We could name 121 songs, but I don’t have the space … So here’s a random rundown of tunes from 2010 that have taken turns migrating to the top of our iPod playlists.
I could name 121 songs, but I don’t have the space … So here’s a random rundown of tunes from 2010 that have taken turns migrating to the top of my iPod playlists.
1) “Save My Love,” Bruce Springsteen. This is a leftover? Just one song out of two discs worth of great re-takes from his ’70s “Darkness” sessions.
2) “Sprawl II,” Arcade Fire: There are so many smart, complex songs on this album, and this one brings them all together near the end. Plus it sounds like Blondie.
3) “House of Cards,” Butch Walker: Butch channels ELO, and makes them sound cool.
4) “Ain’t Got No Troubles,” Eden Brent: Fine boogie-woogie blues with a playful wink; she’s classic and fresh at the same time.
5) “I Still Believe,” Frank Turner: “After all, it was rock ’n’ roll,” sings Turner, and he won’t be happy until we’ve all picked up a guitar.
6) “Bring It On,” The Gaslight Anthem: “Give me the fevers that just won’t break,” sings Brian Fallon, and few rockers these days burn with as much passion.
7) “All These Strangers,” Elvis Costello: Lilting and literate, the only song this year to name-check Benghazi and Belgrade.
8) “You Look Like I Could Use A Drink,” Jason D. Williams. The best country catchphrase in years, on the most rollicking piano-driven album since Jerry Lee was dating his cousin.
9) “A Graceful Fall,” John Mellencamp: “It’s not a graceful fall from dreams to the truth,” observes Mellencamp, imbuing the words with simple beauty on a simply beautiful album.
10) “The Curse,” Josh Ritter: Girl meets mummy. Girl loses mummy. Girl dies. Only Josh Ritter could pull this off.
11) “Hurricane J,” The Hold Steady: Craig Finn and dark, troubled women … Let’s face it, it’s a match made in heaven.
12) “Hey Self-Defeater,” Leland Sundries: Laconic and shambling, this is one of several striking songs on an EP that sneaks up on you in its off-kilter brilliance.
13) “Miss California,” Melissa Etheridge: There’s no better Melissa than mad Melissa, and Miss California — aka same-sex-marriage disser, Carrie Prejean — must have really pissed her off.
14) “Champaign, Illinois,” Old 97’s: Bob Dylan meets Rhett Miller for this retooling of “Desolation Row,” a move so audacious it just might work … and it actually does.
15) “Motel Room in Davenport,” Peter Himmelman: Every time you think rockabilly might be dead, a song like this comes along. Turn it up to 11.
16) “I Don’t Wanna Know,” Peter Wolf: If this doesn’t get you twitching like Wolf in his “Lights Out” video, you must be asleep or dead.
17) “California English,” Vampire Weekend: So sue me, I like these guys — they’re like the Beach Boys if the Beach Boys were vampires.
18) “O.N.E.,” Yeasayer: Same with these guys, except they’re like Yaz, if Yaz were skinny, synth-addicted hipsters. I mean that in a good way.
19) “End of an Empire,” The Henry Clay People: Guitars? Check. Piano? Check. Loud, full-speed-ahead rock ’n’ roll? God, yes.
20) “Something Good Coming,” Tom Petty: “Mojo” meandered, but tracks like this show that Petty’s still got it in the heart department.
21) “My City of Ruins (Live),” Eddie Vedder: From the Kennedy Center tribute to the Boss, it’s the best Springsteen cover in years. Rise up, indeed.
Peter Chianca writes the Gatehouse Media music blog Blogness on the Edge of Town (blogs.wickedlocal.com/springsteen). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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