Best albums of 2010
Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I shall now share my annual list of favorite albums. 2010 was a strange one for me, and I couldn't even find ten albums that I liked that came out this past year...so we'll have to settle for the Top 7. However, I did discover great albums that came out many years ago that dominated my playlists this year...stuff like the Beatles Box Set and a variety of awesome Nordic folk music including my favorite Finnish folk album, Ampron Prunni. You can buy this album here, along with other cool Finnish CDs. I bought mine at the bookstore at Finlandia University in Hancock, MI.
Okay, but now for the real list. MY FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2010!
1. JAKOB DYLAN "WOMEN & COUNTRY"
Of course I appreciate the work of Father Bob, and I liked a few of those big hits by Jakob's '90s band The Wallflowers, but I haven't really followed the work of the younger Dylan. I bought this album because my production hero T Bone Burnett was the producer, and T Bone has delivered yet again. This album sounds great, but above all, the songwriting is really fine. Interesting lyrics, and timeless melodies. In some ways it feels like a companion piece to the Robert Plant / Alison Krauss "Rising Sand" duet album that T Bone cranked out a couple years ago. Similar atmosphere, and equally ideal for late night driving.
2. PETE YORN "PETE YORN"
Pete had TWO of my favorite albums of last year, and he did well again in 2010. This new self-titled record is a bit more garagey than the previous few, but features more of his fresh wordsmithing and hooky hard pop. Contains my favorite single of the year, the kick off track "Precious Stone" with very deft, spare production.
3. JASON & THE SCORCHERS "HALCYON TIMES"
Holy cow, what a career resurrection! I first heard this band as a high schooler in the mid-80s and they've drifted in and out of existence ever since. But WOW, they get back together, hook up with one of my rock heros Dan Baird and brilliant songwriter Tommy Womack and crank out easily the best Americana album of the past few years. It's the Stones meets the Carter Family meets AC/DC meets the Charlie Daniels Band. Telecaster inspiration abounds! And it's really cool to hear an album where there's a sense of pure fun and joy pouring through the speakers....how obvious that these guys are having a blast in the studio. Check out the song "Land of the Free" and rock to the contrast between the verses and the chorus! Sweet!
4. EELS "TOMORROW MORNING"
I'll listen to anything E and the Eels release, but their past few have been a little lacking. However on this new album, E delivers a few of his finest songs ever, including "The Man"...these lyrics soaked into me gradually as I listened and give me the chills and a smile simultaneously.
5. ELIZABETH COOK "WELDER"
As I posted on Facebook upon my first listen of this album, Nashville retro country singer Cook has managed the almost-impossible balancing act of being clever, dangerous, cute, risque, fun, and profound. Check out the harrowing "Heroin Addict Sister."
6. BUTCH WALKER AND THE BLACK WIDOWS "I LIKED YOU BETTER WHEN YOU HAD NO HEART"
Again, I'll listen to anything Butch puts out. His 2010 release had some fine moments including the great "Trash Day" where he skewers Nashville CCM culture with laser focus. Lighthearted and snide and rocking, with musical brilliance underneath all the snark and attitude.
7. CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG "IRM"
A real surprise for me, and a record that I'd most likely not discover in my usual life. But this year I was lucky to stumble across it and found a very hip and slinky album with Gainsbourg's dreamy Euro-vocals and amazing production and composing by Beck. I checked her out on Wikipedia to find that she was born exactly one day after me! Maybe I related to her because she's truly my generation.
There you have it. My Top 7 for 2010. Let me know, dear readers, what your faves were this past year!