So, now that this year is more than half over, I felt like a retrospective
of the previous year’s albums. In general, I listen to a lot of music, it is
everywhere. Artists websites stream it, Pandora, All Songs Considered, other
paid services (hey, if they don’t endorse me, I won’t endorse them). However,
music does pile up. Besides, would you want me to miss something? That’s right,
Dudeletter, doing it right, eventually.
First Category I arbitrarily made up is the Most Unexpected Albums of 2010.
Runner Up: Aloe Blacc – Good Things
If you told me, that I would like an R&B album last/this year this
much, I would have said you were crazy, let alone if you said it was in the
1950’s style. However this album is incredible fun, already featured “I need a
dollar” on Music Right Now!, here is “Miss Fortune.”
Winner: Ben Folds – Lonely Avenue.
This is a Ben Folds Album and then it isn’t. I like Ben Folds much like
I like They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies, or
recent Weezer, they don’t take themselves too
seriously and have fun. However, with this album, the lyrics were written by
Nick Hornsby, yes the one who wrote High
Fidelity, About a Boy, and the football memoir Fever Pitch. It is about the writers of Lonely avenue
in the 1960s. My favorite song has no video yet, but maybe it will be Music
Right Now! soon. However here is another cool video “From
Here is their explanation of the album.
Second Category I arbitrarily made up is the Album I hated the First Time I heard it!
I like musical gratification instantly, then find meaning
later. These albums were heavy and overwrought, however after much prodding the
albums did in fact endear themselves to me.
Runner Up: Yeasayer – Odd Blood. Could have won this outright, but
their last album did the same thing. Here is “Madder Red”
Winner: Caribou – Swim.
Yeah, took me a lot to get through this once, but it grew, hauntingly. The
video I found was actually one of my lower rated songs at first. Here is “Sun.”
Third Category I arbitrarily made up is Fun
Album of the Year
These Albums may not be Shakespeare, but listen to them and
you just enjoy. Crack them out with friends and just listen, you won’t be
Runner Up: Girl
Talk – All Day. So for those of you unaware of Girl Talk, he is a
Sampler/Mixer/Masher. He will take an electronic beat and lay song over song
over song. His music is creative reimaging of music. You will be impressed,
nothing feels out of place, but he intentionally choses random music. You may
notice that this
is not on the Amazon Page, at least you should. This is because he gave away
this music for free and asked for donations. If you want it, it is at Illegal
) Listen to the opening track OH No! NSFW
Winner: Dr. Dog –
Shame, Shame. This album is fun end to end. Listen to “Shadow People.”
Fourth Category I arbitrarily made up is Biggest Disappointment
These albums may have had a track or two I liked, but
overall were disappointing.
Runner Up: Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the World. Man it hurts to
say this, but this album was only ok. I loved the previous one, Furr, but this one felt like the last one, but not as good.
It really bummed me out, but I still enjoyed it, just not as much as I hoped.
Here is the title track.
Winner: Elton John and Leon
Russell – the Union. I really like Elton John and was hoping he was going to
his bluesy roots. If you listen to his early B-sides, they are full of classic
American Delta Blues, yet this album is sad. Leon Russell is amazing, but Elton
John pulls him towards poppy. You can tell John songs versus Russell
songs. They made no real video, so here
Continuing the wrathful section, Fifth Category I arbitrarily made up is Most Overrated.
Why are these albums overrated as opposed to disappointments? Because these
made other Best of lists, the others really didn’t.
Runner Up: Gorillaz –
Plastic Beach. I like Gorillaz albums because they are fun, well put together and
exist in the dystopian world of the cartoon bands. This album seemed to lack a
lot of that magic. Here is a decent single, Stylo.
Winner: Cee Lo Green –
Lady Killer. Calm down and think. Yea, I liked F**k you too, but, and it’s a big
but, other than F**k You and Bright Lights Bigger City, what else is on that
album? Yea, I thought not. Listen, I like Cee Lo, but
Gnarls Barkley’s First Album and his previous solo album Soul Machine are much
better albums. I think people late to the party wanted to make themselves feel relevant. Here is Bright Lights Bigger City.
Sixth Category I arbitrarily made up is Happy
Albums of the Year.
Runner Up: Superchunk – Majesty Shredding. I know that you may think
that this sounds a lot like my Dr. Dog description, but I wanted to make a distinction
here. Happy albums like this you can bring you out of a funk, Fun songs you
have to want to hear. Also, I decided , so there. Try
a little Digging for Something.
Winner: Robert Plant – Band
of Joy. Listening to Zeppelin, you may not realize how talented at everything
Plant is, but between this and the album Raising Sand he did with Allison Krause, you
just have to be impressed. Listen to Angel Dance and see if you are not
Seventh Category I arbitrarily made up is Best Mellow/Sad Album of the Year.
I want to emphasize that this is not a negative thing,
sometimes you are in the mood to listen to mellow or sad music, and I have one
of each here.
Runner Up: Johnny Cash – America IV: Ain’t No Grave. In his later
years, Cash did some reinvestigation into his Delta Blues roots as well, but
this one worked. His voice is gravelly and you can almost taste the despair. Truly heartbreaking at points. Here is the title track.
Winner: Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away. In the last
year, I had a lot of depressing moments. This album was honest, well written
and beautiful and came up repeatedly in my catalogue. While the other two
albums on my best list come up repeatedly, this one sat unnoticed for the most
part. Here is the Curse. Note: this is a beautiful love song and my favorite
track, at least at first. However the subtle subject is odd and this video is
odder. I recommend listening to the track first and then watch the video.
Eighth Category I arbitrarily made up is Best Single of the Year.
Runner Up: LCD Soundsystem
– This is Happening – Dance yrself Clean. This is (I hope not) the last LCD Soundsystem album. If you have not heard an entire album of
his before, do. He mixes heavy emotional songs, with fun self-referencial songs. There was no video for this track, but
here is one someone did with Muppets.
Winner: National – High
Violet – Bloodbuzz Ohio. I could have, and often did, listen to this
song over and over again. As a person who went to college in Ohio, I can
identify with those whose future is not where they wanted it to be. Jobs are
scarce and the place you loved is now looking more desolate.
Ninth Category I arbitrarily made up is Best
Albums of the Year.
Second Runner Up: The National – High Violet. The album is well
designed. The vocals are heavy and gravely. The Music is driving. Must listen,
here is England.
Runner Up: Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away. His work
is so filled with passion it is hard to put this album down and with so many
styles of music on this album, his incredible talent shines through. Here he is
live preforming Lark.
Winner: Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More. This album end to end is incredible.
As mentioned earlier, there were moments in the last year where I was
depressed. There are songs on this album that are almost medicinal; that would
completely entrance me. To be fair to it, here are two videos, one of it’s first single (Little Lion Man) NSWF and of my
favorite track (The Cave).
Please send us your thoughts and vote for your favorite!