10 Best Albums of 2010 ...


10 Best Albums of 2010 ...
10 Best Albums of 2010 ...

This list is far too important to trust my own taste, so I compiled my own list of my top 20 picks for new albums this year, then checked it against both the Urban Outfitters and NPR lists for the year… and there were several of each. We agreed on a lot of them, and it’s not hard to see (or rather, hear) why. 2010 was a great year for music, and in case you haven’t heard them, here are the 10 best albums of 2010. Please note: the prices and links are for downloading the digital tracks, not for vinyl or for a CD.

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Arcade Fire - the Suburbs

Arcade Fire - the Suburbs Price: $7.99 at amazon.com
I loved, loved, LOVED this album, especially “Empty Room.” It’s been a long time since Arcade Fire released a new album, and this one was worth the wait. I couldn’t listen to it all the way through (I hate the first song, and the album sort of loses me in the middle), but it’sstill one of the best indie albums of the year for sure.


Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" was released in 2010 and was the band's third studio album. It was a critical success, winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the Juno Award for Album of the Year. The album was also nominated for the Mercury Prize. It was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and reaching the top 10 in several other countries. The lead single "Ready to Start" was also a critical and commercial success, peaking at number one on the US Alternative Songs chart and number two on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. The album also spawned two other singles, "We Used to Wait" and "The Suburbs (Continued)". "The Suburbs" was well-received by fans and critics alike, being praised for its intelligent and ambitious lyrics, as well as its fusion of various musical styles.


Four Tet - There is Love in You

Four Tet - There is Love in You Price: $5.00 at amazon.com
House dance folk? Relaxed electronic? I’m not sure how to categorize this album, but it’s wonderful. It’s perfect for putting on while you do something else, like read, study… most of the songs are really long, trailing along, blending together.


Four Tet's 2010 album "There is Love in You" is an electronic-folk-house hybrid that blends together long, relaxed tracks. This album is perfect for studying, reading, or any other activity that requires a subtle background soundtrack. It is one of the 10 best albums of 2010, according to the women focused blog AllWomenTalk.com. The album is available for purchase on Amazon for $5.00. Fans of Four Tet will appreciate the unique blend of genres that makes this album a great addition to any music library.


Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Price: $4.99 at amazon.com
I loathe Kanye West as a person. But I have to admit, he has talent, damn it! This is probably his best album yet, filled with unique, though foul-mouthed, songs, each of them different from the last but with the unmistakable Kanye West sound. I really wanted to hate this album, to be able to laugh at it or dismiss it, but it’s brilliant.


Kanye West's album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" was released in November 2010 and was critically acclaimed, winning several awards including the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 496,000 copies in its first week, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It featured guest appearances from a variety of artists, including Jay-Z, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver. It also featured production from West himself, as well as RZA, No I.D., and Jeff Bhasker. The album was praised for its expansive production, diverse musical styles, and its lyrical themes of excess, celebrity, and decadence.


The Black Keys - Brothers

The Black Keys - Brothers Price: $9.99 at amazon.com
This album is so diverse, sometimes you forget all of the songs are from the same artist, not to mention the same album. I love The White Stripes, and their influence is evident, but it’s also completely different, with bluesy, folksy rock (ala Wilco). My favorite track is “Tighten Up.”


The Black Keys’ Brothers is the fifth studio album by the American rock band, released in 2010. It was their first album to reach number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, and also topped the charts in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It received critical acclaim, with Metacritic giving it a score of 85 out of 100. The album features the singles “Tighten Up”, “Howlin’ for You”, “Everlasting Light”, and “Next Girl”. The album won three Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Tighten Up”. Brothers is considered one of the best albums of the decade, and is a must-listen for any music fan.


Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma Price: $6.99 at amazon.com
Wow. This is one of the only true genre-busting albums I’ve heard in the past ten years, and it’s simply brilliant. It’s a mix of electronica, jazz, trip-hop… and something else, something sweet and funky. Some have criticized this album as being too silly, or even from another planet, but I liked it, and it made it to my top ten list.


Flying Lotus's album, Cosmogramma, is a genre-defying mix of electronica, jazz, and trip-hop. It has been praised for its unique sound and innovative approach to music. Released in 2010, it was the fifth studio album from Flying Lotus, the stage name of Steven Ellison, an American producer and DJ. This album was also the first to feature Ellison's own vocals, as well as contributions from an array of other artists. Cosmogramma was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Dance/Electronica Album. It was praised by critics and fans alike, and is considered to be one of the most influential albums of the decade.


Beach House - Teen Dream

Beach House - Teen Dream Price: $5.00 at amazon.com
If you’re a fan of the Cocteau Twins, you’ll love this album. It has the same dreamy feel as “Bluebeard,” but it’s even more relaxed, even more unself-conscious. My favorite track is “Silver Soul,” but to be honest, the whole album is great. Love it!


Beach House's third studio album, Teen Dream, was released in 2010. It received critical acclaim and was named one of the best albums of the year by several publications. The sound of Teen Dream is dreamy and ethereal, drawing comparisons to the Cocteau Twins. The album features eleven tracks, including the fan favorite "Silver Soul". Teen Dream was produced by Chris Coady and mixed by Alan Moulder. It is available for purchase for $5.00 on Amazon.com.


Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest Price: $7.99 at amazon.com
I can say this for sure: the songs on this album have more meaning than possibly any other album this year. You’re never really sure what exactly the songs are about, until it hits you while you’re drifting off the sleep one night. The whole album is remarkable, but I especially like “Memory Boy” and “Don’t Cry.”


Sufjan Stevens - the Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens - the Age of Adz Price: $6.99 at amazon.com
I loved the trance-pop mastermind VAST from the late 1990s, and this album reminds me of VAST. The same dreamy, gorgeous sounds, the same incredible layering and depth, only (if it’s possible), richer. And, on some tracks, weirder. But still a must-have… or at least a must-listen-to.


The Tallest Man on Earth - the Wild Hunt

The Tallest Man on Earth - the Wild Hunt Price: $5.00 at amazon.com
The title track is brilliant, and the rest of the album is wonderful, too. Moving, raw, but polished, if that’s possible. Beautiful. Edgy. Soft. Funny. Sweet. All of that and more. Listen once, and you’ll be hooked. I promise. For once, judge an album by its cover: the music is just as spare as the photo.


Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach Price: $5.99 at amazon.com
Take a peek at the wide variety of artists and performers on the “featuring” list, and you’ll have an idea of why this album’s so spectacular. Lou Reed, De La Soul, Mos Def, and The National Orchestra for Arabic Music, just to name a few, all on different song on the same album? Trust me. It’s amazing.

It was so hard to only choose ten albums to represent the best of 2010… there were so many more I wanted to add! Which of these albums do you like best, and which songs? Why? Or was there another new album you loved in 2010 I didn’t include? Please share!

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Empty room...hands down.

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