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My favorite albums of 2010

So after laying down my favorite songs from the previous year, it's time to list my favorite albums.  I didn't listen to enough stuff to make a really solid Top 10 list, so I am keeping this to a Top 5 list instead.  I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed all 5 of these albums and definitely consider them to have the best music I heard this year, moreso than the other albums I came across.  So here we go...

5) Ratatat - LP4

No, this is not a concept album about birds.  I only knew one song by Ratatat until this year when I decided I liked that song enough to figure out what Ratatat is all about.  And I've found that as Ratatat continues to make new albums, they add more and more complexity to their music while still staying true to their genuine sound.  Many of the tracks on this album are absurdly danceable, and much of it is incredibly entertaining.  "Drugs", "Grape Juice City", and of course "Mandy" are all wonderful tracks that demand listening.  And on top of that, the album translates into an awesome live show, undoubtedly the best live show I saw in 2010.  I'm happy that I know Ratatat now and I hope they stick around for a long while.

4) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

When I first started working at my current job, one of the engineers there at the time was always listening to Arcade Fire at his desk, a band I knew nothing about until I met him.  I remember him asking what I listened to, and when I told him Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros he actually hugged me, which kinda sorta freaked me out at the time, but I realized that some of us have such weird taste in music that it's really awesome to find someone else that listens to the same stuff.  So anyway, he introduced me to this band, and I became a fan.  Arcade Fire's latest effort "The Suburbs" is filled with a lot of songs about growing up in, well, the suburbs, and how people's dreams and ambitions don't really fit in with the structure and orderliness of American suburbia.  But on top of that, there's just a lot of really good music on here, from the deceivingly optimistic "City With No Children" to the ethereal "Half Light II", a song that ALMOST made it to my top 10 list.  The "Month of May" / "Wasted Hours" combo is also a fun listen, from fast-paced rock to the slowed-down, contemplative track.  Arcade Fire is good at a number of things, and they all come out in this outstanding album.

3) LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening

When this album first came out, I said it was the best album of 2010.  Obviously I no longer think that is the case, but that's not to say I don't really enjoy this superb album.  LCD Soundsystem's previous release "Sound of Silver" was so good that I didn't think they could ever live up to it, but they've managed to find even more room to grow into with this next album by taking a lot of their characteristics to another level.  They are good at being silly and absurd, which mostly comes through in "Drunk Girls" and "Pow Pow" (the latter of which is one of their most fun songs), but they also show a more serious understanding of life experiences with songs like "I Can Change" and "Home", my favorite song of the year.  If you're like me and think that if a song is good, it should last longer than 4 minutes, then LCD Soundsystem is a good fit.  They are good at taking as much time and space as they need to create the song that they want, and by no means are they more boring as a result of being longer tracks.  The songs feel like complete experiences, like nothing was left on the table and no interesting tidbit went unexplored.  Superb album.

2) Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

(Sorry for the NSFW image)  Yes, Kanye West is a jerk and is pretty egotistical, and yes, it is probably weird that I, of all people, really like a rap album.  But the fact that I DO like a rap album is why I give such high regards to this album because I usually don't get into this sort of thing at all.  The two big hits from this album, "Power" and "Runaway", are very well-deserving of their popularity, but it's other songs like "Monster" and "Blame Game" that make the album as a whole pretty spectacular.  What I really respect is the fact that Kanye West managed to turn a lot of inner turmoil into something like this rather than something much darker and worse.  That's not to say there is no darkness in this album, obviously, but he turns it into something relate-able and healthy than what people with personal problems could potentially do.  But yes, an album with the power of making me love a genre I have pretty much ignored until now is definitely worthy of praise.

1) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

If you know what kind of music I listen to and you listened to this album, you would probably know why I love this album so much.  This is an album from 2010?  It could just as easily have been from 1970, and I am a HUGE classic rock fan.  But at the same time, it still wouldn't feel like it fit there, and really it doesn't fit into any particular time period or any genre.  It is its own totally unique and incredibly infectious sound.  "Round and Round" is probably the highlight of the album, but it's hard for me to pick a song from this album that I DON'T like.  When I first listened to it, I think I immediately played the whole thing start to finish again, and again, and again, all night.  And I still feel like I have a lot to learn from this album...I am someone who listens to the music first and only later goes back and figures out what the actual lyrics are and what they're saying.  These guys have been around the block, and they definitely aren't believers in making their message really obvious and lame.  Like LCD Soundsystem, they are at times quirky and funny, but that's not to say that they're just goofballs with nothing important to say.  I have no reservations about calling this my favorite album of the year, and even though I've listened to it once already today, I think I'm going to go back for round 2 right about now.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )