And so the year comes to a close. The week between Christmas and leading up to New Years is often one of reflection. What I keep thinking about is what an all-around good year it was for all entertainment. 2010 was a strong year for video games, film and art in general. Music was no different, as this year a great many albums came out that were not only significant, but also just some great new tunes for our iPods.
Here is what I thought the best were in 2010. Some may call this list controversial or just plain stupid. We love to hear what you think. Please note that you will find this list to be of a different flavor than the recently released Best Hip Hop Albums of 2010 by Vince. For instance, my top album of 2010 was a hip-hop album which didn’t even make his list. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
It is also worth noting that I by no means have listened to every album that was released in 2010. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier (the next album I plan on getting), The Roots: How I Got Over (also on my wish-list), Titus Andronicus: The Monitor, The Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards (just got it but haven’t had time to listen to it yet) and Tame Impala: Innerspeaker are a few of the significant albums I missed. Then there are the albums I just didn’t really care to listen to such as LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening, and John Mellencamp: No Better Than This. Also there are albums I just plain haven’t heard of yet – no examples as I haven’t heard of them yet. Then there are albums which I thought just weren’t that good. First one that comes to mind is Eminem: Recovery. Finally, there are plenty of really good albums which didn’t make the list just because they couldn’t match the bands that did make the list, or I just haven’t really felt the music yet. 2010 has been littered with good music so no disrespect to them. Beach House: Teen Dream, Caribou: Swim, and Vampire Weekend: Contra are a few examples of good stuff that I haven’t made up my mind on yet. Perhaps in two years, this list will look a lot different. Perhaps not. Either way, feel free to let us know what you think. Did I miss a superb album? Post your comments if you disagree, agree, or whatever. Here it goes.
10.) Hole – Nobody’s Daughter - Somehow, I don’t imagine this will be on anyone’s list, at least not their best-of-lists. However, people tend to shrug off Courtney Love and her band Hole without ever really giving them a chance these days. ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ was a successful comeback for the remnants of what is Hole, and more importantly – for Love. Was it Hole’s best work? Of course not, but it was their best album in damn near a decade and a return to form. Don’t believe me, take a listen to Letter to God, a song which she sings with so much passion it nearly brings me to tears.
9.) Neil Young: Le Noise – Neil Young has come a long way since the Buffalo Springfield days of the 60s. He could have retired a decade ago and still be considered one of the greatest musicians of all-time. But the Canadian still trucks along and delivers his best album in ages with ‘Le Noise’. The album is a collabo with Daniel Lanois, and aside from him, there is no band. Just Young singing with his guitars and Lanois provides ‘Le Noise’. Together they make some very beautiful noise and I am so happy I finally got around to giving this album a listen.
8.) Kings of Leon: Come Around Sundown – Perhaps it was too soon to release a new album for the Kings of Leon after their success with ‘Only by the Night’, but Come Around Sundown was just shitted on by the critics. However, I think the album is pretty damn good. The End, Pickup Truck and the lead single Radioactive are all among my favorites. Read the review by Thomas here.
7.) Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Rolling Stone Magazine and damn near everyone else has praised this album as the best of the year. Perhaps in years past, but for me, it is not even the best hip-hop album of the year. Having said that, it was damn good and a triumphant return for Kanye. The album flows well together and has some masterpieces, but I am not convinced this is even Kanye’s best work to date. Still respect is due for the music and for the marketing campaign as well. Read Matt’s review here.
6.) Robert Plant – Band of Joy – I haven’t fully been able to experience this album yet as I just got it days ago, but all I can say is WOW. I missed Plant’s previous album as well, but I plan on catching up after hearing the funky sounds of ‘Band of Joy’. The enitre album plays well, but my favorite songs are the first two, Angel Dance and House of Cards.
5.) MGMT – Congratulations - Again, another album that plays well from start to finish, a rarity these days. The title track, Congratulations is instantly one of my favorite songs of all time. Brian Eno is another one that I absolutely love. Another band that I never paid too much attention to, but rest assured, they have my attention now.
4.) Gorillaz – Plastic Beach - As previously mentioned, 2010 was a pretty awesome year for music. A couple of years ago, Plastic Beach would easily have been the freshest album of the year; however, this year it doesn’t even crack the top three. And once again, expertly crafted from start to finish. Gorillaz, and more specifically Blur frontman – Damon Albarn – have found the delicate balance between rock, pop and hip hop. Gorillaz has become more of a phenomenon now, more than just four animated characters and great music. Any artist is welcome to join and explore the depths of their artistry.
3.) Black Keys – Brothers – I can’t say enough about the Black Keys, who really are a throwback to old school rock and roll, a la Led Zeppelin. And they are only a duo! How I don’t know because sometimes it sounds like there are at least four people in the band, jamming away. The first four songs on the album are four of the best rocks songs I heard this year or any other, and the rest of the albums rocks as well. If you haven’t heard this one yet, now is the time.
2.) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs – A breath away from the number-one spot, The Arcade Fire have been established, musical geniuses for quite some time, but now, this Montreal group has announced it to the world with the expertly crafted new album – The Suburbs. A lovefest of instruments combine to make some stunningly fantastic, thought-provoking, politically charged music which you can dance to. Nuff said.
1.) Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon 2 -The Legend of the the Rager - You won’t find this album as number one on many lists, heck it is not on most people’s list at all. As mentioned earlier, it didn’t even make our top-ten hip-hop albums of 2010 list. Well, they must have not caught on to this one, but this is hands-down, the best album of 2010 for me. Kid Cudi finds his groove from the first song and never loses it. His style is so fresh and unique that not everyone can appreciate it right away. The album flows together perfectly and brings something new to the hip-hop table, and to music as a whole. Forget Kanye West, this is playing non-stop on my iPod and will probably be for years. Haven’t heard it yet? Well instead of picking and choosing songs, listen from track one and you won’t want to turn it off. Read my review here.
Well ladies and gentlemen, what do you think? Let us know.