Time well wasted

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Top 10 albums of 2010
For the first time in a long time I have a job where I don't sit at a computer all day. This, along with the unfortunate demise of lala.com, has severely limited my time spent finding and listening to new music. Despite this setback, I've still managed to spend a decent amount of time listening to music, and have once again compiled a list of my favorite albums of the year.

10. B.O.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray
If you were expecting this list to be completely lacking in pop/hip-hop music, you're sorely mistaken. For the longest time I had no respect for the genre, but as time has gone by I've come to enjoy good pop music, and B.O.B. had a number of hits in 2010 worth listening to. It didn't hurt that he teamed up with some other very talented artists, Bruno Mars (see below), Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) and Hayley Williams (Paramore) for this album. It's what a summer blockbuster is to movies - entertaining, but probably not something that will stand the test of time.
Favorite Track: Airplanes

9. Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
So far this album has produced two radio hits, and while it may not score any more, it doesn't make the rest of the album any less worth listening. There really aren't two tracks on the album that are similar enough to categorize the sound. Just the way you are, his biggest hit so far, is poppy while channeling a bit of 50's Mo-town. Count on Me is an acoustic love song, The Other Side is hip-hop, and the others are all over the board. It's more of a mix and match song collection than a traditional album, but it still works. I don't enjoy every track, but there's enough good material to check it out.
Favorite Track: Marry You

8. Glee - Volume 4
If you've read previous years lists you know I'm a big fan of covers (Across the Universe Soundtrack and Ben Folds University A Capella for starters). As much as some people may scoff - I often like them better than the original versions. Glee itself is a decent show, but it's the music that keeps me coming back every week (that and Brittany, that girl cracks me up). All of the songs are well done, even if I don't particularly love the song itself. This particular volume includes covers of Jay Z, Brittany Spears, Bruno Mars (x2), Paramore, the Beatles, and many others. It's good fun, even if you don't like the show.
Favorite Track: The Only Exception

7. Sherwood - Qu
As with previous years, I'm not up to date enough with music to catch everything by years end. So there are a few 2009 albums mixed in. This one however, I knew about in 2009, and didn't like it enough to put on my top 2009 list. Who knows why I didn't like it the first time around, but after a few more listens I found there are quite a few tracks that I like a lot. It's not as good as a whole as their other albums, but it is quite good. As far as their sound goes, they're Sherwood - I'm not sure I can describe it any other way. It's a very unique sound, check it out.
Favorite Track: Ground Beneath My Feet

6. Ben Rector - Into the Morning
I often wonder if this kid will ever make it big. His music is original, well performed and very catchy. But maybe it's something in that originality that just doesn't sell. Regardless, his third album is no disappointment after his first two. Itunes suggests the genre is folk, and while I'm not sure I agree, I'm not sure how else to describe it either other than maybe pop, but that categorization is just far to broad. Once again he's put out an album that's pretty strong all the way through. There's a few stronger tracks, but it's worth listening to all the way through.
Favorite Track: Moving Backwards

5. Needtobreathe - The Outsiders
Another 2009 album I didn't discover until 2010. I honestly don't remember how I found this band, but was immediately glad I had. A basic description is that it's alternative rock, but lead singer Bear Rinehart's voice has a sound you'd expect to hear in a bluegrass band, which gives the group a very unique sound. I actually think I like their earlier album Daylight a little better than Outsiders, but both are solid albums all the way through.
Favorite Track: Valley of Tomorrow

4. A Fine Frenzy - Bomb in a Birdcage
Yet another 2009 album. This one was discovered on my Needtobreathe Pandora station - I liked it immediately. Lead singer Alison Sudol has a voice and sound that resembles Feist, but slightly more folksy and a little less indie. The entire album is worth listening to, as is her earlier album One Cell in the Sea.
Favorite Track: Blow Away

3. The Rocket Summer - Of Men and Angels
I have friends whose musical tastes I respect very much that absolutely despise The Rocket Summer. And honestly I can understand, Bryce Avary (who plays every instrument, sings and produces every song on the album) has a slightly effeminate, slightly whiny voice (think 2000's emo whiny) that some just don't like. This has become much less pronounced as his music has matured from Calendar Days, however, it's never bothered me. Of Men and Angels is his best album to date - which says a lot considering how much I liked Do You Feel. The album is slightly poppy rock for the most part but has a few slower songs - much like his other albums. There's a song or two I don't like as much as the others, but overall it's a good album.
Favorite Track: Hills and Valleys

Number one spot is a tie, I just can't choose a favorite. These albums are both fantastic.

1. Jónsi - Go
Go is the solo project of Jónsi Birgisson who also serves as the lead singer of the Icelandic group Sigur Rós. As opposed to Sigur Rós albums this one is in English - although honestly I can barely understand his English anyway. If you're not familiar with Sigur Rós you should check them out as well. My favorite song of theirs, Starálfur, is played at the end of The Life Aquatic and makes for one of my favorite moments in all of film. But I digress. While there are certain Sigur Rós songs I like a lot, I don't ever listen to an entire album. Go is worth listening to all the way through, again and again. I have no idea how to even describe it, so you'll just have to listen to it yourself to find out.
Favorite Track: Go Do

1. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Never before have I associated England with good folk music, and to be quite honest I didn't really know I enjoyed folk music until I listened to this album. So if you're hesitant to give the album a shot based on its genre, don't be. I assure you it's worth the listen. One of the most amazing things about this album is that I have yet to find someone who doesn't like it, yet it's also on nearly every (or maybe every?) top albums list I've read this year. It's very rare that the general populous and music critics agree so much. Do yourself a favor and buy this one. No questions, just get it.
Favorite Track: Little Lion Man
posted by Brian @ 9:08 PM   1 comments
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