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Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top 10 Albums of 2010

I held off on my Top 10 Albums list just in case the new Michael Jackson album was worthy of inclusion, which turned out to be an unnecessary delay. These are the ten discs that did it for me in 2010.

Tim from OK Go promised when I interviewed him that this record was inspired by a lot of 1999-era Prince, and he wasn't lying. The music would be worthy of attention even without the mind-blowing music videos.

9 LP4, Ratatat
Another batch of intoxicating instrumental rock compositions from the NYC duo. Ratatat are one of the most inventive bands in rock today.

8 THE ARCHANDROID, Janelle Monae
A strange, futuristic, soulful science fiction concept album. Exactly the kind of record that should be nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys, instead of the tame mainstream stuff like Lady Antebellum.

7 THE SUBURBS, Arcade Fire
Here’s how I feel about the new Arcade Fire album (and, for that matter, all Arcade Fire albums). It’s really good, and when I listen to it I recognize its quality. But when I’m scanning my iTunes trying to decide what to listen to, I rarely choose Arcade Fire. I don’t get excited thinking about the prospect of listening to their music. I’d much rather listen to Girl Talk or Matt and Kim or something more vibrant. So while I might declare this the "best" record of 2010, it's only my 7th favorite.

6 ODD BLOOD, Yeasayer
Weird synths, gratuitous percussion, unconventional time signatures... Odd Blood has it all. Now all Yeasayer have to do is pick up their live game. I've seen them in concert twice and both times came away disappointed.

5 BODY TALK PT. 1, Robyn
Robyn took the pop music world by storm in 2010. The Swedish dance artist released three albums, but the first was her best. "Body Talk Pt. 1" produced memorable tracks "Fembot," "Dancing On My Own" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do." She also killed it live at Pitchfork.

I didn't enjoy this at first since it was such a change from their last one, but eventually the album grew on me thanks to "Flash Delirium," "Brian Eno," and "It's Working."

3 INFINITE ARMS, Band of Horses
A gorgeous record that somehow flew under the radar in 2010. "Laredo" gets more fantastic every time I hear it. Then again, so does every track on this album.

2 TREATS, Sleigh Bells
I wrote about this one back in July. I can't predict that Sleigh Bells are destined for long-term success (this could be a Crystal Castles-style one-time fluke thing), but at least they delivered one fantastic rock record.

1 GO, Jonsi
Sigur Ros topped this list two years ago, so it should be no surprise that the group's frontman has my favorite album of 2010. Go is a bundle full of energetic, happy songs with uplifting melodies. Jonsi even sang in English, though you still couldn't really figure out any of the words.

Honorable Mention:
I LEARNED THE HARD WAY, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
ALL DAY, Girl Talk
SIDEWALKS, Matt and Kim
HIGH VIOLET, The National
THE MONITOR, Titus Andronicus


BeckEye said...

We only have two in common. I'm super disappointed in that Arcade Fire album. I was pretty disappointed with Spoon's new one too, but not as much as The Suburbs. It's just so blah to me.

Also, I don't know what MGMT's smoking these days, but I'm just not feeling it anymore.

Scott said...

I've actually never been a big Arcade Fire fan and find this one to be their most engaging. Maybe their sound has finally grown on me.