Best Albums 2010


7 fév. 2011, 10h29m

During 2010 I listened to a lot of albums, which made this top 10 a heck of a lot more difficult. This is why I will first talk about some albums that didn't make the final list, but are definitely worth checking out. Honorable mentions, if you will.

Many of the oldies came back in 2010 with pretty amazing albums, including World Gone Crazy, Mojo, Hard Knocks, Band of Joy and Clapton. All these are worth checking out.

Some bands came back strong while not exactly innovating, with great albums like
Asylum, Trans-Continental Hustle and The Illusion of Safety.

Among other albums that were great this year, Tony Levin's new project released Soup as a fantastic debut, Tift Merritt's See You On The Moon is packed with beautiful songs, and Fire on Dawson shows their awesome proposal with Prognative. Lastly, Stone Temple Pilots is, while not a masterpiece by a long shot, an extremely fun album.

Of course, it wasn't all pretty last year. Plastic Beach isn't a huge disappointment, but it does show that sometimes bigger isn't better. Mavericks drifted further apart from the original sound I fell in love with in Johnossi, and Brothers has an amazing album cover, but it's not exactly a memorable album. But the album that shockingly amazed me the least last year was Tiger Suit, giving her music an electronic twist that definitely doesn't suit Tunstall, not like a tiger or anything else, really.

After all that random blabbing, here's the in-depth top ten:

10. Spock's Beard - X

Spock's tenth makes it to number ten with a pretty solid album. While not perfect, it goes back to the roots of prog-rock and incorporates more modern practices to provide a well carved, modern progressive rock experience in just the right direction, with just the right balance of old and new. A definite must for prog enthusiasts.

9. Taylor Swift - Speak Now

This is not what many would expect for me to pick in the top 10, but the truth is something has to be said for feeding country music to a pop-music audience. And on Speak Now, Taylor found the perfect formula in music that is very accessible while remaining true to itself and its roots. Unlike the previous two albums, this is very easy to listen and enjoy in its entirety, by anyone. The downside? While the music is great, her lyrics are still pretty much what you'd expect from a teenage pop star.

8. Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra - Vitoria Suite

Wynton Marsalis is no doubt one of the best. Not only as a musician, but also as a human being, and his latest works have had history in mind at all times, bringing back the very roots of jazz for all of us to hear. Vitoria Suite is not an exception, coordinating a big band (and featuring the great Paco de Lucía), but it goes well beyond that. Taking from the past of two cultures and clashing them into the future, Marsalis created a fantastic jazz experience that is even better seen live.

7. The Bridgeheads - Foreigners

I don't even remember how I found this album, scraped at the bottom of the lines of the unknown music scene (if that sentence even makes any sense), and when I heard it the first couple of times I figured it'd be a nifty album to go back to. Soon after, I thought of mentioning before the top 10, and now that it's come it's actually on number 7. How? What makes this album so good? I will bluntly admit that I have no idea. Perhaps it's the carefully crafted compositions that take many listens to dismantle, or the fantastic lyrics, but the point is this album grows on you like a welcome illness. Sadly, Tomas dAsK died last September, but Foreigners will remain his perennial footprint, forever available for anyone who's willing to listen to what he had to offer.

6. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards

After their 2009 debut, The Dead Weather came back for more merely one year later. While on a level it was heartbreaking to see Jack White distracted from his work with The Raconteurs, the fact remains that the follow-up to Horehound is a great follow-up. Improving their sound in almost every way, this album is a must-have. Still, I'd really like to see more Racs on 2011.

5. Sharleen Spiteri - The Movie Songbook

Sharleen has one of the most amazing voices out there, and Melody was a strong and imposing statement of that fact. While waiting for an album covering several movie tunes, the expectation was that it would be a nice and pleasant album, but perhaps just that. But it is so much more than that. With impressive and daunting arrangements to well-known tracks, crowned by her unquestionably beautiful voice, The Movie Songbook goes way beyond being a covers-album, imprinting in each song what is bound to become Spiteri's trademark sound.

4. The Like - Release Me

Sometimes, for an album to achieve greatness all it needs to be is extremely fun. Costello Music is a great example of that, and this is yet one more. By taking from the very foundations of songwriting into a sound not unlike what Codeine Velvet Club or The Last Shadow Puppets had already done, but merging it to perfection with a modern alternative rock, The Like provide us an album that might not be perfect, but as a whole is just hella fun. Fun lyrics, fun music, these ladies give us the catchy tunes we should all be singing along to for ages to come.

3. Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart

What happens when you give a pop music writer an entire string section? Probably, you get to see what the artist is truly made of. And in this test, Sara Bareilles passed with flying colors. Without losing for a second the fun and accessible musical feel that gave her stardom, she was able to put the string arrangements to very good use to take her music one step beyond, and it's only her follow-up album! From the very beginning of the album, Kaleidoscope Heart is filled with subtle improvements: from pulling the strings of a violin in just the right moment to using strings to add just the right amount of feeling to an otherwise forgettable song. Kaleidoscope Heart is definitely a step in the right direction, and great evidence that pop music doesn't have to lack depth to be easily liked.

2. Black Country Communion - Black Country

Much like last year with Them Crooked Vultures, the impressive amount of talent involved in a super-group is enough to create massive hype and huge expectations. And much to my pleasure, BCC exceeded them all. Led by Joe Bonamassa, each of the members was able to bring to the table something from their own background, and the combination resulted in an impressive and worthy homage to the greatest era of rock. Like on Broken Boy Soldiers, you can easily find the influences behind the music, but you can also easily hear it as a whole: a new and refreshing sound that subtly reminisces everything that simply and totally rocks.

1. Drink Up Buttercup - Born and Thrown on a Hook

Drink Up's debut album is probably one of the most addictive and exhilarating musical experiences to ever have been conceived. Combining psychedelic keyboards with catchy indie-rock tunes and the most interesting percussive mastery ever heard, these guys from Philly are both a synonym to great music and having a great time, and they'll have you banging on trashcans and singing loudly in no time. While they might not be everybody's cup of tea at first glance, and maybe you love them or you hate them in the end, they're definitely the finest cup of a tea you've never tried before. This is a band that deserves to be heard.

And that's it! Thank you for reading if you did... you can tell I get bored, right?
Anyway, 2011 looks promising, so see you next year with more indispensable albums!
Envois en attente
Best of 2010


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