Sunday, January 9

Monte's Best Albums of 2010

  1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
West might be a social idiot, but he might also be a music genius. The entire album is the soundtrack to his grandiose ego, yet at the same time an album like this would not work without the overwhelming confidence of Kanye controlling every aspect of the creation. He understands his strengths, and though he may never acknowledge it, realizes that his prowess is not in his lyrical capabilities but his mastery of production.

  1. Eligh – Grey Crow
Eligh has toiled through numerous albums playing with concept, musical styling, and lyrical art form. However, every album seemed to get one thing right and miss on other aspects. Finally, the pieces of the puzzle have all come together, and the Grey Crow has been revealed. This album embodies everything that Eligh has been trying to accomplish, the high concept muses, the musical styling is banging, and the lyrics are a fresh mix of the complex mile-a-minute form we have grown to love from Eligh. This is hip hop as it was meant to be experienced.

  1. Sleigh Bells – Treats
A former metalcore mainstay and a pop princess that never found her glass slipper have combined forces to create a melting pot, further blended. This album sounds like so many different things all at once, at times it has the feel of 80’s LL Cool J break beat, then late 90’s Sonic Youth fuzz grunge, with a hint of Reznor-esque mood, in every song! Add Alexis Krauss’ whisper rap/banshee howling and you have a pop record with serious roid rage.

  1. The Black Keys – Brothers
The two man group had some extra help on this album, adding new instrumentation to further polish the production value. It hasn’t changed the dynamic though; these are still two very dedicated musicians on the journey of further musical exploration. The result with Brothers is more than enjoyable; it’s exciting to wonder where this band will go from here.

  1. The National – High Violet
The National might not be in everyone’s taste, but I have never heard depression sound happier. High Violet is a perfect balance of low’s, it wander’s through the darkness in each song, and at times wallow’s with it, but it’s also supremely anthemic. It’s hard not to be happy after listening to this album, even though the tone never passes melancholy.

  1. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Disappointed is one way to describe my feeling towards Neon Bible, this groups 2007 album, though some might dispute my opinion of said album, I believed The Arcade Fire was destined to fade into the memories of yesteryear. Win Butler has proved me wrong, and his band of musicians have come together to display a nearly brand new cohesiveness that shines on nearly every track of this album.

  1. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
The lead singer of The Killers would have been famous even if he would have been content to be a Vegas lounge singer. Flowers composes his love song to Vegas lore, myth, and mystery with the flare of a Sin City Friday night production, minus the morning after hangover.

  1. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Deerhunter might never be satisfied with the results of their work, but their heartfelt sincerity will be more than sufficient for their fans. They long for an almost unimaginable versatility, wanting to embrace numerous aspects and culture of different genres of music. Halcyon Digest is moody, atmospheric, and melodic, which might make some fans of Deerhunter wonder where the noisy and sometimes disorienting quality has gone too? It’s still there, but it’s used as a more immersive element, beckoning you to enjoy their dream.

  1. Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song
I can hear the jeers already from some of you, “really Monte? A country album?”. I assure you, give JJ a chance. This is country that embarks on something different than the usually country robots. Johnson embraces everything that country should two albums! A double album opus is difficult, but Johnson displays a passion for the roots of country music, one that he embodies throughout.

  1. Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone
This might be your grandmother’s favorite album. At seventy-one years young, and with the assistance of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Staples applies nearly five decades of music blending into an uplifting sometimes gospel, sometimes folk, sometimes soul, sometimes R&B, but all together a superb album.

  1. The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
  2. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
  3. The Roots – How I Got Over
  4. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
  5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

My Wife’s Album of the Year
-         Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Best Metal Albums
-         Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit
-         Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
-         Antagonist – World In Decline
-         High on Fire – Snakes For The Divine

Best Soundtracks
-         Tron Legacy – Daft Punk
-         Inception – Hans Zimmer
-         The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Mixtapes
-         Big Boi – Daddy Fatsacks
-         Girl Talk – All Day
-         Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
-         Rick Ross – The Albert Anastasia EP

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