When I was younger, I listened to the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 religiously. When I say religiously, I don’t mean I just tuned in. I mean I sat there every week with pencil & paper and wrote down the positions of every song on the chart, as well as how it changed from the previous week & how long it stayed on the chart.

In honor of this, I decided to put together my own countdown of my favorite songs from 2010. Because narrowing it down to 40 (from over 200 candidates) was so hard, I decided to make a Top 50 instead. I’m also including a quick note or lyric next to each, just because. And now (for both people who are actually going to read this), The Into the Black Top 50 of 2010!

  1. Breathe Caroline – “Hello Fascination”: You build me up just to break me down. You’re being loud without a sound. You paste me in just to cut me out. Hello fascination.
  2. Every Avenue – “For Always, Forever”: We were young and we lived it up, but those nights never lasted long enough. Looking back we were so naive. What happened to the days when we shared our dreams?
  3. Mika – “Kick Ass”: Heard this during the closing credits of the movie Kick Ass and immediately picked up the soundtrack.
  4. The Friday Night Boys – “Stuttering”: What can I say, I like good powerpop, and this song sounds like it belongs in the trailer for one of the screenplays I’m writing.
  5. Michael Bublé – “Haven’t Met You Yet”: For the romantic optimist in all of us.
  6. Sick Puppies – “Maybe”: So why does it feel so wrong to reach for something more, to wanna live a better life? What am I waiting for?
  7. Boys Like Girls – “Love Drunk”: I used to be love drunk, but now I’m hungover.
  8. Meat Loaf – “Los Angeloser”: The first album I ever bought was Bat Out of Hell II. All these years later, he’s still got it.
  9. OneRepublic – “Good Life”: It may not be hardcore to sing about how good things are, but damned if it’s not healthier.
  10. Placebo – “For What It’s Worth”: Battle for the Sun was a great album, and this song’s catchy as hell.
  11. Mike Posner – “Cooler Than Me”: Saw him perform on Carson Daly & was an instant fan.
  12. Needtobreathe – “Something Beautiful”: Hey now, this is my desire: Consume me like a fire, ‘Cause I just want something beautiful to touch me
  13. Flobots – “White Flag Warrior” (feat. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against): I’m always down for a good protest song, and this is one of the better ones to come out in the last several years.
  14. Taking Back Sunday – “Where My Mouth Is”: I’ve got a strong will, just weak hands, and I don’t know what to do with either one of them
  15. Shout Out Louds – “Fall Hard”: And If you fall hard, I fall harder (falling backward) / If you’re gonna break, just let it break / I’ll pick up the pieces and mistakes
  16. Motion City Soundtrack – “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”: The things that used to mean so much to me have gone the way of dinosaurs, hopes and dreams, and everything.
  17. The Classic Crime – “Salt in the Snow”: I have heard that winter’s cold will give way to summer’s warmth. Oh no! Like salt in the snow, I’m melted and left all alone on the side of the road.
  18. The Crüxshadows – “Quicksilver”: I always try to catch them when they play at Dragon*Con, and “Quicksilver” is my favorite song of theirs, period. — I’m taking back my love, taking back my pride, taking back my dreams and my life / This is the ground I will defend / A rage of angels bears the end
  19. Locksley – “Darling, It’s True”: Saw these guys open for Butch Walker, and they were pretty awesome. Great sound, & great live performers.
  20. Bowling for Soup – “If Only”: Leave it to Bowling for Soup to write a funny song about longing. This song is just a chorus and a bridge, with all the “verses” being voicemail messages. And yet, it really works. There’s nobody else quite like BFS, and that’s why they’re one of my favorite bands.
  21. A Rocket to the Moon – “Like We Used To”: Because who hasn’t felt this way after a breakup? A little emo, but I’m not above that. — Does he watch your favorite movies? Does he hold you when you cry? Does he let you tell him all your favorite parts when you’ve seen it a million times. Does he do all these things like I used to?
  22. The Rocket Summer – “Roses”: If you want a great album, check out The Rocket Summer’s Of Men and Angels. Every track on it is quality. I’m a sucker for good piano rock.
  23. Parachute – “The Mess I Made”: Parachute’s Losing Sleep is another album that’s practically a straight line of five stars in my iTunes. Highly recommend.
  24. Rise Against – “Savior”: Rise Against kicks ass. This is undisputed fact.
  25. The Script – “I’m Yours”: There are so many great tracks on The Script’s self-titled album, but I’m including this one because it’s just such a beautiful song. — I may not have the softest touch; I may not say the words as such, and though I may not look like much, I’m yours.
  26. Scouting for Girls – “This Ain’t a Love Song”: I’m going down, I’ll be coming back fighting. I may be scared and a little bit frightened, but I’ll be back, I’ll be coming back to life
  27. American Bang – “Wild and Young”: Great track, but whoever made it the theme song for WWE NXT probably just saw the title & didn’t have a clue what the song was actually about. — I fell in love with a Southern girl / I gave her wings / but she don’t wanna fly no more.
  28. Danko Jones – “Full of Regret”: This, my friends, is how you rock in 2010. — Regrets, I’ve had mine / Lonely nights and a whole lot of wasted time / If you see her won’t you tell her for me / It’s better this way to avoid our misery
