Ryan’s Top 10 of ‘10
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This is also a reminder that we are still accepting top 10 of 2010 album lists from you, the reader, and I’m trying to get enough so I can merge the lists together. Is anyone interested in making top 10 songs of 2010 playlists? - Ryan
10. Four Year Strong – Enemy of the World
Enemy of the World is a pop-punk album. It’s the only pop-punk album to enter my top 10, but it more than deserves its spot. I’d go as far as to say that they released the best CD of the “scene” this year. They improve on Rise or Die Trying in every way: production wise, lyrically, and melodically. Really, it would be easy to point to Four Year Strong’s dual vocals and just stop right there. But closer listens reveal that each song stands out on its own, thanks to a little something different to each song.
9. Girl Talk – All Day
Girl Talk albums are like sound collages. Hundreds of samples are used as a reflection on the top 40 hits of the current year, songs of the old days, guilty pleasures, forgotten one-hit wonders, indie cult favorites, and left-field combinations that make you think, “Did he really do that?” The record starts off with Black Sabbath vs. Ludacris, for example, and later, ODB is rapping over Radiohead’s “Creep.”
If interested, you can listen to the entire album here, complete with a list of all the samples used.
8. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
“Went to her apartment, man you should have seen the look on her face,” sums up this album. It’s a personal record. It gives off many different vibes. Their sound is like Vampire Weekend covering Weezer covering The Beach Boys…which makes their sound very 2010.
7. Foals – Total Life Forever
It must have been hard for Foals to make this album. Their debut was so energetic, bursting with energy at every turn (check the nonstop dance of “Cassius” or “Balloons”). Making this album must have been like telling Michael Scott from The Office that he couldn’t shoot his gun during improv class. But even though Total Life Forever is less immediate than Antidotes, it’s even better. The songs have more depth, more focus, and more originality this time around.
6. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Honestly, he could have went with the original title “Good Ass Job” and it would have been a more fitting title. What he has done is simply a good ass job. At 13 tracks and over an hour in length, this record has a lot of space, with most songs over 5 minutes and with a long list of guest appearances. Every guest artist brings their A game (this includes a great performance from Nicki Minaj – I know right?). Of course, this record isn’t flawless, and these songs aren’t without their excesses and indulgences (the 9 minute track “Runaway” for example). But that’s the point: this record is a true reflection of Kanye.
5. Best Coast – Crazy For You
Well, there was one other 60’s revival band that really stood out to me, and that was Bethany Cosentino’s Best Coast. I won’t lie, every song sounds the same. That’s probably because Bethany recorded the album in two weeks, recorded all the vocals in a day, and did the drums in a day and a half. Who knows what they could have done in a month.
4. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
There is no real way to step into listening to this record halfway… once you take one step into the orchestrated intro, you sink into this quicksand of atmosphere until the record is over. Even though it’s an hour long, it flies by at high speed and it definitely takes more than one listen just to catch everything that’s going on. Though no two songs sound the same, every track is in place and flows into the next one, and every single second contributes to the whole album. Janelle has really pushed the boundaries of what R&B can be, and this is one of the most creative albums of the year.
3. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz / All Delighted People EP
When Sufjan makes an album, he goes all out. The All Delighted People EP is an hour long with just 8 songs. The Age of Adz clocks in at a little under 1:15 and ends with the 25 minute long “Impossible Soul,” which he’s been playing in its entirety on tour. All this alone speaks to Sufjan’s dedication to music, and all of his albums have been great because of that.
2. Warpaint – The Fools
Where do I begin…
Ignoring the whole Local Natives re-release, this is the best debut I’ve heard this year, hands down. These ladies have swagger that I haven’t heard in a long time. Their music is like this mix of post-punk/dream pop/shoegaze/grunge… I don’t know how they mix all of their influences together so well, but they pull it off. At 9 songs this is the shortest full length I’ve heard all year, but to use a cliché that has never been more fitting, it’s quality and not quantity. Can’t wait to hear more from this band.
1. Beach House – Teen Dream / iTunes Session EP
I don’t know how to convincingly explain Beach House at all. Their lyrics are simple and repetitive just like their music. Victoria doesn’t have the best vocals either. Somehow, it’s great – best album I’ve heard all year. The iTunes session EP shows a livelier side of them that we’ve never heard before, which is nice.
and finally…a playlist for all the albums mentioned in this post.