If you’re familiar with this blog, you’ll know (or recollect) that starting in 2014, I’ve posted “Retrospectives” at the end of every year wrapping up all the music that made the year memorable or special in chronological order. Knowing me, most of the music is of that year, but occasionally will feature a record I got into heavily or went into for the first time. I thought, why not try and accomplish this for other years where I’ve been a voracious musical omnivore, aka, the whole of the 2010s. I’ve set off to do just that, starting with the beginning of course.
2010 was when I began Warm Visions and really started paying attention to blogs and other music sites for new music, as well as trawling their older lists and finding musicians from the 80s, 90s and 00s to listen to. I was also teaching violin lessons and making income, which immediately went to either iTunes purchases or discount CDs at FYE or Encore Records. This was truly the tipping point where I fell off the deep end in terms of music digestion. It would only accelerate from here.
Now here’s where this 2010 Retrospective gets a bit interesting, or mostly just reveals my madness. Usually when I make these Retrospective posts, I have a playlist that builds throughout the year and fill in the gaps at the end by combing back through my iTunes library. In the case of this post, I had to improvise and research to find what I was listening to and when. This is because my music library until mid-2011 existed on my family’s desktop computer and when I migrated all my tunes over my current laptop I lost the playlists and other metadata that had accumulated.
I pieced together this playlist thanks to a lot of help from my Best Songs of 2010 list, but also by going through old blog posts and even old Facebook statuses and photo albums to see what song lyrics or music videos I shared, along with seeing pictures of where I was physically in the year to see if that jogged my memory any. It was a stupid process that revealed to me that even in 2010 I was being dramatic and dumb online, but it worked. This really does feel like a month-by-month retread through 2010, hitting major points with CDs I got for Christmas the year prior, to what music videos were free downloads at the time (videos play a BIG part in my remembrance of the music here, I must have spent a lot of time on YouTube watching them), to what teaser singles were released and when. It’s a silly, self-indulgent thing, but I feel like in 2020, we need to think about times that may have been better for ourselves when we’re feeling lost. Hopefully some songs here will jog some happy, decade-old memories.
Listen along and read my 2010 journey with this Spotify Playlist
- Owen Pallett – “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”
The first song of the new decade that I truly fell head over heels in love with. I had never listened to Final Fantasy, Owen’s previous alias, but once I saw he played violin I was like “ok I’m on board”. Still one of the best songs of the last decade, maybe of all time.
- Destroyer – “European Oils”
Dabbled a bit in Destroyer at the top of the decade after seeing so much love for Destroyer’s Rubies on Best of the 2000s list. I also would go into deep iTunes Store “Similar Artist” holes and Destroyer was one of those bands that kept showing up. The name was obviously enticing.
- Modest Mouse – “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes”
Asked for this CD for Christmas in 2009 after seeing it on so many Best of the 00s lists. It would remain in my first car until I had to get rid of it when we moved in 2011, and the CD still exists at home – one of the few I didn’t sell when I needed cash post-grad. Chose this song because I looked back and I made a Facebook status with the lyrics “I just got a message that said “yeah, hell has frozen over”, I got a phone call from the lord sayin’ ‘Hey boy get a sweater right now'”.
- My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow”
Another CD I asked for for Christmas. I had never listened to MBV before until I got the CD and I really only listened to “Only Shallow” for the first few months I owned the copy. Legit didn’t know what “Loomer” sounded like until probably June? July?
- Massive Attack – “Teardrop”
Put out a beacon on Facebook asking if anyone had any Massive Attack recommendations after seeing the cool Mezzanine album artwork. Receiving a bountiful response of nothing, I decided to listen to their most popular song, only to realize it was the House opening theme. Didn’t watch the show, but in 2010 this was a big deal.
- Sunset Rubdown – “The Mending Of The Gown”
More Destroyer-related iTunes Store findings. Why are there no more Sunset Rubdown records?
- Keepaway – “Yellow Wings”
Free mp3 download that I’d like to call “Animal Collective lite” because I couldn’t quite get into AnCo at this point in my life.
