Another year, another set of music to love, am I right readers?! Exciting times! With Christmas right around the corner, it is time to look back and talk about albums I loved! Exciting times! Admittedly, this list is not perfect. There are things I have not heard! There are things I have not GROWN TO LOVE yet! I was reviewing last year’s list and I realized I made some mistakes (I am looking at you The Fame Monster and my eyes are saying they are sorry!)
Making this list is like choosing which child you love most, if such a choice was a matter of inconsequential preference. Luckily, Last.fm helped me with the METRICS of how much I listened things, but does that translate to how much I LOVED them? Who knows? Enough about the methods! Let us get to the music!
Anyway, to the (first ten[ish]) albums . . .
THE TEN ALBUMS JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP TWENTY BECAUSE REALLY I CANNOT COMMIT TO MAKING A CHOICE ABOUT THIS or HONORABLE MENTIONS, but still there were a lot of great releases this year that I have not mentioned SO MANY THINGS ohmanhowcouldiforgetDeerhunter/Baths/PanthaduPrince?!:
30).Crazy For You by Best Coast
29). Contra by Vampire Weekend
28). Everything In Between by No Age
27). Public Strain by Women
26). Dear God, I Hate Myself by Xiu Xiu
25). The Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens
24). Before Today by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
23). The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
22). Big Echo by The Morning Benders
21). Sir Lucious Left Foot… The Son of Chico Dusty by Big Boi
TOP TWENTY FOR REALS
20). This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
It’s kind of crazy that this might be the last LCD Soundsystem album. LCD Soundsystem are such an institution now and have been standard-bearers for independent music in the last five years. It seems like only yesterday I was getting college radio e-mails with “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” signatures. At least three times a week, I will make a “Losing My Edge” reference. It will be weird when LCD is “gone.,” but This Is Happening is a great note on which to leave. The referential Murphy of the first LCD album and the sentimental and longing Murphy of Sound of Silver are filtered through the present Murphy, old enough to be comfortably wise and young enough to dance.
19). Swim by Caribou
When Swim came out, I was unusually excited. I did not listen to Caribou before this album. However, the strength of the opening song “Odessa” got to me. Swim is nine tracks of wonderful, controlled electric layers and intriguing percussion. “Leave House” was perhaps my leading candidate for Summer Jam 2010 and is still a contender for song of 2010. It is rare t put together a song that is complex, eerie, and inviting all at once and Daniel Snaith does it for all of Swim.
18). Subiza by Delorean
During the summer, Delorean were in New York for what seemed like three weeks out of every month. I have no complaints about that. 2010 was a great year for summer music and Subiza stands out nicely against the rest of the year’s beach rock. The electronic sounds on the album are rapturous and warm. Every time I listen to Subiza I feel like I am dancing in Ibiza, impossibly tan, graceful, and carefree. It’s a nice feeling.
17). Memphis by Magic Kids
Maybe it’s their blithe sound or maybe it’s just Bennett Foster’s smooth voice or maybe it’s me being a sucker for large boy/ girl ensembles. Whatever its magic (You see what I did there.), Memphis channels those moments into great pieces of pop.
16). Gemini by Wild Nothing
This summer, I walked down the street with two people talking about this album. They found it pleasant but ephemeral. They didn’t give Jack Tatum’s songs enough credit. The simple drum machine beats and shimmering synths/ guitars are staples of indie rock, but Tatum’s dreamy numbers stand out due, in part, to their cohesion. Gemini is full of songs that can lull you to sleep in the best way.
15). Sit Down, Man by Das Racist
From their interview in the New York Times Magazine to their articles on Outsourced, Das Racist’s songs often get the short end of the publicity stick. Which is unfair! Because of their quality! For example, you heard song of the year contender “Commercial,” yes? (Lists! I can’t get enough of them!) Because you should hear it. You should hear all of the songs on this mixtape. Das Racist are able to comment on whatever they want without sacrificing lyric ingenuity or beat excellence.
14). In Evening Air by Future Islands
Even though this album came out in the spring, In Evening Air is probably the most recent addition to the list of my favorite albums this year. I would be upset if I missed this one because it is SO GOOD. The album’s nine songs are raw break-up reflections built on bass, drum, and synths that are held together by the emotional vocals and lyrics. Samuel T. Herring’s voice is gruff and kinetic, like a frantic Craig Finn concerned more with his heart than his mythology. If you felt for a moment that your heart was weak this year, In Evening Air will get to you.
13). Relayted by Gayngs
Calling Gayngs a gimmick undercuts the impressive assemblage of twenty-plus musicians coming together to lovingly pull off an eighties-inspired soft rock powerhouse. Such a project could become masturbatory or parodic, but Gayngs’ Relayted manages to stay intriguing, sexy, and cool (crazysexycool? Is it weird to call music sexy? Because that comes to mind on a lot of the vocal interplays, shimmering interludes, and saxophone fills) The dizzy, wandering jams, Justin Vernon’s love of autotune, and the unabashed soft rock influences make Relayted one of the most satisfying listens of 2010.
12). Teen Dream by Beach House
Do you guys remember January of 2010? Everyone loved this album so much! It is a great and lovable album. Has the year done Beach House a disservice? Maybe. Teen Dream is still super good! All the great parts of Devotion and Beach House are magnified and strengthened. As always, Victoria Legrande’s voice is the star of the show. Cool singing, Victoria!
I met a guy from Norway this year. I think seventy percent of the things I asked him were about Beach House’s relationship with his homeland. Sorry, Børild!
11). No Más by Javelin
Javelin’s approach to production is simultaneously nostalgic and refreshing. The duo constructs their sounds from mostly instruments instead of samples but manages to acknowledge and pay respects. Lots of No Más songs appeared on earlier Javelin releases, but these slightly updated versions groove to even out the more frantic moments. The results are an even and enjoyable collection of memory-jogging gems.
NEXT: More albums! More sighs! More videos!