Sunday, January 30, 2011

Top 10 Albums of 2010

What a strange year for music. Never before have I had to reconcile my list so much between commercial albums and artistic endeavors of the highest (pop) order. I feel like I've got a good feel for what I think of as the most important albums of the year, but I doubt anyone else will agree. Oh well. I've been called the Armond White of the blogosphere before so I may as well live up to that reputation. Enjoy!

Selena Gomez & The Scene came this close to making it and in a weaker year, I could see their sophomore album A Year Without Rain making a serious run for the top spot. That girl certainly has grown up musically in eight short months; Janelle Monáe's The ArchAndroid has proven to be a love-it-or-hate-it album. I adore the more commercial sounding first half, led by singles 'Cold War' and 'Tightrope' but that more experimental second half, 'Come Alive' aside, often leaves me cold; I wasn't sure whether or not to include Wynter Gordon's The First Dance EP since it's technically not a complete album. Those six songs, however, make for one of the most consistently absorbing listens of the year. Can't wait to see what this girl does next; And, yes, I have to give props to Justin Bieber for My World 2.0. He hasn't quite reached the level of Miley, Demi & Selena yet, but he's getting there. I expect his next album to be a real contender.

10. David Archuleta, The Other Side of Down
As I admitted a few months ago, Archie's sophomore album isn't exactly groundbreaking musically speaking. What it lacks in innovation, however, it more than makes up for in pure listenability. Archie's voice is quickly developing a distinct personality that was lacking on his solid, if unremarkable, debut album. The Other Side of Down is a major stepping stone in Archie's career and I couldn't be prouder of the little fellow.
Key Tracks: 'Stomping the Roses', 'Something 'Bout Love', 'Look Around'

09. Gabriella Cilmi, Ten
Cilmi's debut album was high on vocal ability but low on follow through. But it appears that Cilmi learned her lessons (ha!) for Ten, her sophomore album. Lead by the massive, highly charged first single 'On a Mission' and its more mellow but just as kinetic second single 'Hearts Don't Lie,' Ten proves that Cilmi can retain her natural soul in a more aggressive electropop setting.
Key Tracks: 'On a Mission', 'Hearts Don't Lie', 'Superman'

08. Hurts, Happiness
The gloomy British duo's debut album captured the hearts of serious-minded pop music lovers with tastes far loftier than my own. Surprisingly, I found myself completely falling for Hurts' beautiful melancholy. They make miserablist music without forgetting that the music should ultimately be listenable as well.
Key Tracks: 'Wonderful Life', 'Blood, Tears & Gold', 'Devotion'

07. Rihanna, Loud
It's no Rated R, but neither is it pretending to be anything like that masterpiece. And it's not a retread to her former Good Girl Gone Bad glory, á la Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted; if anything, the album is stronger and more consistent than that slightly overpraised collection of singles. Rihanna has moved on from the past. There's no looking back anymore and Loud is there documenting her journey forward.
Key Tracks: 'Man Down', 'Fading', 'Only Girl (In the World)'

06. Ke$ha, Animal
Ke$ha's end of the year 8-track album Cannibal was a complete turd and signaled that perhaps the Queen of Trash Pop needs to change it up a bit next time around. But there's no denying that her first album, a glittertrash mash-up of hot mess dance tracks, showed that the pop world needed a slutty, alcohol-fueled alternative to Lady GaGa.
Key Tracks: 'Party at a Rich Dude's House', 'TiK ToK', 'Your Love Is My Drug'

05. Alphabeat, The Spell/The Beat Is...
The Danish pop band known for their retro 80's music channeled Ace of Base and the best of 90's pop music on their latest album to near perfect results.
Key Tracks: 'The Spell', 'Heat Wave', 'Heart Failure'

04. Kelis, Flesh Tone
And the award for "Best Album I Rarely Listen to But Every Time I Do I Quickly Fall In Love With It Again and Wonder Why I'm Not Listening to It 24/7" goes to Kelis' latest album. The 'Milkshake' diva ditches the hip-hop and embraces her electropop side with shockingly fantastic results. Who knew that the chick who once screamed "I hate you so much right now!" is now one of our greatest Dancehall Queens.
Key Tracks: 'Emancipate', 'Song for the Baby', 'Acapella'

03. Joe McElderry, Wide Awake
Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected the dullest contestant on The X-Factor to produce not only an album this alive and electrically charged but, also, perhaps, the greatest debut album from a reality show finalist ever. La Joe and Simon clearly reached a compromise--give me a few ballads and I'll let you do whatever crazy electropop stuff you want--but it never once feels like he is compromising himself as an artist. The album's bombing is unfortunate, but, if anything, it may eventually lead him to a label who will know what to do with his interests and talents (here's hoping Cherrytree, home of Robyn and Frankmusik, snatches him up after Simon releases him).
Key Tracks: 'Someone Wake Me Up', 'Ambitions', 'Until the Stars Run Out'

02. Robyn, Body Talk Trilogy
Part 1 was the more consistent album. Part 2 was a bit hit or miss but contains 'U Should Know Better', possibly my new favorite Robyn song ever. Part 3 was great but didn't quite reach the levels of Part 1. How on Earth was I to choose just one of these albums? In the end, I decided that I needed to just honor the complete trilogy for its sheer ballsiness and complete listenability.
Key Tracks: 'U Should Know Better', 'Dancing On My Own', 'Cry When You Get Older'

01. Miley Cyrus, Can't Be Tamed
I resisted as long as I could, ladies and gentlemen. I know a lot of you were confused by my initial lust for this album, and I seriously thought that my complete and unrelenting infatuation with it would pass with time. But it didn't. And as I sat down thinking about this list, trying to come up with a number one, I kept coming back to this album. Sure, the album isn't perfect--'Forgiveness and Love' is utterly unlistenable--but all of its highlights make up for the imperfections. Miley can go on and on about how she isn't a pop artist, but Can't Be Tamed proves that this is where the girl needs to concentrate her talents. Her limited range shines here in ways that other genres or styles of music wouldn't support her. And the tracks not only sound bloody good but they also tap into Miley's personal life far more than we've ever seen. She can say over and over again that 'Liberty Walk' and 'Robot' are about women leaving abusive relationships, but they reveal so much about her relationship with Disney as a corporate product and coming into her own as an artist without them controlling her. There's no denying that Can't Be Tamed is hardly the most serious album of the year but it's the one I feel offers the most insightful look at its artist and the one I keep thinking of as The Moment in music this year. If that's not enough for a number one spot on this list, I don't know what else is.
Key Tracks: 'Who Owns My Heart', 'Can't Be Tamed', 'Robot'

1 comment:

BritneyLover said...

Hey...just 'found' your divalicious blog! And I'm in love hahah

2010 was such a 'dry' year for my diva appetite (mostly because yet another year without my Goddess Britney Spears, and I'm so sick of everyone's being Gaga's bitch)

I totally agree that Miley's Can't Be Tamed is one of the most exciting albums of 2010 (definitely my guiltiest pleasure this year)

But where's Xtina Aguilera's Bionic?!! It's not a perfect album but it has some shining moments ('Elastic Love' is delicious, 'Desnudate' is great, 'You Lost Me' and 'I Am' are very beautiful) and how can you not embrace 'Vanity'? It is so self-indulgent of Xtina that she created a song that explain her 'divatudes' !!!! I still think the album bombed because of Gaga's bitches attacked her (well Xtina's bitchy-ness doesn't help either) and when I think back, Bionic actually ranked pretty high on my year-end list...(well after all 2010 wasn't a great year for albums IMO)

what do u say?

P.S.: are you excited for Brit Brit's new album? I can't wait! woah!