a) Not posting on the blog. This is clear for all to see. I offer no excuses. "November spawned a monster..." Morrissey once sang. He neglected to mention that it definitely doesn't spawn blog posts, the nimby little fop.
b) Whittling a long list of songs down to twenty entries so I can post a list of them on this perverse little corner of the internet.
A disclaimer of sorts first though. I don't think 2010 has been a vintage year by any means and I fully expect my list to overlap with other sites and blogs. Anyway, here goes. Lists are serious shit people. Serious. Shit.
20. The Hold Steady - 'The Weekenders'
"She said 'the theme of this party's the industrial age,'...and you came in dressed like a train-wreck."
'Heaven Is Whenever' really didn't last very long in my CD player. Regrettably, it didn't hook me like The Hold Steady records have in the past and by that I mean fish hook in your mouth that will never let go hooked. I remember the artwork being incredibly cool yet I barely remember five songs from the actual record. Still, 'The Weekenders' is one of my most played songs of the year.
Craig Finn opens proceedings with "There was that whole weird thing with the horses..." and from there on in you find yourself living in a Hold Steady dreamworld. As powerful as it is unsure of itself, 'The Weekenders' just begs to be played over and over again because it simply has everything you want from rock song. That irresistible soft/loud verse to chorus pattern, those big riffs and all those lines you just wanna tattoo on your skin. The Hold Steady do what they do and when they do it right, it's unforgettable.
19. Rick Ross (ft. Styles P.) - 'B.M.F (Blowin' Money Fast)'
"I built it ground up/you bought it renovated..."
I'm not writing a separate list on the best beats or producers I've heard this year. I mean, I'd love to but I've got a job and stuff. Even so, I don't mind admitting that the main reason that 'B.M.F...' finds itself in this list is the absolutely ridiculous beat Lex Luger pulled out for this joint. I can't remember the last time I heard something that just breathed enormity. This thing is like Godzilla with skyscrapers for feet pounding down the street. With backing like that Ross could've done pretty much anything on this beat and it would've sounded monstrous but he steps up to the plate pretty well too. It's Rick Ross after all, it's going to be big and it's going to be dumb but that beat, well, it's two things; irresistible and undeniable. Just listen to it man. Listen to it loud and then get someone to help you up off the floor.
18. Broken Bells - 'The High Road'
"Come on and get the minimum..."
When I first heard about the Broken Bells collaboration I was excited and worried in equal measure. On one hand you had one of the best lyricist and singers in indie rock and the most sought after producer going working together. Yet, in the other negative and dirty hand you have that nagging doubt that Dangermouse tries to do too much sometimes. He can really suffocate songs and albums with too many ideas, that one trick too far. Hey, there's a reason no one remembers any Gnarls Barkley songs aside from 'Crazy'. Yes, I agree that once you have made a song like 'Crazy' your talent should never really be questioned ever again but whatever.
Still, on 'The High Road' everything fell into its right place. Mercer was given space to breathe, the drums were perfectly paced and stated and that "...it's too late to change your mind" coda could sing a sunburnt baby to sleep.