Now that we're midway into September, I figured it's about time to put a cap on summer and relive some of my favorite songs from summer 2010. I skipped this post entirely last year for a couple of reasons. The first was because I was so disgusted by last summer's music, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The other reason is that I've determined that no one reads long blog posts any more and so mostly, I'd just be writing it for me. This year, since the music was so awesome and because I decided I don't rightly give a shit if no one reads it, I'm back for another round. I've limited myself to 12 songs.
As always, in no particular order.
1) Heard It On the Radio / The Bird & The Bee
The summer started with this song and its light and breezy sound pointed to the plethora of good music to come out of the summer. It was the sole original song on The Bird & The Bee's album full of Hall & Oates covers. It was also the best song.
2) Get Outta My Way / Kylie Minogue
Although the official single release isn't until later this month, "Get Outta My Way" was the official song of the summer chez Cullinan. While my favorite song on Aphrodite has changed with the wind (it's that good), when it's all said and done, "Get Outta My Way" is a Kylie classic.
3) I Put My Ring Back On / Mary Chapin Carpenter
Chapin's ode to the day-to-day struggling that happens in even the best of marriages is currently my most-played song in iTunes. The reason for this is because every time I listen to it, I want to hear it again. The combination of her husky alto and Vince Gill's tenor in the backing vocals is pure heaven. Plus, it's just the kind of bittersweet text married to a killer hook that I've come to expect from her.
4) Ain't No Son / Courtyard Hounds
Courtyard Hounds is made of of two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks (lead vocalist Natalie Maines is MIA) and the result was pretty predictable. It lacks the fire of the best Dixie Chicks material, instead veering more toward generic Sheryl Crow AOR. "Ain't No Son," which chronicles the relationship of a father with his gay son from the point of view of the father is the only song of theirs I've heard that really has bite.
5) Your Love / Keane
Keane is so aggravatingly uneven. The Night Train EP was mostly meh for me, so much so that "Your Love" was the only song I bought off of it. Usual lead vocalist Tom Chaplin takes a break and Tim Rice-Oxley takes over for a single song. For the longest time, I couldn't tell the difference. It makes me wonder if he'll sing more songs for their next album.
6) Oh No! / Marina & the Diamonds
I would like to think that Marina is a major new voice in pop. While there's no denying THE VOICE, she'll just never get airplay or exposure here in the U.S. and since we all know that the U.S. is the world (not), it doesn't matter how much success she has overseas. (see: Kylie) "Oh No!" is one of the standout tracks from her album The Family Jewels which I would advise everyone to pick up.
7) I Was Made For Sunny Days / The Weepies
I owe my exposure to the Weepies to my friend Bess who included their song "Can't Go Back Now" on one of our DMB (Dan, Matt & Bess) CDs a while back. Their breezy California folk-pop is pretty irresistible. Their new CD Be My Thrill is not as instantly engaging as Hideaway, but "I Was Made For Sunny Days" was an integral part of the summer playlist.
8) Hormones / Tracey Thorn
The best bittersweet song of the summer (and you know I love my bittersweet.) A song from a mother to a daughter whose hormones are "just kicking in" while the mom's are "just checking out." Lyrically poignant and with a driving melody behind it, it's just about as Dan as you can get.
9) Better Than Love / Hurts
Oh, Hurts. I just don't know what to make of them. They are kind of a 21st century amalgam of Pet Shop Boys and Johnny Hates Jazz - and I mean that as a compliment. Still, after a few listens, I find their album to be a bit unsatisfying despite the fact that there are several strong songs on it. This is one of them.
10) Clap Your Hands / Sia
A late addition to the summer playlist, Sia's album We Are Born is a bit hit and miss, but I enjoy this little lightweight track. Besides, anything with hand claps in it is automatically worthy. And it had just about the cutest video I've seen in a long time.
11) Bloodbuzz Ohio / The National
The National are probably the most "one of these things is not like the others" entry on this list. Lead singer Matt Berninger's baritone is very much a love-it-or-hate-it type of thing. It was seeing The National live that won me over to their indie rock style which usually I don't have much time for. This was an early summer favorite that has waned some for me, but it's still top notch.
12) Invisible Light / Scissor Sisters
I wasn't sure what to expect from the Scissor Sisters this time around. Their last album, Ta-Dah!, left me a little bit cold. It suffered from Hard Candy syndrome in that, despite having several strong songs, the entire album was somehow less than the sum of its parts. Fortunately, Night Work doesn't really repeat the same mistakes. And album ender "Invisible Light" is probably my favorite of all of them. What puts it over the top is with its Ian-McKellan-as-Vincent-Price spoken portion.