Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (11-20)

Now we're in the top 20 best songs of the decade...

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

20. Black Pumas — "Colors"

They're new, and they're great. This song is from their 2019 debut album.

19. Tori Amos — "Shattering Sea"

What's so amazing about really deep songs?

(My blog tribute to Tori Amos.)

18. Beck — "Dear Life"

This feels like it could have been one of the Beatles' piano-driven songs by Paul McCartney, like "Lady Madonna" (which was already a retro song inspired by Fats Domino).

17. Kimbra — "Miracle"

You might not recognize Kimbra in this video (musically or visually) from her song in my runners-up list, "Come Into My Head," or from her guest appearance in Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know."

(Kimbra alone in the park.)

16. The Beach Boys — "That's Why God Made the Radio"

Jim Peterik, who wrote this gorgeous song with Brian Wilson and others, described its origins:

[Brian and I] were at an Italian restaurant and we were talking about radio and how great songs used to sound through the AM radio coming through your oval speaker on your Plymouth Valiant and I said, "Man, that was the best sound of all," and Brian said, "Yeah, that's why God made the radio." Of course, I wrote that down. He didn't realize how brilliant it was, or maybe he did, but that's when we wrote that song.

15. Grizzly Bear — "Sleeping Ute"

It's too bad there isn't a video for this song, which could have had a good video in a natural setting; the music is so evocative of exploring new surroundings.

14. Soundgarden — "Bones of Birds"

This is my favorite song from Soundgarden's last album before Chris Cornell's death at age 52.

(Here's a list of my 20 favorite Soundgarden songs, and my post about their commercial breakthrough album.)

13. Phantogram — "Same Old Blues"

One of the things that most interests me in music is a song's structure — the different sections and how they work together. Pop songs often have a predictable structure with a verse, then a pre-chorus, then the chorus as the catchiest part of the song, etc. I like how it's hard to label the sections of this song; no one part is the obviously catchy chorus that stands out from everything else, and yet it still feels like a pop song (albeit a dark one) with distinct, catchy parts.

(Album version.)


12. Beyoncé — "Love on Top"

One chord elevates "Love on Top" above most pop love songs ("Honey honey, I can see the STARS all the way from here…"). A similar chord change is found in the chorus of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" ("They can feel it all OVER"). But Beyoncé makes it all her own. On top of that, the series of key changes in this song is stunning. Beyoncé is one of the great singers of our time.


11. Owen Pallett — "The Great Elsewhere"

The first lines are a take-off of Edwin Starr's "War":

What's it good for?

Absolutely nothing!

<— 21 - 30

Top 10 —>