- Lemonade – “Lifted”
This has a great music video of what I assumed life in NYC was like, getting in a car going upstate and exploring some waterfall caverns. That laughing sample bugs me a bit, but to a 17 year old this was bliss. Also very reminiscent of the Zora Domain OoT theme.
- Xiu Xiu – “Dear God, I Hate Myself”
Self-deprecation, you win again.
- Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”
And then Yeasayer immediately rescued me out of the pit of the previous song. Nothing short of revelatory. Their album Odd Blood was my first real favorite of that year.
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- Grizzly Bear – “Boy From School (Hot Chip Cover)”
Need more covers like this in my life. Peak blog-core content. I also thought this was an original at first, so I was freaked out when I heard Hot Chip’s version.
- Vampire Weekend – “Diplomat’s Son”
Ok now we’re getting into the big guns. I think Contra was the first vinyl LP I bought with my own money. What a fantastic record.
- Local Natives – “Sun Hands”
Started seeing a ton of buzz for this band and yeah, this record was butter to my ears at the time. I could not stop listening and recommending it to friends. Still holds up.
- Beach House – “Zebra”
After seeing Beach House open for Grizzly Bear the year before (didn’t know who they were at the time), I was looking forward to hearing this. It totally ripped my world apart and turned me into a romantic sadsack pining over imaginary relationships. A foundational, landmark moment in my life.
- Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”
Welp, Hot Chip showed up! I loved the creative music video for this one (I would watch it late at night on my iPod Classic) and the theme of “I only wanna be your one life stand” was a lovely sentiment to me.
- Fang Island – “Life Coach”
I just loved this band name so I gave it a try. Awesome record to say the least.
- Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
The ultimate NPR-listening + tote bag-owning white person’s groove song. The video of the little robot dancing to this isn’t far off from what they look like.
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III”
Another song I quoted as a Facebook status. IMO the best thing GY!BE has done.
- The Thermals – “No Culture Icons”
A friend showed me this band and woah, it was a little much for me at the time but remains one of my favorites to this day. Cool full circle moment in 2016 promoting their record to college radio.
- Girls – “Lust For Life”
Made this a Facebook status and someone called me to “calm down”.
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- The Avalanches – “Since I Left You”
Ok, another CD I asked for for Christmas. I enjoyed the record, but it didn’t balloon into my all-time favorite record until 2014 or so.
- Madvillain – “All Caps”
My first introduction to MF DOOM, until I realized he was also on Demon Days.
- Pavement – “Cut Your Hair”
High schooler listens to Pavement, feels like a cool guy.
- Hot Chip – “Over and Over”
Delved deeper into Hot Chip’s discog and this song was a big one.
- Cults – “Go Outside”
I remember when this song first came out and it totally rocked my world. Still a fav.
- The Good, The Bad and the Queen – “Kingdom Of Doom”
I’m not sure this song was really a huge thing for me in 2010 but I named a Facebook photo album of very rambunctious fun times with my friends.
- Muse – “Butterflies and Hurricanes”
I assisted my friends’ band with a cover of this song for the talent show. Another friend totally arranged a string part for the violin and cello all on his own. It was wild. My friend Clara totally blasted this piano solo and had to run back across the stage to the keyboard. We didn’t win, but hey it was fun.
- The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”
If you didn’t put this song’s opening monologue as a Facebook status in 2010, did you even listen to the song?
- Tobacco – “Fresh Hex (feat. Beck)”
I was a huge fan of Beck going into this song, my first introduction to Tobacco and BMSR. Freaky, wild and endlessly replayed on my iPod.
- Tanlines – “Policy of Truth”
Awesome Spring 2010 song. Forgot which blog I initially found this track on, but thanks to whoever that was. Great album artwork as well.
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- Delorean – “Stay Close”
HUGE summer 2010 jam for me. Song was so strong it inspired me to buy the whole record on vinyl before hearing the rest of the album. Still the best song.
- Das Racist – “Rainbow in the Dark”
Remember the hype around Das Racist in 2010? I miss that.
- Joanna Newsom – “Good Intentions Paving Company”
My introduction to Joanna Newsom. I remember playing this in the car with my mom and she asked to turn it off.
