By Alison Smith, 20, reporting from Brooklyn, NY, on the music that made her year.
Narrowing down my favorite songs of 2010 to just five was much harder than I expected. This year was filled with new releases from old favorites, as well as a slew of emerging bands. With 2010 came debut full-lengths from Male Bonding and Tame Impala, an exceptional EP from Twin Sister, and an incredible new album from Prince Rama, none of whom I expect to fade into obscurity any time soon.
But overall, I associate this year with a contrasting mix of hazy, dreamy memories and satisfyingly aggressive moments. Here are my five favorite tracks that took me there:
♥ Deerhunter (pictured), "Helicopter" (Halcyon Digest). This song is a good representation of the dreamy, poppy melodies I admire so much from Bradford Cox, both in his solo material as Atlas Sound and as the frontman of Deerhunter. The clarity through a sea of reverb is a refreshing way to appreciate Cox's vocal talents and the effects on Moses Archuleta's drumming blends the decidedly sharp beat into the distance of the song. Plus, I'm still feeling like a bit of a fangirl after seeing the band in October where they played the most animated set I've seen from them yet.
♥ Warpaint, "Set Your Arms Down" (The Fool). I had a hard time deciding which song off of Warpaint's first full-length, The Fool, would make this list. The album as a whole is incredibly enjoyable, with vocals that seem fit for summer but instruments that pull it back into fall with a feeling that I can only describe as that of wearing a velvet dress. I ultimately chose "Set Your Arms Down" because its dreamy, ethereal nature is most representative of the rest of the album. And if you're on the fence about this band, maybe the recommendation video starring an incredibly pretentious young girl named Sunny on their MySpace page will help you out.
♥ Beach House, "Zebra" (Teen Dream). Beach House released their incredible third album so early in 2010 -- and its songs have ingrained themselves so deeply -- that I almost forgot the duo in my end-of-year consideration. Another close call here: Though "Walk in the Park" is a dynamic song, "Zebra" remains my favorite, particularly for Victoria's vocal range.
♥ Avey Tare, "Laughing Hieroglyphic" (Down There). Though I may be in the minority, I was really satisfied with the entirety of Animal Collective's Avey Tare's solo album, Down There. Due to the strong beat and longing vocals, the first track off the LP is my favorite -- it's even my ringtone right now. The stunningly bittersweet emotions that that shine though each of the nine tracks create what may not be choice for fans of Animal Collective's more recent releases, but instead form a swampy album fit for the seasonal depression months.
♥ Snuffy, "Skipping Through The Autobahn" single (Blonde). The B-side to the first single off of this Brooklyn trio's upcoming 2011 debut full-length album rounds out my top five songs of 2010. Something about this song reminds me of America -- like American flags floating around in between the jingling samples. No clue where that association came from, but here's to looking forward to what 2011 will bring for this band.