Thursday, December 16, 2010

Year in Review 2010 - Top 10 Albums - Part 2 (10-6)

Here is part 2 of RTBE's Year in Review for 2010, today we are dealing with the first half of our top 10 list Albums 10-6.
In the instance that I have reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else I will link to that review and I will also provide a link to Amazon so you can pick it up with the quickness.  I worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap, but not a ton. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the full way through.

Here re albums 10-6 after the jump and it seems these are always the one's I slap around in different orders 100 times until I feel best about them...anyway, click that Read More link down well, read more and find out.
10.  Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
I have stated very recently that there is no 'true' R&B anymore, well Cee-Lo may make me reconsider this.  There is a smooth criminal party flair throughout Lady Killer, very reminiscent at times of the early Michael Jackson.  There is also a timelessness on some tracks that make this a tough album to place.  Granted there is certainly a gluttony feel at time with layers of instrumentation and symphonic's that can drown out Cee-Lo's voice and lyrics, but the good far outweighs the bad.  "Old Fashioned"  contains dripping passion and sounds straight from the 1930's and Cee-lo's cover of Band of Horse's "No One's Gonna Love" is magical, a great version to accompany a killer original.  While the swear laden "Fuck You" is the best single this side of "Gold Digger" the toned down version is the worst radio edit in history, instantly killing the song.  Why Cee-Lo would censor himself like that is unknown, but the pop and, yes rhythm and blues in the right sense of the phrase, is pretty obvious on Lady Killer

9.  No Age - Everything In Between
I am a sucker for some good art-rock, and that is exactly what No Age presented on Everything In Between.  Splashes of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and others makes this release something to go back too, but the duo of of drummer Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall also managed to pull off a shimmering pop gem with screeches and squeals in "Glitter".  I won't say too much more as I reviewed the disk here and feel exactly the same about it now as then...a good sign.

8. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
 Here is an album that really goes for it...trying to capture the ennui of suburban life seems right up this baroque pop groups alley as they toy with their modern day David ByrneThe Suburbs is a long player from a group that still uses the album format in a way I truly love; setting the stage and tell a story; bringing the listener on an emotional journey.  While I doubt this band (or this album) ever becomes one of my favorites, their is no denying the success of this release, if anything the scaled back feel (well for Arcade Fire at least) allows them to focus more on the songs themselves rather then trying to cram 1,000 instruments into a track or build and build and build and never release.  There are really no singles or standouts which helps the overall album but the band gets it's punkiest with "Month of May" trying on a Ramones costume.  "We Used To Wait" is more typical AF and flows like a good Bowie track; like the whole album, must be considered a winning effort (OK Billy I will go back and give Neon Bible another shot):

7.  Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Ahh now here is a concept album I do genuinely dive into.  Granted Titus Andronicus The Monitor may not be as composed, slick or well thought out as The Suburbs, but it contains an undeniable passion that invigorates the listener...I guess it's true; I like uppers more then downers.  A jumbled concept album that jumps from modern day Jersey to the Civil War South and back again, the message is never clear but the song writing works wonders.  It makes you pontificate about just what the hell they were trying to pull off with the Civil War ode's, and then when you catch individual tracks out of context you get even more enthralled into what the punk rockers were working with.  Irish undertones, rumbling rhythms, exciting hymns to drunken youth, flashes of historical...I-don't-know-what's make this a personal favorite of RTBE's and an album you should try on for size.  (Side note, Can't say I support the look, but I love the song:)     

6. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast-
The youngin's from West Palm Beach, Florida (Where I wish I was at right now) put fourth the best debut album of the year with their release of Astro Coast.  This is really a fantastic piece of pop rock that, while hitting on a ton of influences, still manage to sound like themselves.  As I mentioned in the review the group comes across as a mix of a whole lot of mainstream acts, the single "Swim" in particular seems right out of Cheap Tricks play book, but it is still engaging all these months later and it will be exciting to hear what they come up with next.

Agree? Disagree? stay tuned for the top 5....  

1 comment:

  1. It makes me sad that I have listened to zero of these albums. I will definitely have to check out at least the Arcade Fire one because I really liked Neon Bible. Feel free to burn a copy for me!