- Gorillaz – “Stylo”
Plastic Beach was my most-anticipated album going into the decade. It lived up to expectations.
- Crooked Still – “The Golden Vanity”
Was a huge Crooked Still fan back in high school, being in a traveling fiddle band helps.
- LCD Soundsystem – “Dance Yrself Clean”
I remember the iTunes Store REALLY wanted me to like LCD Soundsystem. I would listen to the previews and I was like, “these dudes are overrated.” Then this record dropped and I was like, ok I’ll check it out. If you’ve heard this song (and are a fan, or can picture a teenager hearing this song for the first time), you can imagine how I felt. Hooked for life (or until 2017, sorry not sorry).
- M.I.A. – “Born Free”
This song introduced me to Suicide, so that’s nice.
- Goldfish – “Fort Knox”
I heard this song in a Kia Soul commercial.
- Sleigh Bells – “Crown On The Ground”
Totally blew my mind. The most aggressive thing I’d ever heard. I couldn’t comprehend listening to something this “lo-fi”. At first I hated it, then I couldn’t stop listening.
- Crystal Castles – “Doe Deer”
Like “Crown On The Ground”, just pure noise and chaos. Hadn’t listened to anything like that in my life. I would tell friends to put on headphones and play this for them without saying what it was and I got a bunch of negative reactions. I was a good friend.
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- Thee Oh Sees – “Enemy Destruct”
Love the album cover for this album. Listened to it a bunch at the recording studio wooaahh.
- Best Coast – “When I’m With You”
Another monumental 2010 song. If you heard this song in 2010 and didn’t like it, who are you?
- Janelle Monáe – “Cold War”
Up until this point I was definitely a “pop music is crap” person. While this isn’t pop, I was still pretty averse to other music like this. I’d like to think this album opened up a door that continues to keep opening to this day.
- Tame Impala – “Solitude Is Bliss”
Y’all heard of this band? I vividly remember listening to this song at 3am in a tent with my thighs chafed to hell at my small town’s 24-Hour Relay for charity. I stayed up for 24 hours for the first time ever that night.
- Arcade Fire – “Month of May”
Holy crap, the hype I generated about The Suburbs after the first two singles and their preceding teasers was IMMENSE. Thankfully the album lived up to those expectations.
- She & Him – “Thieves”
Zooey Deschanel was a thing in 2010, if you couldn’t remember. Where’s she at?
- Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
I remember getting off the plane in CT for the first time for the weekend of visiting potential colleges while listening to this song. It has continued to be in my main rotation – one of the best songs of all time.
- Nada Surf – “Popular”
Another song from my trip to CT. An essential teenage cut.
- Kanye West – “POWER”
Woah ok, so this was the first Kanye song where I was like “woah, ok”. I remember listening to it in headphones at a Subway and thinking “woah”.
- LCD Soundsystem – “Losing My Edge”
I think most music-interested teenagers around this time had a moment or two with this song early in their lives. I don’t want to say it’s like a pretentious music snob’s guidebook, but it defintiely is.
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- Friendly Fires – “Skeleton Boy”
Free music video download! Would watch most nights on my iPod Classic, once again. In 2019, I finally saw the group perform it live. How about that.
- The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
The Black Keys really took ahold of me in the summer of 2010. Before the commercials.
- The Morning Benders – “Excuses”
HUGE song of the summer for me. Tantalizing to think about if they made more records like their debut. Sorry to this band.
- Flying Lotus – “Do The Astral Plane”
My intro to FlyLo. Groovy, fun and for me at the time, super weird. Saw him perform this live with Thundercat and Chris Rock(??) on stage in 2019.
- Here We Go Magic – “Collector”
I don’t know exactly what about this song was so intoxicating to me, but I listened to it probably 20 times in a stretch of 4 days while on tour.
- The Futureheads – “Hounds Of Love”
Definitely didn’t know who Kate Bush was when I was obsessed with this song.
- Jackson 5 – “Who’s Lovin’ You?”
Shout out to Corinna for this one.
- Kid Cudi, Best Coast & Rostam – “All Summer”
A very strange, very 2010 intersection.
