Top 10 of 2010: Jaime’s list

9 Dec

Lord, it’s that time of year, where we all get together and argue constantly about what we liked, loved and kind of hated, and as usual all of our opinions are all over the place. So we’re each taking the time to make our own list of what we consider the top albums of the year. We hope you enjoy, agree, disagree, and most of all listen.

10. Dessa, A Badly Broken Code

So under-the-radar that at least 7 out of 10 of you just said “Who?” while reading this, the sophomore album from Minneapolis’ best MC is a rude awakening for those attempting to re-invent the genre, as she’s already done it. The sometimes soft-spoken MC’s production at times harkens back to the Timberland/Bubba Sparxxx endeavor Deliverance, while remaining at the forefront of future trends. Truly this is a statement from a potentionally great artist.

Dessa–Dixon’s Girl

9. Midlake, The Courage of Others

Though the Denton, TX, band may never find the success in their home country that they have in Europe, one thing is for certain–the band has no issues evolving. Leaving behind the Fleetwood-esque pop that made their previous effort, The Trials of Van Occupanther, such a success, the boys from Texas delved even further into chamber folk as they trekked across the ground first laid by Fairport Convention, and then added a modern spin to it by adding guitar work and rhythm the 60’s Brits could only dream of.

Midlake–The Courage of Others

8. Grinderman, Grinderman 2

Chaos in and of itself could easily describe all of Nick Cave‘s output, but never was it so on display like this year’s foray into American folklore that was Grinderman 2. Infinitely more polished than the first Grinderman effort, 2 shows Cave embracing a country not only not his own, but so foreign to its own citizens, that listeners can’t help but relate to the story being told with each song as they find release in the chaotic energy that permeates through each track.

Grinderman–Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man

7. Beach House, Teen Dream

Beach House has aways concocted something beautiful with their work, but it took until their third album for something truly gorgeous to emerge, and while  Teen Dream is as lush as anything the Baltimore duo has ever done, the songwriting shows a marked growth from a band that seems to be on a continual upswing.

Beach House–10 Mile Stereo

6. Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks

The final album before they go major finds the Scots of FR treading down the same path as usual, but doing so in a way that not only shows the aging of the band, but reflects the aging of their fans. As both band and fans mature, they find themselves striving even harder for the “love” that’s not only promised in our culture, but in our hearts. That’s why we all seem to connect with blatantly heart-wrenching songs like “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, and it’s why we’ll come back for the next album.

Frightened Rabbit–Swim until You Can’t See Land

5. Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)

Ms. Monáe burst onto the scene this with the most auspicious debut in years, that not only featured on of the best singles of the year (the Big Boi backed “Tightrope”), but garnered her the title of Prince’s favorite new artist. ArcAndoird is a brilliant combination of funk, afro-pop, soul and pop that on repeat listens shows itself  to be  a clear signifier that the game has changed when it comes to R&B and that game has found itself revitalized by a perfect mash-up of the old, new and future.

Janelle Monáe–Tightrope (feat. Big Boi)

4. Menomena, Mines

Sometimes all it takes from a great band is to put out a truly above-par album, and while most of the attention this year went to The National’s High Violet, Menomena’s Mines swept under the radar so quietly that only a true fan could appreciate the brilliance behind it. Once again returning to their usual chaotic approach (each track is built in layers, stripped down, then rebuilt en mass), the boys from Portland managed to create their best album yet, one that signals yet another transformation from a band that has seen so many before.

Menomena–Queen Black Acid

3. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

It feels as if every Arcade Fire album put out automatically deserves a place on any, and 10 list, and the third album from the collective speaks volumes for where we might end up musically. A true crossover album that’s found the band nominated for a Best Album Grammy, while treading further down the path laid out for them by Springsteen and Talking Heads, finds the band expanding yet again on the concept that we all share similar experiences, and in those experiences we all share pretty much the same angst, and so long as that continues, we’re mostly going to connect in some way over these songs.

Arcade Fire–The Suburbs

2. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West is so fascinating that the President of our country is forced to comment on him from time to time, and honestly what’s bigger than that? The most ambitious album yet from an artist known for ambition is so utterly bombastic that honestly I don’t think most of us fully understand what he’s trying to, or actually, accomplishing here. So sample/guest-crazy that we see everything from King Crimson hooks to guest vocals from Bon Iver, Kanye’s Fantasy only just quenches our thirst for what the man may do next.

Kanye West–Monster (feat. Niki Manj, Bon Iver, Jay-Z, Rick Ross)

1. LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening

In what could be his final album with the project, James Murphy made sure to take everything the band had done up until this album and toss it together into something so breathtaking many of us haven’t stopped listening to it. A definitive statement concerning all Murphy’s concerns (age, aging, hipsters, defeat and at times love) TiH is an album that not only crosses over all boundaries, but is so timeless that it will remain in the minds of the music=loving public far longer than almost everything released this year.

LCD Soundsystem–You Wanted A Hit

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