Top Records of 2010
My personal top 10 records of 2010. By no means definitive.
10. Weezer – Pinkerton Reissue
I really wanted to put this at number one but considering that it is a reissue I decided that wasn’t exactly fair. That being said, this is probably the best album release of the year. At the time it originally released it was panned by critics and fans alike. Over the years it has gotten the recognition it deserves as one of the very best albums released in the 90’s and the very best of Weezer’s career.
9. DC Fallout – Retreat
There is nothing better than music that gets you going. Whether it is to workout, skate, screw, play, whatever; a good song can get you more involved with your chosen activity. The songs on Retreat accomplish that with aplomb. Each track is a driving force perfectly suited for any type of high energy activity.
8. Flobots – Survival Story
Modern Rap music is awful. The mainstream is littered with an unbelievable amount of garbage. From Drake to Waka Flaka Flame to Nicki Minaj the modern radio dial is unlistenable. But just underneath the surface there is a wealth of amazing Hip Hop waiting to be discovered. The Flobots are but one example of underground Hip Hop that you should be listening to. The group is comprised of musicians and lyricists. Their tracks are diverse but approachable. Their words are intelligent and thought provoking. In short, everything music should be.
7. Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain’t No Grave
Any time Johnny Cash releases a new album it will be in my personal top 10. Simply put, the man is my favorite artist of all time. His songs are just about perfect little pieces of America. And not the bullshit TV America that is portrayed by modern country music. Johnny Cash’s America is gritty and dirty and imperfect. While this album represents the weakest overall in the American series it is still a damn fine record and deserves a spin. His voice still resonates like few others. The fact that he has passed on makes these songs that much more haunting.
6. She & Him – Vol.2
She and Him is made up of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. While I am somewhat indifferent to M. Ward I am madly in love with Zooey. She is the perfect mix of arty, beauty, quirky, polished, and timeless. She has a quality about her that just drives me mad. The songs she has done as part of She and Him are simple to listen to and hard to forget. This album is really good and derserves your attention.
5. SHAD – Tsol
Shad’s latest record, TSOL, is a more complex soundscape than his previous record. He branches out beyond the more traditional Hip Hop style that he was so good at and touches new ground here. And it works quite well. His lyrics are poignant, the music is dancable. In short, a great record that got played a ton this year.
4. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
I love this band. I love this record. Diamond Eyes is the best that the Deftones have been in years. No matter where they have decided to go with their songwriting, Chino has always sounded amazing. I’m not sure what was done in production but this might be my favorite Chino performance. I will always love Around the Fur and think it their best work. But, Diamond Eyes strikes as a return to form combining the heaviness of Around the Fur with the exploratory nature of White Pony and side project Team Sleep. This record kicks ass in a beautiful way.
3. Cee-Lo Green – Ladykiller
Cee Lo might have the greatest soul voice of all time. The fact that he uses it for more than just soul music is to the benefit of the public at large. This record generated a ton of press due to the first single “Fuck You” and it’s text driven video. If you haven’t seen it yet give it a quick youtube search. However, underneath the hubbub is a really solid record that perfectly showcases the many talents of Mr. Green. It’s a shame this record releases so late in the year as it has a much more summer vibe to me. Regardless of a seeming misstep in release date this record needs to be in your collection. It’s the type of record you cannot help but sing along to.
2. Qwel and Maker – Owl
This record is the best Hip Hop release of 2010 without a doubt. Coming out of Chicago Qwel and Maker are absolutely everything that is right with Hip Hop. The beats fit the songs perfectly. And while that seems a silly thing to say when discussing Hip Hop it is very often not the case. The samples are always done with purpose, another thing that cannot be said about most Hip Hop. On my first listen to this record I reacted the same way as when I listened to “Up From the 36 Chambers” for the first time. I can think on no higher praise than that. Please get this and let it digest in your soul. It is simply fantastic.
1. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
I listened to no album more than American Slang in 2010. I love everything about it. The lyrics, the music, the diversity, all top notch. When describing The Gaslight Anthem to others I always struggle. Some songs have a straight ahead punk vibe while others have a jangly quality to them while still others recall strong images of rocking out to early Bruce Springsteen records. I haven’t been this excited for a band in a long time. This is not only the perfect driving record but the perfect headphone record and everything in between. From the opening masterpiece that is the title track to the closing notes this records grabs you by the ears and never lets go. I cannot wait to hear more for this band and hope that you dig them as well.
And that’s my list. A pretty diverse selection but all high quality. I have never been one to seek out things that others will never hear to make myself cooler than anyone else. All of the records posted here are readily available via the internet and are well worth your time. I’m sure there were a ton of great records that I missed this year. What were some of your favorites?