The song at #13 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Tongue Tied” by alternative rock band Grouplove. I love this song with a passion. There, I said it. It’s an exhilarating synth pop song that fills me with strong feelings of euphoria, like a kid jumping up and down on a bed at a slumber party. So it was a surprise to discover in researching about the song that it was widely panned by music critics upon its release. A lot of music critics make me sick. They’re so smug, self-impressed and full of shit. OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me say that I think “Tongue Tied” is absolutely wonderful, and one of the best songs of the 2010s. Despite its mixed to poor reviews, the song went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Alternative chart, where it ended up as the #2 song of 2012. It peaked at #42 on the Hot 100.
Grouplove’s music is fun, quirky and infectious, and always a joy to listen to, even their downtempo songs. Now based in Los Angeles (where a third of the artists and bands with songs on this list seem to also reside), they formed in 2009 after meeting on the island of Crete. Hannah Hooper (vocals, keyboards) and Christian Zucconi (vocals, guitar) actually first met in New York City, then traveled to Crete to attend an artist residency program, where they met the other three founding members – London-born songwriter and guitarist Sean Gadd, Los Angeles pro surfer and musician Andrew Wessen, and his childhood friend drummer Ryan Rabin, who’s the son of former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin. (Gann and Rabin later left the band, and have been replaced by Daniel Gleason on bass and Benjamin Homola on drums.)
“Tongue Tied” is from their debut album Never Trust a Happy Song, and was released in September 2011. It starts off with a sweet guitar riff that sounds kind of like a ukelele or banjo, then explodes into a cacophony of exuberant synths, deep bass, smashing drums and a boisterous chorus of cheers that set the stage for the adventure about to unfold as they head to a party. Singers Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi wail “Take me to your best friend’s house / Go around this roundabout Oh yeah / Take me to your best friend’s house / I loved you then and I love you now Oh yeah / Don’t take me tongue tied / Don’t wave no goodbye Don’t… / Right!” By song’s end, I’m left feeling happy, and isn’t that one of the greatest things a good song has to offer?