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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010

By Joseph Oliveto

best albums12 15 10 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
It’s often said about any popular art form, be it music or movies or literature, that what’s being produced today pales in comparison to the classics. Well, while we here at BeatCrave certainly reserve a high degree of reverence for what’s come before, we also know it’s foolish to make a blanket statement like that when there’s so much good music being released these days. Say what you want about the commercial hype machine forsaking quality in favor of sales; that’s been a part of the business since the days of Elvis, and although it’s true that record companies would probably rather find the next N’Syncbefore the next Pixies, that doesn’t stop good albums from slipping through the system.
Don’t believe us? Give these 2010 releases a listen and see if you haven’t changed your mind…

10.) American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem

gaslight anthemjcodec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
After grabbing some mainstream exposure with their previous album, The 59 Sound, these working class Jersey boys fulfilled the potential it implied by releasing the strongest disc of their career. Full of Motown melodies, classic rock’n roll guitar, and heartfelt lyrics, it’s perhaps the best piece of Americana since The River.
  • How High Was the Anticipation Level? 5/10
  • How Well Did it Pay Off? 7/10
  • How Well Did it Improve on Past Work? 6/10
  • Combined Score: 18

9.) Speak Now by Taylor Swift

taylor swiftjcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
She may sing about the kind of idealized adolescent love that isn’t of interest to anyone outside of theTwilight crowd, but love her, hate her, or only know about her because you have a teenage daughter, Taylor Swift is undeniably talented. And she’s only twenty!
  • Anticipation Level: 8/10
  • Pay-Off: 7/10
  • Improvement: 4/10
  • Score: 19

8.) Congratulations by MGMT

mgmtjcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
You could be forgiven for being disappointed with this follow-up to Oracular Spectacular. Not a single track on the album was as immediately accessible as “Kids.” Still, gotta give the band credit for going the In Utero route and trying to do their own thing. However, they may be trying too hard; they wrote a song called “Brian Eno” to appeal to hipsters and prove they’re not sell-outs, whether they’ll admit it or not.
  • Anticipation Level: 8/10
  • Pay-Off: 7/10
  • Improvement: 5/10
  • Score: 20

7.) Brothers by The Black Keys

Black Keysjcodec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
If you even once tuned your radio to an alt-rock station during 2010, you heard this band’s “Tighten Up.” They’ve been around for nearly a decade and it was about time they hit it big. We doubt they’ll change their blues-drenched style now that they’ve had a taste of success. Look at that picture. That is not what sell-outs look like.
  • Anticipation Level: 4/10
  • Pay-Off: 9/10
  • Improvement: 9/10
  • Score: 22

6.) Recovery by Eminem

eminemjcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
When he’s wasn’t calling out any other musical artist who isn’t him in remarkably juvenile ways–he’s never been as clever or insightful as his fans claim–Eminem’s early career involved endless self-analysis and claims that he was a changed man. This is basically more of the same, but his rhymes are as catchy as ever and the track “Love the Way You Lie” expresses a genuine sensitivity that his earlier work only hinted at.
  • Anticipation Level: 9/10
  • Pay-Off: 8/10
  • Improvement: 7/10
  • Score: 24

5.) This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem

lcdjcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
We might as well call it revolutionary simply because this is the first time in a long time that “dance music” has also been “good music.” Rumors abound that this is the last release for LCD Soundsystem, and seeing as it may be the best, it’s as good a place to stop as any.
  • Anticipation Level: 8/10
  • Pay-Off: 10/10
  • Improvement: 7/10
  • Score: 25

4.) The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire

arcade firejcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
It doesn’t have any of the “we’re not sure if music can change lives but we’ll sure as hell try” urgency that made the song “Wake Up” an instant classic, but the melodies are memorable and the band sounds like they’re still willing to explore. It’s hard to go wrong with this group.
  • Anticipation Level: 10/10
  • Pay-Off: 8/10
  • Improvement: 8/10
  • Score: 26

3.) Contra by Vampire Weekend

vampireweekendjcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
This unclassifiable band of Columbia-educated music geeks may dablle in just about every obscure genre imaginable, but it all comes down to one thing: pop. And we’re not talking about bland, cookie-cutter teeny-bopper pop. We’re talking about “you’ll be humming along to these tunes even if it’s the first time you’ve ever heard them” pop. Few bands can craft hooks as skillfully and consistently as theseguys.
  • Anticipation Level: 10/10
  • Pay-Off: 9/10
  • Improvement: 8/10
  • Score: 27

2.) High Violet by The National

nationaljcoDec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
The worth of a band can often be measured in whether or not another band could take their place. Based on that principle, The National proves to one of the best bands in years. Baritone vocals and layered arrangements blend together resulting in an album of pure musical bliss, the best yet from this band. They’re finally getting the attention they deserve and left Letterman grasping for the right words when they performed on his show earlier this year.
  • Anticipation Level: 7/10
  • Pay-Off: 10/10
  • Improvement: 10/10
  • Score: 27

1.) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West

kanye westjcodec12 The Top 10 Best Albums of 2010
Kanye West seems absolutely incapable of keeping his mouth shut. Luckily for us, half of the time that is because he’s delivering unparalled songs to the masses. He’s got massive ambition and the talent to match. Few artists aim this high and far fewer hit their target. Readers, will let you have your comments, but we just want to say that Kanye West had one of the best albums of all time.
Or at least the year.
  • Anticipation Level: 10/10
  • Pay-Off: 10/10
  • Improvement: 8/10
  • Score: 28