Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Favourite Albums of 2010 - 20-11

Well here we are, the start of my wrap of 2010, I had aimed to do this post yesterday but instead went to London with a load of people from my old school and didn’t get back in until gone midnight so just went to bed and decided to this post and the Top 10 today. So as I posted on Twitter, because so much good music was released in 2010 I’ve decided to do a Top 20 list. So if there’s anything that looks at all interesting to you go and listen!

So now on with the list

20. Weezer – Hurley

This does not mean that Weezer are back at 90s level awesomeness, it just means that they put out a very fun album in 2010. Whilst not much will ever reach the level of how good Blue Ablum and Pinkerton are, Hurley is just a very solid dose of fun pop/rock tunes. Whilst of course there’s the normal Weezer corniness in songs like ‘Where’s My Sex’, this album as is the best collection of songs that Weezer has released in years. ‘Memories’, ‘Trainwrecks’ and ‘Smart Girls’ are absolute stand-outs of the album.

'Memories' - Weezer

19. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is not as incredible as 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight but it still shows that Frightened Rabbit are one of the best bands working in the United Kingdom at the moment. Of course this album doesn’t come with the pain that The Midnight Organ Fight, but it doesn’t suffer from it, in many ways this album is like the ray of sunshine that comes after the crushing pain and proves that Frightened Rabbit that can pull through almost anything.

'Swim Until You Can't See Land' - Frightened Rabbit

18. Girl Talk – All Day

Girl Talk is just one guy who makes albums out of other songs. Ever wanted to hear Black Sabbath mixed with 2Pac? How about Electric Light Orchestra mixed with Juicy J? All Day is an album that takes samples from so many different artists, Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Beck, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Eminem, Fugazi and Michael Jackson. Whilst not as straightforward as other mash-ups, Girl Talk creates a tapestry of so many recognisable riffs and vocal samples that it makes for a damn good album.

'Oh No' - Girl Talk

17. Beach House – Teen Dream

Beach House’s Teen Dream was one of the first albums I heard in 2010 and it still sounds great, especially now we’re back in the winter months. Melodic vocals, hazy synths create just a warming atmosphere. Whilst lacking a hard immediate edge, Teen Dream created one of the most comforting atmospheres on album this year with songs like ‘Zebra’ and ‘Norway’. For lack of a better way to describe it, Teen Dream is a beautiful album that makes the most out of its shoegaze roots.

'Norway' - Beach House

16. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

Titus Andronicus have made a fantastic concept album The Monitor. Based around the American Civil War, the album stretches for over an hour. Hell the last song on the album is 14 minutes long. Titus Andronicus were aiming for the ceiling with this album and they pulled most of it off. ‘A More Perfect Union’ is one of the best songs of the year and that Jersey punk atmosphere gets me pretty much every time I hear it (see also Gaslight Anthem).

'A More Perfect Union' - Titus Andronicus

15. Spoon – Transference

Spoon are still the most consistent band in the world. Whilst Transference isn’t as uniformly strong as earlier albums such as Kill The Moonlight and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Transference was still one of the best releases of year. Transference is uglier as can be heard on the song ‘Written in Reverse’ where the piano sounds like it’s on the edge of breaking for the entire song. Transference is just a more raw album that the rest of Spoon’s back catalogue and whilst that might seem strange to those that fell for Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s poppier outlook, Transference is a more than worthy entry into the Spoon discography.

'Written in Reverse' - Spoon

14. Robyn – Body Talk

Body Talk is just straightforward pop album, but it’s a damn good pop album. Robyn has more originality than almost every single pop star going at the moment (apart from possibly Lady Gaga but she’s insane). There’s a sheer joy to songs like ‘Dancing on my Own’ and ‘Hang with Me’, and whilst it might be to everyone’s taste, Robyn has made some of the best dance songs in a while. At least in the way that I don’t feel like retching every time I hear them, and for pop music that’s an achievement.

'Dancing On My Own' - Robyn

13. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?

I have a feeling that this album could end up like Fuck Buttons, an album that I heard comparatively late in the year and that I feel in love with and regret not putting a lot higher. Emeralds, along with the next album on this list is one of the best instrumental electronic albums I heard all year and is quickly becoming one of my favourite sub-genres. The ambient swell of Emeralds is one of perfect rising and falling, with obvious elements of post-rock and shoegaze. Emeralds are one of those bands the work best when you just let the sound engulf and take you somewhere else.

'Candy Shoppe' - Emeralds

12. 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

This was an album I downloaded completely at random. Last year’s Tarot Sport by Fuck Buttons was one of my favourite albums of the year and would probably land highly on my decade list if I did it again. So this year I tried to find an album that would fill the hole that Fuck Buttons, and 65daysofstatic came closest. Whilst not as perfect as Tarot Sport, We Were Exploding Anyway has the same post-rock influence, the same level of just sheer noise. 65daysofstatic’s new album feels in some ways to be a new generation of The Prodigy with so many great hooks throughout the album that I’m sure those guys would be jealous. 65daysofstatic are one of the few bands that get how to build on a song to an almighty crescendo and for that I’m thankful.

'Crash Tactics' - 65daysofstatic

11. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

This was Sufjan’s first proper album in almost 5 years. Whilst he’s been releasing music since his seminal Illinois, The Age of Adz is the first proper LP since that album came out. Whilst many people were expecting an enhancement of that sound from so long ago, Sufjan has seemingly gone in an entirely different direction. Although that’s a lie, The Age of Adz seems to be a synthesis of every style that Sufjan has been working with over the years. Illinois, ‘You Are the Blood’ from last year’s Dark Was the Night and even Seven Swans. Hell he even goes all out on auto-tune. Age of Adz needs to be listened to a lot to finally get but when you do it’s completely worth, being one of the richest and thematically rich albums released this year.

'Too Much' - Sufjan Stevens

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