Friday, 10 December 2010

Listasaurus: The Top 20 Songs of 2010: 14 - 12

The list continues apace. Three more pieces of solid gold.

14. Josh Ritter - 'The Curse'

She asks "Are you cursed?" He says "I think that I'm cured."

I still have a lot of time for good old fashioned songs and that's exactly what 'The Curse' is. It's nothing much really. There's little more than a repetitive piano piece, a lone trumpet and Ritter's well pronounced crystal clear vocal but it's truly a beautiful listen.

I'm not really sure what this song is about. Love, fame and ego perhaps. No one other than Josh Ritter can tell you that but since the release of 'So Runs The World Away' I've been really enjoying trying to decipher this one over and over again. Fantastic video too. The sort of video that you watch once and know that you will forever think about it when listening to the accompanying song in the future.

13. Drake - 'The Resistance'

"I'm living inside the moment, not taking pictures to save it."

I can really see why people dislike Drake. He's an actor, he's riding on Lil Wayne's coattails, he ain't 'real', some of his lines are just so goofy/hammy. Truly, I understand all that. 'Thank Me Later' though, is a record that I've returned to time and time again this year. I've come to the conclusion that (for a change) it's all down to those beats. Drake's long term bro 40 produced a fair chunk of 'Thank Me Later', including 'The Resistance', and it really is wonderfully done. That withdrawn almost isolated beat backs up Drake, who sounds as conversational as ever, fantastically well. It's barely there, I mean, you've really gotta listen out for it but what it does is just so vital.

Lyrically, Drake's got issues man, he doesn't know whether he's coming or going actually. He's carrying his city's weight like a cargo ship but he can't find the time to call his Gran who's just gone in the nursing home. That sort of thing. If you listen to the record you'll discover that finding this balance between blowing up yet staying 'normal' and a relatively decent man is a recurring theme and I dig that a lot actually.

2010 has been an enormous year for Drake with his debut album selling 447,000 copies in its first week and his profile going stratospheric but when success sounds like this, it's hard to begrudge.

12. The National - 'Afraid of Everyone'

"Your voice is swallowing my soul, soul, soul, soul."

The National stick to the 'write about what you know' maxim better than anyone else I can think of. Fears, worries, anxieties, doubts. The murky sides of the human condition, the things we'd all probably eradicate if we could, that's the bands bread and butter.

Since its release, I've gradually come round to the thinking that 'High Violet' is a record of two halves. The second of which ('Afraid of Everyone' onwards) is of such a high quality it's almost scary. In fact, if the first half was as good as the second, album of the year questions would be little more than foregone conclusions. Perhaps it's this consideration - that this song is the start of something amazing - that has assisted me in growing so fond of it. Either that or I've simply fallen in love with a very good song that reassures me that it's alright not to be so sure of everything all the time.

After listening to the song again a minute ago, I think its those ghostly backing melodies that do it for me. Strip them away and this'd probably sound a bit like a demo of a really great song. Leave them in and you have one of the best songs of the year.

Oh, you also definitely have the best outro of the year

All together now, Your voice is swallowing....

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