Best of 2010: Music December 22, 2010Posted by David Card in Media.
Tags: digital music, music, top ten
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.