List time. Lets start with album releases. The only rules are the that the album had to be released in the United States (legally) this year. After a particularly anemic year for albums in 2009, 2010 had so many long form releases I could hardly keep up. Side-note: Honorable mention is partially due to the fact that I wanted to stick to ten this year, semi because of indecision and mostly because I had already written these notes in case they made the top 10.
Eminem – Recovery
I can’t say how glad I am that Recovery wasn’t Shady’s third dud in a row. One more might have been the end for Marshall Mathers. Recovery was a focused return to the engaged, lyricist I remember from the Marshall Mathers LP. “Cold Wind Blows”, “Cinderella” and “No Love” have too many quotable lines to count, while “Not Afraid” and “Love The Way You Lie” showed Shady can still make pop hits without sacrificing lyrical quality. Probably most memorable is “Talkin’ To Myself” where emotions spill into the booth and Em even admits industry jealousy, honesty about past works and drug troubles.
Lord Huron – Into The Sun/Mighty EPs
Looks like I broke one of my own rules already. 2 EPs = 1 Album, right? Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have huge expectations for new act Lord Huron. Both EP’s released in 2010 had folk and tropical pops sounds that were inescapable and showcased strong songwriting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfVAPV6vo3U
Girl Talk – All Day
Duh. My initial review turned into a full out review, but Mr. Gillis once again proved he is the king of sound collages/mash-ups. Highlights include a ridiculous appearance by Juicy J and Project Pat’s “Twerk That” with a sly pairing of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Ice Cream Paint Job” expertly mixed with The Brothers Johhson (yeah, me either).
Girl Talk – Let It Out
The Black Keys – Brothers
Each release by the Black Keys progressively gets more musical elements added to the mix, but Brothers is most diverse so far. Danger Mouse only reprises his role on “Tighten Up”, but Dan and Pat further expound upon his methods elsewhere. Tracks like “Howlin’ For You”, “Next Girl” and “Ten Cent Pistol” still blues, garage rock and swampy southern stylings, but make room for organ, piano and more experimentation. Also, a surprise in the liner notes, former Missy Elliot protege’ Nicole Wray sings back-up on two tracks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flkByutsgTg
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Released early in 2010, its easy to forget how big Contra was for Vampire Weekend. Easily avoiding the sophomore slump, VW crafted an album that exceeds the level of much loved debut (by me anyways). The afro-pop (“Horchata”) and ivy league (“Cousins”) inspiration is still present, but some Paul Simon influence (“Holiday”, “I Think Ur A Contra”) is added to great success. I have no trouble listening to Contra front to back multiple times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKLlNLwVqWE