Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010: The 20 Best Albums I Heard

As I alluded to yesterday, I hesitate to create a list that is lacking what I hope to be one of my favorite albums, Ryan Adams' III/IV.  But of the 70+ albums I bought, these are the best albums I heard that were released in 2010.

Honorable Mentions:
Mountain Man - Made the Harbor
MGMT - Congratulations
The Walkmen - Lisbon
Warpaint - The Fool
The Acorn - No Ghost

The Top 20:

20.  Suckers - Wild Smile

This one took me a while, but if you can take the weirdness and the occasional falsetto, it's well worth your time.

19.  Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Everyone else's #1, I thought there were a number of great songs, some good ones, and one that ended with 3-4 minutes of Chris Rock standup. 

18.  Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

I'm still torn on whether I love or just want to be friends with this album.  I kind of liked sweet, quiet Sufjan more than neon-electro Sufjan.

17.  The Love Language - Libraries

My favorite NC band of the moment, I have a feeling these guys will be a lot bigger when album #3 is released.

16.  The Black Keys - Brothers

One of the most consistently great bands delivers another consistently great LP.

15.  Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

I'm still partial to Funeral, but years from now I wonder how this LP will compare.

14.  Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love

Six years of waiting for this LP was pretty much worth it - not as eclectic as The Life Pursuit, but still a great record.

13.  Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record

Broken Social Scene probably delivers fewer hooks than any band, but the more I listen to this LP, the more I like it...even with a song titled "Texico Bitches."

12.  Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now

After Johnny's work on Jenny's Acid Tongue, I had a feeling this record would be good.  These two just sound great together.

11.  Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid

Obviously one perfect single, and the album was as good a "concept album" as I've heard in a while.

The top 10 after the jump...

10.  The Soft Pack - The Soft Pack

Perhaps conspicuously lacking a song on my best of 2010 list, this album may have had just too many good ones to choose from.  These are The Feelies of the 2000s.

9.  Tame Impala - Innerspeaker

The most psychedelic album I heard in 2010, many songs sound like Revolver outtakes (more specifically, like reimaginings of "Tomorrow Never Knows").

8.  The Morning Benders - Big Echo

Some of the best harmonies I heard on record in 2010, from a bunch of guys who look like they might still be in high school.  Can't wait to hear what they do next.

7.  Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

And these were THE best harmonies I heard in 2010, this time from a bunch of guys who look like they stepped out of a Hipster Runoff post.

6.  Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two:  Return of the Ankh

I enjoyed the sequel better than Part One, and I hope Part Three - if it exists - can keep it up.  Bonus points for Badu being one of the best live performers you'll ever see (if you don't mind waiting around).

5.  Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

Two hours?  No problem.  Sure you probably won't want to listen to it all at once, but it's not for lack of good songs.  Her voice just gets better and better.

4.  Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

My first reaction was "meh" but this record rewards patience.  Don't judge this LP until you've listened to it at least ten times (and maybe don't judge by the cover either).

3.  Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

An '80s album in 2010 and probably the weirdest one on this list.  But if "Round and Round" doesn't grab you, nothing will.

2.  Judson Claiborne - Time and Temperature

As I mentioned in my "Twilight Spirit" post, I can't believe these guys don't get more love.  Anyone who likes Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and other folky acoustic bands should eat this album up.

1.  Beach House - Teen Dream

Well, I predicted it - this album made my top 10 of 2010.  Sometimes albums released at the beginning of the year get short shrift in year-end lists - in this time of short attention spans, we've moved on to the next big thing.  But this is a great album, and the duo is improving by leaps and bounds with each release.  I'm going to see them in February - you may hear about it in my list of best concerts of 2011.

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