My best of 2010 list:
10.Best Coast-Crazy For You
This album is summer personified. I can imagine this album being played in my car while driving around some beach town. It's incredibly simple, yet incredibly memorable.
9.Blitzen Trapper-Destroyer Of The Void
Lyrically as weird as ever, these guys managed to expand their sound a bit on their latest. The title track from this album might have been the most eclectic song I listened to this year.
Destroyer Of The Void
8.Sufjan Stevens-The Age Of Adz
Just as epic as 2005's incredi-epic Illinois, but in a completely different way. Sonically miles apart than anything we could have expected from him in 2010, it seems as if he was tiring of trying to make grand statements, and just decided to record some music.
7.Beach House-Teen Dream
My unrivaled "rain album" for the year, this album perfectly captures everything I love about overcast weather.
When I was a kid, I used to think that there were little men up in the traffic lights, waiting until you were just close enough to the intersection to believe you'd be able to get through, then watch as your optimism was immediately extinguished as they flicked the light to yellow. Vampire Weekend are apparently cut from the same cloth as those guys. I picture them watching people react to their music in ways that range from less than enthusiastic to openly hostile, and taking it all in with an air of amusement. For an example, look no further than the fact that they commissioned Contra's Holiday for a Tommy Hilfiger commercial. Let the anger (for the haters) and the laughter (for the "couldn't care less-ers") commense. Oh, speaking of Contra, I though it was damn good.
5.Arcade Fire-The Suburbs
This album really had to grow on me. But once it did, it was like a cancer I couldn't get rid of. But the good kind of cancer. Okay, there's no such thing as good cancer. But if this album was cancer, it would be good cancer.
We Used To Wait
What more can be said about Spoon other than they can be counted on to produce a perfectly odd indie-pop record every couple of years? This album is no exception; Britt Daniels and company have perfected the craft of writing a song that is both easily digested and creative.
The Mystery Zone
3.J. Tillman-Singing Ax
Darker, both lyrically and musically, than much of his previous work, this album evokes feelings of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. When I listen to this album, I picture old sepia-toned pictures of the Dust Bowl.
1B.Belle And Sebastian-Write About Love
1A.The National-High Violet
Why a tie for #1? I just couldn't decide which one I like more, so I decided I like them equally. My enjoyment of these two albums may be equal, but my conclusion for each was reached for completely different reasons. Write About Love was the most satisfying album of the year for me, while High Violet was the most rewarding. While these two things can sometimes be related, in this context, they are very different.
Write About Love was immediately, and extremely, satisfying. I loved every minute of it, from the first piano chords of "I Didn't See It Coming" to the fade out of "Sunday's Pretty Icons". It's pop music through and through. Sure, it's much more complex than your average, run-of-the-mill pop music, and certainly wasn't created for mass consumption, but it's pop music nonetheless.
I'm Not Living In The Real World
High Violet, on the other hand, was immediately difficult and moody. It never seemed to settle into a groove, and the sound was layered and complex. However, after many listens, I began to focus more on the feel of what I was hearing, rather than worrying about specific sounds. I've come to the conclusion that I probably won't ever find a perfect way to illustrate how I feel about this album, other than to say that I just love it.