Only An Expert: Ugly Rumors’ Top 50 albums of 2010 (Part 3)

As I’ve done each year, I’ve been keeping a running list of my favorite albums of 2010 throughout the year to help with the final construction of this very feature. Months went on and albums traded places (sometimes quite dramatically) based on repeat listens and newer releases. We’re nearing the top, though, which means that things are getting more and more special!


Part 1

Part 2

Now, onto Part 3!

30. Midlake The Courage Of Others

The Texas folk outfit’s dark turn was not that well-received by critics, but I find the eerie madrigals on The Courage Of Others to be quite refreshing. Despite its distinct lack of anything resembling rock & roll, this album was an early favorite upon its February release.

29. John Legend & The RootsWake Up!

Though it would take a lot to recapture the on-stage magic that Legend and The Roots make together, their record of soulful protest songs is the next best thing. The variety on Wake Up! is a testament to The Roots’ versatility and Legend’s range, but this is also the sound of friends having a great time recording some great songs.

28. Miniature TigersFortress

Following their light and highly enjoyable debut with a light and highly enjoyable sophomore album was the right move for Miniature Tigers. A bubbly production from Neon Indian and The Morning Benders’ Chris Chu makes Fortress an instantly satisfying (and delightfully strange) listen.

27. The Magnetic FieldsRealism

The acoustic counterpart to 2008’s terrific Distortion is surprisingly light on standouts, but the keepers stand head-and-shoulders above most songs written this year. The twisting melody of “You Must Be Out Of Your Mind” and the call-to-surrealist-arms “Dada Polka” are proud additions to Stephin Merritt’s already overflowing songbook.

26. Dum Dum GirlsI Will Be

Of all the girl-group revivalists that staked their claim in 2010, the Dum Dum Girls definitely presented the best record. A blitz of fuzz-laden tunes that are as noisy as they are catchy, I Will Be is the sound of a band that’s here to stay (at least until Dee Dee adopts a new musical persona).

25. Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiBefore Today

It’s as if Ariel Pink had heard the cries of all his would-be fans when he produced this (relatively) clean and polished set. Never one to shave away all his weirdness, Pink instilled his warped imagination into each and every cut without forgetting to use his classic pop-informed melodicism. Na na naa naaaa…

24. The Black KeysBrothers

A funky, fitting follow-up to the career-reinvigorating Attack & Release, Brothers shows that Auerbach and Carney can do pretty great things when left to their own devices. The first three songs comprise the most solid opening of the year, but it’s hardly a frontloaded affair.

23. Belle & SebastianBelle & Sebastian Write About Love

It was a long wait since The Life Pursuit, and Write About Love is almost entirely worth that wait. Were it not for that Norah Jones song, this might be a little higher on my list. In the end, good prevails over bland thanks to the counteractive powers of “I Didn’t See It Coming” and “I Want The World To Stop,” among others.

22. Janelle MonáeThe ArchAndroid

One of the most eclectic, entertaining and captivating albums, not just of this year, but of the past few. Monáe is a brilliant creative who has won me over quite handily. I can only imagine what she has in store.

21. Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People EP & The Age Of Adz

Against all odds (ha! get it?) this was a great year for the reclusive Brother Sufjan. With an EP coming seemingly out of nowhere and an equally innovative album following close behind, Stevens reminded all of us why we’re okay with waiting five years between proper releases from him.

We’re almost there!!

~ by E. on December 15, 2010.

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