Short List: The Best Movies of 2010 (and the 5 most overrated)

The Best

10. Hot Tub Time Machine

9. The Next Three Days

8. Dinner for Schmucks

7. The Kids Are All Right

6. I Love You Phillip Morris

5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

4. Black Swan

3. Greenberg

2. Winter’s Bone

1. The Ghost Writer


The Most Overrated

5. The King’s Speech

4. Get Him to the Greek

3. The Social Network

2. Catfish

1. Inception


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Short List: The Best Pop Songs of 2010

10. Love The Way You Lie – Eminem ft. Rihanna

9. Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas

8. Alejandro – Lady Gaga

7. Like a G6 – Far East Movement ft. Dev and the Cataracts

6. Rude Boy – Rihanna

5. What’s My Name? – Rihanna ft. Drake

4. Telephone – Lady Gaga Ft. Beyoncé

3. Whip My Hair – Willow Smith

2. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

1. Fuck You! – Cee-Lo Green

Liz and Laura’s Finite Playlist: What We’re Listening to Right Now

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Liz

Liz drinking

1. Jim O’Rourke – Insignificance

2. Beach House – Teen Dream

3. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit

4. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

5. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me


Laura

Laura Record Background

1. Pink Martini – Splendor in the Grass

2. Childish Gambino – Poindexter

3. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West

4. Gang Starr – Moment of Truth

5. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)

Music writing: Field Music, Fanfarlo, Lee & Willbee, In One Wind, and Insound

Field Music’s Field Music (Measure). Vocal harmonies, prog, metal, psychedelia. A bit of everything rooted in classic rock.

Fanfarlo’s Reservoir. Catchy indie pop peppered with lots of fun, random instruments.

Lee & Willbee’s North Carolina. Electronic meet acoustic folk.

Insound. Awesome online store for records and so much more.

In One Wind’s In One Wind. Folk that experiments with jazz, vocals, and rhythm.

Liz and Laura’s Finite Playlist: What We’re Listening to Right Now

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As always, just because we list an album, doesn’t mean we necessarily endorse it. This list is simply a reflection of what happens to be on our download lists at the moment. With that said, here’s what we’re listening to right now.

Liz

Liz drinking

1. Beach House – Teen Dream

2. Owen Pallett – Heartland

3. Juana Molina — Segundo

4. St. Vincent – Actor

5. Quiet Loudly – Soulgazer


Laura

Laura Record Background

1. Sade – Soldier of Love

2. Weezer – Raditude

3. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

4. True Blood – Original TV Soundtrack

5. Glee – Original TV Soundtrack

Beach House – Teen Dream

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Both being a teen and dreaming can be disorienting, strange, and something from which you might soon want to flee; both can be a terrifying nightmare. But the title of Baltimore-duo Beach House’s third album also suggests a nostalgia for the innocence of adolescence, especially that which lives in the awkward but potent era of youthful self-discovery. On Teen Dream, all these confusing emotions, reminiscent of so many helpless teenage nights, gain expression through Victoria Legrand’s intense, captivating alto and Alex Scally’s alternately thudding and playful guitar.

With this disc the pair holds onto their successful formula of warming pop melodies and timeless structures, and this is not to their detriment. Indeed, the tracks exist to service Legrand’s stop-you-in-your-tracks voice that carries so much power, sorrow, or wonder, and Scally’s endearingly shy yet commanding guitar; the synth and organ hums merely provide the scenery. Funnily enough, though the word most often used to describe Beach House is “dreamy,” they craft some pop in this album that’s downright exuberant, exhibiting the volatile emotional state of the titular life stage.

First single “Norway” leaps immediately into a swirling cloud of coos and disorienting guitar that certainly wouldn’t be appropriate before bedtime. The accompaniment plays drunkenly behind the vocals in the verse, moving the track along its woozy way until the chorus resumes the din and tells the audience where it all went down…it’s Norway. Before there’s time to really figure out what’s going on, the song closes with Legrand wailing the name of this destination in some sort of cleansing, showy release.

“Used to Be” is a wonderful melodic and tempo departure for Beach House, and yet sounds so decidedly like them. It begins with a jumpy, staccato vocal line mirrored by classic piano, a slippery thing that sets a playful tone before it all escalates into an alarmingly cheerful high that never goes away. The track only gets bigger and bigger until the chorus explodes with an energy that could break all the windows, welcomed in by a shimmer of cymbals embodying all the flair of jazz hands. And yet even so, the song is not necessarily happy as it considers the ways relationships change and the sense of loneliness that instability can bring.

This is followed by the equally intoxicating “Lover of Mine” that cinches the band’s place in accessible pop, its upbeat and catchy feel as close to a summer hit as these guys may come. An 80s synth pop and dancey thing, it flows with a, well, dreamy air as pulses punctuate the fog. “Hear my cry/lover of mine” Legrand begs as she stumbles forward, until she belts out a chorus consisting of upward-reaching vocal lines that display endless possibility even in the face of sour subject matter. It doesn’t matter what this song is about, because these moments make you want to leap into the air, arms outstretched to the sun, not caring who might call you a hippie.

Teen Dream sees hope in the face of sadness and beneficial lessons in the wake of pain, but above all it carries the happy feelings brought by good pop. Legrand and Scally’s voice and guitar are unmistakable, and the tunes they craft make ample indulgence for the easily bored while never leaving music’s most accessible genre. One can only hope to wake from those teenage years with their sense of joy intact; Beach House carries emotional weight in their tunes that have the ability to rattle and to haunt, but they appear to have survived the journey.

Arbitrarily ordered list of albums from the aughts that Liz likes

2009 music

Ween (White Pepper)

Calexico (Feast of Wire)

The Dandy Warhols (Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia)

St. Vincent (Marry Me)

The Shins (Chutes Too Narrow)

New Pornographers (Twin Cinema)

Elliott Smith (Figure Eight)

Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes)

Animal Collective (Strawberry Jam)

Beach House (Devotion)

Radiohead (Kid A)

Postal Service (Give Up)

Broken Social Scene (You Forgot It In People)

Dirty Projectors (Rise Above)

Iron & Wine (Our Endless Numbered Days)

Modest Mouse (The Moon and Antarctica)

Neko Case (Middle Cyclone)

Radiohead (In Rainbows)

Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)

Joanna Newsom (Ys)

Outkast (Stankonia)

First of all, I find it extremely difficult to order this list in any sort of relevant way. After several stressful minutes of rapid cutting and pasting, I’ve decided to present these to you randomly.

Secondly, I am aware that these are all pop albums. Perhaps that says something for how innovative pop music really is, because an “I’ve got to hear it 100 more times” hook can be written by any band, and at any time. There is, of course, much merit in creating mood, inserting enticing content, or alarming the audience with noise they’ve never heard before, but what will always burn into your brain are those infectious bits you find yourself humming as you live your everyday.