Bring Me the Music of 2010

January 10th, 2011
I’m not sure if it is legitimate to persist with “best of 2010” lists this far into 2011. It seems like the moment has gone. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to bother this year, it just means I recognise it is an unseemly use of the worlds precious web space.

I think 2010 was a pretty good year for music. I think the range of new stuff was fairly diverse, though part of me thinks this could be because I was better informed. In previous years I’ve relied on recommmendations from friends for new stuff. Whilst that works for a bit it does require making a lot of new friends to find completely new stuff. That’s clearly unsustainable.

I’ve been actively searcing Pitchfork for new bands/music and I seem to agree with their reviews.

So, this is my top ten albums of the year. Not eleven, ten. Some people might like to mess with the format but I believe a random adherence to decimalisation is what seperates us from the animals.

The Kings of Leon 1st album, Youth and Young Manhood is still one of my favourite albums in all of time. I don’t think anything else they have created has done anything than be a poor copy of it. Until this year. Come Around Sundown isn’t going to set the world on fire, it’s a very basic well made album where, crucially, for the very first time I can work out what the hell they are singing about. They make it onto my list for, finally, trying to put gibberish behind them.

I don’t really know who Plan B is. I vaguely know he raps, I’ve never heard him do it. I saw this album in an advert by ASDA and thought I’d give it a go. To be honest I had very low expectations but it turned out to be a bit of a gem. Overall I think it is more admirable in what it tries to do than what it delivers. His voice is a bit weak for this sort of souly, Mowtowny stuff but he gives it a go and I’ve listened to it loads.

This was a random suggestion through Twitter from @nicktheowl. I reckon there is a perception that I have a soft spot for progressive rock. That’s not wrong, I do. I heard a bit of a sample and ended up getting it imported from Australia. Between the time of it setting off from the other end of the world it was released in the UK for half the price. There’s a lesson there. At first I really didn’t like this. I thought it was formulaic nonsense. Since then it has grown on me. I’d sum it up as a cross between Yes and The Beatles. I doubt there is anyone that would think that sounds like a good idea.

I’m pretty sure this came from a review on Pitchfork. I have no idea what prompts me to buy things but there was something in the review that sounded interesting. It sounds very unfinished, which in an age of over produced perfect sounding CDs is refreshing. I can’t really think of anything to compare it with.

A rare, for me, inclusion of something vaguely electronic. I think it was one of my first albums of 2010 and I still listen to it.

Apparently Yeasayer have been round for years, I’d never heard of them. I think I saw them on the coverage of Leeds during the summer. Based on that I bought this and never looked back. A bit progressive but with a healthy dose of ’80s pop thrown in. My descriptions sound appalling don’t they?

Araced Fire are another band that, I believe, got off to good start and then went downhill. Neon Bible was a bit boring after Funeral. It’s not a bad album but why bother to listen to it? I can answer that, I don’t. The Suburbs does sound different and is good. I’m pretty sure it is compulsory to include this album on any list involving 2010.

Yes, another recommendation from Twitter, this time from @craigfots I didn’t know anything about this nor what to expect. Buy this album now. It isn’t just one of the best of 2010, you’ll be listening to it in the future, maybe as far as 2013. It has a bit of folk about it, but don’t let that put you off. Actually folk combined with the Animal Collective. That should put off people that like folk and people that like the Animal Collective.

For quite a while this had got the highest score of any album on Pitchfork. It sounds very lofi, sort of like Grandaddy or Mercury Rev. It was a close run thing for this being my favourite album of 2010. Deerhunter were my favourite new band.

I love Jaga Jazzist. What We Must is my favourite album of all of the albums that have been made by all the people. I’m not quite sure but I’d got it into my head that they’d split up years ago and had resigned myself to no new electronic jazz. Well, at least no new electronic jazz from Jaga Jazzist, other people are still allowed to make it. As it turns out they’re still about and this year they made the brilliant One-Armed Bandit. If you don’t like jazz you probably won’t like this, it’s a bit of combination of jazz and electronica and is the best thing made in 2010.

It is an odd thing to look back on the previous year. Particularly because there are quite a few things that I’d assumed had been released in 2010 but it turns out they were 2009.

There is also a bit of a temptation to include as obscure stuff as possible. Looking back at my list I realise that I’m gravitating towards all the albums that appear on every best of the year list. Getting old obviously does make you more conservative in your taste.

I thought it might be an idea to make a Spotify playlist of all of these albums. So I did. Except there is no Arcade Fire.


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