Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Year In Music (2010)

When I listen to music, I want something that grabs my attention. Rarely am I looking for “background music”, which is really just a codeword for boring stuff that doesn’t intrude on your thoughts or distract you from what you are doing. I want to be distracted. I want to hear something transcendent, a song so good that it makes me stop what I’m doing and forces me to pay attention to it. I want a jolt to my senses, a sonic shockwave, a blow to my soul. I want to be amazed because music is magic.

Of all the creative arts, music is the only one I can’t comprehend. When you paint a picture or take a photo, you are representing a scene you are viewing or an image you have in your head. When you write, you are using words to do the same thing- describing an image or conversation. You try to capture the feeling surrounding the scene as well as expressing the physical reality of it. When you dance, you use body movements to represent things. When you make music though, you are creating something new. Beautiful vistas exist in nature, songs do not. Birds do primitive mating dances but they don’t wake up and sing “California Dreaming”. Streams murmuring through the countryside do not sound anything like “Poker Face”. Rattlesnakes do not use the “Miami Vice Theme” as their warning noise.

Where does music come from? Yes, noise exists in nature and some animals do make a basic repetitious melody, but how can a musician combine noise and rhythm and words and melody into something that creates a visceral reaction in a person? A song can make you cry, cause you to get up and dance and lift your spirits when you are feeling low. This elusive alchemy is something hard to achieve. If music-making was a simple formula, then you never hear about how an artist lost their touch. You would love Elton John’s latest songs as much as you do “Philadelphia Freedom” or “I’m Still Standing”. The Monkees would still be wildly popular and Gnarls Barkley’s second and third singles would be just as huge as their first one. The phrase “one hit wonder” would not exist. In fact, there would be no need for music critics because every song would be good. Ordinary people would create sonic masterpieces. When they belted out a song in the shower or performed a lullaby for their newborn baby, it would sound like the Beatles had entered the room and starting playing.

That doesn’t happen though. You haven’t written any songs I hear on the radio. I can’t sing at all and I don’t know very many people who even play an instrument. Music doesn’t drip off our fingertips like it does for Prince. Why is that? How can some people do such wonderful things and others haven’t a clue where to begin? Almost all bands have the same tools to use- a guitar or two, a bass, a drum and a singer. (Although if your band is the Arcade Fire or the Moody Blues you might also have a few violinists and an organist and Lady Gaga might sacrifice one of those guitars for a synthesizer.) Everyone has the same notes available on those instruments but one band will come up with “Who Let The Dogs Out” while another comes up with “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”.

This year, it was impossible to escape two artists- Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Coincidentally, the two artists exemplify the elusiveness of that songwriting ability I’m talking about, even though they are massively both successful and they have different methods for finding a song. Both are larger than life characters and their success is somewhat dependent on their visual appeal- Gaga’s become a master at offbeat costumes and videos and Katy Perry… looks like Katy Perry. Wow, in other words. When it comes to writing songs though, Lady Gaga seems to tune into the music of the universe and snatch amazing things from out of nowhere. Perry works with other professional songwriters to craft exactly the right sound and come up with the right lyrics and have guest singers drop in at the perfect moment on a song. Lady Gaga gives birth to songs, Katy Perry builds them by committee collaboration. Despite their differing techniques though, they both have crappy songs on their albums. Neither method creates awesome songs every time. The only really good song that you haven’t heard from Gaga’s first album is the one I put on last year’s compilation- Summer Boys. On Perry’s album from this year, you’ve heard all the good stuff. Granted she’s now on to her fifth single from Teenage Dream but that still leaves another half dozen songs that suck (and I wasn’t really thrilled by either California Gurls or E.T., with or without Kanye West.)

That’s why I feel musicians are alchemists and magicians. They can sometimes figure out how to reach into the ether and pluck out a perfect song that makes your body move, one that stirs your emotions and lodges itself into your consciousness for days. Nobody can do it at will so when it does happen, I am awestruck. When I listen to a song, that’s what I expect from it. Nothing is worse than listening to a song that falls flat, that I never connect with and does nothing for me but every single year I have this same deflating experience many, many times. It’s even worse when you spent money to feel this emptiness. Hopefully I can spare you from having that happen to you by discussing some of the things I listened to this year and giving you suggestions about what to avoid and what to listen to ASAP. I’ll do that by running through what I put on my annual compilation of the best songs from my monthly car CDs and what I thought of the stuff that missed the cut. At the end of this post, I have my 20 favorite albums from this year, along with some to avoid.

