Best MM-usic of 2010 (MM’s top 10 plus 20)

Is that time of the year when we sit down and try to come out with what we think not only describes our favorite music of the year, but tells a little bit about who we had become for the past 365 days.

To me, 2010 talks about coming back to that nice, comfortable place we discovered some time ago. We heard great new music from bands we have followed, and to a certain degree, we have adopted through the years as favorites. Certainly, my list reflects that. At the same time, 2010 brought some new faces, some that will undoubtedly grow into something big, others though, which might have achieved their heaven in their first release and will most likely not return, although I really hope I am completely mistaken on that one. In all cases, we should be grateful of being part of this whole thing. The year will end soon, but the music will remain with us. That is the point of all this.

Interesting to point out that only half of my top 10 albums come from American artists, which talks about the broader approach to music we are trying to follow in this blog.

As in previous years, along with my top 10 albums, from which I provide a one-sentence description, you’ll find a list of recommendations of music that “followed” me through the year. Although to be precise in my case, it would be more appropriate to say that it “commuted to work” with me or that it “ran” with me in the evenings along the Skuylkill river in Philadelphia.



Top Albums of 2010

1. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

For the past months, I have tried to justify High Violet from The National as the best album of the year. I became part of that group of previously devoted Arcade Fire fans that got frustrated by the evident delay of the release of a well-overdue album from the Canadian band. When pieces of this album were released, I devoted time to publicly neglect them. The Suburbs was a slap on my face that, if anything, made me remember that the waiting time for an album of this quality is irrelevant. The album is spotless, almost perfect and every song on this album will take you exactly where the band wants you to go. You only need to enjoy the ride.

2. High Violet – The National

The National remains undoubtedly my favorite band. One that has been around in my life for quite some time now, and one that knows what to say and when and how to say it. High Violet was all I expected and more. This album runs deep inside me as any of the music from this band.

3. Total Life Forever – Foals

This album is impressive and powerful. Each song systematically takes you to the next, showing immense maturity in a relatively young band. Many bands devote their entire career struggling and dreaming about releasing an album of the caliber of Total Life Forever. Foals did it in their second attempt.

4. Teen Dream – Beach House

Teen Dream changed completely the view I had of the Baltimore band from their previous two albums. To me, this is the most melodic release of the year, depicting wide ranges of the beautiful voice of Victoria Legrand, accompanied in a genius manner by Alex Scally. I’ve spent almost a year with this album, many times finding myself completely incapable of not of singing along.

5. Magic Chairs – Efterklang

The album from this Danish band followed me constantly since I first heard it. It is good and consistent from start to finish, depicting a unique cinematic character that could only be found in a few bands these days.

6. Beachcombers Windowsill – Stornoway

Stornoway will be up there, it is simply a matter of time. Their album is a jewel and their live performance takes it to another level. I can’t wait to see what’s next from this British band.

7. Weathervanes- Freelance Whales

This band captivated me from the time I heard them as an opening band to Fanfarlo about a year ago. Their album feels fresh, and full of defying and clean fun orchestral harmonics. It is one that I kept coming back to during the year.

8. This is Happening– LCD Soundsystem

For unknown reasons, I dived on this one too late, otherwise its position would have been much closer to the top. I am still digesting everything this album has to offer but it certainly feels like a genius end to the LCD Soundsystem era.

9. Swim – Caribou

Snaith is a personal favorite in that he shows that a Ph.D. (his on Mathematics) does not necessarily prevent you from being creative and coming up with great music. This album is a proof of that. It is great from beginning to end.

10. Broken Bells– Broken Bells

A pristine collaboration of two great musicians, an album that shows a wider range for James Mercer beyond what we enjoyed in The Shins, all within the unque, weird and conceptual perspective of Danger Mouse.

Other recommendations:

11. All Alone in an Empty House – Lost in the Trees
12. Sky at Night - I am Kloot
13. The Edge of Adz-Sufjan Stevens
14. Halcyon Digest–Deerhunter
15. Work – Shout Out Louds
16. Forgiveness Rock Record – Broken Social Scene
17. Romance is Boring - Los Campesinos
18. Congratulations – MGMT
19. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
20. Compass– Jamie Lidell
21. Behave Yourself– Cold War Kids
22. The Orchard - Ra Ra Riot
23. Odd Blood – Yeasayer
24. Contra– Vampire Weekend
25. Transference - Spoon
26. Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo
27. Go – Jonsi
28. Penny Sparkle – Blonde Redhead
29. Treats – Sleigh Bells
30. Cosmogramma– Flying Lotus

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