I'm of the weepy sort, this is not a secret. So I present to you the 5 songs that choked me up the most in 2010.
5 "Aretha" - Rumer
Musically one of the more upbeat numbers of her debut Seasons..., "Aretha" is all the more emotional because Rumer is now 31, and the song talks of a childhood dream that seems inconceivable but perfect. "Aretha, I don't wanna go to school, they don't understand me and I think the place is cruel..." she sighs to her idol, but eventually optimistically concludes "I'll never have the right shoes, but I've got the words". For a singer who's been working for so long and for it to finally pay off, "Aretha" is less an ode to a childhood idol, and more an anthem for anyone who's ever felt that their dreams were out of reach.
4 "Walk in the Park" - Beach House
That fuzzy drum machine intro cannot prepare you for Teen Dream's most lump-in-the-throat moment and heartbreaking chorus. For a band whose lyrics are so often nonsensical and cryptic, Beach House normally rely on windswept organs and melancholic guitars to relay their feelings, but in "Walk in the Park" the lyrical message couldn't be clearer: "In a matter of time, you would slip through my mind, in and out of my life..." and combined with one of the most beautiful chord processions the band has ever produced, laced with yearning guitars and shimmering percussion, "Walk in the Park" is almost too much.
3 "Fuel Up" - Stornoway
You can picture the scene. Final day of the university, you're looking round your halls of residence room, wondering where all the time went and how you became an adult so soon. "Fuel Up" is simply a gorgeous ode to the passage of time and all the fucked up things that hindered your every move but somehow make it worthwhile. "You're a passenger, but your mind is travelling on..." singer Brian Briggs so aptly puts it, as the band waltz sensitively alongside.
2 "In My Eyes" - Robyn
Now "In My Eyes" is a dance song, a boom-thwack banger of a beat and the most dramatic synthchord-slabs you've heard all year, but its the most emotional melodrama you've ever heard, and its message is one that Robyn stands for resolutely, but neversomore as here: 'no matter what shit goes on, I've got your back'. As she would probably put it. On the back of the massive minor to major shifts carrying sweeping life affirming lyrics, Robyn's loyalty to the individual she sings to is so fierce that its emotional punch is like a sock to the gut. "I know you think you're lost but you think again, when you look into my eyes" she implores, and assures "you'll be ok". In a generally horrible year like 2010, no one said "things will get better" than Robyn.
1 "Cry" - Gayngs
If any band know how to celebrate mourning, Gayngs have proven themselves to be certain frontrunners. Whether Godley & Creme (the 10cc members responsible for the distinctly more upbeat and 80s sounding original) are turning in their graves or not is irrelevant; when Gayngs perform Cry we are treated to something authentically whiney, depressing, plodding and self-pitying, but this is the essence of sadness. It’s not pretty, it’s not easy on the ear, but it’s still somehow beautiful. Cry is the sound of the moment when we admit that no, we’re not ok, the moment when all hope finally seems irretrievable. And as voices tearfully wail the titular word over a cheesy, lush soft rock backdrop, we are all reminded that there is a sort of comfort to be gained from giving in to your sadness.