I know a thousand other websites and bloggers have already released best-of lists for 2010, and I’m a little late to jump in. After Christmas I ordered a few albums I’d been meaning to listen to, and I wanted to hear those before putting a list together. I’m snowed in today, so I can’t think of a better time to finish putting this together. I’m sure the exact order of the list will shift around in my mind the more I listen to these albums, but I definitely believe these are the ten best of the year as far as I’m concerned.
10. James Blake – CMYK EP/Klavierwerke EP
This set of EPs were the last thing I heard of anything on this list. After I saw them on another year-end list, I gave them a listen and loved them right away.
9. Sleigh Bells – Treats
8. Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame
7. The Octopus Project – Hexadecagon
I can’t think of another band that sounds anything like The Octopus Project.
6. Half-Handed Cloud – As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live Out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth
5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I wanted this album to be higher on the list, but I just don’t think it meets the hype. I think Kanye West has the potential to do for hip hop what The Beatles did for rock and roll, but I still think 808’s and Heartbreak was a better album.
4. Kamran Ince – Music for a Lost Earth
Kamran Ince is a composer and a music professor at the University of Memphis. I was lucky enough to present for the premiere of this piece in November 2007, and since then I had been waiting for a recording to be released. It was finally released this year.
3. Vampire Weekend – Contra
This was the biggest surprise on my list. When they released their first album, I heard a few of the songs and saw them on TV a couple of times and thought they were really mediocre. This album totally changed my mind.
2. Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me
Joanna Newsom’s last album, Ys, is my second favorite album of all time (after The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds). So she’s bound to end up on my best-of lists for years to come. Have One on Me is a 3 disc record, which took a lot of time to absorb, but it gets better with each listen. Joanna Newsom also gets my vote for best live performance of the year. I saw her in Nashville a few weeks after the album came out, and her band was amazing.
1. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz
I’ve heard all his previous albums plenty of times and wasn’t all that interested in more of the same. A few weeks before Age of Adz came out I heard the song “Too Much” and was blown away. I knew if the rest of the album sounded like that I’d love it. And obviously I did.
*If you’re looking to make your own best-of list, you should check out www.mytoplist.is
**Don’t forget to get your free download of “Pillar of Fire”