As we gear up for the conclusion of another memorable year in music and our upcoming 2011 Best-of lists, we thought it would be fun to turn back the clock to a year ago, and look at the greatest albums of 2010. However, as hindsight is crystal clear, we have adjusted our rankings based on how we feel now, so some albums that may not have made our list last year that grew on us may show up here and vice-versa.
1. Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
The polarizing rapper’s magnum opus; a sort of wonderful ride through the psyche of the conflicted artist. MBDTF challenges the idea of what a hip-hop record is with songs like “Runaway” and “Lost In The World”, and also has its fair share of big-time hits with songs like “Power” and “All Of The Lights”.
2. LCD Soundsystem-This Is Happening
Dance guru James Murphy’s swan song as LCD Soundsystem. The third and final LCD album is arguably their best. “Dance Yrself Clean” moseys in before blowing your mind and blowing your speakers and “All I Want” in my opinion was the best song of last year.
3. Big Boi-Sir Lucious Left Foot
Big Boi despite his name, was always considered the little brother in Outkast to Andre 3000, but I truly don’t think Andre could come up with a solo album as classic as this. Each song is a ready-made rap hit indicating he may have secretly been the better of the two all along.
4. Sufjan Stevens-Age of Adz
An artist known mostly for his whispery folk songs accompanied by beautiful string and horn arrangements, Age of Adz more than breaks the mold as a glitchy, colorful electro pop revelation. Not to mention, this album is definitely a grower with each listen paying more dividends.
5. Sleigh Bells-Treats
I can hear the ramped-up guitars and earth-shattering beats now. Treats is the hard hitting debut of duo Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller, who mix M.I.A.-style dance music with the ferocity of 80’s hardcore punk a la The Runaways.
6. Janelle Monáe-The ArchAndroid
Janelle Monáe is the next in line of legendary black performers, the funky up-and-comer takes pieces from all the greats: Michael Jackson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Outkast, and Lauryn Hill. The ArchAndroid is another album in a long line of ambitious ones from 2010, fusing the sounds of all these artists creating her own Wonderland.
7. Joann Newsom-Have One On Me
Did I say the albums of 2010 were ambitious already? Have One On Me is a sprawling 2-hour journey with the peculiar harp player that is Newsom. Highlights include the Cajun flavored “Good Intentions Paving Company” and the gospel-tinged “Baby Birch”.
8. Deerhunter-Halcyon Digest
Not sure what to say about Haylycon Digest besides that its just a great rock record and another in a line of great Deerhunter records. These are finely crafted songs with remarkable production.
9. Robyn-Body Talk
A compiling of the songs from Body Talk Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 EPs from earlier in the year plus five new songs, Body Talk literally sounds like a greatest hits collection of club-ready dance singles from an extremely underrated pop artist from Sweden.
10. The Black Keys-Brothers
The Black Keys finally get their total due with their largest commercial successs but also one of their best albums. Anyone who tells you otherwise just doesn’t care to recognize it as that because they have finally became popular.
Here are the albums that we are still arguing hard for a year later to no prevail:
Groovy, driving psychedelic rock from Down Under. Lead singer Kevin Parker’s voice sounds like the ghost of John Lennon as Tame Impala’s sound falls somewhere between the large chasm between The Beatles and The Flaming Lips.
Menomena – Mines
There is a certain intriguing tenseness to Menomena’s music, and this is exemplified on the aptly titled Mines. The band always seems in threat of danger, and their songs make unexpected turns, constantly keeping you on your toes and fascinated.
Beach House-Teen Dream
There is no album I turned to more than Teen Dream in 2010, as the album is perfect for every season. These timeless dream pop songs linger long after the record stops spinning.
So there is the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, or got right, but still feel free to just rip on us in general.