Saturday, December 7, 2019

The 100 best songs of the 2010s (41-50)

We're now in the better half of the best songs of the decade…

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

50. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — "Life is Hard"

I cried at one part of this video.

49. Lorde — "400 Lux"

(Here's a fun cover with a new wave vibe by an Israeli group, the Young Professionals.)

48. Francesca Esmé — "Adult Things"

Full disclosure, the singer is a friend of mine. The song was written by David Safran from Chicago, Illinois; here's an Atlantic post about it.

47. Paul McCartney — "New"

After half a century of making music, Paul McCartney still keeps things "New." I love when this song seems to be ending but then there's a doo wop coda.

(Unplugged backstage.)

46. Ra Ra Riot — "Boy"

45. Chairlift — "Wrong Opinion

44. The Strokes — "Tap Out"

43. King Tuff — "Black Moon Spell"

Rock isn't dead.

42. Regina Spektor — "You've Got Time"

(Strings version.)

41. Prince — "This Could Be Us"

< — 51 - 60

Friday, December 6, 2019

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (51-60)

Now halfway through the 100 best songs of the decade…

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

60. Pharrell Williams — "Happy"

59. Red Hot Chili Peppers — "Dark Necessities"

58. Muse — "Madness"

(Cover by the Pretty Reckless.)

57. Dream Theater — "Barstool Warrior"

Dream Theater might be the most technically complex rock band in the world, but this is one of their more accessible songs. "Barstool Warrior" also makes up for the songs on this list that glorify excessive drinking…

56. OK Go — "I Won't Let You Down"

This amazing video must be watched from beginning to end! (I recommend "full screen" mode.)

55. Fitz and The Tantrums "Don't Gotta Work It Out"

54. Radiohead — "Burn the Witch"

53. Esperanza Spalding — "Elevate or Operate"

52. Gotye (feat. Kimbra) — "Somebody That I Used to Know"

51. nine inch nails — "copy of a"

(Album version.)

(Here are my blog posts about NIИ's first and second albums.)

<— 61 - 70

41 - 50 —>

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (61-70)

More of the best songs of the decade…

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

70. Of Monsters and Men — "Little Talks"

The female singer of this Icelandic band, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, explained that she and the male singer, Ragnar “Raggi” þórhallsson, wrote this song about a widow having a "conversation" with her dead husband. Hilmarsdóttir added: "We don’t know if she’s going crazy or if someone’s actually there."

69. Spoon — "Let Me Be Mine"

68. Passion Pit – "Take a Walk"

67. The Black Keys — "Tighten Up"

David Letterman seemed to like this: "That's it! That's what we're looking for! … Don't kid yourself: this kid can whistle."

(Official video.)

66. The Weeknd — "In the Night"

It's no surprise that this Canadian singer/songwriter has said one of his biggest inspirations is Michael Jackson. You could imagine this song on the Bad album in place of "Smooth Criminal" or "Dirty Diana."

Here's the album version, and here's a live performance with Lauryn Hill, which clearly blew away Jimmy Fallon:

65. The New Pornographers — "Fantasy Fools"

64. Foster the People — "Pumped up Kicks"

Some radio stations banned this controversial song about a school shooter. The lyrics start in the third person but switch to the shooter's voice in first person. See Wikipedia for the songwriter's explanation. He recently talked about possibly "retiring" the song.

This live performance is better than the album version:

63. Alice in Chains — "The One You Know"

62. The Big Moon — "Silent Movie Susie"

61. Hiatus Kaiyote — "Jekyll"

<— 71 - 80

51 - 60 —>

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (71-80)

10 more of the best songs of the 2010s…

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

80. Metronomy — "The Look"

79. Kendrick Lamar (feat. Cee Lo Green) — "untitled 06 | 06.30.2014."

78. Green Day — "Brutal Love"

77. Tool — "7empest"

Unlike almost all popular music these days, Tool has the nerve to venture outside of standard 4/4 time (one of at least 3 songs on my list to do so). Adam Jones's guitar playing on this 15-minute song has been called his best work in over 25 years with Tool.