- Wavves – “Post Acid”
Vividly remember re-playing Majora’s Mask while listening to this album regularly. Don’t care for Wavves so much anymore, but this record was huge for me that summer.
- El Guincho – “Bombay”
This music video is so bonkers there was no way I couldn’t like the song. I also was a fan of his previous album Alegranza, so this got me very excited for Pop Negro.
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- Big Boi – “Shutterbugg (feat. Cutty)”
At first I was like, “Big Boi is overrated” (I had no idea). And then I realized this song was stuck in my head nearly all summer. Seeing him from afar at Pitchfork Music Fest was a highlight.
- Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer”
Another Pitchfork Fest highlight. My friends weren’t into their live set, but I thought it was a ton of fun – plus they had a theremin, a high schooler’s favorite instrument.
- Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime”
Another FYE used bin CD pick-up. Totally blew my mind.
- Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
I remember listening to this track with some friends in my room and one friend just saying “this is just Bruce Springsteen!!” over and over. I still have yet to confirm that. But this is still an all-time banger. At this point I knew I was going to be moving next year, leaving the state with all my friends and extended family behind, and this was the ultimate “teenage suburban ennui blaster”. Arcade Fire nailed it.
- New Order – “Age of Consent”
This brings up the oft-forgotten sensation of finding .zip downloads of albums on the internet with completely wrong track lists, missing tracks, or what have you. I had a completely busted copy of Power, Corruption and Lies in my library for the longest time with random New Order singles bundled in and I always thought they were just on the record normally. “Age Of Consent” was actually on it, obviously. I actually think “Technique” was my first New Order CD, but this was the fav in high school.
- Wild Nothing – “Chinatown”
Another entry in the “on every mix CD I ever gave to people” club. So dreamy.
- Sufjan Stevens – “All Delighted People”
This was the first Sufjan project that I ever got DEEP into. Also bonded with my freshman year roommate a year later about this. Amazing stuff.
- Buck 65 – “Blood Pt. 2 (feat. Serengeti)”
Shout out to the Dark Was The Night comp! The Sufjan version is also A+.
- Kanye West – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
At that point, the only Ye song I liked was “POWER”. Then I saw the music video for this starring Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham and I was like, ok this is a good artist. The step dancers? The fact that this was pre-The Hangover? The fact it was filmed on Zach’s farm? Unreal.
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- Fiona Apple – “Criminal”
- Depeche Mode – “Enjoy The Silence”
- Smog – “Teenage Spaceship”
- DJ Shadow – “Midnight In A Perfect World”
- Weezer – “El Scorcho”
This squad of Fiona Apple, Depeche Mode, Smog, DJ Shadow and Weezer were all a result of Pitchfork’s Best Songs of the 1990s list. I’m not sure if “El Scorcho” was included in that but I was in a 90s mood. This period got me onto all of the above artists. I wish I delved deeper into their discographies at the time, rather than just being satiated with the few tracks I grabbed from the iTunes Store or whatever, but streaming didn’t exist so get off my back. I’m fine now.
- Sonic Youth – “Teen Age Riot”
Being a teenager, I decided to finally listen to Daydream Nation after picking up a heavily used CD for $1 at a mall FYE. Was not disappointed, was a car mainstay + a perfect early fall record to listen to approx. 1000 times.
- Salem – “King Night”
I still think there’s nothing out there that sounds like this. In 2010, there was absolutely nothing that sounded like this. Tried playing it in a friend’s car and they noped it pretty fast.
- GOBBLE GOBBLE – “Lawn Knives”
At the time, this was the most futuristic music I could think of. Blistering hyperpop. GOBBLE GOBBLE later changed their name to Born Gold, and also featured Megan James of Purity Ring as a player. Shout out to Garrett on this one, I don’t remember any other blogs at the time covering these guys.
- Glasser – “Home”
- Givers – “Up Up Up”
- How To Dress Well – “Ready For The World”
This trio of Glasser, Givers and How To Dress Well were featured in my “Best New Artists of 2010” feature, mostly because they were also put in Stereogum’s, which was posted a few days earlier. I even stole the pictures they used. These are all still great songs I revisit to this day (Givers not so much actually – shout out to Givers).
