If you were following this site over the holidays (No? You mean, you had better things to do than analyzing the video for “The Suburbs”?), you’ll recall that my fellow music critics and I were yammering on about our favourite songs of 2010 over at prairie dog.
But after Boxing Day, I took off for warmer climes with my mom and sister and neglected to post my Best Albums of 2010 list. I know, I know – you’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this countdown to drop. Well my friends, the long wait is over:
10.) The Roots, How I Got Over
9.) Tame Impala, Innerspeaker
8.) The National, High Violet
7.) Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
6.) Yeasayer, Odd Blood
5.) Caribou, Swim
4.) Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Pt. 2
3.) Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer
2.) Robyn, Body Talk
1.) Beach House, Teen Dream
Surveying the list as a whole, I’m struck by how good a year it was for R&B. Typically, the genre tends to produce great singles rather than great albums. (I’m talking about the last decade or so – not the glory days of Songs in the Key of Life or What’s Going On.) 2010 was the exception to the rule, producing several smart, well-conceived R&B records that nod at the classics, without resorting to karaoke.
As for other genres… the indie world spawned some really brilliant, unorthodox music this year, from the twitchy funk of Yeasayer to the dreamy Beach House. Not complaints there.
However, if you were in the mood to seriously rock out, you were shit out of luck in 2010. Not a lot to get excited about from my vantage point. Sure, there were moody, intense guitars… but not a lot of full-on riffs to go around. Know what I mean? Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. If I missed something, please tell me!
In terms of hip-hop, I differed from a lot of critics on the subject of the new Kanye record. I dunno… I’m just bored with the guy.
Almost, But Not Quite:
Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid: Don’t get me wrong – there are some killer tracks on here. And I think Ms. Monae’s crazy talented; so much so, I felt compelled to wax on about her tune “Tightrope” in a post earlier last summer. But as whole, this record was too scattered for my liking. I applaud the ambition of hopscotching through different genres; it’s a very 21st century way of approaching music, in theory. However in practice, it’s a big jarring to go from Off the Wall-style jams to thrashy punk beats. If she has a bit of rock ‘n roll in her, I’d like to hear an entire album in that vein. Ditto for the 80’s electro funk sound she’s been dabbling in.
Black Mountain, Wilderness Heart
Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
Kylesa, Spiral Shadow
The Black Keys, Brothers
Warpaint, The Fool
I’d rather stick a steak knife in my eye than listen to:
Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
Black Eyed Peas, The Beginning
Bruce Springsteen, The Promise