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2010 By The Streetlight

Is it weird to you people that I'm spending Christmas on the beach? Either way, I'm enjoying it - and hoping you kids are as well. As for 2010, well, it's been, as always, an interesting year. One thing: lots of very good releases, nothing that has blown me away. To be frank, James Blake's LP to me is pretty much better than most of this list, except Feist and Parades. I dunno if that's because I expect more of music nowadays or what. Anyway, enough rambling:
25Vampire Weekend

Fuck you, I like this. It's like the perfect summer album, light, airy, listenable at any time.
24Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record

That this is the weakest BSS album isn't saying all that much. They've ditched (most of) the swirly stuff and gone straight for the fun jugular, and it works a charm. It's hard NOT to sing along to "Texaco bitches why do you like to steal?". Even if it means absolutely nothing. That's how you know it's good.
23The Dillinger Escape Plan
Option Paralysis

Dillinger get organized. Kinda... as far as Dillinger goes. Option Paralysis is probably my favorite release by them. That might get me into trouble by purists but I'm not so concerned - if Dillinger wrote songs like this all the time, they would undoubtedly be one of my favorite heavy bands, ever. Just wish this was longer.
22PS I Love You
Meet Me At The Muster Station

I was supposed to review this but didn't. My bad. Anyway, despite the stupid band name, Meet Me At The Muster Station is probably one of the most fun records out this year. It's stripped down rock n' rock that sounds like the sound of a thousand jumbo jets yelping at once. I know that doesn't make sense, but listen to the album and it (hopefully?) will.
21Simian Mobile Disco

Simian used to get lumped in with the electro revival renaissance of '07, but everything they've done so far has proved that they've got a hell of alot more in them that just that. Delicacies is no exception. In fact, 2010 has had SMD put their paws all over everything - theirs was the first BBC essential mix of the year, and their 'Is Fixed' mixtape is pretty banging as well. Essentially, I love SMD.
20Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me

Gotta admit, the number of times I've managed to reach disk three I could probably count on one hand. That's not for lack of quality though, I just usually have something to DO by the time that rolls around. And yeah, I've got some OCD habit of starting albums at the start, always. Don't think I'm the only one to do this. Self assurance is great. Anyway, album makes me have sex fantasies involving harps. Good enough for #20.
19Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Ok, this album. It's not THAT great. I mean it's great. But not THAT great. Still, it sneaks in my top 20 of the year (because my opinion matters so much right?) so I still think it's pretty kick ass. And POWER is one of the best songs out this year. And Kudos to Kanye for being able to rise above all the shit he puts HIMSELF through to get something like this out. Dude is a legend for that alone.
Halcyon Digest

I like indie. This is Deerhunter. 1 + 1 = 2.
17LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening

I -like- Drunk Girls. In fact, I like this whole album. It's so... clean. Again, just unlike most dance records out there today.
16The Dead Weather
Sea Of Cowards

Jack White oh no! Do not care. First time I listened to this was on my iPod while walking down the main street of Sydney CDB - made me want to go up to every suit and challenge them to a fight then and there. If Pantha was my dose of subtlety, this is my dose of in-your-faceness. "Shake your hips like battleships"? Why the fuck not.
15Pantha du Prince
Black Noise

I adore this one. Again, it's electronic music that is utterly organic. I could sit there listening to this over and over again just for it's percussion alone. Everything about this album is subtle: the way it shifts in and out of melodies, the way it employs a thousand and one beats without ever feeling overwhelming or contrived. Sucks you in.
14Gold Panda
Lucky Shiner

Another fresh one. Feel like I'm treating music like prawns. Anyway. This record (along with Jame Blakes! and Pantha du Prince's) marks for me a shift in electronic music towards something entirely new: a blurring of lines between what is and isn't electronic. Of course this sort of thing has happened with alot of artists before, but not since this year has this blurring of lines become so effective. Lucky Shiner is a testament to that.
Axioma Ethica Odini

Woah, Black Metal? to be honest, I don't have much to say about this other than that I really really like it. It's probably one of the few heavy albums that keeps me intrigued and on my toes the whole way though - one that doesn't rely on just on instrumental flashiness but rather pure songwriting prowess. Haven't enjoyed a metal record like this since Moonsorrow's V: Havitetty.
12Sed Non Satiata
Sed Non Satiata

