The Best Albums of 2010 (So Far)
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 15:56:53
It’s hard to believe 2010 is halfway over- what’s not hard to believe is the rockin’ music the year has offered so far. Here are the Top Ten Albums of 2010’s first half.
By Mark Phillips
Am I the only one who can’t fathom that it’s July? Where does the time go? AND- I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping! Rather than freaking out about our Halloween costumes and Fantasy Football teams, let’s enjoy the summer and reflect on the great music that these six months that call themselves “2010” have offered so far. Here are the top ten albums of 2010 to date. Happy Midpoint, everyone!
We haven’t been this excited about an Eminem album since 2002’s The Eminem Show. Let’s face it- Eminem phoned it in on his last two efforts, Encore and Relapse. Even Mr. Mathers himself admits it. “Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was ‘meh,” he raps on the new album’s first single, “Not Afraid.” Many times, Recovery is brutally honest and apologetic- Slim Shady repeatedly thanks his fans for being “patient” while he kicked his addictions. This is Eminem at his most vibrant and impressive in years- a highlight of the album is “No Love,” which featured rap’s savant, Lil’ Wayne, and awesomely samples Haddaway’s “What is Love” (you know, that song from the Roxbury Twins SNL sketch? Yeah, that one!) Will Ferrell and Chris Katan will be rockin’ this track, assuming Chris Katan is still alive.
Korn- Korn III: Remember Who You Are
Speaking of artists getting back to form, Korn sounds as good as ever on this, their return-to-roots record. Korn enlisted legendary producer Ross Robinson, who helmed their first two classic records, to recapture their early sound. Mission accomplished- this album is raw, weird, and visceral- it’s everything that has made Korn one of the most original and important bands of the last twenty years. Be sure to pick this one up- it’s amazing.
Broken Bells- Broken Bells
You wouldn’t expect Danger Mouse and a folk/indie rocker like The Shins’ front man James Mercer to form the next super group. More specifically, you wouldn’t expect it to be this good. Danger Mouse’s dynamic and stylized production- which always sounds like a hip-hop Sixties mod party- actually fits seamlessly into Mercer’s songs. The result is a groovy little number that bedazzles The Shins’ signature sound.
The Black Keys- Brothers
The Black Keys have established themselves as a great indie band with staying power- which is no easy task among such a fickle community. Their latest offering perfects their garage-blues-stomp. It’s amazing how much music can come out of two guys from Ohio. They may be sad about Lebron leaving, but they still rock like there’s no tomorrow.
Gorillaz- Plastic Beach
Damon Albarn’s cartoon outfit has always pushed boundaries in music, as well as the very concept of what makes a band. Their third album is no exception. It’s post modern pop- incredibly original, interesting, and different. You’ve heard of post-punk? Here’s post-hip hop. With cool guest spots from Mos Def and Bobby Womack, Gorillaz strike again with a set of songs (can we call them songs and not something new we don’t even yet know about?) that are ahead of their time.
Deftones- Diamond Eyes
Deftones are the Pixies of hard rock- it’s impossible to find a young hard rock band that doesn’t idolize these guys. Their latest album is another great exhibition of that classic Deftones sound- heavy yet free-flowing, splashed with Chino Moreno’s haunting, ethereal vocals. This album is a bittersweet accomplishment for the band; bassist Chi Cheng sustained a serious head injury in a 2008 car accident and slipped into a coma. Rockers such as Korn have recorded music to benefit Chi, who is still struggling with regaining consciousness. We all hope for the very best for Chi in a very tough situation. You can visit oneloveforchi.com for details.
The Hold Steady- Heaven is Whenever
Imagine if Randy Newman were way cooler and way more rockin.’ Now you’re thinking of the Hold Steady! This band has swigged their way to the unofficial title of “Best Bar Band.” On this, their third album, The Hold Steady continue their upward climb. So break some bottles in honor of a great album from a consistently great American band.
The Dead Weather- Sea of Cowards
Another Jack White band? Wait, what day of the week is it? It seems like the new blues brother has a different project every time you turn around. This incarnation features banshee Allison Mosshart (of The Kills) rockin’ the mic over some good and dirty rock ‘n roll. Jack White always has a retro vibe to his work, but The Dead Weather sound more evil that the usual White fare. You need a good bean bag chair when you’re listening to this, one of 2010’s best offerings to date.
The Gaslight Anthem- American Slang
Jersey! These east-side boys are often called the Bruce Springsteen of punk. With their third album in four years, The Gaslight Anthem have moved beyond punk and have recorded an album that is a piece of Americana. It sounds like a new classic album that makes you want to pump your fist and grab a beer at the corner bar. Pop that blue collar, America!
Yeasayer- Odd Blood
Odd Blood is an apt name for an odd album. Yeasayer, the trippy electronically powered Brooklyn band, is weird as “folk”- or more appropriately, weird as new-wave-meets-psychedelic mushrooms. Their sophomore album sounds like Depeche Mode on a serious acid trip. I figured I’d put something on this list for you hippies. Enjoy this album- and get a haircut, deadbeats!
There you have it. 2010 is halfway in the can, but it’s got plenty of life left in it yet. We still have Columbus Day and Thanksgiving to think about, mind you! That said, enjoy the summer and be thankful for new music for a new decade. We’re off to a good start.