I made a serious effort in 2010 to listen to as much new music as possible. And while my enthusiasm dissipated around July when it became obvious that I simply couldn’t keep up with all the new albums – especially with my listening habits – I did manage to maintain a good understanding of who was who in music pop culture for the first time in about nine years.
I won’t argue that the albums I’ve chosen below are the best of the year (I’m simply not in a position to decide that), but I can attest that these are the albums that helped make my writing a lot of fun.
Four Tet – There Is Love In You
Not usually my thing, but the music here is hypnotic and addictive.
Dessa – A Badly Broken Code
I kept coming back to this album again and again. Some great lyrics and her voice delivers in the most unexpected ways.
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
This was the first new album of 2010 that I found myself addicted to.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
I’ve tried the band’s previous album and couldn’t see what the fuss was about, but here, yeah, now I get it.
Fang Island – Fang Island
I read somewhere that this music was “everybody high-fiving everybody.” It’s the kind of album that puts an instant grin on your face. Fun stuff.
Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago
I respond to music that has the right amount of drama, and this album – as well as their previous one – just does it for me. Great music to write to, especially when working on heavier pieces.
Frightened Rabbit – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks
Love this one. This might be my most played album of the year.
Shout Out Louds – Work
This was one of the albums I enjoyed earlier this year. Haven’t heard it in a while, but it’s still excellent. Listening to it now, I’m surprised it’s been so long.
The Walkmen – Lisbon
This took me a long time to get into and now I adore it. Not as great as their last, but it packs a solid punch.
The National – High Violet
There’s not one album by The National that has disappointed me, and this one is certainly no exception. They press all the right buttons. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve cherished a band like this one.
Not an official album, but worth mentioning:
Beck’s Record Club – No. 4: INXS’ “Kick”
I love the concept, a bunch of artists tackling a classic album and putting their own spin on the material with little time to spare. I also love the concept because it reminded me of how amazing this album was. I had forgotten how many great songs this one had. Most importantly, watching the video of “Need You Tonight” is one of those things that made me so happy in 2010, as Annie Clark starts the song a little shaky and by the end makes it her own. It’s one of those artistic processes of discovery that you rarely get to see.
I do have to mention one more album, as I thought it was on my top 10 for 2010, but I’ve just now discovered that it’s actually from 2009.
The Antlers – Hospice
Better to be late to the BBQ than to never have arrived at all.
Here’s hoping for plenty of great music in 2011.