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Ali's 2010 - Songs

My top 10 songs of the past year, feel free to suggest others.
Majesty And Decay

A decade after their masterpiece, Close To A World Below, Immolation proved in 2010 that they are still at the top of their game and remain one of the best death metal bands around. The terrific title track from Majesty An Decay was also in keeping with the bands knack of producing crushing slower numbers which eclipse the brutal mayhem with which they are surrounded. Immolation?s sound may not initially appear to vary too much from the hordes of similar bands out there, but ultimately, they do crushing riffs, relentless drums and harsh gutturals better than pretty much everyone, and this track proves as much.
Ethica Odini

In a year which was sadly devoid of many truly great riffs in the world of rock and metal, the opener to Enslaved?s eleventh LP stands out like a white t-shit at one of their gigs. The spiraling chord progression that signals the arrival of Axioma Ethica Odini is the first of it?s many highlights, but the song in which it is embedded is without a doubt the strongest on the record. It?s easy to focus on the riff, but the rest of the song isn?t half bad either, with the band exploring their progressive tenancies and Grutle Kjellson and Herbrand Larsen?s vocal trade-offs working a treat. Energetic, engaging and accessible, this is Enslaved at their very best.
8Frightened Rabbit
The Loneliness And The Scream

Although it was another thoroughly enjoyable record, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks wasn?t a patch on Frightened Rabbit?s masterpiece, the majestic Midnight Organ Fight. Much of this was down to the songs lacking the emotional depth which made that record so special, but while it?s not exactly in the same mould as ?Floating In The Fourth? or ?Keep Yourself Warm?, ?The Loneliness And The Scream? does prove to be an exception. It may seem a bit repetitive, and the handclaps might strike some as cheesy, but in reality it hardly matters when the melody and sing along qualities present are so good. In an uncharacteristically upbeat record for the band, this proved to be the most joyful moment.
7The National

In truth, about half of High Violet could have featured somewhere on this list, but it has been this late album highlight that I have been enjoying the most as of late. Matt Berninger?s vocals, as per usual are simply sublime throughout, while instrumentally the band add a little more diversity here than on the rest of the record, with a horn section largely replacing the Dessner brothers wall of sound. It?s this diversity, along with the song?s wonderful climax, which mark it out as a highlight, and although it inevitably hasn?t been getting as much attention as ?Bloodbuzz Ohio? or ?Terrible Love,? this song is more than fit to rub shoulders with them on such a brilliant album.
6The Dillinger Escape Plan
Farewell, Mona Lisa

This year brought about another hugely impressive album from The Dillinger Escape Plan, and it was this opener and lead single which proved to be the highlight. As per usual with this band, the instrumentals are nothing short of stunning, but here it is the performance of vocalist Greg Pucatio which takes the center stage. Pucatio?s ability has never been in doubt, but on Option Paralysis he really outdid himself, and no more than here, where his stunning range is showcased in all it?s glory, with the intense screaming of the first half contrasting brilliantly with the epic singing of the second. A colossal song which ranks among their very best.
5The Tallest Man On Earth
King of Spain

Having never previously heard of him, hearing the lead single from The Tallest Man On Earth?s new album got me really interested, and although the record as a whole was fantastic, King Of Spain remains, for me, the undoubted highlight. Kristian Matsson?s guitar work, as always is top drawer, but it?s his songwriting that impresses the most, as it shows a clear step up in quality from his earlier material. The gentle, warm atmosphere is also a vital part of the songs appeal, but at the end of the day it?s the irresistible melody which makes this song stand out from the pack.
4Four Tet
Love Cry

A nine minute repetitive beat wouldn't have sounded at all appealing to me a year ago, but hearing Four Tet?s latest record really helped to change my perspective. ?Love Cry,? although lengthy, is an simply a piece of genius, from a man who is quitely making some of the best an most innovative electronic music around. The intensity throughout keeps the song engaging, and although it builds for much of its duration, it wisely resists including any kind of climax which would disrupt the momentum. There Is Love In You was a great record with a number of highlights, but the fact that this individual song stands out so clearly just goes to show how good it is.
3Kanye West

If My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was to work, its centerpiece, the nine-minute ?Runaway? had to shine. And although it is undoubtedly self-indulgent in the extreme ? particularly during the auto-tuned back end ? the song is an unqualified success, being the strongest track on a terrific record. The beat is killer, Kanye?s singing is some of his best yet, and the production, like the rest of the record, is virtually flawless. The edited version that was released as a single was exciting enough, but the full version, and how it fits seamlessly with the rest of the record is something else entirely, and arguably Kanye?s finest moment yet.
2Arcade Fire
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Despite their relatively small discography, the Arcade Fire have already shown us that they are capable of pulling off a range of different styles, and so have developed a pretty diverse sound. This synthpop number, though, was new territory for the band, but few would be surprised with how majestically they execute it. Régine Chassagne?s vocal is awe inspiring, and fits perfectly with the huge musical backdrop which is perfectly suited to the arenas they now fill. Funeral remains comfortably the bands finest moment, but in terms of individual tracks, this late album highlight from The Suburbs matches anything they?ve ever done.
1Titus Andronicus
The Battle Of Hampton Roads

More than most, 2010 has been a year with some fantastic individual songs, but ?The Battle Of Hampton Roads? is so good it simply obliterates all the competition. The Monitor is an album with it?s fair share of highlights, but undoubtedly saves the best for last, as this closer pretty much summarises everything the record offers in fourteen joyful minutes packed with unexpected twists, fabulous lyrics and stylistic changes. The first nine minutes ? amazing as they are ? simply act as a means of building up for the enormous bagpipe-led climax, which simply speaking, is one of the best you are ever likely to hear. It?s a song you genuinely cannot heap enough praise on, it?s that good.
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