Top 14 Albums 2010

Top Albuns 2010

 

Who said young people don’t listen to albums anymore? We listen. We just don’t buy them. Young people are to blame for the gajillion percent drop in CD sales over the past 5 years. Young people, however, are not responsible for Susan Boyle garnering two number one albums. Just saying…regardless, there are quite a few albums I’d recommend buying a physical copy of or at least purchasing legally online. I don’t know what the major critics think, but I’m easy to please. That might be why Kate Nash is number one.

Kate Nash cover
1.KATE NASH-MY BEST FRIEND IS YOU
“YOU’LL NEVER LISTEN TO ME!” the former princess of post-Lily Allen pop barks on the opening track of the heartfelt and human masterpiece that is her second album. Well….I listened..like maybe, a billion times. My Best Friend Is You works better than her debut, discarding the top 40 pop sheen and gunning for a rawer feel. The hooks are still there (see “Doo Wah Doo” in which Ms. Nash rhymes “lady” with “shady”), but they’re set against a sense of urgency not present in past songs, aside from the fantastic “Foundations”. All the promise she showed on her demos and B sides prior to the release of her debut gets amped up to a stunning set of songs that romp around in diary entries from spoken word (“Mansion Song”) to rrriot grrrrrrll rrrawk (the amazing “I Just Love You More”). Throughout, Kate does something Lily Allen wouldn’t commit to-she shows us her scars. Being hurt and human never sounded as pretty and hummable.
CHOICE TRACKS: “I Just love You More” “Don’t You Want To share The Guilt?”

Kanye West cover
2. KANYE WEST-MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
The ego of Kanye. It’s like when I’m in the cinema trying to watch The Social Network and there’s this big tall guy in front of me who’s obstructing the view. Yes. I’m comparing him to Kanye’s ego, because often times, that ego distracts potential fans from appreciating the full breadth of Kanye’s world and Kanye’s talents. Kanye’s always had a knack for bombast (see all his previous albums) and sampling (see all his previous songs) and here it’s layered in such an intricate way that overwhelms at first listen. It’s like being fucked in your senses. With the exception of “Monster”, Kanye doesn’t let his plethora of guests outshine. Taylorgate forced music’s biggest head into hiding but compared to the past when I just rolled my eyes every time critics lauded him and his half baked efforts (“The Good Life” is like whaaat?), this is the first time I’d believe you if you told me Kanye West is the best artist of the new millennium so far.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Monster” “Runaway” “All Of The Lights”

Toro Y Moi cover
3. TORO Y MOI-CAUSERS OF THIS
Chaz Bundick has an unfortunate name. That may be the reason why he opted for Toro y Moi. Regardless, his versatility in crafting spaced out synth pop to chew gum and have sex to is undisputed. You can’t fault a guy who makes breaking up sound so sexy and soulful. It helped me get over my break ups (yes, I had a few in 2010 alone). It might help you.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Bless” “Fax Shadow” “Talamak”

Hot Chip cover
4. HOT CHIP-ONE LIFE STAND
Alexis Taylor and gang are cheeky white boys who can’t dance themselves but know how to put you in a dance floor trance. That sounds absurd. So is One Life Stand. Nothing will match “Over And Over”. That’s a classic I don’t want anybody to touch, not even the original artists themselves. But here we have a consistent collection of earnest love songs in the least traditional sense. If a line like “Please take my heart and keep it close to you” doesn’t melt your innards, then you’re probably listening to Flo Rida right now.
CHOICE TRACKS: “One Life Stand” “Take It In”

LSD SS cover
5. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM-THIS IS HAPPENING
Kanye West and Jamez Murphy are polar opposites. One has a massive ego the size of a pregnant walrus and the other is modest and apprehensive about calling his work ‘any good’. Guess which one is which. There had been a rumor that this might be the last album from LCD Soundsystem, I think it’s because there is going to be one massive uphill climb trying to do one over This Is Happening, their best album everrrr. From “Pow Pow” to “Drunk Girls” make you want to slip into a leather jacket and start humping fire hydrants. Murphy may have spent his early years as a musician in awe of Julian Casablanca and Pete Doherty, but it’s his awesomeness on display now-and it’s everybody’s turn to be in awe of him.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Pow Pow” “I Will Change” “One Touch”

