year in review: top 5 albums of 2010
Now that Christmas is over, it’s that time of year to get nostalgic for something that hasn’t quite ended yet. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but most of the albums on this list I have already reviewed for this magazine. While that may somehow make me unoriginal – so meta I’m copying myself – I think each of these albums deserves a special place in our hearts for their awesomeness. 2010 was a great year for music, better than most in our recent past I think, but that’s a different kind of party.
I’m going to list the albums from top to bottom, because I hate suspense as much as you do. SPOILER ALERT: lots of backlinks and videos headed your way.
- Brothers, The Black Keys. What else can I say about Brothers? I love the album, both sonically and thematically. I think a selection from what I wrote back in November correctly justifies Brothers in the number one spot: “Beyond producing instrumentally clean rock and roll music, the Black Keys straddle the line of digital influence and vinyl-era guitar and drum work so perfectly that they have managed to define the music of our generation in a way that few other bands can.” If you haven’t yet seen the light, LISTEN TO IT.
- The Suburbs, The Arcade Fire. As you may or may not remember, I also love this album and this band. The Arcade Fire has upheld its reputation as the hardest-working indie band in our generation with The Suburbs. Despite its criticism for being an “aging hipster” record, I think it deserves some recognition in its own right. The Suburbs is wonderfully produced thematic album whose theme is equally important as its sweeping musical compositions to convey a human truth about the process of growing up that is surprisingly relevant in both the cultural and personal spheres.
- Thank Me Later, Drake. I don’t care if putting this album on my list destroys every last shred of my credibility. This album is worth this spot. Hip-hop is a gloriously underrated genre that allows true creative geniuses like Drake to show off, quickly become famous and hold our attention once in the limelight. Thanks to charming delivery, good rhymes, something honest about him and the ability to capture Lil’ Wayne’s attention for longer than 4 minutes, Drake is a true tour de force whose style and flow has attracted attention throughout the industry and garnered several Grammy nominations.
- Go, Jónsi. This is a great debut album from one of the most talented and creative musicians of our generation. We are lucky that Jónsi is making music now. Consult my review of the album if you want to understand why it’s so great. His live performance this October solidified my appreciation for his performance craftsmanship and uncanny ability to touch on something so fundamentally human through sound. He somehow melds performance artist, musician, soprano singer and cinematographer in one perfect Icelandic package.
- The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens. I really think seeing this album performed live is what makes it so amazing, but I had to include it on this list nonetheless. Sufjan has already proven he can do no wrong in the eyes of the independent music world. The Age of Adz takes our culture’s insatiable love of digitization and turns it into beautiful, catchy, original, and at times haunting music. Sufjan has managed to incorporate digital style and techniques into his music in the most unique way.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through my reviews and recommendations throughout these past few months. I’ll make one of my resolutions to be less predictable. Hope you all had a great holiday, and see you in 2011!