The Best Vocal Performances of 2010

By Chris Moore:

Welcome back for another installment of this year-in-review list series, brought to you by the Weekend Review.  Tonight, I’m happy to present the top fifteen vocal performances of 2010.  Some, like “In Vain or True” and “White Blank Page,” are impressive for their use of complex vocal arrangements.  Others, like “Machine Gun” and “Memories” are notable for the emotive quality of Sara Bareilles’ and Rivers Cuomo’s respective performances.

There have been some excellent vocal performances this year, ranging from the raw vulnerability of Steven Page’s cover of “Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure” to the unleashed quality of Alison Mosshart’s lead on “Gasoline.”  This was one of the most difficult lists to assemble, as the great vocal leads of the year run the gamut in various ways.  So, I’ve done my best to assemble and rank these tracks, taking into account the quality of the individual voices, the emotion behind each delivery, and the overall coherence and interest potentially generated by each vocal.

Without further ado, here’s the list, and be sure to check back tomorrow for another list in this end-of-2010 series!

BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCES of 2010

1)  “In Vain or True” – Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper, & Joseph Arthur (of Fistful of Mercy; As I Call You Down)

2)  “White Blank Page” – Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons; Sigh No More)

3)  “Machine Gun” – Sara Bareilles (Kaleidoscope Heart)

4)  “Memories” – Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer; Hurley)

5)  “Please Move” – Kevin Devine (of Bad Books; Bad Books)

6)  “Thieves” – Zooey Deschanel (of She & Him; Volume Two)

7)  “Gasoline” – Alison Mosshart (of Dead Weather; Sea of Cowards)

8)  “I Have Learned” – Ed Robertson (of BnL; All in Good Time)

9)  “Only the Ocean” – Jack Johnson (To The Sea)

10)  “Summer Sun” – Ben Thornewill (of Jukebox the Ghost; Everything Under the Sun)

11)  “The Chorus Girl” – Steven Page (Page One)

12)  “Ain’t No Grave” – Johnny Cash (American VI: Ain’t No Grave)

13)  “The Dance Class” – Rhett Miller (of Old 97’s; The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1)

14)  “Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure” – Steven Page (A Singer Must Die)

15)  “Don’t Look Down” – Philip Selway (Familial)