VV Brown cover
6. VV BROWN-TRAVELING LIKE THE LIGHT
Earlier this year, I had to entertain and act as a Malaysian tour guide for a French student. My French was rusty and despite him being quite fluent in English, we had trouble finding common grounds for communication initially. That is, until we discussed the music of Michael Jackson, Jack Johnson…and VV Brown. She’s built like a runway model and sounds like an Solange’s twin with a shinier pop sheen. This is the woman the French are crazy for, chewing up the charts with throwback soul n’ b with doo woop choruses seewping the roves off houses. Every fast song hits you hard like a champion boxer and the ballads are kept afloat by her quirky ways of wording simple phrases. Welcome Miss Universal Pop Princess 2010.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Shark In The Water” “Crying Blood” “LEAVE!”

Sufjan Stevens cover
7. SUFJAN STEVENS-THE AGE OF ADZ
Post Illinois, there wasn’t much to suggest that the one and only Sufjan Stevens would release anything noteworthy really. Post-The Age of Adz, I can hardly believe I’ve been hugged by such an intelligent earnest and sonically intricate album. The multitude of ideas don’t cramp up the tracks-the confident yet still heartfelt vocals don’t jostle for space with the orchestral arrangements which bloom with every listen. For another long wait…I’m more than sure I can replay this over and over again until the next one.
CHOICE TRACKS: “I Walked” “Get Real Get Right”

ERYKAH BADU cover
8. ERYKAH BADU-NEW AMERYKAH PART TWO: RETURN OF THE ANKH
The first installment had Erykah floating high, and in my opinion, kinda had her nose up a little in a ‘I know stuff’ fashion. This second coming though reaches out and envelops you, instantly becoming accessible with the opening track “20 Feet Tall”. The lead single “Window Seat” may have barely dented the Billboard charts, but hey, the fact she even made it on there is a reason to celebrate. People may have taste after all. Why this is ultimately more successful than her first attempt at political stances may be the human touch Part 2 seems to exude. It’s less mind bending and relies on the listener to feel with the heart. Because throughout the whole 11 minute masterpiece, she’s singing to YOU.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Window Seat” “Love”

2NE1
9. 2NE1-TO ANYONE
I can’t bring myself to publically endorse Ke$ha (is that how you spell it?) aside from “Blah Blah Blah” or Korean pop robots. But this experimental piece of manufactured girl group just jumps out at me in ways previous Korean acts did not. Taking Auto-tune to a dizzy high, Cl, Bom, Dara, and Minzy (they are not new sesam street inductees) get cheeky and commercial through a choppy filter of synthesizers and buzzpop rhythms. The four are like hypersexualized and cutesified bunny rabbits, oblivious to their managers and corporate puppetmasters, put everything they’ve got into one of the year’s most energetic chewy pop albums. The album title ‘TO ANYONE’ sums their efforts up the best. They are just so so eager to please.
 CHOICE TRACKS: “Nal Ddara Haebwayo” “Baksu Chyeo”

Vampire Weekend cover
10. VAMPIRE WEEKEND-CONTRA
Indie pop gets hyped. Gets a number one album when they least deserve it. That would be story of Death cab for Cutie. Not so for the case of Contra, Vampire Weekend’s well desrerved ticket to mainstream success and Grammy recognition. Everything is so pretty and so pop and rock and otherworldy at the same time, you just hum along and let it take you. And the video for “giving Up The Gun” is one of the year’s best, the tennis theme bouncing off the witty chorus. If the next effort fails to hit number one and they start to lose relevance, at least their moment of glory was well deserved.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Giving Up The Gun” “Cousins”

