Friday, January 14, 2011

The Best Albums Of 2010: 15-6

[Welcome to my yearly countdown of the year's best albums. It was a bumper crop in 2010, so I'm breaking this list into two parts: Enjoy these ten "Runners Up" releases, and then check back tomorrow for the Top 5. Sample YouTube links feature tracks not on my "50 Best Singles" list. Thanks for the comments and happy listening!]

15. Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song

Outlaw-era country cut from the same cloth as Merle and Waylon, rearing its proudly rebellious head in the midst of contemporary Nashville.

It might be lonely at the top, but it’s a bitch at the bottom.”

14. Bruce Springsteen – The Promise

Gems from Bruce’s most fertile period, recast in a lavish—and most deserving—light.

Billy and me we'd always say/ Thunder Road/ We were gonna take it all and throw it all away.”

13. Vampire Weekend – Contra

Genre-skipping, engrossing second album from a band still growing—and still getting better.

“Said never pick sides, never choose between two/ But I just wanted you.”

12. Big Boi – Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty

Slept-on debut from one of the most creative MCs around, for those who prefer hip-hop that provokes body and mind.

“We choose to lead not to follow, it’s a hard pill to swallow/ Better get prescriptions filled ‘cause there might not be tomorrow.”

11. Maximum Balloon – Maximum Balloon

Futuristic indie-pop, like TV On The Radio with a grab-bag of vocalists. Worth the price of admission alone for the Karen O and David Byrne contributions.

“What a mystery at night they go to sleep alone.”

10. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

A perfectly-realized soundtrack to an imaginary film starring everyone from Bobby Womack to half of The Clash, with Damon Albarn directing the proceedings like a man finally comfortable in his own skin.

“If you can’t get what you want/ Then you come with me.”

9. Local NativesGorilla Manor

Loose-limbed joy, cribbed from bits of Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes and Talking Heads before being repurposed into the best American debut this year.

“I’ll endure the night/ For the promise of light.”

8. The Roots – How I Got Over

The standout of a stellar year for the Philly collective: an album that moves from the ghetto to the church without once descending into tired thuggery or played-out nihilism.

“I pray these wings strong enough to carry me on/I promise every second felt as if it took an eon.”

7. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

British folk-Celtic hybrid as traditional in its values—faith, family, and love—as it is unbridled in its raucous, organic energy.

“And I will hold on hope/ And I won’t let you choke/ On the noose around your neck.”

6. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Deservedly acclaimed “concept album” from one of the few acts willing to break new ground every time out. (For those keeping score: They're three for three.)

“I used to write letters/ I used to sign my name.”


Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna lie, every album you listed is in my top 20 favorites of the year. My other additions: The ArchAndriod - Janelle Monae, Broken Bells - Broken Bells, Teen Dream - Beach House, Infinite Arms - Band of Horses, and Transference - Spoon

Rich said...

Janelle and Beach House, especially, would easily make my Top 20... See my 'Best Singles' list for proof.

I thought the BoH was a bit of a letdown after two stellar releases, but PLENTY of other folks really love it! Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting....