Albums of the Year 2010 – 50-41

12 Dec

#50 - 'YR ODS' by YR ODS - a record of bright synth pop from this North Walian group, made distinctive by the staccato vocals sung in Welsh with the odd English line puncturing the delivery. Definitely a band for the future


#49 - 'RELEASE ME' by THE LIKE - A sharply produced homage to the girl group sound that resisted pastiche with it’s dark edge and feminist swagger


#48 - 'DARWIN DEEZ' by DARWIN DEEZ - the whole album may sound like ten variations on the same song but it’s a damn catchy one!


#47 - 'HIPPIES' by Harlem - The garage rock revival that dominated the pages of NME last decade may have died down but there has been a second, quieter revival in America this year. Harlem make eccentric, druggy garage rock littered with references to everything from Casper the ghost to ‘Gay Human Bones’. Weird but a lot of fun.


#46 - 'Y NIWL' by Y NIWL - Y Niwl are an instrumental surf rock act from North Wales, and whilst they sound like a band from an older era they also sound very alien and unique as nobody else is making this kind of music today with as much care to detail.)


#45 - 'I'M A DANCER / SONGS ABOUT SLEEPIN' by SWEET BABOO - 'I’m a Dancer’ is Brutally confessional, openly naïve and astonishingly honest, a bedroom recording that is funny and tender in equal measure


#44 - 'BODY TALK' by ROBYN - Released to top a fantastic year for Robyn, ‘Body Talk’ contained three of the best singles released all year and at least three more had they actually be used as singles.


#43 - 'BEACHCOMBER'S WINDOWSILL' by STORNOWAY - A thoughtful and well crafted album that falls into the so called ‘nu-folk’ category but in my opinion this is better than Mumford and Sons anyday.


#42 - 'DISCOVERY' by TINIE TEMPAH - This is essentially great because of it’s four irresistible singles that sum up chart pop in 2010 better than anything else released this year. Modern, creative and ambitious Tinie Tempah was one of the more captivating pop stars to emerge in the past 12 months.


#41 - 'AINT NO GRAVE' by JOHNNY CASH - Johnny Cash’s swansong (unless they release yet more material from his final sessions), this couldn’t match past glories but it was a nice reminder of the emotional punch Cash carried right until the very end.

I can’t remember another year in which all the big music publications (NME, Mojo, Q, Drownedinsound, Uncut, Rolling Stone) have had unique number one albums (These New Puritans, John Grant, Arcade Fire, Emeralds, The Arcade Fire and Kanye West respectively – three of those aren’t even on my list!). There simply hasn’t been a unanimously adored album, no ‘Funeral’, ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’ or ‘Fleet Foxes’, it’s been a topsy-turvy and deeply dividing year for critics. Still that makes these end of year lists even more interesting, here is the first part of mine, come back over the next week to see what I choose in my top 50.




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