And the countdown continues…


Broken Bells are the non-singing guy (Danger Mouse) from Gnarls Barkley, and the singing guy (James Mercer) from The Shins. Here’s the second single from their self-titled debut album. The video, starring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks is a sci-fi movie on the dangers of deficit spending. In order to get herself to a fabulous resort planet, space traveling hottie Hendricks pawns all her limbs (and probably compromises her position on the repeal of DADT) and still ends up on a deserted island planet in an intergalactic middle-of-nowhere.


There are only two covers included on my list this year, and this is the second of them, from one of my favorite records of the year. For Wake Up!, John Legend and the Roots, inspired by the political engagement they saw during the 2008 elections, recorded a passionate set of socially conscious soul songs from the late 60s and 70s, many of them long forgotten like this one originally performed by Baby Huey and the Babysitters.


Tearjerker alert! Tearjerker alert! Are they a jam band? Are they outlaw country? Are they southern rock? Are they sentimental cornballs? They’re a little bit of all of the above. With a great big beard!

Although they’d already scored a few big country hits (which also had some mild crossover pop success) from their 2008 major label debut The Foundation, it was with their performance at this year’s Grammy Awards that made the band not just the latest country thang, but actually a previously implausible contender for greatest band in the world. This, the fourth single from The Foundation showed up shortly thereafter and became the band’s third Country #1, and fourth Top 40 hit a year and a half after the album’s release.


“After a long and sleepless night, how many stars would you give to the moon…” The third single from Robbie’s latest solo album Reality Killed the Video Star (he’s since re-joined his former bandmates in the British boy-band Take That), this weepy ballad follows Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road all the way to Strawberry Fields and back again.


a.k.a. The German theme song for Paul Lorentz at any given wedding reception. Don’t be daunted by the language barrier – the video provides black-lit hand-drawings as “subtitles” over the actors’ faces. It goes roughly along these lines:

Verse 1: A friend says “Hey, let’s get out of here. The DJ sucks and he’s just playing electro music and not even David Guetta”

German Paul Lorentz reply: “No man. I don’t want to go yet. I want to stay and dance.”

Verse 2: A hottie approaches: “Grab your coat and say goodbye to your friends. I want to take you where the night never ends. You and me, we should be dancing in the sheets.”

German Paul Lorentz reply: “No man. I don’t want to go yet. I want to stay and dance.”

Verse 3: Bouncer: “Really, dude, you should go. The bartender wants to go home. The dj’s falling asleep at the decks. Seriously, go.”

German Paul Lorentz reply: See above.

I like that German Paul Lorentz in the video has a belly like real-life Paul Lorentz. I also like that tick-tock-with-the-tie dance move that he does. I need to use that at my next wedding reception.


“Never gave a thought to an honorable living, always had sense enough to lie. It’s getting hard to keep pretending I’m worth your time…” Yeasayer’s neo-psychedelic ode to justifiable feelings of family man inadequacy is appropriately doleful, but not especially apologetic. It’s a domestic drama done up in exotic, futuristic colors. It’s hipster ear candy that sounds a lot like something the Thompson Twins would have done in 1982. It’s also got a real music video, but the video’s really gross and it’s, frankly, distracting from the song – which really is lovely. Thus this live version.


If we were living in the 1970s, we’d call this pop/rock and it’d be a song by Eddie Rabbitt or Firefall or England Dan and John Ford Coley… But it’s 2010, so we call it country and it’s by a guy who was likened to a cross between Elvis Presley and Gomer Pyle when he appeared at the center of a challenge of the Donald Trump reality show Celebrity Apprentice. That appearance would help push his single “Rain Is a Good Thing” to #1 on the country charts. This song – an inducement to just break-up with the poor guy already – was the follow-up to “Rain”.


Apparently this ran over the closing credits of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen any of the Twilight Movies. But I LOVE their soundtracks (so far). This song was co-written with a group called Oh, Hush, who appropriately enough, have never posted a band photo or identified their band members who, according to their facebook page, are various male and female superheroes. Here’s a live performance of the song from George Lopez, featuring Cee-Lo’s super-awesome all-girl back-up band.


Five hotties with superpowers, British accents, and a flair for public revenge. “Don’t tell me that you’re done as far as we go – You need to have a sit-down with your ego.” Did I mention hotties? With superpowers? And British accents?

The Saturdays “Ego” from Robin van Calcar on Vimeo.


Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis parties it up in a fake White House with cake and cheerleaders, fake Mariylns, fake Elvises, and… wait… is that a fake Barack in there too? At a time when it seems you can’t watch or read the news without hearing some politician talking about things being rammed down throats, it’s sort of refreshing to hear someone sing about “puking” up “American dreams.” And when she confesses she’s “obsessed with the mess that’s America”, it sounds genuine and even sort of affectionate. Sorta like my obsession with the mess that’s European pop music.

Coming up in the next block: one sad song about the summer and one happy song about the summer, one song about a shotgun wedding, and one about wedded bliss.