Listed below are what I consider to be the Top 10 albums of the past year. Some may surprise, some may be missing in your opinion but for, all 10 represent my own personal tastes and artists who achieved an outstanding level of musicality throughout their albums, which flow as one piece of work. So here you go:
10. Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
Number 10 on my list is an album that is has achieved huge mainstream success, while standing out as one of the best albums of the year. Often, some of the best albums are produced under the radar not gaining the credit they deserve, but Cee Lo Green’s infectious, happy soulful sound has allowed him not to be part of that group. Uplifting and charming, you get the feeling that this is an album truly reminiscent of the man singing the songs. Traces of Motown make the whole album accessible to so many different age groups and for that deserves to recognised as one of the top albums of 2010.
9. Vampire Weekend – Contra
In an industry currently flooded by dance, pop and urban music, Vampire Weekend proved that Indie music was both still cool and highly anticipated. There was a huge buzz surrounding the release of their album Contra and it certainly did not disappoint. Fantastically catchy, and allowing the band to undertake some major festival appearances, for those who bought the album the joyous sounds of songs such as Horchata and Holiday will have become the soundtrack for Summer 2010.
8. Lissie – Catching A Tiger
Another female singer-songwriter to come of age in 2010, Lissie produced a stunning album. She stands out from others because she sounds distinctive. The slightly country twang in her vocals help to define and shape her music, allowing you to lose yourself completely in the beauty of her voice and the lyrics she writes. Telling enchanting tales, whether through upbeat or slower songs, it is fantastic to here someone relying so much on an outstanding vocal performance to create such wonderful music.
7. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
Two Door Cinema Club are one of those bands that started the year with a fair amount of critical interest, and have begun to build upon that in 2010. Producing geek chic with a cool electronic indie sound, that is infectious even upon first listen, they charm you instantly. Clever, accessible lyrics fuse seamlessly with the upbeat melodies that make you smile and tap your feet, all the way through Tourist History, and create a sound that as I discovered is the perfect way to enjoy a glorious Saturday morning at Glastonbury Festival.
6. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
Fusing metal screams and melodic vocals is not an easy thing to do, it could too easily sound like a mess. Deftones, however, proved that it was possible on their album Diamond Eyes. Many will decide the band is too heavy based on songs such as CMND/CTRL but one listen to title track Diamond Eyes may well change their minds. An outstanding juxtaposition of epic metal songs and surprisingly intoxicating ballads makes this without a doubt the best rock album of the year.
5. Twin Shadow – Forget
Number 5 is one that comes underneath the radar for many but is well worthy of a mention. Whether it is an uptempo (At My Heels) or slower relaxed (Forget) sound he produces, all of his songs hook you in and utterly entrance you. The gorgeous Castles In The Snow is my personal favourite, a delectable combination of haunting melodies and harmonic vocals. Forget is a real hidden gem and if you haven’t heard it yet is definitely deserves a listen.
4. Ellie Goulding – Lights
There is no denying that 2010 was Ellie Goulding’s year. Voted as top of the Sound Of 2010 poll she had a lot to prove and did so with debut album Lights. Despite being a debut it is still producing songs worthy of radio airplay which appeal to the masses, and has just been given the accolade of a re-release for Christmas. To have so much success on the back of an album that relies not on theatrics but beautiful songs and a faultless voice is a fantastic feat in the current climate of music, making Lights such an achievement.
3. Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
What makes Plan B’s latest album so astonishing is that previous to this he had produced works of hardcore urban/rap. With The defamation Of Strickland Banks he produced a soulful tale of a man’s downfall, addressing issues of love, violence and religion in a way many artists are scared to. Every single song has a poignancy to it whether it be the soulful Welcome To Hell or more urban yet epic sound of Darkest Place To make that jump so spectacularly suggests that this is the work of an incredibly talented young man, and as such deserves to be on the list of the top 10 albums of the year.
2. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
In a year when folk music came of age, Laura Marling proved just why it deserved to become a mainstream music genre. With her haunting melodies and gracious tones Marling transforms you into her world with every single story she tells. Whether it is heart-warming, Alpha Shallows or heart-breaking, Hope In The Water you want to listen to every single word of it and this is true of every song on her album I Speak Because I Can. Gracious and enthralling this is the work of a truly talented musician.
1. Hurts – Happiness
I have made no secret of how much I adore this band. With styling reminiscent of Spandau Ballet, and CD cover layout similar to Bowie’s this is a band whose music would have been at home in and lost in the 80s, but in today’s market it stood head and shoulders above most pop music makers out there. With hopeful yet painful songs such as Stay and others whose upbeat tempo belie their melancholy, such as Sunday, Happiness is a genuinely well crafted and utterly enjoyable album from start to finish. The whole album was catchy, accessible and beautifully crafted. What made it even more spectacular is that this is a debut, which considering how assured of their sound and style they are is phenomonal.