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- Deerhunter – “Helicopter”
I think I replayed this song up to 10 times after the first time I heard it. I got goosebumps from how beautiful it was.
- Burial – “Archangel”
I had started listening to Burial earlier in the year, but only later I started REALLY getting into Untrue. Foundational record for me. According to my last.fm, my #2 most-listened record of all time.
- Women – “Eyesore”
The little harmonic note they play at around 3:06 broke my brain, I don’t know why. Something about that little part hooked me instantly. Still a legendary track. RIP Chris Reimer.
- Cloud Nothings – “Hey Cool Kid”
Another music video I thought was so weird and goofy, so I in turn loved the song. How much the band has come from this.
- Sufjan Stevens – “Age of Adz”
Got warmed up by All Delighted People – as someone who got their mind blown by Muse the year prior, this brought it to a new level. Also when I went to buy the CD at Best Buy, an employee screamed at my friend for pronouncing his name wrong.
- LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
I saw LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip in Detroit as a birthday present and I can say to this day it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. The huge array of LED lights behind the band, the sheer SIZE of the band themselves, and I mean, the crowd-pleasing songs from LCD’s first three records are pretty bulletproof. I still vividly remember being thrust around the throbbing crowd of attendees, and not to date myself, but not a smart phone in sight. Sorry!! I did bring my point and shoot camera though, haha.
- Die Antwoord – “Wat Kyk Jy?”
As much as I’d like to forget it, there was a period of time where I was really into Die Antwoord’s debut album. Listening back now I can’t really understand. I’m old.
- James Blake – “Limit To Your Love”
First single from James Blake’s debut 2011 record totally screwed with my head – that big burst of bass sounded hilarious on my friend’s minivan car speakers when I tried showing it to her.
- Can – “Vitamin C”
Thanks, “Losing My Edge”.
- Elliott Smith – “Son Of Sam”
Dipped my toe in Elliott Smith’s music and listened to approx. one song. In it!
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- M83 – “Run Into Flowers”
Got into M83’s Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts as the weather was getting a bit chillier, aka the perfect time to listen to the record. Grey sky splendor.
- Kanye West – “All Of The Lights”
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “POWER” warmed me up for MBDTF, and I asked for it for Christmas on CD. The 10 from P4K also helped. Remember blasting this record in my car as the weather got colder and it started getting dark earlier. I’ve talked to other people who have the same memories – driving in their suburban neighborhoods in late 2010 just BUMPING “All of The Lights” and feeling like we’ve struck gold.
- Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”
After seeing this record get #10 in Pitchfork’s Best of 2010, I had to say “What the heck?” – my question was answered by this track. Woof!
- Fever Ray – “When I Grow Up”
After being weirded out by Fever Ray in 2009 with the “If I Had A Heart” music video (free DL on iTunes!), I largely stayed away from Fever Ray. What a fool! This is amazing. Referencing more music videos, when the beat comes in and the witch on the diving board bends her body along with the music – what a moment. Goosebumps.
- The Knife – “Silent Shout”
I couldn’t really comprehend this record back in 2010, but man I really liked it, especially the title track. Mysterious, dark and propulsive. Had never heard anything like it.
- The Strokes – “The Modern Age”
I posted about this song on Facebook around the end of 2010, but I’m positive I had listened to this earlier. Just putting it here to emphasize I had a massive Strokes phase in high scool.
- Smith Westerns – “Weekend”
After being underwhelmed by their 2010 record, I was totally enraptured by Smith Westerns’ first single of their 2011 album, and would be prominently featured on every single mix CD I made from that point onward.
- The Knife – “Heartbeats”
Oh look, more The Knife. I had spent a while with Silent Shout at this point and decided to look for more. Found this and was instantly blown away. Incredible tune. We all know this.
- Fatboy Slim – “Praise You”
Not sure how, but I came across the music video for this (if you haven’t, please fix) and it was incredibly inspiring.
- CSS – “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above”
Again, not sure how I came across this, but as someone who enjoyed Death From Above 1979 earlier, I liked this song referencing that. Also CSS were just so cool to an 18 year old. They’re still cool now, let’s be real.