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05.11.20 Sowing's 2010

Sowing's 2010

I deleted all 125 of my lists and am now archiving my favorite albums from each year of the previous decade. Just my way of trimming my profile and making it a bit leaner/meaner. List is straightforward; these are my 20 favorite releases from 2010.
20Angels and Airwaves

I still remember when the leading riff for "The Flight of the Apollo" came in and blew my mind. I didn't think AvA was capable of writing a song like that, and the album followed suit. One of my more memorable 2010 moments.
19The Roots
How I Got Over

I'm not a hip-hop expert, but this album always kept me coming back with its positive messages and general catchiness. In a genre stereotypically known for its themes of drugs/violence/poverty, this one covers some of those same topics but with a silver lining.
18Frightened Rabbit
The Winter of Mixed Drinks

This one still hurts to listen to, but musically it has only gotten better with time. It's not on par with Scott Hutchison's best, but this is an essential 2010 listen nonetheless. RIP Scott 5/9/2018.
17Tame Impala

My introduction to this band will always hold a special place in my heart. I've come to prefer Lonerism to this, but the rock riffs and Beatles/Zeppelin vibes are real.

This aged phenomenally. Regarded as merely average on the heels of Oracular Spectacular, it lacked the "hits", but is actually a much more cohesive work. This is a must-hear for fans of contemporary psychedelic pop.
15Jimmy Eat World

Another grower. I viewed this as a lower-tier Jimmy Eat World release in 2010, but in time the slower, more atmospheric progressions won me over. Even an average album by these guys is a top 15 release for the year.
My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

Swans' comeback album is overshadowed by The Seer, which would come out a mere two years later while spanning two hours and two discs. This isn't as epic, but it's an excellent record that proved Swans would only continue to get better with age.
Plastic Beach

This is just plain fun. In blending hip-hop with gorgeous electronics, synths, and pop hooks, they created what I actually feel is their best album. Appropriately titled, this really brings the summer vibes.
12Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This remains a landmark album in rap/hip-hop.Over time I seem to only return to a specific set of songs, but even if it's a little bit inconsistent, the peaks are high enough for this to warrant being on anyone's 2010 list.
11Taylor Swift
Speak Now

When I thought she wouldn't top Fearless, Swift crafted this beautiful, sentimental pop record. With confessional lyrics and enormous hooks, it remains one of my favorite country-pop albums of all time.
10Killing Joke
Absolute Dissent

Infused with politics and evil conspiracies, this post punk album was made in 2010 but feels ripe for 2020. The chugging riffs and apocalyptic tone is irresistible if you love a good doomsday scenario.
9The Republic of Wolves

My love affair with these Brand New disciples began with the two (better) EPs that preceded this, but the band's first proper LP is still outstanding and a solid representation of their skill set. With bone chilling atmospheres and spiritual/ancient folklore lyrics, Varuna is one of the best rock albums of 2010.
8Circa Survive
Blue Sky Noise

The band's crowning achievement sees Circa Survive explore a vast stylistic terrain while consistently executing its brand of experimental, guitar-driven post hardcore. The unique vocal style and progressive song structures will always set this apart as a top-10 album of this year.
7The Dillinger Escape Plan
Option Paralysis

The mathy guitars are what elevate this above comparable works like Jane Doe, for me. There's a complexity to the rhythms that makes it feel more structured and accessible. My hardcore/metalcore days are long in the past, yet I still return to this with regularity.
6The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt

A modern folk achievement, this remains Matsson's most immediately identifiable work despite an illustrious career to follow. It's a bit raw, but that only adds to the charm. There was truly nothing that sounded like this in 2010 - well, of course, unless you wanted to go all the way back to Dylan's heyday...

Possibly my favorite EP of all time. Mae abandoned pop-punk to create a classical piano series of instrumental "movements", intermixed with gorgeous (vocal inclusive) indie-rock tracks. I get this out any time I want to enhance the atmosphere at night/in the snow, which is where I think its magic truly comes out.
Diamond Eyes

It's easy to lose sight of just how impactful this was at the time. I liked this better than White Pony, and still do. As my tastes have shifted across ten years I don't listen to Deftones nearly as much, but I cannot deny that this is a masterwork of nu-metal. Its reputation is well-deserved.
3Flying Lotus

I wasn't into experimental electronic music in 2010, but that's one of the perks of revisiting 2010 from the distant future. This album is immaculately produced, insanely eclectic/unpredictable, and in short, flawless. This is the musical distillation of perfection; if I ever develop an emotional attachment to it the way that I have for the next two LPs, it could eventually launch to #1.
2Titus Andronicus
The Monitor

I remember being turned off by Stickles' vocals upon first listen, and thinking that the acclaim that this got was hilarious. I think this is one of those bands that you either "get" or don't, but I eventually came around and never looked back. The reckless ambition and emotional magnitude make this the greatest punk record of the entire decade. Every time I hear this album, I want to get out of my chair and go change the world. It makes me want to live.
1The National
High Violet

Well, duh. The National's best album had to rank #1 didn't it? The wintry atmosphere can't disguise the dull pain in Berninger's voice as he wails on about heartache. It's a not-so-subtle breakup album, but its poignancy is achieved on a much more mature/subtle level than most albums are able to reach. It buzzes with a hazy sense of apathy; this feeling of being so hurt that you're detached from the world around you. In its cold, distant posturing, it somehow draws you in even closer.
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