December 31, 2010

Music: Top Ten Albums of 2010

Other Years: 20162015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.

This was a good year for music. I've been working on this list for some time. Narrowing it down to ten albums was hard! It leaves me wondering if I'll have time in the day to finish up a top twenty--alas, the Sam-man will nap for only so long. These releases received heavy rotation as soon as they were discovered in our house. And they appear in no particular order... I just couldn't decide! So, without further delay, here is my top ten albums of 2010:

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz This is such a wonderful progression of Stevens' music. A truly creative effort that combines so many different elements that he's explored previously. Yet, here it works seamlessly on an epic scale. This album is a Kid A meets white album kind of release... in my opinion.

Buke & Gass - Riposte The duo that makes up Buke & Gass not only make interesting music, they make their own instruments. Arone Dyer has the pipes to be a strong pop singer (something the likes of Lady Gaga only wish they had the capacity for). Instead, she gives her gorgeous voice to this musical ingenuity that defies genres.

Sleigh Bells - Treats Early this year, I said this, "It's pop and noise all at the same time. Chaos and beauty simultaneously. I love it. The demos of this album were leaked earlier this year and my interest was piqued already. Not much is different here, except they are all available in one package on 'Treats.'" This first release of Sleigh Bells is a cacophony of smooth music.

M.I.A. - Maya M.I.A.'s most recent album was received with mixed reviews. She has been an innovative artist in the international hip-hop scene for some time. But here, she's straight up weird! The result is amazing. She reinterprets many of her influencing genres to make up a unique release that still has the quirky hooks she's known for.

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor To appreciate this release, one needs to see Local Natives live. Pulling off three part harmonies while rocking out is a gift. And it is well received here. Local Natives pull off what so many indie shoe gazers are only trying to. Indie rock meets Pet Sounds harmony.

Broken Bells - Broken Bells The collaboration of Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins is beautiful. Danger Mouse appears to be a bit of a King Midas. And Mercer isn't so bad himself! His sad, yet soothing, voice and DM's crafting creates a wonderful production.

The Roots - How I Got Over I've quietly followed The Roots for over a decade. I'm not known for liking hip hop. But this seems to be my year of coming clean on my appreciation for the genre. The fact this is an actual band helped tremendously in diminishing my resistance on my first exposure. They've stood the test of time; improving their craft on almost every release. And How I Got Over is probably one of their best yet.

Fences - Fences This act is a lesson in not "judging a book by its cover." Christopher Mansfield, the singer/songwriter behind fences looks like he ought to be in Converge, not writing beautiful, folksy pop tunes. I hope to hear more from him. This album is quiet, catchy and just plan good! The production of Tegan & Sara's Sara Quinn certainly adds to his work.

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More I'll be honest, this album makes me want to cry. But in a good way. This band crafts tunes that hearken back to another era. There are a lot of bands attempting that these days. Not all so well. These fellas pull it off. But I do wonder if they'll be able to do it again.

Janelle Monae - The Archandroid Monae picks up where MJ left off. She's a pop-meets-R&B conceptual genius. Her music is a constant tribute to R&B greats while remaining totally unique and creative. It's got to say something when a great such as Prince regularly invites her to his stage.

By the way, you can also check out 2009's top ten and twenty.

A 2010 twenty? Who knows!? The night is still young! Happy new year, friends!