Monday, December 27, 2010

That Time of the Year Again: Top 10 Albums of 2010

I'm in a music (sharing) "group" with a bunch of dudes; we've been going on for a few years now. We calls ourselves RTP and that's all y'all need to know about that. Some of these guys I know and some I have never met, but I feel like we are all good friends and I'm indebted to them for turning me on to so much good stuff (amidst, of course, the occasional clunkers). I'm the old dude in the group and I feel that by keeping me dialed into the contemporary music scene, these guys have helped keep me young - more so than anyone else in my life (including my kids. They just age me). So thanks RTP boys, for all the musical hook ups. Your respective tastes in music - and friendships - are greatly appreciated.

And so, without further ado, my top ten albums of the year.

10. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Fantasy.

Yeah, it's good. Undeniably good. And it's one of those rare records that is getting better with each respective listen. And I love the cameos. That said, not sure it's deserving of the "10" that Pitchfork gave it, or some of the many other accolades, but there's no denying the fact that though Kanye might indeed me the mother of all strokes, he is one hell of a talent.

9. Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns

Linkin Park is my dirty, little secret. I'm way too old to be listening to these guys. I get it - they are a bit of a joke. But - I really don't care. They rock and their music has gotten me through many a run. This album got panned by the critics - I suspect it won't be making too many top ten lists, but it's not NEARLY as bad as its reviews. It too gets better the more you listen and even if it doesn't measure with their earlier stuff, they are trying something different by making an album (versus most bands today that look for a few hits while the rest is filler), which I think deserves respect. So- rock on Linkin Park.

8. Girl Talk: All Day

Another band (uh, actually not exactly. More appropriate word I guess would be DJ) that can do absolutely no wrong in my book. Also might just be the greatest running music ever. This one's a free download. Too lazy to find the link but shouldn't be hard to find. If you don't already have this one, get it pronto.

7. The Bird and the Bee: Interpreting the Music of Hall & Oates

Yes, you read that title correctly. Hall & Oates. The absolute antithesis of the previous three groups. But good lord - it's incredibly listenable, particularly when having a glass of wine, catching up with a good buddy on my deck on a hot summer day (looking at you, Rob). If like me you are a child of the 80's, you have to give this one a listen. Go ahead - don't be ashamed.

6. Jamey Johnson: The Guitar Song

The only genre I could care less about is country, short of the occasional Johnny Cash. Until this came along. I never heard of this dude before this year. But holy epic, batman.This guy is freaking unreal. It's a double album and I keep finding these incredible gems. If you want a taste of this one, go to iTunes and dowload Poor Man Blues. If you hate it, I'll happily refund you the .99 cents.

5. Cee Lo Green: The Lady Killer

It's got a little bit of everything. A bit of funk. A touch of r&b. Some rap. And a whole heck of a lot of fun. Still need to listen to see if it stands up to the test of time but again ... a lot of fun.

4. LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening

What more can I really say about this? Like the next three, it's destined to be a classic. Doesn't seem to get at all old, and has gotten me through MANY a run. The fact that this is four on my list is pretty arbitrary; could just as easily be three, two or maybe even one.

3. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today

Another dude I never heard of before this year. Still not sure exactly who he is and it's even harder to describe his music but man, it's just incredibly captivating and listenable. The more I listen, the more I think that it is pretty close to perfect start to finish.I also agree with Pitchfork that Round and Round is the best song of the year. Again, take the .99 cent risk and at minimum, download that song. The rest of the album is nearly as good.

2. Arcade Fire: Suburbs

For the record, unlike many other indie music fans, I'm not an Arcade Fire acolyte. I like them fine enough but felt that if anything, they were/are a tad overrated. And while the fanfare around this was a bit much, they sure did deliver an incredibly powerful and at times poignant album. A classic. And in my opinion, Rococo is the second best song of the year.

1.Broken Bells: Broken Bells

I guess an argument can be made that this was a 2009 album (which is when it leaked) but no matter; it was absolutely my "go to" album of the year. I honestly may have listened to it over a 100 times - and it never grew old. It's beyond solid, start to finish and I suspect that in 2011, I'll have listened to it yet another 100 times. That's how good this one is in my opinion. Always liked the Shins and always liked Danger Mouse; together, they form an unbeatable combination.

So there you have it. Thoughts? Miss anything that is glaringly obvious?


RevDave said...

Happy to be part of the crew, nice sentiments from you too pal. Here's to a good 2011!

Anonymous said...

It's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" Howard. Come on, man!

Good list; glad to know you, too. Keep posting; I keep reading.

wiley said...

This may be the first time that I actually agree with the majority of your list.