"Tell me what you want from me." - Erykah Badu, Window Seat
1. Window Seat by Erykah Badu
I'm not sure if this is my favorite song of the year but this was clearly the first song of the year that I was obsessed with. The video, the faux controversy of that video, and the fact that this is just a bomb ass soul track with an ill breakdown put this on repeat during several weekends in March and April. And, as someone who spent most of the first half of this year on airplanes (always in the window seat), the metaphors on this track really spoke to me.
2. Just Ain't Gonna Work Out by Mayer Hawthorne
Mayer's A Strange Arrangement was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and his music, along with the retro soul movement he's a part of, was a dominant force in my earbuds this year. Just Ain't Gonna Work Out, for whatever reason, tended to be where I stopped first when it was time to dig in with Mr. Hawthorne. I hadn't realized on initial listens that most of the songs on A Strange Arrangement are break up songs but they are. And they are great break up songs. Particularly this one which grooves hard while moving on.
3. Doin' It Again by The Roots
While I think Kanye West's lastest has surpassed How I Got Over as my favorite album of the year, this track rivals his Power as the wake up, work out, take over anthem of the year. This gets me amped. I want to box anybody or anything that stands in my way. Let's Go!
4. Islands by The xx
The xx's debut release showed up in my collection late in 2009 so, of course, their award winning indie-soul sound dominated the first part of 2010. This track, of which I have way too many remixes, just gets my mind right. I don't know why. I've never even parsed the lyrics to really understand twhat the song is about. I just love the melodies and the muted tones and the groove. It makes me want to lay back, drink in hand, with my arm around my lady.
5. Cousins by Vampire Weekend
Contra was the only new release in the early part of the year that I found interesting. Cousins is a great example of why. It's fun and expansive and bouncy. It was a wonderful counterpart to the serious shit happening in my life during that time. Let's jump around. Let's have a party. Let's forget about all our worries. Me and your cousins and you and your cousins. I can feel it coming.
*I decided that artists could only appear once on the list. Otherwise, we'd just be talking a whole lot about The Roots.