Last year, some students were debating the best albums of 2009 and asked me what I had liked, and I made a list which I emailed around. (Wasn't there even a mix cd made?) I was approached last week to do the same thing for 2010, and I've posted it here.
I am not claiming that these are the best albums or songs of 2010: these are the songs that were released this year that I liked. I have particular tastes and so the exclusion of swathes of genres should not be seen as a condemnation or even criticism, but should be taken with the realization that I am a guy of a certain age with small children in my house. I suppose some would call my taste in music folksy, but I prefer organic.
So, in alphabetical order:
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs. I feel like these guys could have grown up with me given the atmospheric sound and the thoughtful lyrics of this album.
Jonsi: Go. This Icelandic singer/songwriter exudes a quirky joy and manages to be experimental without being too demanding.
Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More. A great balance between folk and energy. I listened to this a lot since it came out.
The National: High Violet. The lyrics, the musicianship, the energy: this is maybe the best band playing today.
The New Pornographers: Together. One of my favorite bands of the last decade, here they deliver more great pop songs with catchy hooks and great harmony.
Pomplamoose: Tribute to Famous People. I'm a big covers fan, and these YouTube stars do good stuff, using solid musicianship and a wonderful voice to bring new life to often overplayed songs. The songs are older, but the albums was released this year.
Scala & Kolacny Brothers: Dawn (EP). More covers. I love covers and originals by this Belgian girls choir, directed and accompanied by two brothers. This version of the Radiohead song was used used in The Social Network, and somehow it was almost a song of the year for me. (Language warning.)
Trampled by Turtles: Palomino. Some of you will turn up your noses at this, thinking it is some kind of bluegrass novelty act: I think of them more as a rock band using something more than guitars and a drum set.
Vampire Weekend: Contra. This is the band's second album, and again the mix of African and other pop sounds with clever, often narrative lyrics is priceless.