The first song on the annual compilation is from a band that really dazzled me when I first heard them. Their song “Be Gentle With Me” played during the end credits of some movie I was watching in the theatre and hearing the song, surrounding me on their speaker system, got me all tingly and I immediately went out and bought the album from Boy Least Likely To. Their sound is a mix of whimsy and grave topics put to a pop sound. As one review put it “It’s as if all your stuffed animals from childhood got together and formed a band.” Their second album, which I picked up this year, was not quite as good (even the first album wasn’t as consistently good as that first song I heard) but there were a couple of gems, particularly When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade. Part of the reason I like it so much is because of the wild banjo playing in the middle of it. Yeah, you heard me right- that banjo rocks. Music could use more banjos, and brass instruments. Tambourines too.

Alexa Ray Joel is exactly who you think she is- Billy Joel’s daughter. She has dabbled in music for a couple of years, without much to show for it, but she finally put out a song called Notice Me. I think she intended it to be her calling card and as such it is a pleasant introduction but not one to shake the world. I’m including it because it’s kind of cute and people should hear it just to satisfy their curiosity.

Ke$ha is the reigning clown princess of pop. I’m not even sure who was in that role before her since certainly Britney Spears didn’t intend to be a joke. I love the way that she shatters expectations, in her lyrics, the style of her songs and in her attitude. It’s refreshing to see someone not acting like a homogenized, processed superstar. I picked the song Your Love Is My Drug, although I could easily have picked Blah Blah Blah which I loved too (how could I not when she rhymes “blah” with “car”) or Boots And Boys (which has a catchy sound but is more straight forward lyrically) or Take It Off Or Tik Tok or Party At A Rich Dudes House. All of those are good songs.

Remember when MTV debuted? Me neither- my cable company hadn’t started carrying it yet. I do know though that the first video they ever played was one by The Buggles called, appropriately, Video Killed The Radio Star. And that’s exactly what happened. People became famous for having good videos rather than great songs. Would A-Ha have been as big if you only heard the song Take On Me without the oddly compelling video? I doubt it. Still, the two often merged- like Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer or Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice or Beyonce’s Single Ladies. Nowadays though, people are getting famous for a crappy song and cheap video posted on their website. (Rebecca Black’s Friday comes to mind.) In other words, the internet is killing video stars to say nothing of radio stars. This is where The Limousines come in. Their song Internet Killed The Radio Star is the new version of the Buggles. I predict they will also become one-hit wonders with a seminal and prophetic song. Just in case you wonder if the song title is a coincidence, they dispel that notion by making their chorus sound identical to the Buggles’ chorus.

I saw a concert by Hole this year, in fact it was my only concert this year, and it was an awesome experience. It was unusual and unpredictable, a trainwreck set to great music, which was the consensus from the concert reviewers for the local paper. After the show, I listened to the latest Hole album and Courtney Love’s solo album America’s Sweetheart from a few years ago (although the Hole album was really just Courtney Love as well) and they were both really good, in my opinion. When discussing the new Hole album, Love dismissed her solo album as a mess but I liked it. The best track from the Hole album was the title track, Skinny Little Bitch. I’m also including Courtney Love’s song But Julian, I'm A Little Bit Older... from the America’s Sweetheart album for a comparison.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin got together and created Them Crooked Vultures and released the album of the same name. It will knock your socks off. It sounds like Led Zeppelin jamming with Cream with the White Stripes producing. This is an album I listened to over and over again this year. I couldn’t select just one song from here so I have two- Scumbag Blues and Reptile- and even that feels like I’m shortchanging your musical enjoyment. They are both as dirty, funky and loud as you would expect from their names. The last Foo Fighters album wasn’t that good but this side project let me know that Grohl can still tap into the magic of the cosmos. Forget about downloading songs- just get this whole album. In case you are wondering, I did deliberately pair Courtney Love and Dave Grohl together on this CD.

Muse aspires to be a Queen/Radiohead hybrid but they aren’t good enough to be either of them yet. I first noticed them when I heard Blackholes And Revelations from their previous album and then I loved the song Resistance from their latest album. Neither album was a knockout although they had a couple good songs on each where their talent matches their ambition. I’m hoping that in the future they will make a consistent album.

Another album I listened to over and over again was the soundtrack to the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Most of the original songs are written by Beck and with them he creates a massive homage to the Pixies, just like the movie does. The band in the movie performing the songs is called Sex Bob-Omb and it was really amazing to hear the songs on a big sound system. I selected the song Garbage Truck as the most representative song from the fake band (and it has echoes of Frank Black’s song Garbage Heap.) I also included another song from the album although it was done by the band Metric. I’ve heard two of their albums now and so far Black Sheep is the only song I’ve really like. People go on and on about how attractive the lead singer is (why should that be relevant to making music?) and how great she sings but I don’t think the songs are worth the hype, except this one. Since it is their newest, hopefully it bodes well for a new album. I would also urge you to check out the Scott Pilgrim movie. On top of having great music, it was a really fun and funny movie. I even blogged about it:

I thought Crystal Castles would disappear or become irrelevant after dazzling me with their first album but with their second album, they have managed to become the new Daft Punk, which is hard to believe possible. All the bizarreness, strange sounds, fractured but oddly compelling melodies that you associate with early Daft Punk can be found here. Again, I selected two songs (Baptism, Suffocation) because the album was so solid and filled with good material that I could not choose just one.

I heard the John Mayer song Heartbreak Warfare on the radio and loved it, even though I’m not a fan of his professionally or personally (How can I sympathize with someone who isn’t satisfied with dating Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Minka Kelly, Jessica Simpson or Taylor Swift and ends up tossing them aside with casually disparaging remarks about them?) The guitar break on this was exquisite, forlorn yet yearning, and I had to get this song after hearing it. It’s the only Mayer I own.

Interpol is a band I love and I’m glad they returned to form after their sucky third album. The newest one has a great song, Barricade, which sounds like Interpol- dark and moody, with haunting undertones and eerie bass. Unfortunately, the bassist left the band after this recording so this may be the swan song of one of my favorite bands. If you like this song, get the second album, then the first, then the fourth. You can skip the third unless you enjoy disappointment.

Miike Snow- heard the song Animal on Sirius XM, found it on Amazon as a free download so I’ve been kicking back with it all year. It’s a fun, peppy little song. Nothing deep, just a feel-good tune.

She & Him is a combo of M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel. She writes the songs and sings and he plays most all the instruments. The sound is kind of California folk-pop with a bit of a girl group feel and some slightly offbeat lyrics. They have done two really good albums and In The Sun is the standout cut from the second one. I put five of the songs on my monthly CDs. They are short, sweet and sunny songs but you ought to just get a whole album. Also, catch the video for the first album’s song “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” It’s a breezy song contrasted by a delightfully twisted video.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers put out a solo album which I found slightly disappointing. There were about 14 songs on it but I only enjoyed about a third of them. The rest were unremarkable alternative pop. Not bad stuff but not worth listening to regularly. The good things though were fairly distinctive, like Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts and Playing With Fire. The best cut, included here, is Crossfire. It’s a melodramatic mid-tempo song, which I first started liking because of the unusual video- Charlize Theron fights her way into a fortress to rescue Flowers who is tied to a chair and looking battered. She shoots him a look that says “You are pathetic, but I love you anyway. I’m getting you out of here.”

Everyone knows who Adam Lambert is and he hasn’t suffered career-wise from being American Idol’s runner up. Whataya Want From Me is a great song, originally written by Pink for her Fun House album. After recording it she decided not to include it for whatever reason. Lambert’s mega-hit version apparently sounds exactly the same as hers except for the vocals. I’m glad Pink ended up with a hit with Raise Your Glass (great song, I just don’t own it so it’s not here) because she missed the boat on this song and let Lambert knock it out of the park instead.

Anya Marina is a difficult act to assess. I heard some good reviews about her stuff so I picked up her second album, Slow And Steady Seduction: Phase II (Her first album is not called SASS: Phase I though.) It was decent- I liked several songs, particularly All The Same To Me and Cut It Out, so I got her first album, which had several songs that were featured in Grey’s Anatomy, as an import. What a waste of money. The whole album was bland, half-formed ballads of which I liked just two- Clean & Sober and Morning's A Peach. After hearing 6 good songs between two albums, I wasn’t inclined to get Whatsit, an EP she just put out, even though it had Courtney Taylor (from the awesome Dandy Warhols) on it. Then Amazon had to go and make it one of their $5 digital albums so I was compelled to buy it, more for Taylor than for Marina, but once I heard it I was glad I did. I don’t know if any of it was Taylor’s influence but she sounds much more “rock” than she does “folky” singer-songwriter and the song the two of them are on is an amazing, offbeat sonic trip. It’s certainly her most interesting song and also the best thing associated with the Dandy Warhols in the last 5 years.

I have some Swedish background so I pay attention every time I hear about a new Scandinavian act, regardless of whether it is pop, rock, traditional, indie or death metal (Okay, maybe I don’t care if a new death metal act comes along, especially if they are one of the church-burner acts.) Pete, Bjorn & John are one of those new acts, at least internationally. They finally got some notice because of a song called Young Folks. It is alternately known as “The Whistle Song” and that’s the charming part about it. In the studio, one of them- probably Pete but let’s say Bjorn because it’s fun to say the name Bjorn, was telling the producer how he wanted the song to sound and he whistled the tune as a guide. The producer was recording at the time and decided to make the whistle part of the song because he liked the sound of it. The song is a couple years old because I waited a long time before getting the album for just one song. The rest of the album is decent but not great. You may or may not have heard the song, but if not there is a current song called Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People which is basically a rip-off of Young Folks, complete with whistling. It’s a good song too (how can it not be since it steals from a good song) and will probably be on next year’s compilation.

Arcade Fire is another band I resisted for a long while even though the critics go into raptures over their stuff. They were described as “elegiac” and “alternative chamber pop” which made me think they were boring slow songs and that wasn’t helped by the fact one of their albums is called Funeral and another is Neon Bible. Not keywords for things I usually like but again, it is Amazon’s fault because they put the album on sale digitally for $3.99 so I bit the bullet and hoped the critics were right. Anything I’m interested that is under $4 I’m going to buy. I ended up liking a lot of the songs, four or five of which saturated the airwaves for about a month after the album The Suburbs came out. My favorite is Mountains Beyond Mountain. I’m not trying to add to the hype but this is a really good album and I do mean album too- just buying some singles would be selling yourself short of the things to appreciate here.

I never paid attention to Maroon 5 until I heard the song Misery and loved its’ bass sound. I got the digital album and that will hit my list of disappointments for this because nothing else is even close to being as good as Misery. For the future, I’ll just buy their singles if I hear something I like.

Lady Gaga. You know who she is and I already talked about here earlier so I’ll just say my favorite song from the Fame Monster album is Bad Romance. She’s two for two in great albums although the first two things I’ve heard from the upcoming Born This Way are not promising.

BoomKat. Unlike Lady Gaga, you have no idea who this is. Even if I told you it is a combo featuring actress Taryn Manning and her brother that still wouldn’t help you. Taryn was in 8 Mile and Crazy/Beautiful and on TV in Hawaii Five-0 (the remake). I think she is just the singer and the brother is the Svengali behind their electro-pop sound but I like the band’s enthusiasm and the world can always use more good dance-pop. I liked several things from Runaway but picked Stomp to include on this compilation.

I like the cast of the TV show "Glee". I love the song Safety Dance and I had 3 minutes left to spare on the CD so you get this song. At least Glee helped me to not think of little people when I sing this song. Enjoy it, even if you (like I) dispute the phrase about disowning friends who don’t dance.

I saw a video for N.E.R.D’s Hot N Fun, with Nelly Furtado so I bought the song. It’s as vacuous and fun as the title implies. The chorus is dumb (“Look at me. Look at you. Hot N Fun.”); only the beat matters.

I was a bit disappointed by the Black Eyed Peas album The Beginning because the songs weren’t as strong as those on the previous The END. I ended up picking out Fashion Beats as one of the two or three worthwhile songs. No need to describe the song- all Peas songs sound like a Peas song.

Kelly Clarkson’s latest album- All I Ever Wanted- dished out three singles before getting to one I liked. The title track is a great song, almost a companion piece to Since You Been Gone- a slow burner that escalates into a powerhouse vocal. Great sound.

Weezer did a Christmas album a couple years ago and since I like Weezer and I like Christmas and it was $5 at Amazon, I got the EP. The best song is O Come All Ye Faithful and that’s how they perform the songs- pretty faithfully, just with more guitar than Christmas songs usually have. As a friend said, “Thanks for sharing the album. I finally understood the lyrics to some songs I’ve heard my whole life. Gotta love a man who enunciates clearly.”

Sting also did a Christmas collection recently. Of course, since he is Sting he had to be more pretentious about it. The title of the album is based on the novel “If On A Winter's Night A Traveler” by Italo Calvino. Sting said it was a “seasonal album, not a Christmas album” and he included traditional English songs that get played around Christmas time but aren’t actually Christmas songs. So, no Rudolph, no chestnuts roasting, no Santa. You do get lots of snow songs though, like "The Snow It Melts the Soonest" and "The Hounds of Winter" and "Now Winter Comes Slowly" and "Cold Song" along with other cheerful songs like “There is No Rose of Such Virtue”, "Christmas at Sea", “The Burning Babe" and, inexplicably, the Donovan song "The Hurdy-Gurdy Man". I’m including the song Soul Cake, which is fun and fairly representative of the album’s tone.

