MoreThanAFeeling Music Blog’s Top 10 Albums of 2010!

Did The Shins’ James Mercer and Gnarls Barkley’s Danger Mouse have the best album of 2010 with their Broken Bells collaboration?

FIrst there were 20 songs, and now 10 albums.  Ok so, if you haven’t read my previous post in my “Best Of” series, you should definitely check it out first… or afterwards, at the very least:  MoreThanAFeeling Music Blog’s Top 20 Songs of 2010.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to present to you the Top 10 albums of 2010.  This list was a little more difficult for me to complete because I wanted to be fair to what truly were the best albums of the year, all the while staying true to my personal favourites which I feel were very deserving to be here.  Also, I purchase albums and at the very most, sample songs off Grooveshark.  I don’t illegally download music so all of the albums on this list I have actually paid money for.  I’m not tooting my own horn, but this does limit me in terms of total assortment of music-listening possibilities.

Also, all the albums on this list or that were in consideration for this list were released in 2010.  So don’t get your panties in a knot if you are wondering why fantastic albums from Dan Mangan, Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Grizzly Bear, Florence + the Machine, etc, weren’t on the list.  They were released in 2009.

10. Black Keys – Brothers — For releasing their sixth studio album since 2002, you’d think The Black Keys would have begin to dilute their musical potion.  Instead, they release their strongest album to date, with their most successful song to date, Tighten Up. With other great songs like Everlasting Light, Next Girl, and the oh-so groovy, Neil Young-inspired instrumental Black Mud, there is no going wrong with this album.

9. Broken Bells – Broken Bells — Was there ever any doubt that this wouldn’t be a successful collaboration?  James Mercer (the Shins) and Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) may be this year’s “Odd Couple”, but their musical backgrounds seemed to mesh together perfectly as they penned an album full of great tunes, none of them sounding quite like the other.  With two radio singles already released, there are at least two more strong tunes that could be radio hits, with October and Vaporize.

8. Wintersleep – New Inheritors — As much as I was immediately disappointed with this release, the more I listened to the album, the more I enjoyed it.  Sure, it’s no Welcome To the Night Sky, but it is a strong follow-up, nonetheless.  Where Welcome to the Night Sky was experimental and almost progressive at times, New Inheritors is more straight-forward rock with less experimentation and perhaps, more purpose.  Standout tracks are Trace Decay, Echolocation, Mirror Matter and Black Camera.

7. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms — Again, an album that is not quite as good as it’s predecessor, but when the predecessor is in many “Album of the Decade” lists, it can be very difficult to follow-up.  All in all, Band of Horses did a very good job in following up to their huge Cease to Begin. There’s a heavier acoustic influence on this album and an overall, mellower vibe.  If you don’t get this feeling from the opener, Factory, then you won’t miss the coziness of Blue Beard or Infinite Arms or Evening Kitchen.  Perhaps the best part of this album is how the band can switch it to up-tempo and keep you interested with songs like Compliments, Dilly and NW Apt.

6. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs — This album would likely be up higher if it hadn’t been hyped up so incredibly.  Either way, it’s another concept album from the pretentious-but-we-love-them-anyway Montreal band who always keep things interesting.  Interesting on this album: The Suburbs, Modern Man, Rococo, City With No Children, Deep Blue, We Used To Wait and The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).  These songs are, to me, what make the album as good as it is.  They are all a little different and touch on several genres, making you wonder where they will go next.  Unfortunately, they threw in a few doldrums: Half Light II (No Celebration), Sprawl I (Flatlands)…

5. Tokyo Police Club – Champ — In contrast to the Arcade Fire album, TPC‘s Champ was not hyped much at all, and that made it a very pleasant surprise for me.  Unfortunately, I wrote off Breakneck Speed as a fluke: “A really good tune, but probably the only quality song they came up with”, I thought, ignorantly.  Then I heard Bambi, and realized that TPC may be onto more than I gave them credit for.  After listening to the entire album, I couldn’t help but notice that these boys from Newmarket, Ontario have quite the knack for writing a uber-catchy hook in nearly every song.  Lead singer/bassist Dave Monks’ seemingly effortless singing matches the mood and atmosphere of most of the songs to a tee. A job well done.

4. Born Ruffians – Say It — The best album that took me the longest to purchase this year.  Released in May, I didn’t acquire this album until early November, but it was worth the wait.  After seeing a link on Facebook for their single What To Say, I knew I had to hear more of this band.  I finally bought the album for $3.00 on and it was the best $3.00 I think I’ve ever spent.  With fantastic tracks like Sole Brother, Higher & Higher, Nova Leigh, Retard Canard, and What To Say, this album was even better than I had anticipated and includes some nominees for “Best Lyrics of 2010” with the lines, “People talk but they don’t know what to say”(from What To Say) and, “There’s a space in my mind’s bookshelf for the song I’ll never sing”.

3. Library Voice – Denim on Denim Another pleasant surprise for me.  The first track I heard from this big, little band from the prairies was Drinking Games thanks to iTunes free single of the week feature.  This song caught my ear upon first listen, complete with hand-claps, fantastic harmonies and great lines like, “I’m too old for these drinking games” and “It’s the way she smiles and winks ’til you’re red in the cheeks/Until you say that you love bands that you can’t stand”.  The fantastic indie pop album continues on strong with excellent tracks like Haunt This House, Party Like It’s 2012, End Times, Bookish, Write Me a Myth, Bodies of Fiction and Balloon Menagerie. There really isn’t much this album did wrong. But when you have an 8-piece band complete with 2, count ’em, 2 keyboardists, a sax player and 3 guitarists at times, you’d think it would be easy to screw it up.  Not for Library Voices.

2. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More — I sure love this band.  And I love their album.  To begin, the title track, and arguably, the best track on the album, Sigh No More, makes reference to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing; Little Lion Man was arguably one of the best songs of the year; and best of all, the banjo is back, thanks to these lads from Great Britain.  If that’s not enough for you, they have been nominated for a few Grammy awards.  Even the pop culture scene has recognized their talent, if that even merits any credibility is yet to be determined, however.  They truly are the “littlest big band in the world”. Or was it “biggest little band”? Either way, you cannot go wrong with a hearty dose of Dust Bowl Dance at 5:00am while getting ready to go fishing.  Or the sweet lullaby of Timshel sending you off to sleep in the evening.  I’ve pleaded my case.  If you don’t own this album, you should.

1. Yukon Blonde – Yukon Blonde — If there was ever any doubt that this album wouldn’t be on this list, let alone in the top 3, you likely haven’t read MoreThanAFeeling Music Blog very often, if at all.  As some may know, this album was the inspiration behind starting up this blog, as I’ve mentioned many a time.  I know people will disagree with this album being at the number one spot, and that’s fair, but I can’t place this album anywhere else.  It’s not my fault if I can’t get enough of Rather Be With You, 1000 Years, Loyal Man, Brides Song or Ghosts On Film. Plus,I’ve gotta support these boys, they’re from Kelowna and currently reside in the Lower Mainland!  If you have not yet heard anything by Yukon Blonde, enjoy THIS!

I’d love to hear your opinions on this list as well as what YOUR favourite albums of 2010 were!  I’m always looking to expand my musical repetoire, so please, share!!

Thanks again for reading, Merry Christmas and all that jazz!

~ by DR on December 19, 2010.

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