12. The Drive-By Truckers-"This Fucking Job"
I love when Patterson Hood sings about working folk, "The Righteous Path" is one of my favorite songs of the last few years and this is in a similar vein. The key thing I love about this song is the turnaround at the end: the narrator is bitching about his shitty job, only to come to grips with the desperation in having no work when he loses said job. Perfect lyrics for The Great Recession.
11. Dr Dog-"Shadow People"
I admit this whole record is pretty great, but you know how sometimes certain bands' vibes give you the creeps? That's what happens 25 or so minutes after my wife puts this record on. But long before I'm fumbling for the right arrow key on the Ipod, "Shadow People"'s radness gives me a great cheer. "It's the right night for the wrong company" is a lyric I wish I wrote.
10. Against Me!-"Because of the Shame"
"We used to get high together, instead of gettin high alone" is a great way to start a story.
For every Against Me! record I've heard, there are moments where I feel like they knock it out of the park (that "Condoleezaaaaa" song) and other sections where I don't quite get it. This is an Against Me! home run. I can't believe they didn't use this as the single, it's really terrific.
9. Band Of Horses-"Laredo"
This is the perfect song for the first car ride of spring where you can roll the windows down. I wrote a song called "Melanin" before I heard this song that I think shares some similarities, oddly enough.
8. The Gaslight Anthem-"Boxer"
I may be in the minority here, but I really like that Brian ditched the Springsteen-referential, "Maria" thing on their new record, they were brave to go in new directions this time around. "Boxer" is them doing what they do best. Not sure exactly what the lyrics are about, but the song is so good I just want to clap along and smile as they get to that bridge. Rock n roll goodness.
7. Title Tracks- "It Was Easy"
This band has the best rhythm section you could find, Andrew Black and Michael "Spider" Cotterman, but they didn't play on the record!! Why the hell not?!
Anyhow, pure smart pop goodness. Best song on a record I wish more people were talking about.
6. The Hold Steady-"The Weekenders"
I'll start by saying, and it's no secret, that I LOVE The Hold Steady. Like, if they weren't friends of mine, I'd be starting-a-local-chapter-of-the-"Unified-Scene"-fan-club-for-suburban-Philadelphia-kind of love them . I like "Heaven is Whenever" but I didn't quite get out of it what I got out of the other 4 records. This song, however, has everything I love about this band. Great story, killer guitar hook and that that gnawing sense of the other shoe dropping despite the party peaking.
5. Mumford & Sons-"The Cave"
I hear this record what seemed like a million times this year, my wife was all about it. This is the first song that made me want to hear more from them.
4. The New Pornographers-"Crash Years"
Cool reference to The Smiths in "Honey child you're not safe here". Neko Case, what more can be said?
3. Brandon Flowers-"Hard Enough"
Brandon Flowers doing what he does best, delivering a great hook. I love how pop he got on this record, he was pushing into almost Elton John or Phil Collins territory. Jenny Lewis' harmony is so killer on this song. Repeat.
2. The Black Keys-"My Next Girl"
Great vocal on this song, killer Stones-ey lyrics too. I love how he delivers the lyric so far beyond the beat, like James Brown's drummer or something. Definitely not auto tuned, beat detective-d, or focussed group-ed.
1. Cee Lo Green-"Fuck You"
C'mon, how can you not love this tune? It's been said before, that this was 2010's Hey Ya, and it's a good comparison so it bears repeating. So fun. I've watched that video a dozen times and it never gets old.
Thanks for reading. With Bright Eyes releasing a new 10 song record in 2011, my list won't be that interesting or diverse so I'm glad you got to read this one...