Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I started singing and they told me to stop...

2010 was a great year for me, musically and otherwise. At the end of 2009, I did a top 10 list and I remember it was really easy because I had only bought 11 records that year and really liked them all. This year, that is not the case. I've bought way more than 11 records and almost all of them are great, so it will actually take some thought to place them in a Top 10.

Someone posted a quote on Facebook the other day, and I forget who said it, but it generally said that listing your belongings in order of your favorite to least favorite is a behavior only appropriate for 8-year-olds. I agree...

Here's my top 10 list for 2010: (The two most important criteria are A) how addictive a record was, i.e. how much it was in my player, and B) how much did I connect to it on a personal level.)

10. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
I don't really feel that emotionally connected to this record, which is why it's at the bottom of the list. It is undeniably great though, all the same, which is why it's on the list at all. I expect to see it on a lot of other top 10 lists.

9. The New Pornographers - Together
I fell in love with the New Pornographers with Twin Cinema, but was disappointed when their next record didn't live up to the promise that Twin Cinema implied. Any disappointment was forgotten in 2010, however, when they released this gem.

8. OK GO - Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
I feel like some people look at OK Go and see just a pop rock band. Sure, everyone applauds their creativity where Youtube videos are concerned, but I don't think they get the respect they deserve for their song craft. Every record has them pushing themselves further into new territory, which is something few pop bands have the balls to do. To my knowledge, they have 3 full length albums, which means they have 3 very distinctive albums. With this record, they actually worked with one of my favorite producers, Dave Fridman, who apparently, in classic Dave Fridman style, showed the band how to make drums sound huge, fucked up, and awesome.

7. Eminem - Recovery
I don't know a lot about rap, I admit. But I know what I like, and I like Eminem, especially when he raps aggressively and with purpose. With this record, Marshall Mathers spends the lion's share of his time confessing his, very personal, shortcomings, thanking his fans for sticking around when even he thought he sucked, and proving that he is still the most articulate, and venom filled, artist in hip hop. It's not, by any means, a perfect record, the most noticeable flaws being with the beat programming, but I love hearing that angry son-of-a-bitch spit rhymes.

6. Autolux - Transit, Transit
It was starting to feel like we would never get another Autolux record. I absolutely adored their first record and was immediately ready for more, but it took a damned eternity for Autolux to comply with my desire. Worth the wait, though. Transit Transit is a simply beautiful record. A bit slower, in general, than the first record, but all the same noise, melody, and dynamics are still there, only more mature seeming.

5. Starflyer 59 - The Changing of the Guard
Starflyer 59's music almost feels like one of my oldest friends, we've been together for so long. I was a little nervous that their amazing streak was over, after their last record, Dial M, came out. Thankfully, it was just a minor and brief misstep into mediocrity. It's bound to happen when you're as prolific as Jason Martin, but The Changing Of The Guard is another bright star in an already vast and brilliant sky.

4. Stars - The Five Ghosts
I was blown away the first time I heard Stars. The song was "Your Ex-lover is Dead" off the album Set Yourself On Fire. That album was great, but that song certainly captured a level of brilliance they didn't touch again on that record, and even less so on the next record, In Our Bedroom After The War. It wasn't that the stuff was bad, just that they didn't have anything else as good as that song. I figured that Stars was just a band that I would be aware of and appreciative of but never enamored with. I was wrong. I eventually snagged this record on a whim because it was cheap, and I am so glad I did. There are so many powerfully emotive melodies on this record, it may very well leave you exhausted in the best possible way.

3. Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love
Now we're in the top 3. How exciting!! All the members of Belle & Sebastian must shit gold at this point, because it's becoming more difficult to imagine them producing anything that is less than amazing. I've read some reviews of this record that were a bit lacklustre, but I don't get that at all. All I hear is a damn near perfect collection of delicate pop songs. Plus, the Norah Jones duet, "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John," may very well be the most beautiful song I've ever heard.

2. Menomena - Mines
The first time I heard Menomena it made me want to quit music. I'm not trying to be funny, I got seriously sad. I just started wondering why I even try. Well, I've gotten over it, and now when I hear them, I just feel inspired and want to rush over to the studio. This record is fucking amazing. Their catchy, they're quirky, they're brilliant, they're Menomena...

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
I don't know what's left to say about this record that hasn't already been said a thousand times over. It's probably on every top 10 list in North America for 2010, and deservedly so. I think a new classic has been born.


  1. if you get the chance, go see sufjan perform the album.
    it might just flip your list.

  2. I suspect that's true. It is a great record, no denying. I expect to see it up in most people's top 3, but it just hasn't touched my heart. My head, for sure, but not my heart. Not yet, anyway.