When the year ends and the new year pokes it’s head out from the metaphorical vagina in which it came, I like to think back about how good or how bad the year was. As you may guess every year has it’s ups and downs so in the end it usually balances out. But then again, some years really suck. And other years are really good. So, balance is not always the way of the world. Which brings me to 2010.
It was a year like any other year. There were wonderful moments as were there moments that were simply awful. With that being said, I will say that I will look back on 2010 fondly. It’s bad was bad, but it’s good was quite good, and there was some fine music that was there for each of those emotions I felt. These are the records that I consider the cream of the crop: The best albums of 2010.
20. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band-The Wages: I remember going onto Punknews.org, a website I frequent to check up on the latest music news, and seeing an ad for this band. It intrigued me so I checked it out. The music is, well, pretty different. A blues band that is completely showing their southern lifestyle with every aspect of their music. And let me say, it works.
19. The Flatliners-Cavalcade: Are The Flatliners the best band in Canada? They might be. Cavalcade offers up an often earth shattering amount of intensity. The last song on the record, New Years Resolution, is one of the best songs to come out all year.
18. Alkaline Trio-This Addiction: I will openly admit to being somewhat of a fanboy when it comes to Alkaline Trio. In my eyes they have never released anything that has disappointed. This Addiction is a record that had to grow on me a little. While not as good as some of their earlier releases, this record stands on its on as a more than enjoyable experience.
17. Crime in Stereo-I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone: I was never an avid listener of Crime in Stereo. There was never a reason for this. I guess I just never got into them. On this record, however, I see just how good they are. It’s a shame that this is their last album seeing that they have broken up. Not a bad swan song by any stretch of the imagination.
16. Dirty Tactics-It Is What It Is: Album title of the year? I kind of think so. Dirty Tactics are able to provide an unsual, but still wonderful, take on indie/rock music. I find myself discovering new things I love about this record everytime I listen.
15. The Gamits-Parts: If I had to pick my favorite albums of the year by music categories, this would be the top pop-punk album of the year. The music is catchy and uplifting even if the lyrics are rather dark. It’s a blend I can get behind.
14: Weezer-Death to False Metal: As with Alkaline Trio, Weezer can’t disappoint me. It seems that most people will openly admit that their first two albums are some of the best to come out ever, but quickly say how they’ve come to accept that that’s all they had to offer. I say nonsense to that. Now that the band has done away with it’s lengthy time between albums mentality, we’re seeing them pop out music left and right. I for one appreciate this. In fact, they have a new record coming this year.
13: Motion City Soundtrack-My Dinosaur Life: This is a fun album. Always knowing how to craft awkward lines with pure sincerity, Motion City Soundtrack provide the perfect album for a drive to wherever. It’s honest and fun.
12: Jimmy Eat World-Invented: Jimmy Eat World has never released a bad album since they formed in the early 90’s. With the release of Invented, they again show why they are one of the best things going in music today. Don’t believe me? Listen to the epic build and climax in the title track. Amazing.
11: Against Me!-White Crosses: The band everyone loves to hate. Agaisnt Me! has definately grown up since they sung about throwing bricks through glass windows, but that doesn’t mean their music suffers. It just means it changes a little. On White Crosses you can hear the influence of bands like The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen and it sounds really good. If you take it for what it is, a piece of music by a few guys who change (like we all do) you’ll see that it is easily one of the best things to come out this year.
10. Street Dogs-Street Dogs: Sometimes a record comes along that reminds you why you fell in love with a type of music in the first place. This album cements every feeling I had when I was young and jsut getting into punk. One of the best punk albums to come about in a long time.
9: Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: I hate to say it because Kanye West is a pompous asshole, but this is a really, really, really good album. The guy knows how to put together a song and is able to drop lines that I could never. I didn’t think I would like it till I gave it a go. I’m really glad that I did.
8: The National-High Violet: Their acclaimed release Boxer was one of the best things released back in 2008. Their follow up, while not as good, is not too far off. Moody yet impressive music with smart lyrics is a combination for success. I’m excited to see where they go next.
7: The Slackers-The Great Rocksteady Swindle: The Slackers are the best ska band out there today. Along with that, they are possibly the most consistant band today as well. The musicianship they offer is, as always, incredible. When you listen to this you can’t help but bounce to the beat. So good.
6: Bad Books-Bad Books: This is the first release of the brain child of Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Kevin Devine and it’s really good. Two of the best lyricists in music today, Bad Books is a wonderfuly insightful record.
5: Coheed and Cambria-Year of the Black Rainbow: I think Coheed and Cambria are the best band in rock today. The sounds they are able to put out are technically incredible. Sure, the story that they are telling is kind of confusing, but after reading the book that was released by frontman Claudio Sanchez in correlation with the record, I kind of get it. I guess. It was good. So I suggest you find yourself a copy and listen to the record while reading the book. It’s a good time, I swear.
4: The Gaslight Anthem-American Slang: The best band in New Jersey. They are 3 full lengths and an ep in, and they are all wonderful. American Slang sees Gaslight becoming an even more radio friendly band and it simply works. Solid through and through, I’m happy to see a band that deserves credit getting it. So good.
3: Make Do And Mend-End Measured Mile: This is the debut full length from Make Do And Mend and it’s great. After releasing a few EPs, this LP is miles ahead of what a band of their experience should be doing. It’s an album full of sing alongs and feel good vibes that come off as honest and just plain good.
2: The Hold Steady-Heaven Is Whenever: If their was a band that represented my generation, The Hold Steady would be that band. Singing songs that interweave ideas involving music, love, God, drugs, and growing up, it offers up universal ideas. So good. So, so, so so good.
1: The Menzingers-Chamberlain Waits: There is not a moment on this record that I want to skip. I never entertain the thought. That is a good way to explain why this is the best album of the year (it’s not really a good way to explain why it’s the best album of the year, but it is). Take a listen and agree with me.
Albums that might have made the list if I only gave them more time or made my list bigger: Sick of It All: Based on a True Story; The Tallest Man On Earth: The Wild Hunt; Bad Religion: Dissent of Man; River City Extension: The Unmistakable Man; Titus Andronicus: The Monitor; Seahaven: Ghosts; The Wonder Years: The Upsides.
So there it is. 20 reasons why I will never be a music journalist. With that being said, these are all some really good albums that you should check out. I’m sure that 2011 will have some great music of it’s own as well (I’m looking at you Manchester Orchestra and The Mountain Goats). So let’s keep our ears and minds open. Happy new year, folks.