Hi Blog! Remember me? Yeah I got kinda busy there for a while… maybe I’ll start updating more often, but I’m not making any promises. For now, I will commit to stepping in really quick and sharing my list of favorite albums of 2010. Now I’m not a professional music magazine or site, simply a fan. So let me reiterate (as I do every year) that these are the albums that I liked the best that came out this past year. If I was going by what I personally enjoyed the most, I’m sure the list would look different. Anyhow, whatever. Doesn’t matter. Enough of my babbling. Here’s my list already, starting at 11. Why? Because it’s now 2011, and that’s completely logical.
This album always puts me in a mellow mood. My first thought when I heard it was that it sounded like it should have been on the soundtrack of the old animated Rankin & Bass “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack… I still kinda hold by that, so I guess that means it reminds me of America? Whatever… I just like this record a lot, okay? Leave me alone. Check out this fan-made video to my favorite track “Acts of Man”
10. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
Now, I don’t like every track on this record, and I think it loses steam towards the end, but the strong tracks are REALLY strong. I really admire that he wanted to keep writing and recording music while the rest of the band decided to take a well-deserved hiatus. The lead single “Crossfire” is definitely my favorite song on here, followed by “Hard Enough”, “Magdaelena”, and “Only The Young”. Great job, Brandon!
9. She & Him – Vol 2
I actually liked this album better than their first, which is saying a lot. My kids know the lyrics to most of these songs – which I guess also goes for most of the other records on this list – but it’s really cute seeing Cricket singing “Driving in My Car”. Thank you Zooey for more sweetness!
8. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
This was also on my list last year (thanks internet leaks!), but I still love this record so much it deserves a spot. Once you get past the first track, the album is admittedly a bit front-loaded, with such great singles as “Ambling Alp”, “O.N.E.” and “Madder Red”. The rest holds up pretty well, but those are definitely the best ones. I was sad to miss their set at Coachella, but I got to meet their singer, Chris and he was a really cool guy. So, thanks, Yeasayer!!
7. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
Speaking of really cool guys at Coachella, James Murphy is a friggin’ prince. What a guy. I chatted with him for about 5-10 minutes and he was totally approachable and friendly. Name dropping aside, this album is really really good. “I Can Change” and “All I Want” are my favorite tracks by far, but the rest of the record is really solid. “Dance Yrself Clean” kinda makes my break go crazy after the music breaks in. My friend Chris didn’t like them based on their set at Coachella saying he was just ranting in all of his songs… But most of their songs are really like that and they’re kinda fun that way. Oh yeah, and this video blew my mind.
6. The Arcade Fire – Suburbs
Well, they did it again. The Arcade Fire are still as awesome as ever. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains” is my favorite track, but they’re all great. Especially when listened to in order. It paints a great picture of the joys and boredoms of growing up in the suburbs. It’s awesome. I really like the new directions they experimented with, from Neil Young style folk to 80′s synth.. Really cool. Can’t wait to see them in April!
5. Vampire Weekend – Contra
Haters can keep on hatin’, but I still think Vampire Weekend is a great band. Sure they may be spoiled ivy-leage brats who haven’t worked a day in their lives. Sure their sound is derivative of greater bands like Bow Wow Wow, The Police, and Paul Simon (who themselves were derivative of African pop music). Sure they weren’t the warmest people I met at Coachella last year. But I’m willing to overlook all of that because when it comes down to the music none of that matters. It’s like a pitchfork review where they take in account everything except for the actual music. Well, I love this record up and down. Played it a lot in the car with the family, and the kids like it. Now if they’d just stop playing that car commercial with “Holiday” on it every five minutes…
4. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
This is a great debut from this local (har har) band that really took off nationally. I wouldn’t say this album breaks new ground creatively, as I’d describe it as basically “indie rock” but man it’s freaking great indie rock. So many great songs on here that really stuck with me. “Airplanes” can move me to tears if I let it. “Cubism Dream” is another favorite of mine. Great underrated album.
3. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
I had really high expectations for this record, being the big Gorillaz fan that I am, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. It was a bit more difficult to swallow at first, and I must admit it took time to grow on me, especially the second half. But after a while I really REALLY got into it. And sorry to mention Coachella yet again, but yeah, they blew me away and played almost this entire record. “On Melancholy Hill” “Super Fast Jelly Fish” “Stylo” “Empire Ants”.. the hits just keep on coming!
2. Future Islands – In Evening Air
I am really, REALLY surprised this record didn’t make it on to any other year-end lists. This album has so much replay value for me, it’s crazy. For having one of the most dramatic vocalists out there, I was really surprised at how subdued a lot of this record is, as opposed to some of their faster, more intense work in the past. Sam’s vocals really make it, but musically, it’s just fantastic as well. If you’ve never heard them, I implore you to check them out.
1. Mark Ronson & The Business INTL – Record Collection
Speaking of underrated albums, I just don’t get how this amazing album flew so far under the radar. Maybe it was huge in Europe? I dunno. I first saw the video for “Bang Bang Bang” in July at my buddy Quang’s place and it blew me away – both the music and the video. Oh my gosh. Amazing. I couldn’t wait until it came out in September, and I was not disappointed at all. Following a similar formula as Gorillaz, chock full of guest appearance (Simon Le Bon, The Pipettes, Ghostface Killa, Q-Tip, Boy George and lots more), it mixes electronic pop, hip hop and synthy 80′s new wave pop. I’m really glad he progressed from his 60′s Dap King cover-fest style of his last record. Not that that was bad at all, but this one just kills it. All the songs are great and I’ve played the heck out of it with the kids on the way to school. Number one for a reason.
Favorite non-2010 album this year