76. The Claypool Lennon Delirium — "Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons / Movement II, Too the Moon"

This supergroup is Les Claypool and Sean Lennon, the only child of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. John was younger when he died than Sean is in this video.

75. Leon Bridges — "Smooth Sailin'"

Leon Bridges smoothly sails into the past, evoking Sam Cooke.

74. Snarky Puppy (feat. N'Dambi) — "Deep"

73. Bat for Lashes — "A Wall"

72. Sufjan Stevens — "Carrie & Lowell"

Sufjan Stevens wrote this quietly beautiful song shortly after his mom died. She and her husband were named Carrie and Lowell.

71. Yeah Yeah Yeahs — "Despair"

<— 81 - 90

61 - 70 —>

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (81-90)

Continuing with my list of the best songs of the 2010s…

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

90. Rihanna (feat. Calvin Harris) — "We Found Love"

This is really a study in minimalism, seizing on one emotionally resonant line and repeating it over and over as the foundation of the song:

We found love in a hopeless place
(Piano-based cover.)

89. Phoebe Bridgers — "Motion Sickness"

She sings the first two lines with such pure directness:
I hate you for what you did

But I miss you like a little kid

88. Young the Giant — "Superposition"

(A more stripped-down version.)

87. Temples — "Hot Motion"

86. Dirty Projectors — "About to Die"

A band that seems constantly comical, yet serious.

85. Rose Windows — "Wartime Lovers"

84. Metallica — "Halo on Fire"

(Mini-documentary on the making of this song.)

83. Arcade Fire — "The Suburbs"

82. The Smashing Pumpkins — "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)"

So many of the great '90s rock bands have lost their lead singers, forcing them to either disband or reinvent themselves with new singers. So it’s good to see other '90s bands still going strong with most of their original members, like Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins are no longer doing their best work after 3 decades, but they haven’t run out of inspiration.

(My blog tribute to Billy Corgan.)

81. Japanese Breakfast — "Boyish"

<— 91 - 100

71 - 80 —>

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Best Songs of the 2010s (FULL LIST)

Here's my list of the best songs of the decade, 2010 to 2019:

91 - 100

81 - 90

71 - 80

61 - 70

51 - 60

41 - 50


(plus 100 runners-up)

Here's a Spotify playlist of the whole top 100 list so far. (The track numbers are reversed because I'm counting down, so track 1 is the song I ranked #100, track 2 is #99, etc.)

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (91-100)

10 years ago, I listed the best songs of the decade, 2000 to 2009.

Now I'm doing it again: the best songs of the decade that's coming an end, 2010 to 2019.

(Click here for the whole list so far, with a Spotify playlist.)

The rules:

• I'm using the traditional definition of "song," meaning it has to be sung — no instrumentals.

• The song had to be released in 2010 or later. No covers of old songs.

All the usual caveats apply: that this kind of ranking is inevitably arbitrary, that the list is based on my opinions and tastes, etc. For instance, I'm not a big hip-hop fan, so don't expect to see that genre well-represented here (though my 2000-2009 list did include a hip-hop song at #22).

Check out some of these other song lists for different perspectives.

I'll roll out 10 songs per post, counting down from 100 to 1, and I should have the whole thing up before Christmas.

Here goes!

100. The Lumineers — "Ho Hey"

99. Jukebox the Ghost — "Jumpstarted"

Remind you of anyone?

98. CHVRCHES — "Never Ending Circles"

I like how it sounds like the singer's breath is incorporated into the instrumental backing.

97. Vampire Weekend — "Unbelievers"

96. David Byrne & St. Vincent — "Who"

A collaboration by two wonderfully weird musical geniuses.

95. Soundgarden — "Been Away for Too Long"

Full disclosure, this video stars my second cousin, Ariane Rinehart.

94. The National — "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness"

The best song title of the decade?

93. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings — "I Learned the Hard Way"

Sharon Jones died in 2016, but her soul music lives on.

The song starts at 1:15 in this video.

92. Mumford & Sons — "I Will Wait"

91. The Zombies — "Chasing the Past" — LISTEN

It's still the time of the season for the Zombies.

81 - 90 —>