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Best of 2010: Music December 22, 2010

Posted by David Card in Media.
Tags: , ,

It’s the time of year for Top Ten lists. I won’t bother apologizing.

I bought a little less music this year than last: about 50 albums and EPs, no singles, almost exclusively digital downloads this year. The Virgin Megastore closed. And I buy from Amazon, not Apple. Amazon’s cheaper and ships a higher bitrate MP3. That’s not to say I don’t do all my playing back on a Mac or iPod or iPhone, and manage my collection in that horrid spreadsheet of a music software app, iTunes.

My purchase mix was about 60/40 new versus back catalog, and I bought a little more jazz and a lot more Americana/roots than last year. I ripped a handful of other people’s CDs, but some of those I bought as gifts. I’m still way above the average American in music spending, even though the stuff I bought ranged in price between free, $3.99 and $5 (thank you, Amazon promotions) and $12-$13. Accent on the cheap stuff.

My favorite new albums of the year, in rough order were:

Best Albums of 2010

  • Titus Andronicus “The Monitor” – as if Springsteen were punk, channeled the Pogues, and did a concept album on the Civil War
  • Surfer Blood “Astro Coast” – lo-fi Beach Boys
  • Paul Weller “Wake up the Nation” – way more eclectic and lively than his recent post-Jam stuff
  • Various artists “Crazy Heart Soundtrack” – the actors actually sing borderline – but not quite – parody country songs very well
  • The Walkmen “Lisbon” – melancholy suits a sad year
  • John Mellencamp “No Better than This” – convincingly rootsy
  • Swans “My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky” – outright dirge
  • Neil Young “Le Noise” – old hippie sounds very modern
  • David Byrne & Fatboy Slim “Here Lies Love” – yeah, it’s a disco musical about Imelda Marcos, deal with it
  • Grinderman “Grinderman 2” – does Nick Cave get hornier the older he gets?

I liked another aging punk, former Sleater Kinney singer Corin Tucker’s “1,000 Years,” another soundtrack, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross doing “The Social Network,” New Orleans funk from Galactic (“Yo-Ka-May”), the collaborative headed by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse (“Dark Night of the Soul”), another collaboration featuring The Chieftans and Ry Cooder and others (“San Patricio” Latino-Irish!). I was disappointed by the latest from Elvis Costello, the National, M.I.A., the Thermals, the Dead Weather, and Killing Joke.



1. Mark Mulligan - December 23, 2010

Wow – I didn’t buy a single one of those. Normally there’s at least a couple of your best of on my list. I’ll go take a look at some of those. John Mellencamp excepted…

2. David Card - December 23, 2010

Mark: David Daniels is responsible for David Byrne and Neil Young. I also did more discovery this year via a couple of NPR programs. I think you’d like Titus Andronics – they rock pretty hard every now and then.

3. Mike Wolf - December 23, 2010

David – Have you tried Black Keys’ Brother?. Highly recommended.

Mike Wolf - December 23, 2010

Make that Brothers … Twice at good as Brother 🙂

David Card - December 23, 2010

Mike: you’re at least the second tastemaker that recommended it to me. I gave it a half-listen – I’m not a huge blues fan – but clearly, I’d better give it another. Thanks!

Mike Wolf - December 23, 2010

David – I think you’re practicing in taste-maker inflation by applying that term to me 🙂

4. Best of 2011: Music « Silicon Valleywood - December 21, 2011

[…] Not a great year, but we’ll see what ages. […]

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