Things you won't find on this list: Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, and dubstep. Sorry, kids.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I'm not a big fan of Kanye. He's an arrogant asshole and a douchebag, yet I can't deny the guy's talents. I may not agree with what he says, but he makes it all sound oh-so-good.
"reality is catchin' up with me
takin' my inner child, I'm fighting for it, custody
with these responsibilities that they entrusted me
as I look down at my diamond-encrusted piece"
Fitz & the Tantrums
Pickin' Up the Pieces
I've always loved the classic Motown sound from the 60's and the 70's. Too bad no one makes music like that anymore. Oh, wait.
"one is for the money
two is for the greed
and three times that I told you
you're the one I just don't need"
Sophomore slump. Those two words would terrify any artist or band fortunate enough to have a successful debut album. But these guys marched on and recorded a follow-up that expands on the sounds and influences that were hinted at in their self-titled debut. No slumping to be found here.
"when I was 17, I had wrists like steel and I felt complete
and now my body fades behind a brass charade and I'm obsolete"
All We Grow
Filled with beautiful and haunting arrangements, this album will make you want to take a walk in a forest and enjoy the natural beauty preserved within. Until you get mauled by a bear.
"if you doubt that I'll be there
don't you dare"
If you ever wanted to discover the secret to making a great pop-rock record, you may want to ask the guys from Guster, who have been doing it for over 15 years. Well-crafted and (very) easy to listen to, there's absolutely nothing on here that will offend or challenge you. Unless you're offended by Jesus. And Mary.
"I wanna wake you from your dream
I wanna know just who you're talking to when you're singing in your sleep
I wanna find out what it means
do you love me?"
The Morning Benders
The band clearly had one thing on their mind while they were making this album: Phil Spector. I love Phil Spector, not as a person, but as a producer. So I approve of this. A lot.
"I put no one else above us
we'll still be best friends when all turns to dust"
It's no "Funeral", but then what is? That was probably the best album of the decade. I'll take a pretty good Arcade Fire album over a great Kanye album any day of the week. It's just that the theme of "the suburbs" isn't fresh or interesting to me at this point. Still, it's a solid record from one of the best bands in the world.
"I was only a child then
feeling barely alive when I heard a song from a speaker of a passing car
praying to a dying star, the memories fading
I can almost remember singing"
The Reluctant Graveyard
Holy crap, Jeremy. Who are you and where have you been? This guy would have been my biggest discovery of 2010, if it weren't for the guys at #1.
"and I feel like I'm some kind of Frankenstein
waiting for a shock to bring me back to life
but I don't want to spend my time
waiting for lightning to strike"
Would It Kill You?
This album asks life's important questions: Would it kill you to let it go? Would it kill you to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff in life? Would it kill you to get married and live an awesome life together? Would it kill you to listen to this and admit that you like it?
"you have spent your better years bored with me
sat about waiting for eventually
which I can't wait to see"
Do you like the Beach Boys? (Who doesn't? Put your hand down, Chris Tucker.) How about Joy Division? Do the words "New York post-punk" make your heart skip a beat? If you answered "yes" to all those, then kindly go find a bridge to jump off of. No wait, I WAS KIDDING. This album is perfect for you, COME BACK! I'M ONE OF YOU!
"if you fall asleep down by the water
baby I'll carry you, all the way home"