December 17, 2010

2010 Music Survey Results - Top 50 Albums (1-10)

# 1
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (August 3, 2010)

"The combination of epic anthems & suburban doldrums just does it for me. This was the first album I liked immensely immediately in a long while." - Cursivebuildings

"I knew it would be good, I didn't know it would be this good - like just turn it on & sit back for an hour listening at the kitchen table good. The mix of bland suburban themes & epic anthems just does it for me." - Anonymous

"I almost excluded this from my own list of nominees, based on the fact that I couldn't imagine The Suburbs NOT placing in the top 5 of every list.  I think I felt like it was an unfair fight.  Like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals." - Tex

"The big news is that Arcade Fire sold a ton of records their first week. For some reason this caused a controversy... personally I would much rather have the youth of America, for just one week, be listening to The Suburbs than whatever else is usually beat over their heads. This is Arcade Fire turning introspective. Suburbs maintains their epic emotional power while showcasing a more subtle sonic approach. It suits them well." - Luc

"I don't know if Arcade Fire considers this a concept album or not, I haven't really read much about it, honestly. But it feels like a concept album to me, and it feels like they hit it just perfectly." - War Machine

"Soundtrack for a summer trip to the Austin, Texas suburbs." - Jeremy 

"Was there a choice to not include this album?" - Ernesto

"Alright - it was engineered to make top ten lists. But it's good. And it's thematic. Whatever happened to the thematic album?" - JC Hackett

"The thinking man's music, Arcade Fire makes." - Mona

"All in all, at 16 tracks and an hour of playtime, this is an ambitious release that puts the band's genre-jumping range, thoughtful and poetic songwriting and exceptional talents on full display." - NightraiN

"Like a summer afternoon, this album makes you want to lay in the park getting soaked and drink champagne." - Layne

Recommended track: "The Suburbs"

# 2
The National - High Violet (May 11, 2010)

"In the time of track-by-track musical enjoyment and critique, High Violet shows that the summation can truly outweigh it's parts....sometimes putting a bunch of pretty things in a frame together can really make something outstanding.  As individual tracks leaked before this album came out, I found myself pleased, but not expecting it to place very high at the end of the year.  After a few listens to the whole package, coupled by a live performance in October, it is unquestionably my favorite album of the year." - Tex

"Something about The National is so deeply comforting and passionate that it makes me reflectively sad and inexplicably happy at the same time -- the perfect mix of musically induced emotion." - NightraiN

"To my mind, the best band working today. The music is rich and intricate, both lyrically and sonically, they've released three straight incredible albums which all sound different from each other, and they put on what might just be the best live show I've ever seen." - Jeremy

"If I was stuck on a desert island and could only listen to one band, it might be The National.  I used to prefer their older stuff... until they released this album." - Hotcatato

"The truth is High Violet was just 1 or 2 great songs from being at the top of this list. Ten years in, this band has finally achieved greatness ... The Boxer was their breakout and this moody masterpiece is the proof that it was no fluke.  Frontman Matt Berninger lays his soul bare on this one - Violet is a testament to broken love, anxiety, regret & guilt. "It'll take a better war to kill a college man like me..."  Well said good sir, well said..." - Luc

"Matt Beringer's vocals are what is to be expected from one of the most talented singers and song writers of the 21st century. Deep, dark and under-caffeinated." - Layne

"This is also a great record, a close second to favorite of the year. The music, as always, is real interesting & the lyrics are, as always, sad dude stuff that never strays into whiny territory (that's a plus!)." - Cursivebuildings

"Sometimes I wonder if this is just an adult male thing, but my friends & I listen to these guys & wonder how they manage to record our hearts." - Anonymous

"This seems like a pretty common choice but maybe there's a reason for that!" - Joanie

"Of course this one of my top picks. I fell fast and hard to this album and really enjoy Matt Berninger's sultry voice." - ve1cro

"I read somewhere that the National had intended to write a happy album when they started this thing. I'm fairly certain that's not possible. This one will remove an organ and put it on the table and demand you to look at it and reckon the reality of the situation you're presented with." - JC Hackett

"Like Frightened Rabbit, they make fairly nonsensical lyrics sound amazing." - TheCraneWife

"Good follow up to Boxer, but not quite as well rounded." - Taylor

"Dark and ethereal." - Mona

Recommended track: "Bloodbuzz Ohio"

# 3
The Black Keys - Brothers (May 18, 2010)

"Great album all around: I love their sound, good lyrics, and some great videos." - Julia

"I kinda feel bad for picking them every year, but then I listen to them, and don't feel bad at all." - Sandenuts

"Soulful, pounding blues. This is my comfort food." - awmercy

"Hard hitting, no frills, ROCK!" - Max D

"First time I listened I felt sure I MUST have heard these songs somewhere before.  This is the kind of music that would be a hit no matter what decade its released." - Hotcatato