Arcade Fire cover
11. ARCADE FIRE-THE SUBURBS
ALBUM OF THE YEAR nominated The Suburbs. Well deserved for a band that takes its own sweet precious time. They knew listeners were hungry for another round of heartstring tugging without all the cliché pop often throws at us They knew we wanted another set of mysterious percolating pretty pop. They knew we wanted more Arcade Fire. And Arcade Fire awarded our wait with what seems to be the third piece after Neon Bible. They’ve grown up with the listeners, toying with words and arrangements that makes the slightest shift of sound pique interest. This album oozes a sense of mystery even after several repeated listens. That’s the mark of something worth waiting for.
CHOICE TRACKS: “Ready To start” “Modern Man”

Gorillaz cover
12. GORILLAZ-PLASTIC BEACH
Damon Albarn prefers to shy away from the public and hide behind his cartoons. It seems though that on this stunning melancholic masterpiece, Albarn has become more than just a puppetmaster, singing on a track even, and the cartoons aren’t as gimmicky this time round in their music videos, especially the gorgeous “Stylo”. While watching MTV, my cousin was staring at that music video, wanted to change the channel, because she didn’t get it. But she watched it until the end of the music video anyways. That’s the beauty of songs like “Superfast jellyfish” and “Some Kind Of Nature”. It makes you scratch your head before it sinks you into Albarn’s world of smart modern pop designed to last until the year 3000.
CHOICE TRACKS: “On Melancholy Hill” “Superfast Jellyfish”


13. THE ACORN-NO GHOST
If all the songs on No Ghost were ingredients, I’d put them in a pot, boil it, and have the most incredible soothing soup of 2010. Verything blends as one. These songs intertwine, from the opening “Cobbling From Dust” to the stunning closer “Kindling To Creation’, there’s an aura of graciousness and eloquence Canadians are known for. After three listens, I felt like I was strolling through a snowy forest in Saskatchewan. That’s a good thing by the way. And this is, according to me, the year’s best music to study for finals to. Fuck Mozart. For now.
CHOICE TRACKS: “I Made The Law” “On The Line”

Beach House cover
14. BEACH HOUSE-TEEN DREAM
Please please please please understand. The world is not fair. Katy perry has no right naming her shoddy slutty excuse of an album Teenage Dream when the expertly crafted and haunting Teen dream already exists. It’s by a band known for their ability to sift through your emotions and make you swell. Beach House feels like a necessity for 2010’s pop music landscape. Legrand has a voice that sounds like a pulse and the music throbs along like heartbeats. Like a dream. Like a teen dream. Katy who?
CHOICE TRACKS: “Zebra” “Norway”

KANYE WEST FEAT. PUSHA T-RUNAWAY
I was a bit apprehensive about watching the 34 minute long music video.

KATE NASH-DON’T YOU WANT TO SHARE THE GUILT?
Los Campesinos, my favorite band, didn’t really release anything major this year, so I was wondering when I’d get my dosage of talk-sing chorus-less epic pop song…and along came Kate Nash with “Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt?” a massive construction which intertwines with teases of a hook that might come, but never does. Instead, she rambles on and on, tugging and pulling you in about her complaints and misery and insecurities, like she’s scrawling a diary entry on your forehead before shrieking the title of the song, not as a question, but an accusation. Los Campesinos can wait a little bit longer, I guess.

ARCADE FIRE-THE SUBURBS

KANYE WEST FEAT. BON IVER, JAY Z, RICK ROSS, AND NICKI MINAJ-MONSTER

FOALS-MIAMI

VV BROWN-SHARK IN THE WATER

CHIDDY BANG-OPPOSITE OF ADULTS

GORILLAZ FEAT. BOBBY WOMACK-STYLO

BIG BOI-SHUTTERBUG

MATT AND KIM-BLOCK AFTER BLOCK


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