2010 Autostraddle Music Awards: All You Do Is Win

This was an unbelievably great year for music. So much so that it would be damn near impossible to even attempt organizing a ‘Best Of’ list at this point (Jess already did an amazing job of this anyway, so go read that). So instead, I’ve opted for a different approach, handing out awards based on haphazardly-chosen categories. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own!

Best Music of 2010 According to Lindsay

Semi-Emergent Artist of the Year: Janelle Monáe

Why this woman is not a bigger star than Katy Perry or Ke$ha is beyond me. She’s got chops, imagination, swagger and fantastic hair, and soon enough, she will be massive.


Best Guilty Pleasure:

DJ Khaled feat. A Whole Lot of People, “All I Do Is Win”

In a year stacked to the hilt with singles we were afraid to admit we liked, only one had the power to become both catchphrase and battle cry. Throw your hands in the air, make ’em stay there.


Gaga Video of the Year:


The night Managing Editor Sarah and I graduated from college, we watched this at least twice after excessively celebrating. Good times.


Best Spinoff Account of Kanye’s Twitter:


Sample Tweet: “staring at this Staples catalog all day. man, they need to COMBINE style sets and THINK about back-to-school as EXPRESSION + SAVINGS.”



Sample Tweet: “Liz Lemon, I always misspell genius SMH! The irony!”


Best Release By the Child of Another Musician:

Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues

Struggles to overcome substance abuse problems and spats with concert venues aside, the son of country great Steve Earle and namesake of the late, great Townes Van Zandt put out one of the year’s best albums.


Willow Smith, “Whip My Hair.”

Because, duh.


Best Use of Kinetic Typography:

The First Promo Video for Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You”

Just watch.


Best European Club Banger:

Stromae, “Alors on danse”

It went to No. 1 in 15 countries. Pitbull and Kanye West are featured on remixes. The beat is infectious, if not virulent. I dare you to listen to this and sit still. Go on. Try it.


Best Cross-Continental Collab:

The Laura Marling/Mumford & Sons/Dharohar Project EP

When artists from two different musical cultures and traditions come together, the results can sometimes border on hokey or sound forced. But this EP, where two British folk artists with big albums this year jam out with an ensemble from India, is haunting, intricate and, dare I say, magical.

Best Collab By Two Very Different Artists From the Same City:

Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy,You Are Not Alone

A beautiful, sincere piece of music, and one that almost comes off as refreshing in the midst of a barrage of AutoTune and heavy synths.


Biggest Disappointment:

MGMT, Congratulations

Not necessarily a bad album, but the most memorable aspect of the NYC duo’s sophomore effort was the album art, which looks like Sonic the Hedgehog-Sea God is swallowing a ‘90s-era Nicklelodeon cartoon character against an acid-trip chessboard.


Best World Cup Anthem:

BLK JKS, “Zol!”

Not an official World Cup anthem, but this South African group’s hella catchy single represented the host nation well.


K’NAAN’s “Wavin’ Flag,”

even though I’m not sure it counts because the original version was released in 2009. But damn. That song is just so freakin’ uplifting.

WOrst World Cup Anthem:

Weezer, “Represent”

The U.S. Men’s National Team represented its country with power, grace and general classiness (even when sippin’ Buds with former President Clinton in the locker room—AMERICAAAA!). This song has none of those positive attributes.


Best Moment of Girl Talk’s All Day:

There will probably be lots of contentious debate over this, but I’mma have to go with the M.O.P./Miley Cyrus combo on That’s Right.”

Best Non-Girl Talk Mashup:

“Vagapop” (Lil Wayne vs. Wolfmother) from My Sick Uncle’s (500) Days of Weezy

Pretty much everything on My Sick Uncle’s (500) Days of Weezy mixtape is amazing, but the “Vagabond”/“Pop Bottles” mashup (appropriately named “Vagapop”) might be my favorite. The braggadocio-packed celebration anthem gets a layer of earnestness thanks to Wolfmother’s folky riffs.


Best Out-of-Genre Cover:

The Carolina Chocolate Drops

…doing Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style.”



Lissie’s beautiful take on Kid CuDi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”


Most Ridiculous Moment on Ke$ha’s Debut Album:

All of them.


The fact that there is a song called “Party at a Rich Dude’s House.” Hello, pop music in 2010.


Center of the Popular Music Universe in 2010:

Atlanta, Georgia

In the interest of FULL DISCLOSURE, I might be a bit biased because I spent the summer in the ATL and worked at a music magazine there, but a pretty massive chunk of the people who mattered in pop music in 2010 are from the A. Cee-Lo Green. Janelle Monáe. B.o.B. Keyshia Cole. Of Montreal. Big Boi. Gucci Mane. Mastodon (who didn’t do a whole lot this year but are still AWESOME). Waka Flocka Flame. Deerhunter. Ursherrrr. Need I say more?



