Here’s a look at my favorite albums of 2010:

Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

There’s definitely a reason My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has made so many of this year’s “best of” lists.  Once again, Kanye West has come up with something original and artful, something that can still be listened to as a whole album in today’s world of ADD iPod shufflers.  In a sea of Beatles ripoff bands, he is probably the closest thing to a modern-day Beatles that we have.  It probably doesn’t hurt that it was released so close to the end of the year so it would be fresh on all the critics’ minds, either.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/monster/id403822142?uo=4" title="My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on iTunes" text="My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on iTunes"]

Local Natives:  Gorilla Manor

The melodies, the harmonies, and the honesty of the lyrics make this a truly beautiful debut album from LA indie rockers Local Natives. For those of us who are having serious Fleet Foxes withdrawals.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/airplanes/id352418533?uo=4" title="Gorilla Manor on iTunes" text="Gorilla Manor on iTunes"]

Everything Everything:  Man Alive

Their song titles like “My Kz, Ur Bf”, “Qwerty Finger”, and “Photoshop Handsome” are what first drew me into this British art pop band. The syncopated rhythms, cheekiness, and overall strangeness of them made me a fan.  Official Website

Two Door Cinema Club: Tourist History

There is simply not a bad song on the debut album from Irish electro-pop rockers Two Door Cinema Club.  Each song is breezy, catchy, and under four minutes long, making this one of my most heavily played albums of the year.  And TDCC is one of the few bands I’ve seen in the autotune age that sounds as good live as they do recorded.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/undercover-martyn/id365973067?uo=4" title="Tourist History on iTunes" text="Tourist History on iTunes"]

Broken Bells: Broken Bells

The collaborative efforts of Danger Mouse and James Mercer, Broken Bells was a purely magical side project that honestly came out better than most of the music from The Shins.  I’ve decided that Brian Burton is today’s King Midas, because you know if he has a hand in it, it’s probably not going to suck. [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-mall-and-misery/id353032605?uo=4" title="Broken Bells on iTunes" text="Broken Bells on iTunes"]

Cee Lo Green: The Lady Killer/Stray Bullets

Speaking of Brian Burton, his Gnarls Barkley cohort Cee Lo came out with not one, but two of my favorite albums of the year (one of them is a free mix tape bootleg, but you can find it if you Google).  To use a bad cliche, he could sing the phone book and it would be awesome.  Cee Lo marches to the beat of his own drum, he covers Band of Horses, and he’s given us one of the two great “good riddance!” songs of 2010 with “Fuck You” (the other one would be “Runaway” by Kanye West).  Hmm, any chance we can get a Cee Lo/Kanye side project? Because that would be awesome.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/f-k-you/id400134230?uo=4" title="The Lady Killer on iTunes" text="The Lady Killer on iTunes"]

The Futureheads: The Chaos

Because 1) how could you not love a British post-punk band named after a Flaming Lips album, and 2) The Chaos is great for the same reason Tourist History is…there’s nary a bad, long, or slow-moving song on the CD.  This album works like audio coffee; it percolates the senses and makes it very hard to be in a bad mood after you’ve had some.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-chaos/id365196493?uo=4" title="The Chaos on iTunes" text="The Chaos on iTunes"]

Band of Horses: Infinite Arms

I have been familiar with Band of Horses for awhile, but Infinite Arms was what finally sold me on them.  There is probably nothing I could say that I didn’t say in my original album review here.  [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/infinite-arms/id371190956?uo=4" title="Infinite Arms on iTunes" text="Infinite Arms on iTunes"]

Yeasayer:  Odd Blood

I was a little slow warming up to Odd Blood, but the 80s nostalgia vibe wound up winning me over in the end.  Also, this video.

[itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/o-n-e/id352436240?uo=4" title="Odd Blood on iTunes" text="Odd Blood on iTunes"]

THE BEST OF THE REST

Here are some other albums I really liked this year, in no particular order:

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby:  Lonely Avenue

Black Keys: Brothers

Freelance Whales:  Weathervanes

Gogol Bordello: Trans-Continental Hustle

I Blame Coco:  The Constant

Miniature Tigers:  Fortress (review)

Mumford & Sons:  Sigh No More

Ra Ra Riot:  The Orchard/Vampire Weekend:  Contra (because in my head they are the same band and this is the same album)


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