"Exactly what you'd expect from the Black Keys." - War Machine

"Hard to get tired of this one." - Ernesto

"These dudes are legends already... this album and especially a few choice tracks just heightens their profile that much more. Sick." - NightraiN

"It's almost criminal how great this album is.  Catchy, bluesy-rock like this never goes out of style." - Mona

Recommended track: "Tighten Up"

# 4
Beach House - Teen Dream (January 26, 2010)

"Dreamy-pop at it's best." - Max D

"This album has a huge, atmospheric sound and this band has finally hit the truly haunting sound that they've been hinting at all along and which we all always knew was waiting to come out." - JC Hackett

"Its dreamy..." - Hotcatato

"The only thing I love more than wishing I could write sweet, dreamy indie pop is listening to a band that's incredibly good at making it themselves." - Mona

"Third time's the charm, Beach House!  I'd periodically listened to their first two releases over the last few years, almost getting to the point where I liked them, but never quite crossing the threshold.  Teen Dream grabbed my interest from the first listen, and it's really rewarding to see what this band has grown in to." - Tex

"There's a lot to titles sometimes. Beach House is probably the most ideal name for this band & "Teen Dream" perfectly describes their best album to date. Beach House's move to Sub Pop didn't change their sound much-lush indie pop set to a melancholy summer of love and heartbreak...It just boosted their recording budget to par with their awesome talent." - Luc
"Beach House's prettiest and most upbeat album perfectly captures that woozy late night/early morning feeling." - awmercy

Recommended track: "Zebra"

# 5
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (February 16, 2010)

"Lyrically...unstoppable." - Robert

"Oh, Marcus Mumford.  You make me want to pick up a banjo and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you." - Mona

"Hearing them harmonize last summer at Sasquatch on a side stage at 2pm was one of the most awe inspiring things I have witnessed in quite a while... 'nough said." - Abbie

"This is my favorite album to listen to when I'm looking for inspiration." - Julia

"Fantastic album - really works wonderfully AS an album." - Anne

"This London-based quartet, whose name sounds more like a general store or cobbler shop than a band, takes their vocal harmonies and instrumentation real seriously, with nearly every track making a slow-building skyward arch until your heart is lifted and your speakers are overflowing with sound." - NightraiN

"Marcus Mumford's voice is gruff and romantic. When combined with beautiful harmonies and the strum of a banjo, it makes for perfect folksy ballads." - Brasilliant

"Perhaps too too folksy at times, but perfect if you are in the mood." - Ernesto

Recommended track: "Little Lion Man"

# 6
Vampire Weekend - Contra (January 12, 2010)

"The tragedy of Vampire Weekend is this: haters perceive them to be ivy league brats attempting to infiltrate their indie rock world. Truth is that VW are a soulful garage pop band that has managed to infiltrate & give us a glimpse the blue blood world. "Contra" is  a minor miracle in 21st century music- a perfect pop album, organically created by a rock band who is not afraid of obscurity or fame." - Luc

"I actually did not enjoy this album the first time I listened: call it a case of second child syndrome.  With further listening I realized the continued genius of this band; seriously, how many genres can one band seamlessly wrap into an album!?" - Abbie

"I would have put money on this one being a sophomore slump.  Vampire Weekend's debut album was so good, so quickly accepted by so many people of different attitudes and tastes, that it had to be a fluke.  In fact these guys are genuinely talented, and show great songwriting, production decisions, and marketing (exception being trusting that the album cover photographer had all of his release-signing ducks in a row).  I'm excited to see what's coming up next." - Tex

"Eminently listenable; infectiously fun." AnnMT

"I don't understand what this album has to do with California.  Whatever." - TheCraneWife

"I still love horchata!  The drink and the song..." - Ancient Indian Wizard
"Even though the lead singer creeps me out this album is hard not to like. "Holiday" is so catchy that it takes up permanent residence in your head after one listen." - Layne

"Last year, this was my most anticipated album of the year. I'm just glad it's not heading up my overrated list. Tight album. Looking forward to their junior year." - JC Hackett

Recommended track: "Horchata"

# 7
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening (May 18, 2010)

"LCD Soundsystem takes first for me even though this is a more uneven album than my #2 because Dance Yourself Clean is one of the best dance tracks I've ever heard. It starts quiet, so you have to turn it up, then builds the suspense, then hits you with this incredible wall of sound. Just perfect. You can't play it loud enough. I Can Change is great as well. I've even come to appreciate Drunk Girls." - War Machine

"I couldn't stop listening to this album all year long.  It only gets better." - Patrick

"Not their best album - I had some high hopes - but still very good." - Julia

"I love a dance party!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I have been known to be a drunk girl!!!!!" - Abbie

