10.Oneohtrix Point Never's Returnal
The first track on this album is likely to scare the crap out of you. It scared the crap out of me my first couple of listens. It sounds like the harshest noise Oneohtrix (we're on a first name basis) could find but once you let it earthquake through your brain a few times it reveals itself as something you can pretty much unpretentiously call beautiful. The rest of the album is psychedelic-y electronic ambiance. I think this album sounds like molecules bouncing around. You'll fall in love likely, just gear up for the jarring opener.
9. Curren$y's Pilot Talk I & II
I'm cheating here because these are two separate albums but they're by the same guy and both equally good, so I'm counting them as one. Deal with it. Curren$y's output for a single year is unthinkable. He's made two classics in my book. Sure, they don't break any new grounds but they stomp all fucking over what's been established. Dem beats. Dem lyrics. The game's been upped. If you listen to this music and don't want to get stoned with Curren$y you have no idea what's going on.
8. Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid
A current tragedy being played out in America is that Janelle Monae didn't make the top of the charts. And stay there for months. This is pop music of the highest order. This album alone basically contains every genre of music. Basically ever. The first half of 2010 was dominated by this album, the only reason it isn't higher on this list is because its second half is admittedly weaker than the first and because this was an amazing year for music. I hope Ms. Monae's around for a long time (and everybody she works with).
7. Sufjan Steven's All Delighted People EP
Sufjan released an album this year and I didn't like it much at all. It was one of my great disappointments of the year. I only liked two songs off it- Too Much and the 25 minute Impossible Souls. This EP on the other hand was Suffy doing what Suffy does best. Though there are some electronic bleeps and bloops on this album it's mostly instruments and the man's demon-soothing voice: and the best part, in my opinion, is that sometimes on this EP-album he let's that heavenly voice go a bit wild. It's delightful. Oh and seeing as this EP is over an hour long it definitely counts as an album so fuck you Age of Adz. Fuck you.
6. The Roots' How I Got Over
Sometimes hip-hop's intelligence is questioned. Even guys like Curren$y can be stereotyped into oblivion by a lot of people. I personally think this is ridiculous, but it is something that is done often (by white people). If this album doesn't make those people shut up nothing will and they are Rush Limbaugh. This album tackles suffering, beautifully and intellectually. It's clear these lyrics are not freestyled but carefully shaped by a honest hand. Oh and the beats are SLAMMIN'.
5. Sun Kil Moon's Admiral Fell Promises
This album was a relief to me- 2010 was filled with super-productions. Noises were all over the place. Instruments, computers, voices- everything was going at once. It was nice to settle down in this album which is entirely composed of a guy (who is a genius named Mark Kozelek) and his guitar (though the first lyrics on the album refute this). It's gorgeous and does require patience. Its soft and sweet. To me, it sounds like religion done right.
4. Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
The other half (often thought to be lesser half) of Outkast launches his first solo album and wins. I wish I could sit here and tell you how my first lesson led me to prostrate to its awesomeness but I was left underwhelmed. I even made fun of one of the songs (You Ain't No DJ) because an entire song making fun of DJs seemed funny to me (still kind of is). I heard Shutterbug then, somewhere on the internet, and intently listened and was captivated. Everything seemed so good. Rushing back to the album I was absolutely emancipated. It, honestly, made me appreciate all hip-hop on a whole new level. This album has only one weakness- several weak guest spots. But whenever Big Boi's on the mic you're bound to be blown away. Oh and You Ain't No DJ is actually a great song.
3. Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
First off, I don't consider this a hip-hop record. It has hip-hop on it, phenomenal hip-hop, but Kanye and company crafted something completely original. Kanye West has met with tremendous success which usually destroys rappers (just look at what Eminem is doing these days...) but Mr. West just makes sure he stays bigger than whatever pedestal we put him on. If we say he's Gandhi he says he's Jesus- and then on his next album he proves himself to be such a monster. I listened to this album 14 times the first few days after it came out and I still don't really know what it is other than something fantastic. Yeezy's not the best rapper ever, by any means, but he has one of the best ears for music ever to top the charts. Like it's the Beatles good.
2. Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma
I wrote this awhile ago and now I'm tired of typing so-
At once a summation and an evolution, Cosmogramma can only be compared to a bedazzling UFO bleeding magical colors across a clear night's sky. FlyLo said this album was to be a "space opera" or something like that (I don't do research for reviews, folks) and there's certainly a podium in which it can be acclaimed for doing such but I think it more it puts us in an alien vessel programmed to show us all the wonders of the universe, with the inclination of jazz, all in 45 minutes. This record is an journey, diluted by nothing, to the past and the future, all while being brilliantly present.
That's kind of pretentious, but that just goes to prove you can't really express how good this record is in words, at least I can't. It's a face-melter and a mind-fucker. Also!: this is the most purple album of year, not that I have any idea what that means ;) ;)
1. Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me
Duh. How could the preeminent lyricist of our time, and frankly, ever, not top my list. Sure I'm staggeringly bias but still- even her haters have to realize that this is a feat. This album is a huge change from Ys (my favorite album ever, nbd) but it still, by some God-blessed means, finds its way, in my heart, to perfection. I don't know how to flatter this album enough. When I first heard Baby Birch I was in my room with all the lights off and I honestly almost cried. Her lyrics, and the compositions behind them, will writhe into the folds of your brain and settle in a most comfortable massage- even if it's breaking your heart. To me, it's some of the most beautiful music ever made.