  29. Anberlin – “Impossible”: Anberlin can do no wrong in my book.
  30. Butch Walker – “Trash Day”: Butch always has some fun songs on his albums, and this is no exception. For another fun song off of I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, check out “Days/Months/Years.”
  31. Cody Copeland – “Banjo & A Harp”: Cody’s a friend from Seaside, & an extremely talented musician currently residing in Chicago. This is my favorite track off his album, Luster. It’s so evocative, and makes me want to want to write a movie just so I can shoot a scene featuring this song. — If only I could give you more / although I’m not fully sure / what exactly I was lacking from the start.
  32. Mat Kearney – “Fire & Rain”: City of Black & White is a great album that got a lot of plays from me last year. This was my favorite track off the album.
  33. Ace Enders and a Million Different People – “Over This”: Just don’t give up, cause we’re not done / see the world has taken hold and it’s trying to pull you from me.
  34. Aranda – “Whyyawannabringmedown”: Fun song that just begs to be blared from your speakers. Kelly Clarkson covered it to prove that she’s got some rock in her.
  35. Daughtry – “No Surprise”: One of the best songs about moving on to come out in the last few years. —It’s no surprise I won’t be here tomorrow. I can’t believe that I stayed till today. Yeah, you and I will be a tough act to follow, but I know in time we’ll find this was no surprise.
  36. After Midnight Project – “Take Me Home”: My most played song of 2010. — Slow down my heart / I wanna go / I’m breaking apart / And I’m sorry I can’t love you / I’m sorry I can’t make you see who I am.
  37. Christian Kane – “Making Circles”: Very raw, very real song about struggling to make a relationship work when there’s just no way. — And you would think that we’d get enough / You know we’re goin’ to fuck it up / We’re holdin’ on and sinking down / Here we go round and round / Making circles
  38. Weezer – “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To)”: When I heard that Butch Walker was producing an album for Weezer, I got excited. When I heard this song, I knew Raditude was going to be my favorite Weezer album yet. I was right.
  39. American Hi-Fi – “Where Love Is A Lie”: I love American Hi-Fi, and this song contains one of my favorite similes in recent memory. — But way down deep, you never sleep / you’ll always remember / her high wire grace, her smiling face / and a kiss like December.
  40. Cee-Lo Green – “Fuck You”: The most fun anyone’s had saying “fuck you” in years.
  41. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”: Between Lady Antebellum & Christian Kane, 2010 was the year I realized that deep down, maybe I am a little bit country after all.
  42. Neon Trees – “Animal”: It’s impossible to listen to this song and not dance along. It’s just so damned catchy!
  43. The Script – “Breakeven”: The Script’s self-titled album was on regular rotation for me in 2010, & the new album, Science & Faith (coming out January 18), is just as good. — I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing / Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in / Cause I got time while she got freedom / Cause when a heart breaks no it don’t break even
  44. Ace Enders and a Million Different People – “When I Hit the Ground”: Ace Enders is one of my favorite artists I discovered this year. Great sound, great lyrics, great vibe. — Cut me deep so you can see everything’s not what it seems / On my knees, I’m breaking down / Just know I loved you when I hit the ground.
  45. Butch Walker – “Pretty Melody”: Butch’s latest album has got some amazing ballads between this & “Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home.” I love Butch’s ballads because instead of being all syrup, they feel real, fleshed out with sex and life. — Do you remember when we met? / Liquor drinks and cigarettes / All the boys were taking bets, credit cards so in debt / Bought drinks from you at the bar / Poured them out behind my car so I could come back to where you are / And order from you again and again.
  46. All Time Low – “Weightless”: This was my anthem for 2010. — Maybe it’s not my weekend / but it’s gonna be my year.
  47. The Spill Canvas – “Our Song”: A great song about how every romance doesn’t need to be straight out of a movie & the difficulties in reaching those expectations. — We’ll never be strangers kissing in the pouring rain, chasing after your leaving train / but we know that’s not how our song goes.
  48. Jonas Sees In Color – “Luck and Love”: Awesome song about optimism, hope, and love. — I wasn’t looking for love; she wasn’t looking for trouble. But we found what we found, so now I keep my fingers crossed and my eyes wide open. I don’t know about love, but at least I believe in luck again.
  49. Christian Kane – “Let Me Go”: You may not know Christian Kane’s music, but you may recognize him as Lindsay from Angel & Eliot from Leverage. I’m not usually a fan of country music, but his album, The House Rules, is easily one of my favorites of the year. — So let me go, you don’t need me baby / Stop holding on the way you are / Don’t you know I’m no good for you and it’ll only break your heart / If you don’t let me go.
  50. The Rocket Summer – “Hills and Valleys”: My favorite song of 2010. It’s beautiful, it’s uplifting, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. — I wouldn’t know just how sweet this tastes now / No, if at first I did not go through bitter times, through bitter places / I’ll stay alert for new battles / But for now, we’re here.

