2010: Artists of my year

I put the emphasis on my because these aren’t going to appear on anyone else’s run-down of 2010. Or two out of three anyway – the artists of my year actually have a lot in common, but release dates aren’t one of them.

Not that there wasn’t enough good music out in 2010. It’s been a long-ass time since I made one of those numbered lists – I used to love doing it, but I think I might have taken it a little too seriously and they would always end up taking me so long to compile, it wasn’t worth posting them anymore by the time I was finished. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to mention really great albums by Mark Ronson, Hot Chip, She & Him, Tunng, Son Of Dave, Frightened Rabbit (especially Frightened Rabbit – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks really stuck with me), and The Black Keys (always, always The Black Keys) – all of which got a lot of airplay on my iPod.

I’m thinking as I type this that a badass mix tape (the old school kind) could be made of some of my favorite singles of the year. If I did that, the tracklist would probably look a little something like this:

“The Arsonist”, Our Lost Infantry (thanks to Saam at Faded Glamour for letting us know about this one)
“Superfast Jellyfish”, Gorillaz
“Bang Bang Bang”, Mark Ronson (probably my single of the year, if I had to pick one)
“New York Is Killing Me”, Gil Scott-Heron
“Taos”, Menomena
“Best Friend”, The Drums
“The Opposite Of Adults”, Chiddy Bang
“The Cities That You Burn”, Adam Haworth Stephens
“King Of The Beach”, Wavves
“Kentucky Pill”, Johnny Flynn
“Ghost Train”, Summer Camp
“O.N.E.”, Yeasayer

Among others. Hmm, maybe I should make that mix.

Anyway, the point is that, although I loved all of this music dearly, they aren’t the artists I’m going to forever associate with 2010. It wasn’t really my best year ever and, I suppose I really latched on to the way Tom Petty, Langhorne Slim, and Mark Oliver Everett AKA Eels approach music.

Tom Petty?! Yeah, I know, I’m at least 20 years late and it’s not like I didn’t love Tom Petty before last year. But I got to see that amazing Peter Bogdanovich documentary earlier this year and then couldn’t get enough. Same with Langhorne Slim, whose eponymous 2008 album had been wasting away in my iTunes library until I finally remembered to check it out this summer. I snatched up everything else he’s recorded within weeks and at least one of his albums has been on my iPod ever since, no exaggeration. As for Eels – yeah, I listened to a lot of Eels last year too, but again – Mark Oliver Everett’s voice and songwriting just took hold me of me this year even more than before. I loved Tomorrow Morning but listened to everything I have as much as I could; Eels music is, for me, definitely something I love even more the more I listen.

All three play and sing from the bottom of their hearts, reaching deep, deep down for a level of true emotion (both happy and sad) that most other artists can’t dream of – but they all three also infuse their music and lyrics with the kind of hope that just refuses to give up. And I guess that’s just what spoke – or sang – to me in 2010.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Even The Losers
Langhorne Slim – Worries
Eels – Oh So Lovely

Friday Favorite: Tom Petty

Tom Petty – Yer So Bad

Those Zany Charts …

I love Halloween. It’s the best holiday ever and you will never get me to think otherwise. In celebration of this most holy day, I bring you my very own Top 10 Spooky Songs list. There’s a whole ton of lists like this out there – just Google “spooky songs” or “scary songs” and you’ll get loads of results – but I didn’t quite agree with any of them. So here’s my own, based on nothing but my own opinion and love of all things spooky and cheesy.

#10 Ray Parker, Jr., “Ghostbusters”
A dumb, dumb song but, here at 100b, we like dumb. Besides, because of this song, no one will ever be able to answer the question “Who ya gonna call?” like a normal person, so you can’t pretend that it hasn’t had an influence on popular culture.

#9 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “Nightmare On My Street”
Sadly, I have no mp3 or video to share for Will Smith’s 80s, ahem, classic “Nightmare On My Street”. Supposedly, there was a video, but it was scrapped when the Nightmare On Elm Street people were unimpressed by the song’s not-so-subtle references to their movies. Listen to the song here.

#8 Tom Petty, “Zombie Zoo”
In a funny coincidence, I put Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever on my iPod just recently, because I always forget I have it and even though I love Tom Petty, I only know a few songs from it. While hanging around, doing our thing, the Tamboosh and I heard “Zombie Zoo” come up on shuffle and, of course, it caught our attention. It being Tom Petty and all, it’s not really about zombies, but it sure it catchy and a zombie zoo (if considered literally, that is) is too great of an image to pass up.

#7 Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Monster Mash”
Yeah, it’s obvious, but it’s a classic. Plus – did you know that Leon Russell played on “Monster Mash”? Or that the BBC banned it on its original release in 1962 for being ‘too morbid’?! Or that a new version (one of many) called “Monster Rap” was released in 1985 to try and capitalize on the new popularity of rap?!?! (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

#6 Banjo Kate, “Zombie Jamboree”
I don’t know anything about Banjo Kate, or where this version of “Zombie Jamboree” came from (other than the Queens of Noize Folking It Up compilation), but it’s absolutely lovely. And about zombies. Who doesn’t love zombies? In my very quick search about this track, I learned that “Zombie Jamboree” is a pretty old song and has quite an interesting story, go check it out.

#5 The Five Blobs, “The Blob”
So awesome. There’s really nothing else to say. Listen here.

#4 Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
Again – pretty obvious. But there’s dancing zombies. And Vincent Price! This is the ultimate silliness, with a thin layer of cult-y cool. Admit it, you love “Thriller” and its absurdity just makes you love it more.

#3 The Doors, “Riders On The Storm”
Not a spooky song like some of the others on this list, but “Riders On The Storm” creeps me out. It’s all thunderstorms and abandoned dirt roads and perhaps the abandoning of bodies on the side of said roads. Creepy.

#2 The White Stripes, “Red Death At 6:14”
Is it me or does anyone else find the la la la las in this song kind of spooky? It’s like the voice belongs to the ghost of a little girl in pigtails and a pretty pink dress. The whole thing is just weird and vaguely sinister. But in a really good way.

#1 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”
“Red Right Hand” is, without a doubt, the creepiest song of all time. Nick Cave’s voice is all dark and menacing, the music sounds like the slow, heavy footsteps of a crazed killer. I don’t really get scared easily, but this song might seriously creep me out if I played it alone at night. It’s very threatening and makes the hair on the back on my neck stand up. A Halloween #1 if ever there was one.

Happy Halloween!