10 tracks that I listened to most in the year 2010. That doesn't mean the songs were popular or created in 2010. Merely, that they were my favorite, and often cued at the top of my playlist. Here they are, in NO particular order.
1. "What What In the Butt" by Samwell
Best song ever. I'm not a great fan of electro, but I'm a huge fan of anything that is openly GAY. This brash, unapologetic masterpiece from the out-of-the-closet airline attendant stands erect from a society that is constantly assasinating unique identities in order to assimilate and conform. Created in under twenty minutes, this lo-fi piece is begging to be mashed, remixed, stretched, and sampled. But in it's original state (only available from I-Tunes), it's a joyous piece that is celebrates the gay life undiluted!
2. Invocation of My Demon Brother by Mick Jagger
Improvised on a newly purchased Moog analog synthesizer by Rolling Stones frontman in the late 60's, this hypnotic piece accompanies experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger's short celluloid LSD trip. The analog texture of the synth has that gorgeous complexity that cannot be replicated by modern electronics.
3. She Was Too Easy by Arthur (Arto Lindsay?) Lindsey
The opening track of George Rodgers's 1969 grindhouse b-movie The Abnormal Female, along with the free jazz soundtrack and unmistakable Arto Lindsay voice tells me this is the fledgling outing of the Brazilian jazz / pop auteur. The changes of "She Was Too Easy" (the opening track) has that bossa nova Saudade (Portuguese for a certain sadness for something that is lost) that I love so much.
4. Compassion by Nina Simone
From my favorite and Nina Simone's favorite Nina Simone album "and Piano", Compassion is a gorgeous gospel piece based on a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. I listened to the whole record repeatedly at the time my dear friend Louisa tragically passed away. Try "I'll Look Around" to hear the fantastic classical touch Nina Simone had (she was barred attendence to The Curtis Institute in Philly, the most prestigious piano school in this country).
5. Ya Underwear (Go Go Crankin Mix)
Classic funky deep house track that San Francisco's DJ Dan used to spin. It's the sound that I miss so much ever since GBH Fridays changed venues, Centrofly closed down in midtown NYC, Carl Kennedy headed back to UK, 9/11 happened, and "Chill Lounge" put the "slacker" into dance music.
6. A Song by Loudon Wainwright III
The closing track on Wainwright's Little Ships album, it features a lone banjo and a string ensemble. A short song about writing a short song, this meta-song opens into a stately vista that Wainwright marries so expertly between simplicity and patrician grace.
7. Warren Jeffs Explains by Kinkzoid
Illinois experimental rock band came out with this piece that hilariously puts Fundamental Mormon polygamist (FLDS) prophet Warren Jeff's racist, homophobic sermons to a sterilized Muddy Waters' blues riff. I found out about them during my research into the evolution of marriage. Give all their albums a listen at their website for free KinkZoid and make a donation or buy an album if you like what you hear!
8. Grapefruit Moon by Tom Waits
Back when Tom Waits used to sing melodically, this gem from his debut album has been remade, tributed, copied, and modified UNSUCCESSFULLY by dozens of songstresses and artiste. They all failed miserably for the same reasons you can't sing a song that is truly written by a real singer / songwriter: the song belongs to that creator and no one else. Any subsequent "versions" are just cheap Chinese knockoffs that no amount of justifications of "interpretions" can suffice.
9. Heitor Villa-Lobos's Manquinha from Guia Pratico by Elaine Elias
Fusion jazz pianist with Steps Ahead have since become bossa nova chanteuse. Along the way, she came out with a classical album for EMI. Among the bright points in her rendition of Bach, Ravel, and Villa Lobos is Manquinha, a beautiful and restrained piece that has the elegance of Brazilian high culture.
10. Minha (All Mine) by Elaine Elias
Eliane Elias plays and sings Brazilian songwriter / composer Francis Hime's composition, a piece that Bill Evans brought to mainstream American jazz fans in the 50s. Elias captures the gravity and melancholia that spans Bill Evan's 30 years after the tragic death of his bassist / sideman Scott LaFaro.
Extra Credit: Sountrack of Revenge
Not sure if it's on the soundtrack by Jack Nietzsche or not, but the music during the closing credits is the highlight of this Kevin Costner piece. It's a lone gut-strung guitar literally sighing amidst drops of notes like tears. I've loved this piece for years, and recently tried to find out the actual song. I thought, the "touch" of the guitarist is reminiscent of LA session great Tommy Tedesco, especially in his song "Impressions from Hollywood Boulevard." I looked it up and guess what?