Friday, January 14, 2011

Best of 2010

Sorry to the faithful readers in the delay of this post. And without further ado...

2010 Albums
1. The National - High Violet
2. Mumford and Sons - Sign No More
3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
4. Beach House - Teen Dream
5. Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt & Sometimes The Blues ...
6. Anais Mitchell - Hadestown
7. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues
8. Nathaniel Rateliff - In Memory Of Loss
9. Josh Ritter - So Runs The World Away
10. Laura Marling - I Speak Becasue I Can

2010 Mixtape
When I put this list of songs together, I started by identifying every song that made an impact on me in 2010. It could have been a fun song, a catchy song, a meaningful song or a mood setting song. Then I tried to narrow it down to a manageable number, and eventually I trimmed it enough to fit on the old fashioned blank CD. Then came the hard part; how do I sequence the songs in a way to make the mixtape descriptive of my year? I tried to identify the reasons behind my reactions to each song and use those reasons to organize the mixtape.

Dream Sequence
I spent a good portion of 2010 having dreams, trying to understand them or chasing them down. Turned out this manifested itself in a good number of the songs chosen
528491 - Hans Zimmer
A curveball. Good to start out with a curveball to get the listener off balance, but this song represents the most impactful sound waves to hit me in 2010. Anybody who was anxiously anticipating Inception got excited any time they heard these deep, powerful foghorns. This was also one of the smartest songs of the year. Read more here.

The Dreamer - Tallest Man On Earth
This song made me stop in my tracks in the first 10 seconds. Rare to do to me anymore. I must’ve listened to it 12 times in a row after that.
Awake My Soul - Mumford and Sons
Best song on one of my favorite albums. And a great Take Away Show to boot.
Cloudy Shoes - Damien Jurado
Doesn’t specifically mention dreams in the song, but it has the same atmosphere that accompany most of my dreams.
Change of Time - Josh Ritter
“I had a dream last night, and when I opened my eyes…”

The Trying Time Section
Somebody once told me that man can do anything if he knows there will be an end to it. I responded that I could do anything as long as I could listen to music throughout, with or without an end.
Rambling Man - Laura Marling
“Its funny how the first chords you come to, are the minor notes that come to serenade you”
Wait For Me - Anais Mitchell f. Ben Knox Miller and Justin Vernon
“But if all you got is your own two legs, you best be glad you got them”

The Train Section
Workin' for the MTA - Justin Townes Earle
I love trains and I spent a good deal of my year on trains. And I especially like songs about trains. Country songs about trains and in old New York.

In Concert Highlights
Early Spring Till - Nathaniel Rateliff
Saw him open for The Low Anthem and I didn’t expect much. I was half paying attention to him when a couple songs into his set he played this song. The sincerity in his voice cut through the crowd chatter and drew me in.
Postcards From Italy – Beirut
Summertime, outdoors, Balkan folk.
Afraid Of Everyone - The National
One of the highlights from my musical highlight in 2010. This was the fourth song they played when I saw the in Oakland, but the first song that crushed me. Matt Berninger sings with a lot of feeling and emotion and it comes across on their records, but that only captures about 5% of the power of him singing live. This song really had that power.

The Upbeat Section
Not much to say here other than these songs got a lot of dance time in 2010.
Everlasting Light - The Black Keys
Walk In The Park - Beach House
Moves - The New Pornographers
Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire
Home (RAC mix) - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

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