28 December 2010

The Best Albums of 2010

I feel like I've drifted into a lot of non-financial related posts lately, and I think that's what really interested people in this thing to begin with. So, sorry those of you who want more of that, this entry is about music again. I love music more than money. Sorry. But I'll do a 2010 financial recap post at some point soon, and I'll set some goals for 2011 and you all can keep me honest :)

I thought I'd compile a list of my favorite albums of the past year and talk a little about why they're great. In thinking of this list I'm pleased with my own musical variety! Good for me, me!

In no particular order (except the best, which I'll discuss)...

Girl Talk's All Day album is one of those remix albums that plays like one huge song so, at a hoppin' part-ay, one could just hit play and then leave the music alone for an hour. The concept here is that Girl Talk has taken songs you love and mashed them with songs you probably don't (or do, but whatever) over an awesome beat. The result is an album that, when you've finished it, feels like you've only listened to ten minutes of music. I mean that in a good way, I promise.

Recommended tracks:
"Down for the Count"
"Oh No" (which incidentally begins the album)
"Triple Double" (My favorite!)

The album Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons is one I've already mentioned at some point on this blog, but it truly is an excellent album. From top to bottom, Mumford & Sons make emotionally impactful aggressive folk. As a lover of music, I'm most impressed by the instrumentation and harmonies throughout this CD. Hard to only pick a few favorites.

Recommended tracks:
"Little Lion Man"
"The Cave"
"Dust Bowl Dance"
"White Blank Page" (I think this is my favorite, but it's really hard to choose)

Janelle Monae's The Archandroid is easily the most creative album I've heard in years. The musical variety is mind-blowing, and listening to the album top to bottom allows for maximum appreciate of Monae's awesomeness. She's from Kansas City, so that also makes her awesome. It's a concept album dealing with a lot of strange sci-fi themes, so if that bothers you... suck it up.

Recommended tracks:
"Tightrope" (For obvious reasons- one of the best beats I've heard this year. I also demand to be taught the dance they perform about 3 minutes in)
"Cold War" (Probably my favorite)
"Make the Bus" (featuring Of Montreal!)
"Dance or Die" (Maybe the most eclectic song on the album, and that's saying something)
"Say You'll Go"

This will come as no surprise because I sort of don't shut up about it, but the best album I've heard this year is Robyn's Body Talk trilogy. My chronology as a Robyn fan began in the 90s, like everyone's did, because I loved "Show Me Love." This song falls into the category of "so ridiculous it's great," like many songs from the 90s. Then, by happenstance, I came upon her self-titled 2005 album and Robyn turned into a guilty pleasure for me.

Then this summer Erika took me to see Robyn live, and I became a believer. Here is a fantastic review of the show, including a photo of her heinous/awesome outfit.

As for the album itself, it's actually a three part-er and, if I'm being honest, they descend in order of greatness. Body Talk pt. 3 is ultimately only a few new songs and two remixes. Body Talk pt. 1, though, is pop perfection. It'd be silly to link you to my recommended tracks, because they're all awesome (even the song entirely in Swedish I can't understand). My very favorites though are the often-linked-to-on-this-blog "Dancing On My Own" (Fun facts about this song: I played it while my students were writing one day, and they thought she was singing "I'm on the pole now" and "I keep dancing on a pole." Also, Amanda thought she was saying "I'm in the car now." None of these are correct). Something else I really enjoy about this song is the lyrics are exactly able to be related to personally for me, but I appreciate the layered meaning of them. It's sort of the stalkers anthem.

I've also had the fantastic "Fembot" stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks. The most awesomely ridiculous lyrics are "Initiating slut mode" and "I gotta lotta automatic booty applications."

I might have called "Dancehall Queen" my least favorite song on the whole album if I hadn't seen her perform it live. The lyrics don't lie, she gets down low! Get it!

As for Body Talk pt. 2 I feel I may have sold it short after some brief reflection because with the exception of one song these are all fantastic. My favorites on pts. 2 & 3 are:

"In My Eyes"
"Criminal Intent" (If I were out dancing anywhere and this song came on... that'd be cool)
"U Should Know Better" (With Snoop Dogg!)
"Time Machine" (Mad props for referencing a DeLorean)
"Call Your Girlfriend"

This post took forever to make. APPRECIATE IT. :)

I feel like I'm missing a whole bunch of great stuff from this year. Remind me via comment!

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