Top 20 Albums of 2010: Part One (20-11)

It has been a long year for music, or maybe it’s just for me personally.  Having to write about music so often is tough, but it makes me constantly listen to new artists (fantastic!).  It’s not that I’m listening to more or less music than usual, but the amount of different music is staggering.

This list is of my personal favorites from this year and why I feel they belong here.  “Personal” means tailored toward indie rock, btw.  I know Kanye’s album is great and chillwave has taken over Pitchfork and Stereogum, but they just don’t so it for me like these albums do.  I know they’re great on their own terms, but my world isn’t shaken by them daily.  (If Kanye’s Graduation came out this year, things would be different.  I adore that album.)  So let’s begin, yeah?

20) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Yes, Arcade Fire is great.  Yes, this album is too long and there is some bullshit in there. Yes, The Suburbs is still better than 95% of everything else that came out in the last five years, especially Neon Bible.

19) Spoon – Transference

Is there a more consistent band in today’s scene than Spoon.  Album after album they keep refining their completely unique sound and only gain more fans in the process.  This is something like their seventh good album in a row.  Who does that?

18) The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

I’m surprised this album hasn’t turned up on more lists this year.  It’s honestly fantastic, and not even by Bruce standards.  The songwriting itself is once again impeccable, but what really impresses me is the outright sound of this album.  It sounds so pure and meaningful, and it gets better with every listen, especially “The Spirit of Jazz.”

17) Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

This is hard to write about because I’ve only listened to it a few times, but I could tell it’s worth including.  Plus the band lives right next to me in Bergern County, NJ.  Listening to it right now actually makes me think that this is the kind of music that would come from Glen Rock.  I wonder if any of my friends know them.  Hmm…

It’s funny the influences you can hear on this album.  There’s definitely some Bruce, but not as much as you’d think (and not anywhere near as much as Gaslight Anthem).  I actually hear more of Conor Oberst in this than anything else, like if Desaparecidos had made a second album with help from Tom Gabel of Against Me!  That’d be so damn cool.  Wow, that’d be SO DAMN COOL!

16) Wavves – King of the Beach

This album is just fun.  There is no secret meaning, no hidden agenda, and no goal.  It’s slacker pop made by a stoner with a great sense of melody.  I sincerely hope this earned you enough money to be high for the rest of your life, Nathan.  Please make some more awesome music, yeah?  Check out my review here.

15) The National – High Violet

This band just keeps evolving.  They are now this dark, brooding, towering behemoth of a group that churns out intense and ultimately moving songs.  I can’t believe they wrote “Abel” only two albums ago.  The National is on a different plateau now.  Yet, whether it’s their older sound or their newer one, it’s all still incredible.  Talent is in no short supply with members as gifted as these, and they do not disappoint.

14) The Walkmen – Lisbon

I will always love the Walkmen.  They’re creative in every direction, but still maintain their soul throughout it all.  That is what keeps the band together, their soul that is.  You can see it clearly in every performance.  They are so dedicated to their art that it’s impossible not to at least appreciate it.  The fact that they also write cohesive albums that share a single feeling really puts them high in my “Most Respected Bands” list.  Lisbon sounds like a victory lap, and it should be.

13) Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

As I said in the review, this sounds like the future of music.  It is stunningly gorgeous, written from the heart, and given the orchestration only a song-writing genius could imagine.  I can’t listen to this album often because it is completely overwhelming to my senses.  Music should not be able to alter mood this easily, and that is the true talent that Stevens possesses.  I don’t know how he plans to top this, but that’s what I thought last time too.  Wow.

12)Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

Surfer Blood are going to get bigger and bigger, and probably rank up there in terms of Arcade Fire popularity in less time than you think.  When I saw them, I couldn’t help but notice what a solid band they are.  Their album is great, but the real promise they show lies in some newer songs they’ve been playing live.  The band has an enviable ability to genre hop, and it’s going to serve them well in the future.

11) Suckers – Wild Smile

Suckers are intense.  They use that intensity to wow you.  The band is energetic, fun, and sometimes sounds just a little bit evil.  That’s a good thing, and I think everybody on earth should be forced to listen to “Easy Chairs” once before they die.  Too bad it wasn’t on this stellar album, but “Black Sheep” more than makes up for it.

NOW HERE IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR, YOU SEXY THIEVES:

Arcade Fire – Ready To Start

Wavves – Post Acid

The Walkmen – Angela Surf City

Sufjan Stevens – Too Much

Surfer Blood – Swim

Suckers – Black Sheep

The Gaslight Anthem – The Spirit of Jazz

Spoon – The Mystery Zone

The National – Terrible Love

Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union

If you are downloading, pleas take the time to read my hard written work! It took me like two hours to put this half together and I’d Much appreciate it!  Comment to!

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