30 Years of Music: 2010

2010 is an off year for me. Though I’m sure there were plenty of releases that other people could get excited about, when I perused the list of albums from that year, I could only come up with ten songs about which I had anything to say. That’s not to disparage those other releases, but when I write about music, my knowledge and enthusiasm only extends so far. Still, I feel like I’ve got ten good ones here, so let’s get to it.

Logo for 30 Years of Music: 2010

Die By The Drop – The Dead Weather

I first saw The Dead Weather on MTV2’s Subterranean, during the days in which I still had satellite TV, shortly before I moved back to Montana. I enjoyed them immediately, whether it was Alison Mosshart or Jack White singing. They are equally capable of a loud, punk rock sound and something more bluesy and sexy. And here, “Die By The Drop,” from their second album, Sea of Cowards, almost takes a turn for the glam. Listening to them again now reminds me that I need to investigate their music further.

Rocket – Goldfrapp

Here we have something delightfully ’80s: “Rocket.” Listening to Goldfrapp makes me so damn happy, even if she’s singing about something sad. Here, she sings about getting rid of someone in her life:

Danger, heartache
something must die

The video takes the “you’re never coming back“ line to a literal end, and who knew that duct taping someone to a purple rocket could seem so”¦ fun? Alison Goldfrapp, you minx.

Tightrope – Janelle Monáe (feat. Big Boi)

Huh. Here we have the second video with mirror-faced hooded creatures. Must have been a thing to do in 2010.

That aside, what a great song “Tightrope” is. I love how Janelle Monáe does exactly what she wants to do, and if she’s going to wear a tux or have a concept album inspired by David Bowie, then she will. G’wan, girl!

Please hold while I dance for the next five minutes.

End of Me – Apocalyptica (feat. Gavin Rossdale)

CELLO. METAL. With Gavin Rossdale, no less! I mean, come on, of course I’m picking this song.

When I still played the cello – if any of y’all want to buy me one, it can be in the present tense again – I used to think about how much fun it would be to have effect pedals for it and do crazy shit à la Rasputina, or to have a big rock song that primarily featured the cellos.

And lo, ten years from that point, here is Apocalyptica with one of my favorite performers, the always beautiful Gavin Rossdale. Get in.

Coffee Spoon – Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids put out an EP in 2010 with five songs that were recorded since around the time of their second album, Loyalty to Loyalty, up until that year. Though they enjoyed the songs, they didn’t fit with the previous releases, so they were collected here.

I really dig this song, and the title reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Perhaps that was its intent.

ascetics wring their hands
this decadent misuse
inside my china room
you are my coffee spoon

Superfast Jellyfish – Gorillaz (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)

I’d kind of forgotten that Gorillaz released an album in 2010, but here they are with “Superfast Jellyfish,” a title that makes me giggle a bit, taken from their third album, Plastic Beach. Like many Gorillaz singles, the video is wonderfully weird.

Beat the Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

What a great song title from a band with a great name. “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” is woozy, smoky, and fantastic. It’s a sweaty, Church of Rock ‘n Roll hymnal worthy of multiple plays.

Devil’s Spoke – Laura Marling

I truly love this song, and Laura Marling is another musician whose music I need to properly own rather than just listen to her on Spotify.

All of this can be broken
All of this can be broken
Hold your devil by his throat
and spin him to the ground

I love the rambling guitar, Marling’s voice, all of it. I feel like if I gave myself the time, I could write whole essays on her music, but right now, all I can say is: Listen.

Tighten Up – The Black Keys

Honestly, I’m not super-familiar with The Black Keys, except that I know lots of people really like them, and the 2010 album Brothers might be when they really became popular with the indie kid set. They seem to be in a similar musical neighborhood to Cold War Kids, which is good by me.

The video is funny, especially this line at the beginning – “But he smells like ranch dressing!”

Tik Tok – Ke$ha

Hold up, hold up – Don’t throw things at me! At first, I really hated hearing this song. Ke$ha with her dollar-symbol-as-lettering and half-singing, Woooo! existence isn’t normally my kind of music. And that’s fine. You dig what you dig. However, when I saw this song paired with original Star Trek footage, I found it hilarious, and that laughter translated into some affection for the song.

Even if you think you hate “Tik Tok,” try playing this video. You may end up enjoying yourself.

When you’re finished, peruse Wikipedia’s roundup of 2010 in music, and tell me what I missed. I know some of you are Spoon and OK Go fans, who both had albums released that year, and I’m sure there are other songs in my musical blind-spot. Let me know.

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

11 thoughts on “30 Years of Music: 2010”

  1. *joins you in dancing to Tightrope* I can’t sit down when that song starts! I remember seeing her perform it on So You Think You Can Dance and the crowd going nuts! At least, I think it was SYTYCD…

    And I’ve lost count how many bands and duos Jack White has formed

  2. Black Keys gave me the excellent video for “Lonely Boy” which I may have recreated this past New Year’s Eve, so I pretty much adore them.

    Also Janelle Monae is a Q.U.E.E.N. and that is a terrible pun based off of her most recent single which I am listening to now, because it is so great.

  3. She and Him’s Volume 2 is such a beautiful album. This is right before Zooey Deschanel blew up from indie it girl to mainstream it girl…M. Ward is a fantastic musician and all of his contributions both to She and Him and his solo stuff is great. My favorite song on the album is Thieves

    The Album that Shall Not be Named by the Band that Shall Not be Named

    Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene is fantastic. It is sad that this might be the last BSS record. :(

    High Violet by the National. This guy’s voice is the most manly voice evvaaa. Seriously that video to BloodBuzz Ohio is awesome and his voice reminds me of a lumberjack

    ugh i could go on…the arcade fire’s album was awesome, eels, klaxons, superchunk, and of course KANYE WEST!!!!!

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