Sometimes a label or artist releases a greatest hits collection that has one new song and I refuse to buy the album because I own everything that artist has already released. That’s the case with Sheryl Crow’s greatest hits collection. I eventually downloaded the single Light In Your Eyes and I’m sharing it with you because it is a touching ballad of faith (in God, supposedly) and I don’t want you wasting money on a greatest hits if you already own her stuff. If you don’t though, get her first three albums.

The Moody Blues are remastering and re-releasing their albums and tacking on a bonus disc of live and unreleased stuff. Most of it is early demos and live or alternate takes of famous songs but a couple of the discs had an unreleased song that would have fit seamlessly into their canon. Listen to A Simple Game and see if you can tell me that it is a lesser song than others they released.

I’m thrilled whenever Chris Isaak releases an album because he has such a unique sound. It’s a mix of Roy Orbison, Elvis, The Stray Cats, Cracker and who knows what else. The most haunting song, both thematically and musically, is the slow-burn ballad We Let Her Down. This album isn’t as good as some past ones but like I said, I’m always happy to hear new stuff and he hadn’t released anything in quite a few years. Let’s not wait so long for the next one, please.

Another $5 album I got was the buzz-generating band the xx. I thought they would be electro-pop or indie pop but they are more mellow and blissful. The song VCR is about as much as they rock out but it’s nice mood music. It won’t blow your mind but it will relax it and maybe put you to sleep, happily.

The Gorillaz sometimes tread the same mellow territory as the xx but they actually have a groove and they add layers of intricacy to even their smoothest song. Sometimes it is a guest rapper taking a chorus, sometimes it is a diversion into a totally different sound for a few seconds, but the only way you could fall asleep to their songs is if you were crashing after a 14 hour rave. Most things on Plastic Beach are groovy rather than bouncy like their first two albums but it all is worth listening to. I picked Rhinestone Eyes as the song to hear from the album.

I get a monthly download from CMJ (an indie/alternative website) and sometimes come across a few unknown artists that produce a great song and never are heard from again. I think that will be the case with The Silver Seas’ The Best Things and Bilal’s Restart but at least they had an interesting song before vanishing. (That applies to Admiral Radley’s I Heart California too but that song missed the cut here.)

I don’t recall why I bought Music Go Music’s album but I’m happy I did. They sound like lots of artists and by that I mean each song sounds like a different artist. One song sounds like ABBA, another like No Doubt, another like Simple Minds. Some people consider such a span as being unfocused and lacking cohesion but I like diversity on an album. I know I’ve mentioned that I like people to stick to what they know but if they start out being diverse, then they can go in any direction they like on future projects. They haven’t pigeon-holed themselves because their audience has been trained to expect anything. Now this only applies if you can do several musical styles well. Bad music is bad music, even if you are diversely bad. Just Me is the song that is done ABBA style.

Diversity certainly paid off for Mick Jones. First he was in the Clash, which certainly had a mélange of sounds. Then he formed Big Audio Dynamite which was more of an 80’s style dance rock outfit. Now he’s done an album with Carbon/Silicon which includes Tony James from Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik and is a fusion of his two bands. Wikipedia describes the band’s aesthetic: “Carbon/Silicon aims to break the traditional approach to rock and roll. They made extensive use of samples in their recordings and live shows [until] recent years. The formation of the band was catalyzed by the internet and file sharing. The first song written by Jones and James was entitled "MPFree," in which they expressed their willingness to embrace the technology of the internet and file sharing, in the interest of spreading music, rather than profit. The band still makes live bootlegs and recordings freely available through their own website.” Carbon/Silicon does political commentary like The Clash did but is more electronically based, like B.A.D.. I haven’t yet checked out their website ( ) but I’ll do that soon since most of their stuff seems to be coming out digitally instead of in CD form. Some songs are a bit weak but the good ones are very interesting. Listen to the song Action Zulus and see what you think.