"Brutal and exposed. The guy is really finding his sound. "I Can Change" has a great spin." - JC Hackett

Recommended track: "Dance Yrself Clean"

# 8
Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks (March 9, 2010)

"So many good songs full of manic strumming." - awmercy

"Hello old friends, so happy that you joined me this year!" - ve1cro

"Best named album of the year. The contents of this book is up to par with its cover. That almost makes no sense..." - Rain

"They make the line "are you a man or are you a bag of sand?" sound not ridiculous." - TheCraneWife

"A great album with probably the best title of the year; however, a slight drop-off from Midnight Organ Fight, which was magical." - NightraiN

"Big percussion sound and a large voice and usually some well-placed clapping... a CD to jog to but also to get ya looking inward. Their cliched lyrics and dead metaphors are somehow fresh... not quite sure how." - JC Hackett

Recommended track: "Swim Until You Can't See Land"

# 9
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (November 22, 2010)

"I know it's been said a million times now, but this really is the best album of the year." - Ben

"Pretty much all of the songs save one or two are brilliant and fantastic.  And those one or two are pretty offensive." - TheCraneWife

"Kanye is such a bitch, but fuck if I don't love all of his albums.   In my mind he's kind of like R Kelly - so crazy, so sincere about their crazy, and so good at whatever it is they're doing." - Hotcatato

 "Named to sell albums and capitalize on his scandal. Strange thing? He has the talent to back up the hype." - JC Hackett

Recommended track: "Runaway"

# 10
Jonsi - Go (April 6, 2010)

"I'm gonna quote myself here...  'Jonsi from Sigur Ros can certainly make mundane tasks feel a lot more epic...'" - Ancient Indian Wizard

"Taking the pop from the last Sigur Ros album and putting it center stage while maintaining a unique sound." - Robert

"Jonsi speaks the language of love. I always feel inspired and happy after listening." - ve1cro

"I bet you already know Jonsi is gay, but did you know that he is also blind in one eye?" - TheCraneWife

"Fans of Sigur Ros will not be disappointed by frontman Jonsi's solo efforts... In fact "Go" may earn him many new friends (fans of Passion Pit & Animal Collective listen up please). Bright, textured & propulsive "Go" is like Sigur Ros on speed... without forfeiting any of Ros' epic-ness. If that makes any sense." - Luc

Recommended track: "Go Do"


awmercy said...

Holy crap that is a massive post.

awmercy said...

Only surprise was that I had somehow never heard Jonsi until I started compiling this list.

Mona said...

This list is epic... and the comments are great, regardless of the fact that I take issue with some of the selections. Surprised there is no mention of Jonsi's live show (which I hear is super sick and killer).

VW in the top 10, but not Deerhunter? I'm surprised. Also, no mention of Four Tet, Emeralds, and/or Warpaint in the Top 50!? Hmmm. Still bummed Gaslight Anthem didn't make the Top 10, but at least it got a nod!

Mona said...

Oh, one last thing... it must be said. Where the hell is Drake's Thank Me Later on this list?!?!? That's my biggest bummer :/

Nightrain said...

The People have spoken.

The individual lists will do the talking for all the "omitted" favorites.

Nightrain said...

Been trying to get into the Kanye album... but failing miserably.

Mona said...

NT, did you try Drake!? It was so his year too (aside from Kanye). Have you heard "Find Your Love" and "Say Something" w/ Timbaland... jammyjamlicious.

Nightrain said...


I don't even know what to say to that.

Mona said...

Hahahhaha, don't say anything. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc. all say it for you ;)

Hey, I'm with you. I hated Drake, even for being Canadian all year. But he really grew on me. Lil Wayne is most likely responsible for that!

Ps - where the hell is Wavves on here. Awmercy, how could you let that happen?! ha.

sandenuts said...

Epic list!

Nightrain said...


War Machine said...

Did I miss something or is the Sleigh Bells album not on the list anywhere? How can that be? There's no way that album doesn't make this top 50 list. RECOUNT!

Mona said...

WM - Considering Sleigh Bells got a few nods with the half-year lists, I really figured it'd make the Top 50 and was kinda shocked too not to see it. I also didn't care because I'm on the "hate Sleigh Bells" side of the "you either love SB or hate them" spectrum. Odd!

Nightrain said...

Only one Top 10 mention for Sleigh Bells, and that was, well, You.

awmercy said...

I think it was just a competitive year. It is hard to find fault with the top 10 if not 20 albums this year.

Personally, I loved a couple of their singles, but rarely listened beyond "Kids and "Rill Rill".

Maybe they needed more of a champion on the site. Hint, hint.

awmercy said...

Nightrain, you might find this article on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy interesting. Apparently, some critics are rethinking their love of that album. Or something.

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