The Truth About Music: Play It Loud

"What's hot, what's not, and whats next in pop music"

My Favorite Music Years: Sean’s Top 5 Records of 2010

1. Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”: As fractured as our current culture is, it is nearly impossible to be as universally known as Kanye West is, to the point where a good dose of the disdain people have for him is based on his omnipresence. Whatever one thinks of Kanye the man, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an undisputed masterpiece. Garnering near universal consensus as the best record of 2010, Dark Fantasy is thrilling, clever, and impossible to pin down to one genre. It may ultimately stand as the greatest record of our current decade.

Key Track: The epic “Runaway” is the album in a nutshell. Deeply personal and revealing on Kanye’s part, it contains a sparse piano led beat, a short, ferocious verse from Pusha T then the song soars into a 3 minute outro. Kanye sings confessions through a mic so distorted we can’t hear a word he says, left to absorb his emotions instead.

Key Lyric: “…they said I was the abomination of Obama’s nation, well that’s a pretty bad way to start a conversation.”

Devil’s Advocate: I’ve always felt that people’s seething hatred of Kanye says more about themselves than it does about him, but if you are one of those people you already hate every second of this album despite the fact that you probably haven’t heard any of it.

2. Titus Andronicus – “The Monitor”: The death of rock n roll has been a hot button issue for at least a decade now, and while the chart presence of the genre has wained, so has the importance of said chart. Titus Andronicus are a great rock band, and The Monitor is their masterpiece. Epic riffs collide with rambling folk brilliance as Patrick Stickles tells a cohesive narrative around the theme of the American Civil war. Despite persistent rumors, Rock n Roll will never die, and we can add The Monitor to reasons why it’s alive and well.

Key Track: Opener A More Perfect Union double’s as the record’s mission statement. broken up into a few distinct sections over 7 minutes, Stickles sings about the frustration of the modern condition and “Jeff Davis hanging from a sour apple tree” in rapid succession, all over one of the most triumphant guitar riffs ever written.

Key Lyric: “Like the time traveler who kills his grandfather, these cycles are bringing me down.”

Devil’s Advocate: It’s a DIY Folk Punk concept album built around the frame of The Civil War where the average song length is around 7 minutes, next question.

3. LCD Soundsystem – “This Is Happening”: By the time This Is Happening was released, LCD Soundsystem were already legends. As one of the godfathers of Williamsburg, James Murphy had defined his time and place, and by 2010 had developed a rabid national following. What makes This Is Happening most remarkable how confident and final it still sounds. Many bands have made the “retirement” claim, but with Murphy’s phone ringing off the hook with other projects, he made his pronouncement count.

Key Track: Like Sound Of Silver before it, nearly half the songs are classics, but there is something special about the elegant closer Home. built around a warm keyboard played in a frantic loop, LCD rev up their engine one last time and Murphy sings about the one place he’d rather be than playing in this band.

Key Lyric: “If we wait until the weekend, we can miss the best things to do.”

Devil’s Advocate: LCD Soundsystem are my favorite band of all time, and one of the reasons is I think literally anyone can love one of their songs, but no one can love all of them. Point being, there will be 2-3 songs you don’t care for on this album no matter who you are.

4. Big Boi – “Sir Lucius Left Foot”: The Son Of Chico Dusty: Even if this album was a disappointment, it would be worth it for that title. Fortunately, Big Boi’s much delayed solo debut was worth the wait, as Lucius Left Foot stands along side the best Outkast records. A real top to bottom Rap classic, Big Boi brings his absolute best, and the production team backs him up with incredible instrumentals. Lucius Leftfoot was the moment when Big Boi finally destroyed the conception that he was the secondary MC in Outkast.

Key Track: On an album of great songs, Shutterbugg stands triumphant above them all. built around an analog talk box riff, Big Boi spits absolute fire over one of the best beats of recent memory. The only hit Sir Lucius produced, Shutterbugg stands as an all time classic on it’s own.

Key Lyric: “trying to block my shine? It ain’t gonna happen so don’t try.”

Devil’s Advocate: If you like Hip-Hop you’ll love this record, but don’t look for any career making guest verses here. Fellow Southerners TI and Gucci Mane fit the mold perfectly, but there are guest spots that reek of label tinkering. If you remember Yella Wolf I raise you Vonnegutt, who barely even show up on Google. Both somehow have features on this classic album.

5. The Dream – “Love King”: Modern Pop/R&B ins’t a genre generally known for great albums, but then again The-Dream is anything but a “general” R&B artist. One of the most consistent hit makers of the Pop/R&B world, The-Dream saves his best material for his own releases, and he hasn’t put together a better collection of songs for any artist than he did for himself on Love King.

Key Track: There really isn’t any better example of what The-Dream does so well then lead off track Love King. “L to the O, V to the E” begins the chorus, as the synth trumpets blare. The-Dream signs about all the different girls he see’s and manages to do so in a way that is sweet and incorrigible rather than creepy and mean.

Key Lyric: “Tryin’ to rob me with a BB gun, but my love keeps it poppin’ like the Taliban.”

Devil’s Advocate: Like many great Pop albums, it’s pretty front loaded. In this case that means the first 7 or 8 songs are pretty dynamite, but there isn’t really much to stay tuned for in the back end.

Add A Comment