Very promising start to the decade: 2010 had a group of solid albums (with the exceptions mentioned later on) and was overall far better than 2009. Lots of first timers this year.
Bit of housekeeping: 2009 only had 9 albums, and I said I'd add a 10th at some point. Well, I got lazy and never got around to adding that last album until now. I'm not going to get into revisionist history and reorder the list to add this album, but if I were to completely redo the list, it definitely wouldn't be 10th. 2009 updated!10. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening:
I never know what to say about electronic music, so I'll leave it at that.
One Touch, I Can Change, Dance Yrself Clean 9. The New Pornographers- Together:
I had to listen to this album a lot before deciding that it wasn't Challengers
Part II. I'm not really sure where the band is going musically and I
feel like they're on the verge of jumping the shark altogether. But this
album is pretty solid, with the exception of tracks 4-6. Listen to the
album while skipping those songs and tell me it isn't better. Really what I think I want to hear is a Dan Bejar/Neko Case album.
Daughters of Sorrow, We End Up Together, Up in the Dark 8. Broken Bells- Broken Bells:
I was never a fan of The Shins. I thought they were overrated for what
they were. So I was surprised by how much I've enjoyed this album.
Danger Mouse make everything better (with the exception of The Black
Keys)? Maybe I'll have to go back and listen to The Shins again.Favorite songs:
The High Road, The Mall and Misery, The Ghost Inside7. David Usher- The Mile End Sessions:
I've always thought that David Usher was at his best doing primarily
acoustic stuff. By far his 2 weakest albums are more pop-rock leaning with
questionable production choices. The bulk of the songs on The Mile End Sessions
come from those albums. Take away the crap
production and slow things down and the songs are vastly
better. The best
songs, "Everyday Things" and "Kill the Lights", both
from his last album, are almost unlistenable in their original
versions. The one new song, "Fall to Pieces", is another highlight, and
hopefully a glimpse into what his next album will be like. Favorite songs:
Everyday Things, Kill the Lights, Sparkle and Shine6. Spoon- Transference:
I'm surprised by how few lists this album is showing up on. I think
that it's not getting the credit it deserves because unlike Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
the band isn't doing as many new things (like using horns). But this
album is great from top to bottom, just like the last 4 Spoon albums.
They never have or will be the flashiest band out there, but no one does
minimalist groove driven indie rock better.
Nobody Gets Me But You, Trouble Comes Running, Out Go the Lights 5. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid:
It takes some serious talent and ambition to pull off as many different genres and styles as Janelle Monae does on this album.You listen to this album and you can hear the
showmanship that she is bringing to the table. Old school
showmanship that involves not oversinging, using real instruments and
Locked Inside, Cold War, Tightrope4. Emm Gryner- Gem and I:
I've been waiting for this album for 3 years. In that time it went from being a "normal" Emm Gryner album to a duets album. I was a little reluctant at first because the pre-duet versions I'd heard were so good, but there was no reason to be. The collaborations are all solid and bring a wide variety of voices into the mix.
Boy With an Affliction, Top Speed, Troublesome3. The National- High Violet:
At a loss for what to say about this album. It seems darker and almost more ominous than Boxer
, which may be why I like it more.
Conversation 16, Afraid of Everyone, Runaway2. Beach House- Teen Dream:
When I first heard Beach House, their music seemed good but the songs
were almost indistinguishable from one other. On Teen Dream
, they found
variety and lightened the mood enough to keep me from falling asleep while
listening. It still sounds like Beach House, just a better version of
Beach House. "Norway" was easily my favorite song the first half of the
year, partly because it reminds me of a kind of awful Fleetwood Mac song
that's a guilty pleasure of mine.
Norway, Silver Soul, Zebra 1. Robyn- Body Talk:
This year, Body Talk
was my go-to album when I couldn't decide what to
listen to. Full of well-crafted pop/dance songs from top to bottom, it
seemed that I had a different song stuck in my head every day. If the
general listening public had any sense, this album would be a massive
hit. Even the songs from the 2 mini albums that didn't make it to the
full length are some of my favorites from this year. The acoustic
versions of "Hang With Me" and "Indestructible" prove once again that a
well written pop song will still sound great even when it's stripped
Indestructible, U Should Know Better, None of Dem Dishonorable Mention:The Black Keys- Brothers
: Of course they've become more popular than they've ever been after releasing one of their worst albums. It's all downhill from here.Vampire Weekend and any company using their music in their commercials:
DIELooking Forward to in 2011
: Adele (loving the first single
), John Vanderslice, PJ Harvey, Sondre Lerche