This post was originally posted in January of 2011.
I am a list nerd, I like to make lists. This is my top 10 albums of 2010. It is by no means the autority of albums for 2010. I didn’t hear every album, nor would I want to. Is Kanye’s album better than these? Maybe but I don’t care and don’t want to listen to it. These are the top 10 albums I bought of the year.
1. Jason Collett – Rat A Tat Tat
Jason Collett is fantastic. He has little fanfare but writes some of the best pop-rock songs around. Collett is part of the Broken Social Scene family from Canada. He was a guitarist for them for a while and has released a few great albums. The best of his albums is probably 2008’s Here’s To Being Here. This record is almost as good. Few albums can hold up to repeated listens as this does. “Love is a Dirty Word” was the lead single and is probably the strongest song on the album. Collett also released an EP named “Too Wit To Woo” simoltainiously with this album. It is a great companion piece to Rat A Tat Tat and I would encourage giving both albums a spin.
Key Track: “Love Is A Dirty Word”
2. Eels – Tomorrow Morning
The Eels are interesting band that makes very catchy music. They have some great songs and records. They also have some records and songs that are not quite as strong. This is a good one. It is the Eels second release of the year. “End Times” preceded it and it seems as if almost all the best songs were saved for this record. Like Jason Collett’s album, I don’t feel this is the Eels strongest of their career. If you want to get one Eels album I would recommend “Hombre Lobo.” If you want some of the best music of the year pick up “Tomorrow Morning.”
Key Track: “Baby Loves Me”
3. Black Keys – Brothers
You’ve probably heard this one. It got a decent amount of airplay and deserved every bit of it. It is great blues-rock. The Black Keys have a stomp to their music that is unparalleled in modern music. This album is a career highlight and is a great listen every time.
Key Track: “Howlin’ For You”
4. Ike Reilly – Hard Luck Stories
This is an interesting album for the Illinois act. It was released digitally in 2009 but the hard copy came out in 2010. It is more commercially freindly that his previous efforts. Reilly has released some great records in the last decade and is one of the better live acts I have seen. He also borrows the talents from the band Cracker for this album, Johnny Hickman and David Lowery. Cracker covered Reilly’s “Duty Free” on their Countrysides record and that is how I, along with many others I imagine, discovered Mr. Reilly’s music. Hard Luck Stories is exactly that, the hard luck story of Ike Reilly.
Key Track: “Lights Out”
5. Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
I’m not going to be able to say anything about this double album that hasn’t already been said a hundred times but I’ll say it is really good. Springsteen’s music is all good but his early music has a little more “life” to it. This album was recorded back in 1978 in the sessions for Darkness on the Edge of Town. It is a great glimpse of what was baffelingly not good enough to make the Darkness album.
Key Track: “One Way Street”
6. Zeus – Say Us
I bet you haven’t heard of this one. Jason Collett is obscure enough, this is Collett’s backing band. They released their first album in 2010 and it great. Great pop songs that have a great scope of sounds for your listening pleasure.
Key Track: “Marching Through Your Head”
7. Spoon – Transferrence
Spoon makes music that has a sound all of it’s own. Late in 2009 they released the single “Got Nuffin'” off this album and I knew it was going to be great. Transferrence has the best song of their career on it as well: “Written In Reverse”
Key Track: “Written In Reverse”
8. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
When I heard the lead singer of the Killers was releasing a solo album I was less than excited. I think the Killers’ Sam’s Town album is fantastic, one of the best records of the decade actually. They then released Day & Age after that and it is a pile of crap. The song “Human” is maybe the worst song a band I really liked has ever put out. Back to Flowers; Flamingo to me had very low expectations because I thought it would be more of the same, maybe even worse. It wasn’t, it is Flowers having fun and writing modern arena rock anthems while not sounding like crap as the Kings of Leon did in 2010. Get the deluxe edition for the extra bonus tracks.
Key Track: “The Clock Was Tickin;” (Deluxe Edition only)
9. Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues
Justin Townes Earle is the offspring of Steve Earle, there is no hiding that. He does still make records with a sound all of their own. Each of JTE’s full length records has a sound all of it’s own in fact. Harlem River Blues’ sound? Think O Brother Where Art Thou? With one important additions. Lead Guitar is played by the incredible Jason Isbell. His electric guitar on top of this smooth folky music makes for a fantastic listen.
Key Track: “Harlem River Blues”
10. Jenny and Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now
Jenny and Johnny are Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley and Jonathan Rice. This record is exactly what the title advertises; fun. The two share songwriting and singing duties throughout the album creating a very smooth sound that is like pop bliss.
Key Track: Scissor Runner”
Okay, that’s the list for this year. Next year looks promising and I can’t wait to make the list for it. I do have a couple of small quick notes:
Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: John Prine Tribute
Vampire Weekend – Contra
A couple of these albums are available autographed on Newbury Comics website. For the regular price of the cd you can get the album still sealed with and extra booklet that is autographed by the artist. I picked up Jenny and Johnny and Brandon Flowers off the website. While you are there be sure to preorder the new Cold War Kids album that I think might just make next year’s list.