Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Best Albums Of 2010: 5-1

[Welcome to my yearly countdown of the year's best albums. The Top 5 was outstanding in 2010, to the point where any of the following albums could've easily been my #1. Thanks for reading... Please listen and comment!]

5. The Black Keys – Brothers

A decade in and this Akron duo shocks everyone with their first true masterpiece: Gritty, catchy, soulful… and yes, defiantly “bluesy” in a way that would make Zeppelin proud.

“Sick for days, so many ways/ I’m aching now, I’m aching now.”

4. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Ambitious, arrogant, regretful, boastful, unhinged, unfettered, messy, magnificent: Feel how you want about the man, but no other artist on Earth could’ve crafted this album in the year 2010.

Disguising ourselves as secret lovers/ We've become public enemies/ We walk away like strangers in the street/ Gone for eternity.”

3. Robyn – Body Talk

Commercial music with a mile-long independent streak; dance pop with a bleeding, broken heart; and proof—in an era where Billboard is ruled by the least common denominators (Katy Perry, Ke$ha, et al)—that “the mainstream” can still surprise and astound.

“And I never was smart with love/ I let the bad ones in and the good ones go but/ I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been hurt before/ I’m gonna love you like I’m indestructible.”

2. The National – High Violet

Some bands sprout, fully-formed; others refine and refine, none more than this Brooklyn sextet, whose finest album both demands and rewards repeat listens. Six months after its release, it sounds better than ever, a full-fledged American classic.

But I won't follow you into the rabbit hole/ I said I would but then I saw/ Your shivered bones.”

1. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Whether or not it winds up being James Murphy’s swan song, This Is Happening certainly feels like a culmination, an album-length statement where every song works, every moment flows, and every touchstone—from Eno to Kraftwerk, Detroit techno to Eighties electro, indie reserve to dancefloor abandon—builds to an overwhelming, epic whole. And in a year of near-equals, that’s enough to make this one stand out just a little bit more.

Wish you'd try a little harder/In the tedious march of the few/ Every day’s a different warning/ There's a part of me hoping it's true.”

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