones) from listening. Thanks and best wishes for a happy 2011.

Posted by AJayDub at January 10, 2011 7:34 AM

Great list - I took the time to get what I could into an Rdio playlist (only 65 of the tracks were available). Any of your readers with an Rdio account may enjoy checking it out:

http://rd.io/x/QH4zL-ky

Posted by patrick at January 17, 2011 7:13 PM

Awesome, really appreciate this list. 100 songs is generous so thanks x100. Will be back here.

Posted by michael at January 20, 2011 9:44 AM

I

Posted by Abe Sanchez at January 31, 2011 10:38 AM

No Black Keys???

Posted by Jon at February 2, 2011 11:33 AM

You probably know this, but the nimble groove on "Rill Rill" is lifted from "Can You Get To That" by Funkadelic. Still... tasty!

Posted by Laurie at February 2, 2011 12:48 PM

Do you have a Spotify List?

Posted by Larsst at February 3, 2011 5:05 AM

Love this list, thank you! Two of my favorite 2010 tracks were missing: Ray Lamontagne and the Praire Dogs "Beg, borrow and steal" and Langhorne Slim "For a little while". Very nice..

Posted by Chausse at February 3, 2011 5:50 PM

Does anyone know how to get my hands on the last couple of year's files? The links and files are gone. This list is awesome for sure. GIVE ME MORE! hahahahh :)

Posted by Nicole at February 4, 2011 12:24 PM

I enjoy reading your writing just as much as I do listening to the songs you write about. Doing so at the same time will probably end up on my Top 100 moments of 2010 list soon!

Posted by Jess at February 7, 2011 10:32 PM

Wow. Just wow. Just found you and like what I'm seeing/hearing. I'm not fond of excessive profanity. I have to agree with Chausse about Ray Lamontagne and the Prairie Dogs "Beg, Borrow and Steal." What did you all think of that?

Posted by eB at February 11, 2011 8:49 PM

Anyone point out the error in your P.S. I Love You album title yet?

Posted by Mike B. at March 10, 2011 4:14 PM

I'm the pickiest of picky when it comes to music, so I didn't go ahead and download the whole thing using the link at the top, but I ended up working my way through the entire list one by one and downloaded each one of them. Awesome selections, thank you so much for all the new music!

Posted by Michelle at May 25, 2011 4:40 AM

Just found this list on here. Wow. Thank you for taking the time to bring us visitors so many beautiful songs.

Posted by Kristy at September 15, 2011 6:49 PM
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Said the Gramophone's best songs of 2014


about said the gramophone
this is a daily sampler of really good songs. all tracks are posted out of love. please go out and buy the records!

to play a song in your browser, click the . to download a song, right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

all songs are removed within a week or two of posting.

said the gramophone launched in march 2003, and added songs in november of that year. it was one of the world's very first mp3blogs.


if you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
montreal, canada: sean
toronto, canada: jordan
toronto, canada: dan


please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets.

if you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. please do not direct link to any of these tracks. please love and wonder.

"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here.

Dan Beirne is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Jordan's posts appear at Said the Gramophone only on the last Wednesday of every month. Email him here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
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Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
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Archives
elsewhere
our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Dau.pe
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Herohill
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Molars
Daytrotter
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Musicophilia
Anagramatron
Nicola Meighan
Fluxblog
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
LPWTF?
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
ftrain
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Marathonpacks
Song, by Toad
In Focus
AMASS BLOG
Inventory
Waxy
WTF [podcast]
Masalacism
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
Goldkicks
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
eat:
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
lawrence
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
ripples
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

shop:
phonopolis
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

shows:
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe


(maga)zines
Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
McSweeney's
State
The Skinny

community
ILX