Monday, January 3, 2011

My top 5 albums of 2010

Because life's too short for making a top ten.

All Delighted People EP by Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens put out an album this year, but this lengthy EP (running almost an hour) kicks all kinds of arse over it. Nuff said.

The Dark Night of the Soul by Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse

Originally intended to be released in 2009 but held up by legal issues, by the time this came out in July 2010 both Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse) and album guest Vic Chesnutt had committed suicide. The album features artwork by David Lynch, who also performs vocals on two tracks; other guests include The Flaming Lips, Suzanne Vega, Jason Lytle (Granddaddy), etc. Chesnutt's track "Grim Augury" is devastating even without knowing that he would die that Christmas, but my favourite is this one.

High Velvet - The National

I freely admit that I am a bandwagon-jumper who never paid any attention to the National until this, their breakout album, despite many recommendations by my reliable friend Scott. I'm going to have to check out their back catalogue, because I thought that High Velvet was gorgeous from start to finish.

I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron

I did not expect Gil Scott-Heron to put out an excellent album in 2010, but he did. He even covered a Smog song, which fits in perfectly with the personal self-written material.

Archandroid by Janelle Monáe

Over the course of eighteen tracks and sixty-eight minutes, this science fiction concept album bounds from genre to genre with stunning ease, from orchestral symphony to contemporary pop to acoustic folk to psychedelic guitar rock and beyond. It was classified as R&B, probably mostly because Janelle Monáe is black but also because record stores had to put it somewhere.

The album storyline (actually parts II and III of a IV-part movement) is inspired by the silent movie Metropolis and the books of Philip K. Dick and, in the tradition of most concept albums, is quite opaque.

Mondo Cane by Mike Patton

In which the singer from Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Tomahawk and Fantômas makes an album of '60s Italian pop music with a 65-piece orchestra. If you hate this album then you're probably completely normal, but I love it - cheese and all. Strangely it does not feature "More", the chart-topping theme from the movie Mondo Cane, but it does feature "Deep Deep Down" from Danger: Diabolik so that's okay.

This one is called "Che Notte!"

I didn't hear any straight-up hip-hop that really impressed me last year. What the hell was with people rating Kanye West's album so high?


  1. Great stuff. Have to check out that Mike Patton album!

  2. Will have to check some of those out. For me 2010 was about rediscovering some older stuff - partially that was linked to doing a popular music culture paper at Uni.

  3. Why surprised by GSH? For me, the ravages to his voice take getting used to...