The entire country. Between excellent albums from Arcade Fire (#1!) and Wolf Parade and the rapid rise to fame of a certain blonde teen idol with a haircut quite a few of our readers are probably sporting right now, our neighbors to the North have built a powerful legion of artists poised to rock the world (or at least sing to thousands of screaming tweens).

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Lindsay Eanet

Lindsay Eanet (@lindsayeanet) is a Chicago-based writer, editor and performer. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Paste, Howler, Chicago Magazine and others. She is the host & producer of I’ll Be There for You, a biweekly podcast about pop culture and coping. But enough about her, let’s talk about you.

Lindsay has written 34 articles for us.



  2. I hung up on my mum ’cause whip my hair came on the radio and I wanted to whip my hair along to it.
    She wasn’t impressed.

  3. I want to read the rest of this list, but I clicked on the first link, and now have “All I Do is Win” playing on a loop while I dance around.

    Be back with more thoughts.

    • Atl is the place to be for good music these days. I enjoyed it..and didnt enjoy a lot of it at the same time, you know hearing same songs over and over.and over..and over. @thelink anyone with a ukulele has my heart. =)

  4. “Why [Janelle Monae] woman is not a bigger star than Katy Perry or Ke$ha is beyond me.”

    I’m going to guess it’s because she is an ass-kicking WOC who challenges the gender binary/sexualization of female pop stars – and people are stupid.

  5. Most ridiculous moment on Ke$ha’s sophomore album: in “Grow a Pear” (the spelling is all her own), she proclaims “I just can’t date a dude with a vag”…I wish I were kidding.

  6. That cover of Blue Cantrell was awesome. Thanks for the link.

    I love everything that came out of ATL this year. Except Waka Flocka Flame. His ass is not a thing for anybody to be proud of.


    sorry about bieber though… really. Don’t know how that one slipped through quality control

  8. canadian music is just so wonderfully great, like, it blows my mind when people immediately think that celine dion and avril lavigne are all we’ve churned out.

    arcade fire. wolf parade. alexisonfire + city & colour (same guy, completely different styles). karkwa. dan mangan. broken social scene. caribou. crystal castles. hannah georgas. the new pornographers (oh so good). shad. TEGAN & SARA. yukon blonde.

    listen to those people and i guarantee a maple leaf tramp stamp in the drunk future.

  9. I heard the Best Out-of-Genre Cover on npr and showed it to my friends who proceeded to lose their shit saying they ruined the song. Thanks autostraddle for teaching me which of my friends can’t take epic music.

  10. thank you so much for this post! I fell in love with Janelle, learned the lyrics to Fuck You, cried pretty hard at You Are Not Alone (oddly enough, I am alone), retweeted the hell out of Carolina Chocolate Drops all in one post! and I kind of loved almost all of the rest of it too.

  11. Can we please talk about Lady Sovereign? She’s not Canadian, but she’s amazing, and a lesbian to boot. Her music is definitely a thing.

    Also, Shiny Toy Guns? Yes. Look up the “Le Disko” video. Makes me wanna dance.

    And… going to see Gaga in March!!! SO excited. Must start planning my outfit NOW.

  12. Stromae, “Alors on danse”…apparently I’ve had earplugs in this year. I’d never heard this before, but it’s very, very cool.

    Just found Jennifer Knapp, though. Her song “Undo Me” is amazing.

  13. Um, okay, so I had an inappropriately intense reaction to Janelle. Like, I just watched everything on youtube I could find that she was in. Oh my lord. Her dancemoves, those eyes, and oh my gosh, the way she wears menswear….
    Ahem. Sorry.

  14. Lissie’s cover of Gaga’s “Bad Romance” is fucking epic!

    I’ll have to check out her Kid CuDi cover.

    • I really liked some of Lissie’s other songs, too (first heard about her here on AS with the “Bad Romance” coversong). “Longest Road” and “On My Chest” are really moving as well.

  15. Janelle is great live, I saw her at Outside Lands this summer and it was great.

    <3 anything Weezy but combined with (500) Days of Summer its golden.

  16. i’m getting to this post a few days late but now that i have a couple of iTunes gift cards to play with, i’m hunting for new music. and people really ought to at least check out sleigh bells and their album “treat”. it’s one of those brash, over-the-top experiences. NIN + MIA + Beastie Boys. play it loud and prepare to have your ears assaulted. so. much. fun. …. restore hearing with the awesome staples + tweedy collaboration :)

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