The Top 10 albums of the year. These are albums that were amazing from start to finish. Not just a couple of good songs with the rest being filler. You won’t need to use your skip ahead button for any of these. Truly the best ALBUMS of the year.

Note: Accompanied with each album is the song that I think best showcases the genius of the album, not necessarily the most popular single from the album.

10. Chromeo – Business Casual

Edging out quasi-albums from Daft Punk and Robyn, Chromeo’s new effort is just Chromeo being Chromeo. Consistent like Tim Duncan, Dave 1 and P-Thugg understand if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Their 80’s disco/pop influenced sound makes their third full-length album both familiar and fresh. It’s reminiscent of Cameo, Prince, and even earlier Chromeo, so if you’re not a fan of the 80’s, maybe Chromeo isn’t for you. But Business Casual proves to be a nice addition to Chromeo’s impressive discography that also includes a few mixes worth picking up, and which  may be more influential than Chromeo’s original works.

Chrome0 – Don’t Walk Away

9. Hot Chip – One Life Stand 

The video for “I Feel Better” has Hot Chip being played by a UK looking version of boy band O-Town. Making fun of the fact that Hot Chip’s music is so accessible that it can be mistaken as bubblegum pop. But those of us who follow Hot Chip closely know the guys can crank out some funky electronica jams or some really experimental indie rock. Their latest album is in fact very upbeat and happy, but it just makes their live performance that much more of a party.

Hot Chip – I Feel Better

8. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

This is a little lower than Gorillaz’ usual position on the countdown. I love everything Damon Albarn touches, and nothing he has worked on has impressed me more than each of his Gorillaz full lengths. So for this to come in at #7 is almost like calling “Plastic Beach” a bad album. True it doesn’t have any immediate classics on it like “Clint Eastwood” or “Feel Good Inc.”, but it’s still a complete album with some concrete gems on it. The fact the Damon was wise enough to snag up Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon for a couple tracks just shows how genius the dude really is. Once a lead singer of a Brit-Pop band, Damon is now the lead singer of the coolest revolving-door band on the planet.

Gorillaz ft. Little Dragon – Empire Ants

7. N*E*R*D – Nothing

Pharrell, Chad, and Shay always make something worth listening to as N*E*R*D. The fact that the Neptunes, the most famous Pop and Hip-Hop producers in the world, were making an alternative album with live instruments was a bit of breaking news on their first release In Search Of…, but almost 10 years later N*E*R*D is almost as well known as the Neptunes themselves. They blend Electronica, R&B, Electro, and Rock effortlessly and will always be relevant due to their very visual and popular frontman Pharrell Williams. Each of their albums has one or two OMG moments, where you realize Pharrell and the gang are so far ahead of the Pop game that they demand your respect. On this album it’s gotta be the Daft Punk produced “Hyptnotize U.” Although it’s a little less of a dance tune than you’d expect, it’s still DAFT PUNK AND N*E*R*D!!!

N*E*R*D ft. Nelly Furtado – Hot-N-Fun

6. MGMT – Congratulations

It was immediately evident upon first listen that this album was much less poppy than their debut. MGMT, who became the new face of indie rock over night after their radio friendly singles from Oracular Spectacular took off like a rocket, were ready to prove that they were unaffected by their success. They released the much anticipated follow up album Congratulations this year to mix reviews. Inspired by 70’s psychedelia, Brian Eno, and Joanna Newsom, Congratulations may not have been what mainstream radio was expecting from their 2008 indie darlings, but upon further investigation it was a pretty damn good album.

MGMT – Congratulations

5. M.I.A. – Maya

Like MGMT, M.I.A. was unaffected by her overwhelming fame. Her third album, Maya, was almost a middle finger to the masses. M.I.A. wanted to let it be known that she didn’t care what people expected from her, or if they preferred her radio friendly fare like “Paper Planes.” What she enjoys is doing whatever the fuck she wants. From dancehall, to electro, to indecipherable jungle noise, Maya was another case of an artist having unlimited freedom to make the music they wanted to. The new Indie stars have figured out something that pre-Napster, record label-controlled pop stars never figured out… You don’t make your money shipping millions of units of shitty generic albums, you make your money playing to sold out crowds around the world. The standout track is definitely XXXO, which ironically is probably Maya’s most radio-accessible song, and which also just missed my Top 30 countdown.


4. Kelis – Fleshtone

I don’t understand why Kelis still doesn’t get any respect. Most people only know Kelis from her hit singles “Bossy”,”Milkshake” and/or “Caught Out There” (the “I hate you so much right now” song), but most don’t credit Kelis for the concentration and effort she puts into creating great full length albums. I’ll admit her last album, Kelis Was Here, was her least impressive outing, but she made up for that this year with Fleshtone. Officially separating herself from her old collaborators the Neptunes, Kelis gathered a slew of Big Time producers for this album, including David Guetta, Boys Noize, and Benny Benassi. She’s always been ahead of her time and this album is just another reminder that Beyonce, Ciara, Rihanna, et. al. ain’t got shit on Kelis.

Kelis – Intro

3. Big Boi – Sir Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty

I’m not sure what the story is behind the shelving of this album, but we were promised a Big Boi solo album for a long time. I don’t know if the finished product released in 2010 was the same album Big Boi originally recorded, but goddamn this was a great album. This is one of only 3 albums this year I can feel comfortable using the word GREAT to describe. For those of you who thought Big Boi was bringing Andre 3000 down, SHAME ON YOU! This album proves Big Boi is just as important to Outkast as Mr. 3000. Great for the clubs, radio, and even the most hipsteriest of parties. Listening to this album just made me upset that 99.9% of other popular rappers don’t put this much care into every track on their albums.

Big Boi ft. Janelle Monae – Be Still

2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Go listen to it, it’s Kanye. I could have linked a handful of tracks to show how genius of this album, including “Power” (which probably should have made the Top Songs of 2010) or the newest track “Monster,” but the album grabs you from second one because of the amazing intro  on Dark Fantasy. What a build up. Kanye lets his listener in on the plan that he is going to construct a Hip-HOpera for the next hour from the very beginning of “Dark Fantasy.” An opera filled with a slew of supporting characters included the listed Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and more and a secret unlisted group of artists including Drake, Kid Cudi, Alicia Keys, La Roux, and much, much more.

Kanye West – Dark Fantasy

1. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Record Collection

This album is perfect. Super producer Mark Ronson (Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, etc.) outsmarted Kanye with his own impressive list of guest vocalists. including some of the best rappers in the game; Q-Tip, Spank Rock, and Ghostface Killah. His most impressive guest had to be the formerly M.I.A .soul crooner D’Angelo. Mark is the only producer, besides J Dilla, who has been able to get D’Angelo out of his cave since 2000’s Voodoo. The best song “Somebody to Love” was #5 on our Top Songs of 2010. The single “Bang Bang Bang” which featured Q-Tip and MNDR, may have been one of the best singles of the year, but when heard as part of the album it is simply just a another amazing track by Mark Ronson.

Mark Ronson ft. D’Angelo – Glass Mountain Trust

Hope you enjoyed the countdown. Have a Merry Christmas!

2 Responses to “TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2010”

  1. Great list of the best of the past year

  2. […] – Jj Follow – Crystal Fighters Sunlight – Bag Raiders Don’t Walk Away – Chromeo I Love You So – Cassius Lost in the World – Kanye West ft. Bon Iver Hypnotize U – […]

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