The final song on the collection is from The Like. They started as a dream pop group on their first album and then for their second album, they dropped one member, added two others and became a 1960’s throwback girl group. Dream pop wasn’t a strong recipe for success at the time and girl groups who rely on just a retro vocal sound and no dance rhythms are courting disaster as well. Since I’m not worried about trends though, I can enjoy them as they are. Kind of like I closed my 2009 compilation with Tom Jones singing over prominent drumming, I’ll do the same here with the song Narcissus In A Red Dress with The Like singing over prominent drumming.

So those were my favorite songs from 2010. Hopefully I’ve introduced you to a few new things that you like. As for albums, I listened to lots of them that I haven’t talked about yet like the bizarre “Interpreting The Masters” by The Bird & The Bee, which is an all Hall & Oates cover album, plus the back catalog of The Fixx, Madonna’s latest greatest hits- which has two new songs naturally, also Shania Twain’s early recordings from when she was still Eilleen Twain, and Wilco’s album Wilco featuring the song Wilco. I’ll just give you a list of the other albums I got this year and then list my 20 favorite ones and then the ones that disappointed me, not necessarily because they were totally awful but because they weren’t as good as I expected them to be either based on the artist’s past performance or how good the single was.

The other undiscussed albums were: Annie- Don't Stop; Babes In Toyland - Spanking Machine; Bird & The Bee, The Bird & The Bee; Blur- Midlife: Beginner's Guide To Blur; Body Count- Violent Demise & Murder 4 Hire; Cage The Elephant- Cage The Elephant; Charlie Sexton- Pictures For Pleasure & Southside Sessions; Dannii Minogue- The Singles; Dragonette- Fixing To Thrill & Galore; Emily Osment- All The Right Wrongs; The Ettes- Do You Want Power; The Fixx- Reach The Beach & Shuttered Room & Phantoms; Gerry Rafferty- City To City ; Hot Chocolate- Every #1's A Winner (Best Of); Kelly Clarkson- Breakaway; Letters To Cleo- Wholesale Meats And Fish; Los Campesinos- Hold On Now Youngster; M Ward- Transistor Radio; Madonna- Celebration; Miley Cyrus- Breakout; Moby- Wait For Me; Modest Mouse- Everywhere And His Nasty Parlor Tricks; The Moody Blues- In Search Of The Lost Chord & To Our Children's Children's Children; N.W.A.- Best Of NWA; Nada Surf - If I Had A Hi-Fi; New Pornographers- Together; Rob Zombie- Hellbilly Deluxe 2; Robert Palmer- Addictions Vol. 1; Robyn-Body Talk Part 1; Shania Eilleen Twain- Beginnings 1989-1990; The Time- Ice Cream Castle; Tom Waits- Beautiful Maladies; Uh Huh Her- Common Reaction; Vampire Weekend- Contra & Vampire Weekend; Van Halen- 5150; Various Artists- Rap Wit' Cha 1 & 2; Was (Not Was)- Pick Of The Litter (1980-2010); Weezer- Hurley.

My Favorite Albums Of 2010 (In best to least order):

# 1: Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures
Crystal Castles- Crystal Castles
Soundtrack- Scott Pilgrim Versus The World Boy Least Likely To- Law Of The Playground Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
Kesha- Animal
Kylie Minogue- Aphrodite & X (Limited Edition)
Interpol- Interpol
Lady Gaga- Fame Monster, The
Anya Marina- School Spirit
She & Him- Volume Two
Courtney Love- America's Sweetheart
Gorillaz- Plastic Beach
Carbon/Silicon- The Last Post
Katy Perry- Teenage Dream
Hole- Nobody's Daughter
Tom Tom Club- Genius Of Live
Chris Isaak- Mr. Lucky The XX- xx
Ministry- The Last Sucker
Bird & The Bee- Interpreting The Masters

The Biggest Disappointments (alphabetical):

Analog Brothers- Analog Brothers
Anya Marina- Miss Halfway
Black Eyed Peas- The Beginning
Brandon Flowers- Flamingo
Calvin Harris- I Created Disco
Goldfrapp- Head First
Katy Perry- Teenage Dream
Kiss- Sonic Boom
Kylie Minogue- Aphrodite
Mark Olson / Gary Louris- Ready For The Flood
Maroon 5- Misery
Metric- Fantasies
MGMT- Congratulations
Nine Inch Nails- The Slip
Postal Service- Give Up
Queen + Paul Rodgers- Cosmos Rocks, The
Sleigh Bell- Treats
Bad Lieutenant- Never Cry Another Tear
Gossip- Music For Men
Mark Ronson- Version
Muse- Origin Of Symmetry
Taylor Swift- Speak Now