This is it. The year is winding down. Everyone is declaring their most favorite things of the year and preparing their new year’s resolutions, knowing full well that they won’t keep them past January. I’ve had this blog for a few years and each year I’ve tried to do something along the lines of a best of or a list of some kind. This year I thought I would up the ante a bit and give you a couple days’ worth of posts about the top ten things I really really liked in 2010. Let’s start with the top ten albums of the year.
HERE WE GO!
10. Contra – Vampire Weekend
The sophomore effort to Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut. Very peppy music set to great guitars. There were many a day spent singing along to “Cousins” or “Holiday.”
9. Imaginary Friends – Freezepop
I found Freezepop kind of by accident. I had played their game Amplify way back in college, but didn’t really pay them much mind. Fast forward to my time in Chicago. I was in a bit of a dark place and not in much of a music-enjoying mood. But at the behest of a co-worker, I went to The Subterranean to see his band open. They were special. Anyway, I stuck around after and decided to see what this headliner Freezepop was all about. I’ve been a fan ever since. Their newest album sees them with new bandmates and a mature sound. I quite like it.
8. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
I’m sure a lot of people started liking Arcade Fire after hearing that one song of theirs on the Where The Wild Things Are trailer. I say this because I admittedly fall in that category. Their latest is perhaps my favorite entry in their discography and I like the theme they stick with in each of their songs.
7. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
I love The Shins. I’ve been jonesing for a new album from them for quite some time. Broken Bells came at just the right time and gave me the Mercer fix I needed. While it lacks much of what made The Shins so great, it’s a great direction for Mercer and his lyrics really fit the stylings of Danger Mouse.
6. Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) – Mates of State
A cover album made my top ten list. I generally wouldn’t consider an album of covers or even a mashup album (*cough*girl talk*cough*) but Mates of State bring such a love and warmth to these songs it’s hard not to find yourself at the end of the album before you get a chance to say “Hey I liked that!”
5. Romance is Boring – Los Campesinos!
Los Campesinos! deserve their place on my list for A) their awesome music stylings, B) their gloomy lyrics set to poppy music and C) the fact that they work so FUCKING hard at what they do. I barely had time to breathe with their last album and suddenly Romance is Boring hit. Granted, it could just be that I’m really not much for paying attention to music news, but having this album come out was like finding a $20 bill in a wallet you had packed away. SCORE! Missed out on seeing these guys this year, but I have hopes for the next.
4. Together – The New Pornographers
Wasn’t a huge fan of Challengers when it first came out, and then each song kind of found it’s place in my psyche, especially Myriad Harbour. When I heard that they were coming out with a new album, I got super excited. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed in the least by this latest outing. It’s a much more subdued and mature sound than Twin Cinema and the other albums before it, but it still has the energy of them and this time everything worked in perfect harmony.
3. The Five Ghosts – Stars
Stars was kind of an accidental find for me. NPR had a “First Listen” segment with them and I gave it a try just to see what all the jazz was about. I became quite hooked and instantly messaged my girlfriend about this GREAT NEW BAND I’VE DISCOVERED, only to find that she’d heard of them before and that this band was an off-shoot from Broken Social Scene. Let’s just say that my mind was blown. This album is great, and it’s a really focused effort on the band’s part.
2. I’m Having Fun Now – Jenny And Johnny
Jenny and Johnny are number two on my list, but they were number one a few weeks back. I’ve been undecided until recently and you can hear why when you sample the music below. This new effort from Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice is addictive. You finish listening to the album and you want more. The lyrics are strong and the music is memorable. It’s hard not to crush on either Jenny or Johnny after hearing this album. Still haven’t washed the hand that Johnny shook, either.
1. Write About Love – Belle & Sebastian
I’ve had a relationship with Belle & Sebastian for as long as I can remember, which is right around the early college years. Their new album is amazing and it was just good enough to usurp Jenny and Johnny for the number one spot for me. I wish I could just beam to you over this hear internets the way in which this album makes me feel. This is the album to define the year for me.
There were a bunch of albums that vied for a spot on my top ten list, and these were the ones that deserve a shout out for being better than the rest. In no particular order:
Realism – The Magnetic Fields
Out Of Our Minds – Auf Der Maur
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Various Artists
Plastic Beach – Gorillaz
The Fakeout, The Tease and the Breather – Canasta
Junior – Kaki King
I Heart California – Admiral Radley