18 December 2010

It's OK To Say That You Love Me

Here we are. Yes, you and me. Me and you. The end of 2010 and with it brings this, the 500th blog post of The Copeland. And what better way to celebrate than with an end of the year list. The list (by way of reality) is a fair blend of true objectivity and un-adulterated subjectivity*.

And so here are the top albums of 2010 (in no particular order):

The National: High Violet

Seemingly the most focused effort to date for the 5 (plus) piece from Brooklyn by way of Cincinnati. This album is wonderfully dark and haunting with perfect dashes of whimsy and beauty. Each of the 11 tracks flow seamlessly into each other and creates comprehensive and utterly fantastic album.

Robyn: Body Talk
This series of albums came at a time when pop music is only defined by what Ke$ha and Katy Perry-Brand are putting into the top 40 (or at least what Dr. Luke is writing for them). So, it's nice to see Swedish import, Robyn, step into the dance/pop light stateside. She creates an undeniably perfect blend or pop, dance and electronica with a maturity that every other dance-pop diva could only hope for. And even though her following is stereotypically gay men and single women, no one can keep themselves from getting sucked in when listening to any of the Body Talk albums.

Sleigh Bells: Treats
This Brookly duo delivers "Treats," a gritty, poppy, funky, rock album that would get any high school football team hyped up in the locker room before the big game. It's speaker-busting beats with nasty guitar riffs paired with Singer, Alexis Krauss's sultry voice make for - although fairly homogeneous - an album that is so different and stands out so much more than almost any other record this year.

The Black Keys - Brothers
Newly Nashville transplants, The Black Keys, keep creating great music. And "Brothers" is no exception. It's soulful, tasteful and loaded with riffs and grooves that will keep you hitting repeat. They guys do so a great job of taking a vintage rock style and keeping it fresh and modern. This is a record you must purchase.

Jónsi - Go

The Sigur Rós frontman stepped away from the band in 2010 and pieced together his first solo record simply titled "Go." What was years in the making came together as what may be the most beautiful record to have been released in the past few years. The album - anchored by two blockbuster U.S. tours and one world tour - is layered with inspiring compositions, rich textures and visual aspects (both art and video) to match. Jónsi took the definition of art literally with this project. And it's result leaves you wholly in awe.

Hammock: Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts
Nashville duo and former songwriting masters in the Christian music industry have been writing and releasing music under the moniker of Hammock for several years now. Like many others on this list, Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson have composed easily their best material to date. The album received rave reviews from across the globe and helped put Nashville on the ambient/instrumental world's map. The album requires a lot of patience from the listener, but all time committed to listening is well worth it. This is definitely not a 'background music' ambient record. You'll want to listen to every track with and attentive ear. And for that, your ears will most certainly be blessed.

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
The darlings of indie rock have done it again. "The Suburbs" was one of the most anticipated records of the year and it did not disappoint. It simply rocks in the most creative of ways. There's ample of amounts of fascinating minutia on the record that it will take many spins to really understand the brilliance that is Arcade Fire.

Rick Ross: Teflon Don
Hip hop made the list and, no, it's not Kanye West (who you will not see on this list). Mississippi-born William Leonard Roberts II has flown mostly under the mainstream hip-hop radar. But the release of "Teflon Don" certainly pushed Ross into the limelight as well as many "Best Of" lists this year. And the praise is not without merit. Ross' creativity in music and truly thuggish flows make this an album any rap alum will appreciate and and give mad respect.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
This is possibly the oddest selection for the list, but it's undeniably one of the best of the year. The record is definitely different, but is thoughtful and beautiful and lacks any hint of pretension. It takes a while to understand and appreciate this one, but it's one that should - without a doubt - be heard.

Cee Lo: The Lady Killer
Finally, we have Cee Lo Green. One half of the Gnarls Barkley duo drops the funk and soul that will keep you entertained for quite some time. And for those that think his eyebrow-raising single, "F*ck you" was simply a ploy to get noticed, make no mistake that that single and every other track on the record is as close to perfect as you'll find. Green even went as far as daringly covering Band of Horses single, "No One's Gonna Love You" and absolutely killing it. As with all of his projects, Cee Lo created a masterpiece that people will be hearing everywhere for years to come.

Honorable Mention - Eminem: Recovery
While Em is still making fantastic records, he's not really doing much in terms of breaking musical ground. But a job well done, nonetheless.

*Footnote: In my unabashed subjectivity, I kept a few records off this list that many other lists not only included, but gave (in my opinion) way too much praise. Those records include the ego-centric album from Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Wavves: King of the Beach, Of Montreal: False Priest, MGMT: Congratulations nor M.I.A.: /\/\/\Y/\ (whatever that is)

I'd love to see your picks and hear feedback about mine.


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