Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite 10 Albums of 2k10

My final exams are finally done and I now have time so that I can finally post my top 10 albums of 2010. As with the songs, these are not necessarily the "BEST" albums but certainly my favorites. I'm not a music critic, if I was I'd apply to Rolling Stone to remind them its not 1967 anymore, but whatever. I did not get a chance to listen to every album that came out this year, which included high-profile albums like Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, or Sufjan's new electronic sounding album. It was a pretty difficult decision to rank all the good music that came out this year but I think that this is pretty much how I ended up feeling about the albums. So.... here they are:

          10.  Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
Much like politics, religion, coffee and Twilight (team Edward vs Jacob) Joanna Newsom tends to divide people. Those who find her voice completely annoying and would prefer to hear a new Justin Bieber song over a minute of her singing, and those who seem to enjoy her voice. I find myself in the latter group. I first discovered Joanna with Y's late last year and didn't know what to make of her at first. Eventually, much like coffee, after repeated listens I begin to appreciate her and her songs. A couple of months later Have One on Me came out and immediately began to like what I heard. Good Intentions Paving Company was completely different from what she had done in Y's. This album feels like a long journey through the woods, finding new stuff every time you make the trip. 

 9. Wavves - Post Acid
The ultimate summer album. The songs are catchy and the lyrics aren't as simple as Best Coast's. Really enjoyed this one this Summer. From the super catchy 'King of the Beach' to the more emotional 'Green Eyes' this album gets number 9 on my list.

8. Warpaint - The Fool

If I had to describe this album in two words I would choose 'hypnotic' and 'beautiful'. I discovered this band late last year with their incredible EP 'Exquisite Corpse' and immediately fell in love with this band. I must have listened to the EP an unnatural amount of times, then I saw them live which exceeded my expectations of a live show, and then this fall they finally released their full length LP. While not as good as their EP, The Fool is still a masterpiece of beauty with hypnotic chants from these fine LA ladies. The album captures the magic of their live shows and can I say enough about how good their drummer is? NME had it right when they went crazy over this album.

   7. Janelle MonĂ¡e - The ArchAndroid
Usually I'm not into R&B but holy shit was this album awesome! It was incredible how easily and effortlessly Janelle can change genre in a single CD from the Michael Jacksonish 'Locked Inside'  to the punk 'Cold War' to the funky  'Tight Rope' this album never bores. Not only that but add the nice little 'Clair de Lune' sample at the end and this is a party. Energetic and fun.

      6. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)

Is there any chick more bad ass than Alice Glass?? Seriously, she's the desktop background in my computer. Crystal Castles expand their music style from the harsh and brutal songs that highlighted their excellent debut, to more of a mellow sound on this one. 'Celestica' (my #1 tune this year) was pure bliss. And they still have a couple of tunes here that will satisfy those who found their first albums brutality awesome. Crystal Castles have adopted beauty and it is awesome.

5. The National - High Violet
I discovered these guys a couple of years ago with their album 'Boxer' which I though was one of the most depressing yet beautiful things ever. A few years later, and here I am giving praise to High Violet. While still depressing, it is a bit happier sounding than their previous releases 'Alligator' and 'Boxer' (haven't gotten my hands on their other albums yet). 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' was the song everyone was talking about while my personal favorite was 'Afraid of Everyone' with its paranoid lyrics. Had a chance to see them twice this year, once in Lollapalooza but I ended up having to go take a break and buy some water after being in the middle of a mosh for nearly four hours so I missed them there (completely regret missing them) and then once again when they came to Indianapolis but I had to attend a class thing that same day.

  4. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Yeah possibly the best album to wake up to and to relax to. God this album was incredible, but then again it is Deerhunter so it is expected that this album would be awesome. The hypnotizing melodies to Cox's vocals make this album feel incredibly warm and welcoming. I don't understand why so many Deerhunter albums have dismissed this album as weaker than Microcastle, I feel that this is a better album... but that's just me.


                 3. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Ultimate hipster dance album. The brainless 'Drunk Girls' is fun (top 10 tunes) and serves as a nice little single to the otherwise 7minuteish songs on this album. This is supposedly LCDs final album but I really doubt that claim. This album sounds like too much fun for James Murphy to permanently shelf the group. 'I Can Change' is another incredible song on this album that really channels 80s dance music to lyrics about love gone bad. Makes me wish that I'd be as cool as James Murphy when I'm his age.

   2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Nobody does concept albums like Arcade Fire does. This time they have chosen the theme of life in the suburbs, a topic which I'm very well familiar with, living in the conservative northern suburbs of Indianapolis. This album is nostalgic for old days in the suburbs. It also deals with the life and boredom of the suburbs, something I relate to easily. And the actual music is incredible. 'Rococo' 'Sprawl II', amazing. 

     1. Beach House - Teen Dream
No surprise here unless your a Kanye fan. Beach House hands down made my favorite album of the year. The melancholy in this album makes it emotionally heavy. The vocals are haunting and beautiful, while the bending notes make it complete. This was my first exposure to the Baltimore duo and they completely surprised me with their sound and made me question myself as to how I had not heard about them before. Listening to this album is really a lot like being in a dream, a blissful dream that you don't want to wake up from.

So there ya go. My favorite 10 Albums of the year. Honorable mentions include Black Keys, Gorillaz, No Age, Broken Bells (highly underrated everywhere), Yeasayer, and yes... Kanye had a pretty decent album which would have been better without Rhiannah ruining shit. And  I actually liked Best Coast despite the album sounding like a long 30 minute song. Locally Margot and the Nuclear So & So's had a very good album as well.

Disappointed with Blonde Redhead, I was expecting more after '23' and I was also disappointed with MGMT and The New Pornographers.

Cheers for a good 2011!!

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