Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Favorite Albums Of 2010: Part Two

Ima Robot - Another Man's Treasure
After Alex Ebert's massively successful year with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, the singer decided to return to his former dance-punk band, Ima Robot.  The band's third album, Another Man's Treasure, strays from their distinct and distorted high energy sound.  Instead, the album sounds like the halfway point between Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes.  There are long stretches of instrumentals within the album, giving the band a more fleshed out sound.  At times, you may think you're listening to a Bowie album.  Another Man's Treasure somehow sounds fresh and classic at the same time.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz
During the climax of "I Want To Be Well", Sufjan Stevens shouts "I'm not ****ing around".  He wasn't joking.  The Age Of Adz is a jumble of genres and noises that concludes with a massive 25 minute track.  It is in no way a casual album.  Through the mix of symphonic instrumentations and electronic bleeps, Sufjan's conceptual album leaves a lasting impression.  The final track, "Impossible Soul", attracts many listeners for its long duration, but in reality the track sounds like a handful of separate singles carefully sewn together.  It's a fascinating way to end the album.  The Age Of Adz is a modern electro-folk adventure.

Scissor Sisters - Night Work
The cover artwork on Night Work may have you wondering, "What were they thinking?".  After hearing the album, you'll know exactly what the Scissor Sisters were thinking.  Night Work sounds like a disco revival, but in a good way.  Every track on the record could fill the dance floor immediately.  While the lyrics are so obviously sexual that it's funny, the band manages to keep the party going.  The album ends with "Invisible Light", complete with a "Thriller-esque" voiceover by Sir Ian McKellen.  Night Work is easily one of my most loved pop albums of 2010.

The previous nine albums on this list have been in no particular order, but what fun is a "Best Of" list if I don't name the absolute best?  The next three albums on the list have managed to entertain me throughout the year and still continue to shine.  I present to you... my three favorite records of 2010.

3. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
It's impossible to define The ArchAndroid within one genre.  The debut album from Janelle Monáe touches on classical, folk, R&B, pop, funk, and countless other genres.  As you follow the journey of the android creation, Cindi Mayweather, you learn that Monáe's style is unlike any other.  The record is separated into two suites.  Each half of the album starts with a cinematic introduction.  The radio friendly singles "Cold War" and "Tightrope" only show one side the singer's style.  The epic "BaBopBye Ya" ends the album with a bang and leaves you wanting more.  I'm eagerly awaiting the next part of Janelle Monáe's Metropolis story, but until then, The ArchAndroid is my third favorite album of 2010.

2. Robyn - Body Talk
2010 was Robyn's year.  She released three albums as the Body Talk series and became one of the leading pop artists for both indie and mainstream critics alike.  Body Talk collects the best of her three part series, all in one record.  The album is packed with, what should have been, 15 hit singles.  It's electronic, it's dance, but most of all, it's pop music.  As my favorite pop album of the year, Body Talk never gets boring.  From the spunky "Fembot" to the robotic "We Dance To The Beat", Robyn rose above the ranks of Katy Perry and Ke$ha with her fun and sophisticated Body Talk.  I predict that we'll continue to hear Robyn's distinct sound through the new year.

1. Vampire Weekend - Contra
This album was released all the way back in January.  I haven't stopped listening to it on a daily basis since then.  Vampire Weekend have a signature sound so unique that they're instantly recognizable.  Contra manages to surpass the band's outstanding self-titled 2008 debut.  Since that debut album, the band expanded their musical horizons into various new genres.  They even do the unthinkable by slathering "California English" in a puddle of auto-tune.  What starts as an airy yet bouncy record, Contra closes on a sporadic pair of tracks with "Diplomat's Son" and "I Think Ur A Contra".  Contra set the bar unbelievably high for every album this year and still holds the number one spot in my book.

What were your favorite albums of 2010? Leave a comment and let me know!

1 comment:

  1. In the well known category, I would go with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West or Brothers by The Black Keys.

    In the not so well known category I would go with Masquerade by Lelia Broussard and Civil Twilight's self titled debut.

    Enjoyed the list.