Top Ten | Albums of 2010

#4- Age of Adz – Sufjan Stevens: Sufjan Stevens was well on his way to becoming the Dave Chappelle of indie music. After the huge bonanza surrounding his 2005 Illinois, Sufjan did a number of projects that never really constituted an LP follow-up, went through a physical and mental health crisis, and admitted the 50 states project was all an elaborate commercial hoax. Who could’ve guessed that his next proper album would be a glitchy, immensely sonically layered, and 26-minute-song-closing oeuvre that could’ve been foreshadowed only by 2001′s Enjoy Your Rabbit. The Detroit-born, softly-spoken Stevens ambles through 75 minutes of compositional brilliance, each piece of electric doodling fitting perfectly into place throughout each of his songs that are ostensibly about his developing musical schizophrenia (by the way, this show in November was incredible as well).

#3- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West: I think it would be ridiculous to argue with the fact that what we have on our hands with Yeezy is this generation’s best example of a tortured genius. Although Kanye is self-aware of his public animosity, he still can’t stop himself from creating more of it. After a mostly misguided foray into Auto-tune with his last album, Kanye dives into his contact book on MBDTF and makes what will surely go down as one of hip-hop’s most ambitious and incredible albums of the last 20 years. Each song could be hit on its own; there isn’t a guest act that seems forced or out of place (Save for maybe Justin Vernon on “Monster”), and West himself tears each of his verses apart, parodying himself while maintaining the hedonism that has defined him these past few years. It’s an unbelievable accomplishment that single-handedly saves him from a public black-listing. For now.

#2- High Violet – The National: You can either love or hate the powerful and space-filling baritone of Matt Berninger, but you’d simply be wrong if you chose the latter. The singer could make commercial jingles seem as though they’re as important as the State of the Union. Instead he opts to go with dense, melancholic lyrics that are emotionally wrenching no matter how many listens. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is certainly near the top of my favorite tracks of the year, a type of moving, spacious beat that recalls “No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire a number of years ago. Each one of the tracks may take a number of listens to distinguish themselves as their own, but they are hauntingly beautiful and just have this sense of importance and weight that make it the National’s best album yet.

#1- Treats – Sleigh Bells: I’m in love with Alexis Krauss (for a number of reasons). The ex-kindergarten teacher (so she has to be nice) met up by chance with Derek Miller a few years back and threw some rough, hyper-energized demos together that eventually caught the attention of MIA, who then immediately signed them to her own Mom + Pop  label. They went into the studio soon-after and created what to me challenges the word genre itself. Miller’s guitars screech and sustain; thick, electric, hip hop beats pound in the background, and Krauss’ jubilant voice ranges from cat-calling to gentle caroling (she has a beautiful voice). The chaos in the instruments are often contained by the consistency of Krauss’ overwhelming presence in each song. It all makes for what is quite possibly the most original album I’ve heard in the 21st Century and easily my album of the year (she’s creative too).

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

1 comment on this post.
  1. 91.5 wmfo:

    [...] As I mentioned last year in my flagship post, the practice of making/searching for year-end music lists is a pastime in which all serious music fans take an unhealthy amount of pleasure. It’s exciting—validating, almost—to see an artist you’ve invested in for the entire year wind up at the top of a publication’s queue. Besides the selfish pleasure gained from seeing your favorite bands make a top spot, these lists can be equally rewarding if you can find an act you might’ve otherwise let slip through the cracks. It’s in that spirit that I again impart my mediocre knowledge of music unto you who seek out the albums that I thought were the best of 2011. #10. Burst Apart –The Antlers [...]

Leave a comment