So there you have it, my favorite songs of 2010. Hopefully there’s some new music in there you haven’t heard before, because it all comes with my seal of approval (seriously, I bought a seal. But I have to keep feeding it fish, so I suspect that I bought the wrong kind.)

Leave a comment with your favorite songs of 2010, and let me know if you want me to hook you up with a CD of these to expose you to some great music (you know, if I know you & you didn’t just stumble here through Google).

Everyone who knows me who has ever heard me talk about music knows that I’m a huge Butch Walker fan. He is by far my favorite artist, and has been for over a decade now. There’s something about his music and lyrics that really moves me, and is easy for me to relate to. Regardless of the mood I’m in or what I’m feeling at a particular time, he has a song for that (hmm, I think there’s an iPhone add in there…) And not only does he have a song for whatever it is, he has the RIGHT song for it. So anytime I get the chance to see him play live, I jump at it. I’ve jumped almost 20 times now.

Is it really any surprise that this site is named after one of his songs? (note: this was written when the blog was hosted on my IntoTheBlack.com domain)

Butch Walker

This was Butch’s final stop on a four city minitour (like a minotaur, but with roadies) that took him from LA, to NY, to Chicago, and finally ATL. He’s had a four show residency in each city, where he takes a night each for his last three albums (Letters, The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, and Sycamore Meadows,) and then one more show that’s a grab bag of songs from throughout his career that was voted on by his fans over Twitter. When I ordered tickets, I had originally intended to buy them for the Letters show, as the grab bag show was sold out & Letters is my favorite album. However, due to a mistake on the Ticketmaster site, the shows had been mislabeled, and I had actually purchased tickets for the grab bag show. In any case, it’s certainly nothing I’d complain about.

My friend Krissy went with me to the concert, and it was her first experience with Butch Walker. She’d probably heard some of his music before just from being around me, but she hadn’t heard any of his albums, let alone seen him live. And seriously, if you want to introduce someone to Butch’s music, the absolute best way is by taking them to one of his shows. The man’s not just a songwriter; he’s a storyteller.

The opening act was Jarrod Gorbel, who I’d heard play before with his former band The Honorary Title at one of Butch’s shows a couple years ago. He played an acoustic set that was really good, and the guy had a great personality and sense of humor (also, he looks like a cross between Jared Leto & Toby Maguire.) I scrounged together the last of the cash I had on me to buy his EP on the way out.

Of course when Butch came out, the place went crazy. Or at least as crazy as a small intimate venue could; he commented that he liked actually being able to see the audience (incidentally, we were able to get seats in the fifth row, which rocked.) Before he started, Butch mentioned how weird it was to be playing some of these songs, as some he hadn’t played in years, some he didn’t think he’d ever played live, and some he never wanted to play again (he’s looking at you, “Vampires in Love.”) But hey, we’d sealed our doom by voting for them, so he was going to play them (cheat sheets and all.)

It was great hearing some of the old favorites I hadn’t heard live in a while (“Let Me Go” and “Every Monday,”) as well as a bluegrassy version of “Valium.” For “Grant Park,” he kicked back and just played the guitar part and let us sing the song back to him, which is always fun; I don’t think I’ve actually heard him sing “Grant Park” in the last six years, even though I know he’s played it several times. He played a number of covers, from the familiar (James’ “Laid” has been a staple for a few years now) to the new (Simon & Garfunkle’s “Cecilia”, which Butch played on a mandolin, and excited my friend because it was the only song she knew all the lyrics to.) Butch also played a couple of tracks off his new album (which can’t get here soon enough), and then ended the evening with an unplugged version of “Take Tomorrow”, a beautiful song in its own right, but so much better when played with just a guitar and a voice, without the aid of amps or mics.

It was an awesome show, as expected. There were a few songs I would have liked to have heard (“Cigarette Lighter Love Song” is my favorite song of all time, and I also would have liked to have heard “Into the Black,” “Stateline,” or “Katrina,”) but I really can’t complain because the show still rocked my socks off (and when it’s twenty degrees outside, that can be a problem.) Below is the full setlist from the show, and all my photos can be found on my Flickr.

Butch Walker Setlist, 7 Stages Theatre, Atlanta, GA – January 13, 2010

  1. Wreck Me (1969)
  2. Let Me Go (Marvelous 3, Hey! Album)
  3. Last Flight Out (Heartwork EP)
  4. All Falls Apart (Unreleased)
  5. Beautiful (Marvelous 3, Ready Sex Go)
  6. Vampires in Love (Marvelous 3, Hey! Album)
  7. Laid (James cover)
  8. Valium (Marvelous 3, Math and Other Problems)
  9. I’m a Believer (Monkees cover)
  10. Half-Japanese Girl (Weezer cover)
  11. Grant Park (Marvelous 3, Ready Sex Go)
  12. Trash Day (I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart)
  13. Mrs. Jackson (Marvelous 3, Hey! Album)
  14. Every Monday (Marvelous 3, Hey! Album)
  15. Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkle cover)
  16. Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home (I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart)
  17. Take Tomorrow (Left of Self-Centered)

Butch Walker

Click for more concert photos.