Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Most Listened-To Albums of 2010 - Winners

Here they are: the ten albums I listened to most this year, according to my charts. This is an objective way of determining my favourite albums, whether I agree with the numbers or not. Let me know your own favourite music of the year, if you're into this whole music thing. Oh, and happy new year! Maybe this is the year your resolutions will actually happen.

10. of Montreal - False Priest

The bands that occupy the most space in my mind (and on my iPod) are the ones that constantly reinvent themselves while maintaining a core musical identity. of Montreal has managed to evolve significantly with each of their many albums; it's hard to even identify their first albums as the same musical creature that they are today. Yet each step is small and logical. False Priest continues where Skeletal Lamping left off, going in a slightly more funky but mature direction. It took me a bit longer to get into than other albums, but it definitely belongs on this list.

9. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

I'm over being ashamed of loving shitty pop music. Singing about partying and relationships in the simplest of terms over the simplest of music may not be high art, but it's damn fun to listen to. If that first chorus of Firework doesn't make you want to go "oh oh oh", you're dead inside.

(see also)

8. Sia - We Are Born

More pop music done right comes courtesy of Sia. She's gone full-on dancy disco from her downtempo roots, and it suits her well. If Clap Your Hands doesn't make you want to clap your hands, you are dead inside.

Oookay, never seen that video before. WTF.

7. Sleigh Bells - Treats

Sleigh Bells' squeaky-clean-cheerleader-contrasted-with-dirty-noise musical aesthetic sounds like nothing else out there. I don't know if the gimmick can be maintained beyond one short album, but what an album it is.

6. Yeasayer - Odd Blood

I don't even know what the fuck to call this. Yeasayer's music is a "world music" tinged mess of genres, and overall I'd say Odd Blood is inconsistent at best. But while it may not be album of the year, it probably made this list largely due to the song O.N.E. being listened to on repeat. I rarely listen to a song more than once in the same day, but this one I couldn't resist. Let's go ahead and call it song of the year.

5. Broken Bells - Broken Bells

This union of Danger Mouse with the Shins' James Mercer has resulted in one of the most never-get-sick-of-it albums of the year. I don't know what the hell they're singing about most of the time, but it's such sweet music that it doesn't really matter.

Can we take a break to talk about Christina Hendricks for a minute? She is one of those people who I can acknowledge is objectively beautiful in many different ways, but deep down, she just doesn't do it for me. Those giant boobs and weird proportions throw something off; it's all interesting to look at  though. Maybe this is why so many straight women are drawn to her. And Mad Men! What's with that show? I gave it two chances and just couldn't get into it. The glimpse into another time with all its messed up values and exotic fashion is cool and all, but I'd like it more as backdrop to a show in which stuff actually happens.

Moving on:

4. Ke$ha - Animal

Shit. Ok I said I was through being ashamed of liking shitty pop, but this is as bad as it gets. I listened to this more than Broken Bells? Really? She doesn't even sing!

3. Massive Attack - Heligoland

At the height of their career, Massive Attack's Mezzanine brought on immediate depression with its pure dreariness. Over a decade later, that dreariness is largely gone, replaced with a more subtly dark collection. I probably wouldn't consciously put this in my top three, but it must have been enough of a fitting soundtrack to my life to occupy my ears for a large proportion of it.

[WARNING: the video below is completely totally NSFW. Don't click it at work. Seriously.]

Massive Attack Paradise Circus (HD) uncensored

2. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Sometimes the albums I listen to most are the ones I'm most ambivalent about. I wasn't sure what to think about Plastic Beach when I first heard it, but it intrigued me enough to keep listening, and eventually it grew on me enough that I'm happy with its placement here at number two. Stylo is another of those rare songs I can listen to over and over again.

Also check out the second album Gorillaz released this year, The Fall. It was made on an iPad while on the road. Jesus you guys, we live in a world where you can create an album on a slab of glass. Stream it here.

1. Stars - The Five Ghosts

Ah, good old Stars. Their emo melodrama is extremely cheesy, but sometimes cheesy is what you need, and I guess I was in the mood for dairy this year. This is kind of a concept album about the ghosts of dead kids or something. Whatever. If you can resist the catchiness of the "oooh oooh oooh"s in The Passenger, it is you, sir, who are dead inside.


Anonymous said...

So, are you a music reviewer now or did you actually listen to some of this stuff on purpose?

aaron robb said...

Well now I've got some new bands to find! Great list!

Johnson said...

Argh! Here I was happily enjoying your reviews, making mental notes to check out some of these bands when, out of nowhere, you blast one of the sexiest redheads of all time AND what has to be one of the best TV shows ever! That was the mental equivalent of lazily stroking a bearskin rug only to find shards of broken glass in it. I urge you to give Mad Men another chance. As for Christina Hendricks, I feel like part of her charm is the sexy character she plays. She always looks better to me as Joan Holloway than in real life, so maybe liking Mad Men and Hendricks go hand in hand.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Agree 100% with Johnson, I think Christina Hendrick's appeal diminishes considerably when she's not in character as Joan. Mad Men is one of my favourite TV shows, but there seems to be no middle ground with it--either you love it, or like you found, it holds no appeal for you.
Thanks for broadening my music horizons--I had heard of maybe half the bands you listed. Happy New Year!

SharkBoy said...

Sia's Clap Your Hands is also one of my fave this past year

Phronk said...

Steven: Harsh. :) I wish someone would pay me to, but I listened to it all on purpose.

Aaron: Glad you liked it!

Johnson & FCF: Maybe I'll give it another chance someday. I did think Hendricks was pretty appealing in Firefly, so it's not like it's impossible to change my mind about her. It's just so booooring.

SB: Nice! Seems like she's never really broken into the mainstream. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's heard of her.

Anonymous said...

Is your name really Phronk?

I think it's okay to enjoy shitty pop music every once in a while, but sometimes when I find myself singing along with Katy Perry, I die a little bit inside.