Dear chaps and ladies, boys and gals, I think it's about time for us to look back over the best albums of the year!
Here's my top 10 of 2010 *queues The Wizzard circa Top Of The Pops 1985*
1. Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now.
2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
3. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
4. Foals - Total Life Forever
5. The National -High Violet
6. The Like - Release Me
7. Janelle Monae - Archandroid, pts 2 and 3
8. Warpaint - The Fool
9. Plan B - Defamation of Strickland Banks
10. Mark Ronson - Record Collection.
(all links are to Spotify)
Honourable mentions, well, there are so many. Cee-Lo Green's 'The Lady Killer', Beach House's 'Teen Dream' (which I didn't take to initially at all, but I'm now re-appraising, now that it seems to be in a lot of year-end lists), Frighten Rabbits' 'Winter Of Mixed Drinks', and far too many others to mention. Erm, ok, Darwin Deez.
I was left feeling I could / should have listened to loads more, but I've only got two ears, and I have my fingers in several other pies, including TV journalism, tech, and film. I was fascinated that The Drums debut seemed to drop out of peoples' awareness, which confirmed what I believed previously - that they're a band who were built on hype. I am left doubting if there'll be much interest when they return, given that the interest in them was largely manufactured by a small portion of the media.
Kanyes' record was fascinating. Hugely overblown, full of celebrity cameos, but, crucially, it DID deliver. It was the antithesis of stripped-back '808s and Heartbreaks' in production, and perhaps a response to the doubters in the fallout from his public humiliation following the Taylor Swift debacle.
Caitlin Rose's debut was authentic, with beatiful songwriting, and tasteful 70s country-pop production, a true delight. Janelle Monae's record became one of the most talked about records of the year in media circles, and I guess people were impressed by the ideas and inventiveness of the whole archandroid concept, the variety of the songs, and the quality. r'n'b is often very conservative, and this was the opposite, harking back to the work of Stevie Wonder, or Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' in being a concept album in the soul genre.
Speaking of soul concept albums, the Defamation of Strickland Banks was another from Forrest Gate rapper Plan B, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is one of the most commercial albums in my list, and certainly inspired by the likes of Amy Winehouse and other contemporary takes on Motown, but I couldn't care less, the sheer quality of the songs overrides all other considerations.
Anyway, enjoy Xmas, and have a listen, if you haven't already!