Favorite Albums of 2010

5. Beach House- Teen Dream

I wasn't too crazy about this album at first because I couldn't really keep the songs straight in my head. They still kind of all blend together, but now, I just kind of let it happen. There's something to be said for an ultimately calming 49 minutes that does let you sit and listen to music. I don't mean to mark it as "just for entertainment" or whathever it is people say about art. I mean more that it forces me to turn my brain off, to stop counting and analyzing.

Standout Tracks: "Used to Be", "Norway"

4. Liars- Sisterworld

I have no idea what is happening in any of these songs, but they are loud and angry and unapologetic. The opening track, "Scissor," has something to do with a dead body that turns out to be alive. It's been a while since I heard an album that manages to be haunting throughout.

Standout Tracks: "Proud Evolution", "Scissor"

3. The National- High Violet

I'm surprising myself because before this album came out I had been an adamant non-fan of The National. I remember it had something to do with the fact that I wanted to distance myself from what they were singing about. I didn't want Yuppie Malaise. I also kind of thought the music was flat. There was nothing I could listen into. But I've come around for reasons that I can't quite explain, but I need to credit the album for the conversion coupled with an always wonderful live show (including the stage banter).

Standout Tracks: "Bloodbuzz Ohio", "Afraid of Everyone"

2. Foals- Total Life Forever

If you haven't yet, watch the video for "Spanish Sahara." It is amazing. Still shots of still landscapes. Small movements. As a follow-up to 2008's Antidotes, Total Life Forever is less controlled but more demure. It sounds infinitely sadder and proves that dance rock or math rock (or whatever I'm supposed to call it) cares about what is says and why it says it.

Standout Tracks: "Blue Blood", "Spanish Sahara"

1. Yeasayer- Odd Blood

This album leaked on my birthday in 2009 but wasn't officially released until 2010. Hearing it for the first time, I was disappointed not really knowing how to deal with pop thing (for lack of a better term). But then, I thought a little bit. I love the 80s. I love things that are fun and yet sometimes disturbing. I heard or read an interview with the band (wish I could cite it) that had one of the members saying that they wanted to record songs that they liked, that people could enjoy. They certainly succeeded and without sacrificing that weirdness that I had grown to love on the first album. Saw them in Prague (a show at which they were able to juggle the most disparate elements of their songs). Will be seeing them again on New Years Eve.

Standout Tracks: "Ambling Alp", "Mondegreen"

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