The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2010: The Secret Handshake Turns Back The Clock and Drops The Auto-Tune at No. 17

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[Over the next few weeks, we'll be presenting our favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Today, we take an in-depth look at song No. 17 on the list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump to grab the song as a free download. Also after the jump, check out songs No. 50-18 in the Top 50 list that will update as it grows...]

The Secret Handshake name may be done -- or is it? -- but, whether or not the sales numbers were there to support it, the fact remains that 2010 was a year that saw great growth from Luis Dubuc, the formerly electro-pop obsessed man behind the moniker.

Ditching his Auto-Tune-indebted sound in favor of a more mature, backwards-looking Motown pop sound, Dubuc's fourth full-length, Night & Day, was a clear attempt at broadening his sound and trying to give his fans a taste, as he puts it, of "real" music for once. Unfortunately for him, the fans flat-out rejected it, forcing Dubuc to recently cancel his U.S. headlining tour after a handful of venues, having heard of low turnouts at other dates on the tour, backed out of their hosting duties.

Quite the shame, too. This most recent crop of songs is by far Dubuc's most polished, and, sure enough, his best. Its rejection stands as proof of an indisputable truth: Kids are horrible barometers of good music. 

Bonus mp3:

The Secret Handshake -- "Every Single Time"

Recorded on the very same tape machine that Berry Gordy and his Motown cohorts used to make their own seminal albums, Night & Day is a confident collection of songs whose subject matter isn't altogether different from Dubuc's past themes. He's still relationship obsessed, his emotions still run a wild gamut, and, yes, he still likes a good time. Arrangement-wise, though, these songs' game is significantly stepped up, featuring horns, an entire chorus of backing vocals and some of the most tasteful Motown riffage we've heard this side of Mayer Hawthorne.

If there is a flaw to Night & Day, it's that, as trends go, Dubuc may have come a little bit late to the Motown revival party. But, late or not, there's no denying the infectious platter upon which his own particular brand is served.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction to this disc (or lack thereof) has left Dubuc somewhat dismayed. He's spot on in his belief that his new effort wasn't taking as seriously as it should have been, as a result of the fact that his previous Secret Handshake material was so different. And, as he argues, had he changed his band name before releasing this new material, his music indeed would have been judged under a different set of criteria.

But such is the fickle nature of the music business, I guess. And, rather than serving as the celebratory disc that it should be, Night & Day will likely go down as one of the great swings-and-misses of the region's impending post-mall punk era.

Too bad, too, since this disc is a pretty darn great one. And opening track "Every Single Time" sets this album's highly enjoyable fare up as capably any other local disc lead track in 2010.

Teenagers are assholes.

The Top 50 Local Songs of 2010 (Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)
50. Dear Human - "Waiting"
49. Nervous Curtains - "All Yesterday's Parties"
48. Spector 45 - "Try Try Try"
47. Smile Smile - "Beg You To Stay"
46. Robert Gomez - "A Natural State"
45. Florene - "Parc Bitch"
44. Mount Righteous - "Eat Your Wife and Kiss The Barbecue"
43. The Strange Boys - "Be Brave"
42. Soft Environmental Collapse - "A Horse & Buggy Complex"
41. Deepspace5 - "Killing With Kindness"
40. Sextape -- "Lubricated Intimacy"
39. Museum Creatures - "Song ABC"
38. Ocelot - "Beating Hears"
37. Sir Silky - "The Squeeze (The Answer)"
36. Bone - "Homegurl"
35. Ishi - "Come Closer"
34. Hoyotoho - "Born Black"
33. Dorrough - "Get Big"
32. Katie Carroll - "Paper Girl"
31. Final Club - "Ruded"
30. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - "Throwed Off (Fuck Errbody)"
29. South San Gabriel - "All Night Long"
28. The Rocket Summer - "Walls"
27. Darktown Strutters - "Lucifer Rising"
26. School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
24. The Burning Hotels - "Austin's Birthday"
23. Doug Burr - "At The Public Dance"
22. The Flowers of God 

feat. Sarah Jaffe
feat. Sarah Jaffe

21. Dondria -- "You're The One"
20. Sundress -- "Locust"
19. Blixaboy -- "Lion Eyes (featuring Emil Rapstine)"
18. A.Dd+ feat. Brown of Sore Losers -- "Likeamug"

The Secret Handshake -- "Every Single Time"

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