Top 100 Songs of the Decade So Far (2010-2014)

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top 100 songs of the decade so far

top 100 songs of the decade so far exhibit c80. Jay Electronica – “Exhibit C
(2010; Decon)

We at Treble were sure hoping that there’d be a Jay Electronica full-length to include on our 2010-14 lists, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. For the time being, we’re perfecting comfortable giving accolades to one of the New Orleans-based emcee’s standout singles. From its classic-yet-innovative instrumentals (courtesy of Just Blaze) to Jay’s refreshingly understated vocal play, “Exhibit C” is such a clutch tune, we won’t blame you if you spin it on repeat for a full hour in place of a proper LP. – ATB

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege79. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege
(2013; Interscope)

“Sacrilege” is full of the muscle and bone of rock—drums, guitar, bass—a change from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s prior album It’s Blitz, which was structured around synths and other sundry devices drawn from the electronica tool belt. Karen O is the kind of vocalist who shines in this kind of mix; she’s got a growling, raw voice that balances just this side of full-blown hysteria. This works particularly well here, because there’s no reverence with “Sacrilege” and that’s the point—the specific love riffed on in the song is so enticing, that it’s an affront to God. Karen O has “fallen for a guy / who fell down from the sky,” and what’s more, “there are feathers in our bed.” “Sacrilege” is sinfully energetic, rife with the charging, pounding drums seen on earlier YYY albums. These drums power the song forward with the roaring sound and strength of a steam engine. There’s so much noise here, but it’s organized. It’s sharp and tight. All this energy delights in the sexy sin of whatever’s going in that bed with that angel, even going so far as to crown it all with a church choir. That angel has clearly imbued the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with the musical prowess one would expect from a band that has mortgaged its soul to the O.G. fallen angel. – NG

Perfect Pussy Say Yes to Love78. Perfect Pussy – “Interference Fits
(2014; Captured Tracks)

Perfect Pussy is punk music that moves beyond the low-hanging-fruit targets of corrupt governments, crooked conservatism and social squares; lead singer Meredith Graves focuses her energy on more existential topics, or, in the case of “Interference Fits,” love and marriage: social inevitabilities that feel vain and phony to the confident 26-year-old from Syracuse. Graves’ frustration is both palpable and thrilling as she shifts and contorts her pitch under the weight of distorted noise rock that’s at one moment over-bearing, and during another melodic, recalling late-’80s Sonic Youth. – DG

Yo La Tengo - Fade77. Yo La Tengo – “Ohm
(2013; Matador)

My favorite songs are the ones I find the most difficult to write about. It’s like how there’s lots of beautiful people walking down the street, but you fall in love with one person at a time. I’d be hard pressed to find, in the roughly 6,000 albums Yo La Tengo have released since forming in the ’80s, guitars that sound as good as those on “Ohm,” the six-minute joyride cut from 2013’s Fade. Add in Georgia Hubley’s hypo-drums and maraca workout and it’s a worthy candidate for a list of the band’s best songs. My bones turn to fireworks every time I put it on. – SC

solange losing you top 100 songs of the decade so far76. Solange – “Losing You
(2012; Terrible)

Solange Knowles and Devonte Hynes had each carved out respectable careers prior to “Losing You” — Solange as a neo-soul-influenced pop singer and Hynes as an indie rocker with both Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion. But with this collaboration, each seized the opportunity for reinvention. For Hynes, who had recently embraced ’80s-influenced synth-funk just one year earlier as Blood Orange, it meant stepping into the role of in-demand producer and pop innovator. For Solange, it meant redefining herself as R&B’s most forward-thinking diva. After years of living in the shadow of her blockbuster big sis, Knowles found a far more interesting application of her subtle, yet expressive vocals, wrapped around an African-inspired new wave groove. It’s almost quaint in its teenage naïveté (“we used to kiss all night“), but in sound and arrangement, it’s one of the most sophisticated R&B singles to emerge in the last five years. – JT

Neko Case - The Worse Things Get...75. Neko Case – “Night Still Comes
(2013; Anti-)

It didn’t take Neko Case long to exceed her once-limited role as alt-country siren, but The Worse Things Get… was a leap forward for the already prolific singer and songwriter. “Night Still Comes” is an accumulation of everything we loved about that record. Combining old-timey and modern instrumental influences, infectious harmonies and some of the most inward-facing lyrics Case has ever penned, it’s a true bombshell of a ballad. This single would have left an impression regardless of which singer crooned its heavy lines; with our favorite redhead behind the helm it becomes a bona fide masterpiece. – ATB

Darkside - Psychic74. Darkside – “Golden Arrow
(2013; Other People/Matador)

The experience of listening to “Golden Arrow” is like watching something slowly emerge from the fog. For almost the first five minutes, it’s just the smoky silhouette of a song, slowly gaining definition which each new atmospheric embellishment. By the time anything resembling a rhythm has entered the picture, Dave Harrington and Nicolas Jaar haven’t written a song so much as created a world. It’s a world that proceeds to blossom into something truly funky: beneath Jaar’s ethereal falsetto and Harrington’s skittering guitar, there’s a pulsing bass heartbeat that enters the song with force before eventually fading away, back into the misty atmosphere that Darkside so effortlessly created. – SP

My Bloody Valentine - mbv73. My Bloody Valentine – “Only Tomorrow
(2013; Self-released)

“Only Tomorrow” is one of the many tracks on m b v that makes you believe, if only for a little while, that My Bloody Valentine never left. With the weight lent by distorted, low-pitched guitars, the song feels like the logical successor to Loveless tracks “Sometimes” and “Soon.” But when the song enters its second half, punctuated by a plummeting mantra of a repeating guitar riff, it becomes instead a joyous anthem of the band’s return — and a catchy one at that. While it doesn’t push the band’s sound forward as strongly as the album’s second half, “Only Tomorrow” could hold its own against almost anything on Loveless — and after 21 years of waiting, it’s hard to find a purer joy. – SP

mac demarco ode to viceroy72. Mac DeMarco – “Ode to Viceroy
(2012; Captured Tracks)

“Ode to Viceroy” is a silky-cool, three-and-a-half-minute exhale of satisfaction, the kind Mac DeMarco cherishes after spending too much time away from his tobacco of choice. DeMarco may be addicted to cigarettes, but don’t take him for a fool. Rather than live with the inner turmoil and guilt of smoking, he’s comfortable with the undeniably unhealthy habit, confidently embracing his vice and enjoying the high, even when the rest of society associates it with death and cancer. It’s the kind of unabashed confidence and joyful foolishness that makes him so much fun to listen to.- DG

Beyonce Partition71. Beyoncé – “Partition
(2013; Columbia)

When Beyoncé finished recording “Partition,” she was embarrassed by the overtly sexual lyrics. It’s no big deal, right? Women can be sexual and still be mothers without it being an affront to motherhood — the two are kind of connected. The sexual politics of “Partition” are as vital as the thumping jungle groove and bone-rattling bass Yoncé lays down with the help of a production dream-team—Mike Dean, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and The-Dream amongst them—it’s hardly surprising that it became one of the year’s hottest songs, garnering positive critical reception from nearly every outlet that writes about music, including us. We’re just glad that Yoncé didn’t balk when her Puritan feelings threatened to deprive us of this song. – NG

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