By: Eric Huebner ’11, Page 1 Editor
10. The Beatles Collection by The Beatles
This collection of albums qualifies for the tenth spot on this list merely because it was technically not released this year. The albums have been available since they were first recorded several decades ago. However, this collection by what is arguably the greatest band of all time is now available for mass consumption on iTunes. Therefore, it constitutes a new release, due to the sheer amount of copies that have been sold off these albums in the short time they have been available as digital downloads. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this music, is that it isn’t dated at all. Many of these songs were written during the 1960’s which was, just to drive home the point, half of a century ago. However, all of the themes and motifs throughout the songs resonate with this generation, as they did with the last. Therefore, the tenth spot on this list is awarded to the Beatles. Key Tracks: There are no key tracks. All are excellent.
9. Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance
After putting out three records that contained more sorrow than can be described by a clever metaphor, the New Jersey born kings of emo have returned with a new release. Interestingly enough, this new album eschews the traditional gloom and melancholy in favor of a more aggressive, dance-based sound that is genuinely fun to listen to. I don’t know if this new sound is catchy enough to persuade loyal fans to ditch their black eye-liner and self-loathing, but it presents a new artistic direction for the bad that’s definitely worth a listen. Key Tracks: Sing, Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na), Planetary (GO!), Bulletproof Heart.
8. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
I will admit it, I have never been a huge fan of Arcade Fire. They have always just seemed too damn listless. However, on this new album, it seems like there is life in this band. Arcade Fire finally has nailed their sound, and produced what many people believe will be a career-defining album. Key Tracks: Ready to Start, The Suburbs, Modern Man.
7. Love by Angels & Airwaves
When a band as massive as Blink 182 self destructs, there will always be new projects that rise, phoenix like, out of the ashes. This all sounds very elegant and poetic, which is actually what lead singer and guitarist Tom Delonge was going for when he broke away from Blink 182. Angels & Airwaves’ first album provided a space-rock-poppy template, but ultimately failed to execute on it. Their second album was far too rock-oriented for the band’s musical nature. This third album hit the sweet spot. Delonge and company allow themselves to succumb to their desire for space-rock and soaring 80’s-ish vocals, while still retaining the pop-rock sensibilities that made them famous in the first place. Key Tracks: The Flight of Apollo, Young London, Letters to God Part II, The Moon Atomic (Fragments and Fictions).
6. Speak Now by Taylor Swift
Yes, I had to mention it. Whether you love her or you hate her, you can’t deny that Miss Swift has produced several of the best and most accessible pop and country records of the past few years, and this just adds to her claim. Please don’t judge me. Key Tracks: Mine, Mean, Speak Now, Better Than Revenge, Dear John.
5. Recovery by Eminem
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything positive about Detroit in the news. That may be due to the rampant drug problem, terrifyingly high murder rate or economic woes. Not sure. However, one thing that is often glossed over is that Detroit still has an incredibly vibrant culture, which explodes forth on this album, with Eminem as the mouthpiece. Is it overplayed? Yes. And Rihanna, we get it, you like being set on fire. However, it is still one of the most dynamic records of the year. Key Tracks: Not Afraid, No Love, Love the Way You Lie, Space Bound.
4. Go by Jónsi
This solo album by the frontman of Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Rós is beautiful. There really is no other word for it. As opposed to most other musicians who approach a song trying to create music, Jónsi did it with the express purpose of making an artistic experience, which certainly shows in the incredibly high caliber of all of the songs. Key Tracks: Go Do, Around Us, Sinking Friendships, Boy Lilikoi.
3. The Betrayed by Lostprophets
Lostprophets have always been a strangely unappreciated band here in America. After their massively successful 2006 album, Liberation Transmission, the band chose to abandon their poppy sound and return to their nu-metal roots. The result is The Betrayed. Over the course of 11 tracks, this band laid down some of the catchiest rock songs, some of the most transcendental and experimental ambient music, and some of the most brutal metal/hardcore songs that I have ever had the pleasure to hear. Key Tracks: Dstryr/Dstryr, Where We Belong, For He’s a Jolly Good Felon, Streets of Nowhere, The Light That Burns Twice As Bright.
2. Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
Folk music is back. With lyrics inspired by Steinbeck and waistcoats right out of 1823, Mumford & Sons are set to make a huge impact on the music world. Key Tracks: The Cave, Little Lion Man, Winter Winds.
1. Sidewalks by Matt and Kim
In today’s harsh times, music that is happy is pretty rare. What is even rarer is music that literally exudes happiness and joy from every facet. Indie-Rock couple Matt and Kim hit a huge home run with this album. Key Tracks: Everything. Just buy all of it. Right now.
Read up on the accompanying music feature ‘Top 10 worst albums of 2010′ (click here to navigate to article).