Another semi-lost 2010 album. Maybe it's punk thing. Either way, Le Ciel De Notre Enforce is probably another one of my other favorite records of all time, so it's no surprise that this is here. Again, SNS are kings of writing hauntingly ethereal French skramz, blending a sense of airy lightness and intense heaviness in a mix that is un-passer-up-able. Clearly, all this writing is having me resort to making words up.
11Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
Dark Night Of The Soul

My other 2010 fuck you? Maybe. But I can't pass this up, it's just way too good. When it's not too busy making art out of music, it's tearing through emotions (not just the sad ones, but the happy ones too) and brining together one of the best guest lists in all of music. Oh, and did I mention Feist is on here too? And the the box set is wicked? 'cause she is, and it is.
10Big Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

OutKast guy makes solo album. Insta-hit. With good reason. Again, he's not doing anything new - like Kanye - but honestly, this is just a hell of a lot more fun. I mean, I appreciate that Kanye is pushing boundaries, but as far as which record I'd rather blast out of my ghetto car while picking up ho's, this takes the cake.
9Anais Mitchell

Folk-Opera. Involves Justin Vernon. Based on the tale of Orpheus. Sprawling. Magnificent.

People didn't like this, and while I get why, it still makes me sad. Because despite how frazzled and haywire it is, nothing hides the fact that MAYA is M.I.A. at her most comfortable: she's jamming in her disparate influences into a box without a hinge, and makes it all stay by simply telling it to. Can't really think of another artist who can be poppy AND abrasive at the same time. M.I.A. can.
7The National
High Violet

What's left to say about this album? This, apparently: The National prove, once again, that they can make music that moves with the barest of touches. Seriously, Matt Berninger's croon could make the most mediocre song sound like it was written by the Gods. That he so happens to have one of the best bands in the business backing him up is y'know, even more awesome.
6The Saddest Landscape
You Will Not Survive

This brings me back old school. I used to listen to these guys thinking "hell, these guys are one of a kind". Gotta admit, they lost some originality points with this record, but they made up for that by hitting nearly every high and every low with a perfect cadence. But again, this is something that really seemed to happen with alot of records in 2010: lots of awesome, nothing too mindblowing.
5Janelle Monae
The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III of IV)

This is the second freshest record this year. I mean, what's *not* to love? It's soul with a 22nd century kick. And Monae's voice would even qualify for the best one out there this year - if, clearly, I wasn't such a hipster faggot (this includes you, Erykah Badu). And man, did anyone see her performance on Letterman way back? Blew my mind.
4How To Dress Well
Love Remains

I'm a sucker for this sort of swirly, deep, engrossing stuff. Which, hey, is what Love Remains is. People give it alot of shit of being all crackly, but as far as I'm concerned, the crackle only adds to the allure. Also, out of everything I've written this year, I think I'm proudest of the soundoff which I wrote for it, while I was drunk off my face, having stumbled home at like 4am one morning. Maybe I should write more when I'm drunk. New Years resolution, done.
3Arcade Fire
The Suburbs

Yes really. Downer was slightly aghast at this choice (I had it at #1 on the staff list - yes, that's in the works) and I've put it down a little. Again, I think how much I like this album can is best conveyed but what is wrong with it: It's not as good as Funeral. Not saying they should put out a Funeral v.2, just that it's not as good. Maybe six or seven rungs down. Which, when placed next to one of the greatest albums of all time, is still pretty fucking good.
Foreign Tapes

I wasn't sure about placing this at #2, but when I asked myself what was the freshest sound out of 2010, there was no album that could top this. Foreign Tapes is crystalline, in every way: melodies shimmer and sparkle, washing over in waves. My only complaint (#2 and I have complaints - makes me think I'm growing old) is that I wish this pushed boundaries even further than it already does. The phrase "getting your dick a little wet" seems oddly appropriate here.
Look At What The Light Did Now

Either this counts as my 'fuck you' to 2010, or it's a sign of how much I love Feist. I mean, technically it's a documentary DVD which includes a 'bonus CD', but this release is so close to perfect for me that I don't really care. I've been lucky enough to see her once before, playing with Broken Social Scene and she was nothing short of spellbinding. When she sung, it was like the rest of the room evaporated and all that was left was this wind carried on the back of angels. And to capture that, live? I couldn't ask for a better end to 2010.
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