It may be a little early to be making 'best of' lists for 2010, but it's unlikely that during the next month I will find additional songs I enjoy and to which I can develop a lasting emotional attachment. Not enough time really. That's how I picked these songs. They are listed in no particular order.
This is probably my single favorite song of 2010. It's from Glam Sam's second album The Paradise Groove. There is such a fresh, summery, free energy about this track that just makes me want to throw a big party where everyone is dancing and celebrating life in full-on sunshine! Fabulous track from the lemongrassmusic label.
"Fafa" - Vieux Farka Toure
Vieux is the son of Ali Farka Toure, a guitarist from Mali who I first heard when his song "Ai Du" appeared in the French movie L'Auberge Espagnole. It's moody, electric, and bluesy all at one time. "Fafa" has some of that power, but I can definitely hear the younger Toure making his mark here as well. Can never decide if his music belongs in some bayou deep in Louisiana or around a campfire in Mali. Maybe both! The live CD this track comes from is probably under the Christmas tree with my name on it right now.
I had to put something from Samantha James' second CD Subconscious in this list. It was a tough choice to pick one track, because so many songs from this fantastic deep house album struck a nerve with me. I chose this one because, like "The Last Days of Disco", it has a warm feel that makes you want to celebrate the moment you are in. However, this song's lyrics actually speak to that very emotion and the soothing feel of the track puts you in mind of a warm summer night. Another winner from the Om label.
I dare you not to move when you listen to this track. The beat is high energy and driving, complete with a phat rasta vocalist (Dr. Israel). Gaudi is an Italian producer and arranger who I heard came to light while working behind the scenes on the show X Factor. While I'm sure his work there was as generic as American Idol fodder, Gaudi definitely has chops. Entire albums by producers rarely work for me, but this track is throbbing, thumping, and slammin'! Off his No Prisoners CD from Six Degrees.
Like Samantha James, BT put out a phenomenal album in 2010: These Hopeful Machines. A stellar trance producer, BT has spent years positioning himself as some sort of breakbeat mixologist (with iffy results). This album does a fantastic job of fusing his pretensions with his trance roots and even grafts in his closet pop sensibilities. There are a lot of gems on this CD, but "Forget Me" is especially rousing with its surging emotions and aching vocals about the 'beautiful mistake' of life. The song totally had me but, when the chorus break down reveals a child (BT's child actually) singing, I got goosebumps. These Hopeful Machines is BT's best work since his debut (which is one of my favorite albums of all time).
Hope you check out these tracks and artists. They are proof there is good music being made these days; you just won't find it on the radio, MTV, the charts, or carried in a Walmart.