Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Album!(s) of the Year 2010

ben folds and nick hornby - lonely avenue 
not really ben folds' best work, but it is really fun to see what nick hornby adds to ben folds' infectiously poppy songs.  plenty of electro-pop vibe, which i am a sucker for.

brandon flowers - flamingo
this is the result of brandon flowers not going on vacation when everyone else in the killers did.  a very honest album, with surprising versatility.  several songs channel his inner johnny cash, both in lyrical content and in style.

hellogoodbye - would it kill you 
once again, electro-pop rock is a soft spot of mine.  however, the electro-pop darlings hellogoodbye seem to have focused simply on the pop rock, with delightful results.  this album seems to have been relatively quietly released, although i don't really listen to the radio.  i just haven't heard their stuff all over the place like i did their last album.  in my opinion, a much more mature sound, excellent production value.  all around, a very good sophomore album, even if it hasn't had the splash their first release had, yet.

kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy 
much has been made in the media about this album.  while sometimes i feel like kanye oversteps his skill lyrically or conceptually, it is by far the most ambitious album to come out in recent memory.  his production skills are at a whole new level here(which is saying something, since that was always my favorite kanye attribute).  his word play is both subtle and provocative, even though i feel like sometimes the subject matter is beyond relate able.  the best way for me to appreciate this album is if i don't think of it as hip hop or rap, but just as music.

matt and kim - sidewalks 
these guys should be producing for hip hop.  they did more with their sound on this album than ever before, where previous albums seemed to have been a translation of their live sound.  catchy, bouncy, fun, and at the same time, intellectually stimulating.

gorillaz - plastic beach 
damon albarn can do no wrong.  the end.

she and him - volume two
i saw them live this summer, one of the highlights of the year for me.  zooey sounds even better live, which is remarkable because she sounds so good on this album.  the duo of m. ward and zooey continue to flesh out their sound.

jimmy eat world - invented
a little bit more angry than the average jimmy eat world album, this is still a pretty average jimmy eat world album.  which is good enough to be among my top albums of the year.  hooray jimmy eat world!

kid cudi - the man on the moon II: the legend of mr. rager
i think that kid cudi is the best thing to happen to hip hop in a long time.  his music pushes the boundaries of production and song structure.  like kanye's newest album, the legend of mr. rager is best appreciated as more than just a hip hop album.  it doesn't have as much pop sensibility as the first man on the moon, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen.  way beyond where most rap is these days.

honorable mentions:
broken bells - self titled
the full album doesn't live up to the first single "the high road", but it is danger mouse and the singer from the shins.  what's not to love?
sleigh bells - treats
good year for bands with bells.  too raucous to be able to listen to all the way through, the subtlety in their sound is surprising, once you get over how much raw noise rock it is.
kele - the boxer
solid electronic music.  pretty much what you would expect from the frontman of bloc party.


  1. I was told that Brandon Flowers is fully active in the church now and his solo album was based on a lot of his struggle. Pretty cool.

  2. yeah, apparently his wife got baptized just before they got married.