18 December 2010

THE BEST MUSIC OF 2010

TOP TEN ALBUMS
(click on each link for individual posts)

1. Tracey Thorn – LOVE AND ITS OPPOSITE
2. Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
3. Hot Chip – ONE LIFE STAND
4. Laura Marling – I SPEAK BECAUSE I CAN
5. Janelle Monae – THE ARCHANDROID
6. Spoon – TRANSFERENCE
7. Belle and Sebastian – WRITE ABOUT LOVE
8. Joanna Newsom – HAVE ONE ON ME
9. V.V. Brown – TRAVELLING LIKE THE LIGHT
10. The Divine Comedy – BANG GOES THE KNIGHTHOOD


ALSO RECOMMENDED (with favorite tracks):

The Arcade Fire – THE SUBURBS
Still too ambitious for their own good, but at least they’re less pompous while retaining their singular grandeur. (“Modern Man”, “Ready to Start”, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”)

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim – HERE LIES LOVE
An all-star concept double album about Imelda Marcos? Works better than it has any right to—credit the impressive cast rather than the material. (“Here Lies Love” with Florence and the Machine, “Walk Like a Woman” with Charmaine Clamor, “Why Don’t You Love Me” with Tori Amos and Cyndi Lauper)

Field Music – MEASURE
Another double album that would’ve made a tidy single one, but their accessible (if angular) smartypants pop is often a welcome respite from scores of Pitchfork-approved humorless indie rock. (“Effortlessly”, “Let’s Write a Book”, “Them That Do Nothing”)

Goldfrapp – HEAD FIRST
Hardly their most profound effort, this extended tribute to synthetic ‘80s gloss is no less fun than any ‘80s appropriation of ‘60s culture (and it has the year’s best album cover). (“Rocket”, “Alive”, “I Wanna Life”)

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – I LEARNED THE HARD WAY
They posit another loving tribute to a past era, but sincerity and a wealth of talent keep them from sounding like a tribute band—they continue to find new colors in their limited palette. (“The Game Gets Old”, “I Learned the Hard Way”)

LCD Soundsystem – THIS IS HAPPENING
Contains this year’s best clever non-sequitur lyric (“Eat it Michael Musto, you’re no Bruce Vilanch”), but with increasing alacrity, the standouts aim for more than laffs.
(“Home”, “All I Want”, “One Touch”)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – THE BRUTALIST BRICKS
His most consistent album since HEARTS OF OAK: not so much an advance as a refinement, with wisdom now supplementing his ample passion.
(“Bottled in Cork”, “Ativan Eyes”, “One Polaroid a Day”)

Scissor Sisters – NIGHT WORK
Sleazy, a bit cheesy, and on occasion, gloriously vulgar—who else would juxtapose AD/DC with The Bee Gees?
(“Invisible Light”, “Night Life”, “Harder You Get”)

Sufjan Stevens – THE AGE OF ADZ
As one track puts it early on, it’s all a bit “Too Much”, but I have to admit this certifiably peculiar detour has grown on me, albeit at a more glacial pace than I’d prefer.
(“I Walked”, “Vesuvius”)

Vampire Weekend – CONTRA
As with their debut, can a person absolutely admire the music while finding it actively annoying at times? Chalk that up as a rationale for why it came this close to making my top ten.
(“Giving Up the Gun”, “White Sky”, “Taxi Cab”)

OTHER FAVORITE TRACKS:

Joan Armatrading, “This Charming Life”
Best Coast, “Boyfriend”
Broken Bells, “The Ghost Inside”
Cee-Lo Green, “Fuck You”
Four Tet, “Angel Echoes”
The Gaslight Anthem, “American Slang”
Gorillaz, “On Melancholy Beach”
Emm Gryner, “Stray Bullet”
Nellie McKay, “Caribbean Time”
Morcheeba, “Even Though”
The New Pornographers, “Crash Years”
Pernice Brothers, “The Great Depression”
Robyn, “Dancing on My Own”
Gil Scott-Heron, “New York is Killing Me”
Stars, “Fixed”
Sufjan Stevens, “Heirloom”
KT Tunstall, “(Still a) Weirdo”
Laura Veirs, “July Flame”

2 comments:

webpenblog said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Tracey. I couldn't get into it. I did pick up Charlotte's album.

C. Kriofske said...

Howard, given your own list, I think you'd really like the Hot Chip album.