We've reached the end of my Best Songs of 2010. I hope you've enjoyed this little exercise, picked up a few new songs for your ipod, or shit, even got pissed off because you have no idea why I chose any of this shit. LOL. Either way, thanks for reading.
Top six songs of the year after the jump.
6. Erykah Badu – "Out My Mind, Just in Time
This is totally an obvious choice. It's Erykah Badu doing a 10-minute song in three suites. It's designed to be the showstopper on the album and it's designed to knock you on your ass. That it does so so very well is a testament to her skills. Like "Green Eyes" from her masterpiece, Mama's Gun, "Out My Mind, Just in Time" finds Badu letting her guard down and showing her soft underbelly. "Recovering undercover overlover" is a nice turn of phrase, but it's also remarkably vulnerable. We don't get to see this side of Badu often enough, so it is terrific that when we do she makes sure it's memorable.
5. Big Boi – "Daddy Fat Sax"
You can imagine your favorite song from Sir Lucious Left Foot here because really any song from Big Boi's flawless solo joint could be here. But "Daddy Fat Sax" is my favorite song on the album because it is the closest thing to a personal song that Big Boi has yet done. And the track is monsterous. Just pure Atlanta funk like only a Dungeon Family affiliate could do.
4. (tie) R. Kelly – "When A Woman Loves" & Ryan Shaw – "What A Woman"
What I love most about both of these songs is that they are fully committed to recreating the sound of 1950s rhythm and blues right down to the use of real live instruments. There isn't any attempt to filter the sound through a 21st century lens. Both men give spirited, incredibly detailed vocal performances that are both technically great and emotionally resonant.
3. Cee-Lo featuring Goodie Mob – "Night Train"
This is hands down my favorite Cee-Lo song of the year. And, of course, it's because him rhyming with this old brethren Goodie Mob. Everything here works, man. From the hook (….are you reaaaaadddyyyyyyyy"?) to the female vocalist to the rhymes (particularly Cee-Lo's brilliant self-effacing come on of a first verse). It's not the kind of song that has made Cee-Lo famous, but it is always nice to be reminded how dope Goodie Mob really is.
2. Hot Heavy & Bad – "One"
Hot Heavy & Bad is the new group that Joi formed with her boyfriend Devon Lee. "One" showcases Joi's trademark vocal over a terrifically distorted track that captures the song's darkly obsessive quality marvelously. It's a haunting song that stays in your head for days and is a welcome return for Joi, who is perhaps the single most important – and brilliant – Black female artist of the last 20 years.
Also – the video? Best video of the year.
1. Novel – "State of Loneliness"
"State of Loneliness" slays me every time I listen to it. It's the single most emotionally devastating song that I've heard all year and that is why it is my number 1. I get chills every time I listen. There's a tremendous unhinged desperation in this song, in Novel's voice, that I find fascinating. ("ever since I met you I been goin out my mind"). This is not really a love song. It's a song about obsession ("i'll follow you"). And yet Novel makes you almost believe that he's not a complete lunatic, particularly on the bridge that closes the song out. Apparently this song was recorded 10 years ago for one of his albums that was never released. You'd never know it to listen. It's both old and new. Classic and of-the-moment.