Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best in Music 2010

Here are my favorite albums and singles of 2010....

10 Best Albums

1. We Are Born by Sia - Playful and wild, you can tell that Sia's having fun with her music.  It's refreshing, emotional and unique to anything that's out there.  Many of her songs are ridiculously contagious, even if it's a little hard to make out what's being said at times.  This is a fantastic, inspired album.  Anyone who hasn't heard this is missing out.  Key Tracks: Clap Your Hands, Bring Night, Hurting Me Now.

2. Hands by Little Boots - One of the most danceable CDs in years, Little Boots brings a retro flavor to great club music, with some interesting sounds and clever little songs (even if the lyrics are a little shallow). There's a consistency across the whole album here that seems unheard of nowadays in music, providing plenty of instant dance classics. Little Boots is a welcome new voice to the dance scene. Key Tracks: Remedy, Ghost, Mathematics.

3. Animal by Ke$ha - Obnoxious, offensive and blatant, Ke$ha's CD struck a chord with millions, including me.  The songs on this CD are catchy, playful and just a lot of fun.  Ke$ha's a talented young artist with a unique voice, and proves effortlessly that it really is fun to be a bad girl.  Key Tracks: Tik Tok, Take It Off, Kiss 'n' Tell.

4. Catching a Tiger by Lissie - With an amazing, strong voice set to great hooks, it was only a matter of time before Lissie made it big.  After years of having her music played in shows like Veronica Mars, Lissie released a full-length album that proved that she's the real deal, with a down-to-earth, lovely sound.  Key Tracks: Record Collector, In Sleep, Loosen the Knot.

5. Dust (EP) by Cara Salimando - This five-song EP from newcomer Cara Salimando is a beautiful collection of songs with lovely lyrics and strong vocals. There's a good dose of piano in the music found here, where you can see the influences of artists she admires, like Regina Spektor, although the songs have their own unique sound. This really is a very exciting debut from the singer-songwriter, especially considering that she's only eighteen years old. Key Tracks: Dust, The Way We Are, Anything At All.

6. My Best Friend Is You by Kate Nash - The Brit returns with the cussing, in-your-face style she debuted with in Made of Bricks, making a name for herself. But with her new album, Nash has refined her sound, bringing a nice pop sound to many of her catchy, vibrant songs, but still seeming as relevant as ever. Key Tracks: Paris, Kiss That Grrrl, Do-Wha-Doo.

7. You Are the Night by Deluka - With dozens of artists trying to recapture Lady Gaga's success, Deluka is one dance artist who rides that wave to fantastic results, providing a classic dance club sound with fun, sexy sounds and a powerful voice.  Sometimes venturing into Ke$ha territory with some unique beats, Deluka debuts with quite an impact.  Key Tracks: OMFG, Nevada, Come Back To Me.

8. Body Talk by Robyn - Collecting songs from EPs that she has been releasing throughout the year, this collection has the best of the tracks with amazingly catchy and often heart-felt dance numbers.  Robyn knows how to craft a great song to make you move.  Key Tracks: Dancing On My Own, Love Kills, Indestructible.

9. Spirit School (EP) by Anya Marina - Anya Marina returns from the high of being on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack with more unique songs set to her raspy, sexy purr of a voice.  She sounds more polished with her latest release, yet retains her rough-around-the-edges sound. Key Tracks: You Are Invisible, Whatsit, Spirit School.

10. Release Me by The Like - With a sound that's a throwback to the fifties, The Like has a female empowerment theme that runs through the heart of this CD full of fast-paced fuzzy music.  Instantly catchy, this album dares you not to tap your foot to its fun, flirty beats.  Key Tracks: Wishing He Was Dead, Release Me, Catch Me If You Can.

20 Best Singles

1. Black Sheep by Brie Larson - My favorite song of the year hails from the hipster movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  It's a rocking, sexy song with a great hook.  While Black Sheep is available on the soundtrack to the movie, it's performed by Metric on it, and while Metric does a fine job, I really prefer Brie Larson's voice from the movie, it has less of an edge and is just cleaner and sexier for the song.  You'd think with Beck re-doing half a dozen songs for the soundtrack, that they could include Brie Larson's version of this song on the deluxe version of the soundtrack, but no dice, so if you want the best of the best, you'll have to visit YouTube.

2. Frame Me Right by Anni Rossi - I love the refrain of this song.  It's a rather simple song, but really elegant and pretty much amazing.

3. Dancing On My Own by Robyn - The dance song of the year. Great hook, great sound, and full of restrained emotion.

4. Tik Tok by Ke$ha - A song portraying a loathsome party girl also happens to be a highly-entertaining danceable number with fun, trashy lyrics that are hard not to admire.

5. Record Collector by Lissie - Lissie's voice is amazing and this is a perfect showcase for it, often restrained, but building to a fervor in some moments.  Great song with a great beat.

6. Dust by Cara Salimando - This is an absolutely beautiful melody with a great hook and thoughtful lyrics.

7. Fade Like a Shadow by KT Tunstall - Tunstall's raspy voice is perfect for this upbeat song that's one of the most addicting of the year.

8. Bring Night by Sia - The happiest song of the year - you gotta love it when Sia really lets loose with the singing.

9. Animal by Neon Trees - A great summery song that makes you want to turn the radio up and sing along.

10. Parachute by Ingrid Michaelson - A very poppy, insanely listenable song.

11. Coming Back Home by Ellen and the Escapades - This folksy song is much more subtle than most of the songs on this list, but is utterly beautiful.

12. Broken by Chely Wright - An honest, soul-baring song from country music's first openly-gay country singer.

13. Ready by Reni Lane - A really fun dance groove from newcomer Reni Lane that always has me tapping my foot and smiling.

14. Mouthful of Diamonds by Phantogram - I love the sound of this song. Very unique, very haunting.

15. In My Veins by Andrew Belle featuring Erin McCarley - A lovely ballad that kind of snuck up on me to become one of my most frequently played songs so far this year. Lovely hypnotic melody.

16. Don't Stop the Music by Jamie Cullum - This is a fantastic remake of the song originally performed by Rihanna - Cullum shows us how to recreate a song right in this really sexy rendition from the pianist.

17. Hold Me by St. Lola In the Fields - A fun pop song with a beat that hits all the right notes that you want in a great song.

18. Farmer's Daughter by Crystal Bowersox - I'm not an American Idol fan, but you can't say that some talented artists haven't emerged from the show.  Bowersox is no exception.  She has crafted a really emotional song that perhaps goes a bit too far at times, but is nonetheless powerful.  This is a nice showcase for a really strong voice that also proves that a great songwriter is behind this music.

19. Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals - This is just a great classic rock number with great guitar play.

20. Blue December by Kate Tucker - Kate Tucker knows how to pour emotion into her music, and this song is no exception.  It's a slow-moving song that feels raw with feeling.  Absolutely beautiful.

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