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Stuff that I liked in 2010 (the Music Edition–Top Albums) | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Stuff that I liked in 2010 (the Music Edition–Top Albums)

This year I thought I change up my reviews a bit. In the past I’ve diagramed the top ten in terms of release dates and the type of music it was. This year I found that things were more consistent in the type of music I was drawn to. So instead I thought I give a brief overview of my top albums from 2010. I can’t really pinpoint any one influence in terms of discovery. At times I found new stuff from Hype Machine, NPR on occasion and random tweets. If you’re curious to see how I’ve reviewed them in the past, here’s 2009, 2008 and 2007.

1. U.N.K.L.E.: Where Did the Night Fall
I’ve been listening to this album since it came out in May. It was the first thing I pressed play to a lot. There’s a nice balance of ambient and non ambient stuff to work to in the background.

2. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: The Social Network
I really didn’t want to like this album but found myself listening to it a lot walking outside. I did end up seeing the movie and like a lot of others was curious to hear where each song would be scored in a scene. For the most part the tracks made sense except for one. One of my favourite tracks was In the Hall of the Mountain King. In the film they play for the backdrop of a race that felt a bit animated in a not so great way.

3. Sleigh Bells: Treats
This album will help keep the energy going past the first few cups of coffee in the morning. The speed stays pretty consistent throughout without taking any breaks. Lots of discoveries within each song.

4. Wait What: the Notorious Xx
For a while this way my top album of the year. It has a great combo of mashups between Xx and the Notorious B.I.G. Again I listened to this album a ton but when I came back to it a couple weeks ago some of the novelty had rubbed off. When including albums in my list I try to think how often I might listen to the album a year from know. This one will probably be occasional while the other top three quite a bit more.

5. The Rocketboys: Wellwisher
This EP only came out a couple weeks ago. It’s very tight and I suspect there will be a lot of attention for these guys as people discover them.

6. Massive Attack: Heligoland
I have to be honest that I’m still warming up to this album. This was the one this year that within a few listens loved it, than hated it, forgot about it and am starting to enjoy again. There’s something really good yet off with the whole thing—I just can’t put my finger on it.

7. Daft Punk: Tron Legacy
I had high hopes for this one after seeing the first movie trailer. Now that I’ve heard most of it I’m a bit disappointed. It’s a nice film score but doesn’t really compare listenabley to the Social Network soundtrack

8. The National: High Violet
This was my mainstream pick of the year. Even now as I listen to it I think it’s pretty good in that I never got tired of it and could listen to it for most of a day.

9. Beach House: Teen Dream
I got this at the beginning of the year, listened to it a ton and stopped. I didn’t find them gimmicky at all but could only handle the album in short doses after the first month.

10. There wasn’t one real other standout for me. Sure there was Girl Talk, Kid Cudi, Sufjan Stevens and even Kanye West, but I never really got into any of them the way I did with the other nine albums. I’m sure there’s a ton of great albums (not tracks) that I missed. So let me know what else I should be exploring.

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