BW's Best Albums of 2010
One of the best things about the end of any year is the myriad best-of lists: best designers, best movies, best television and, of course, best albums. It's fun to look through a wrap-up and see how many in the list you agree with, how many you disagree with and what you may have missed. Here are a few top album picks of 2010 from BW A&E Editor Amy Atkins and Staff Writer Tara Morgan. See what you think.
Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella Records) reigns supreme on every list from Rolling Stone to stereogum.com to pitchfork.com and magazines and blogs in between. The collaborations on songs like "Monster," with the unexpected likes of Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver alongside Jay-Z and Rick Ross, help make the thick, layered multilevel MBDTF one of the coolest albums of 2010.
Lady killer Cee Lo Green shot out of 2010 with The Lady Killer (Elektra). The single "Fuck You," (or radio-friendly "Forget You") and Green's breathtaking cover of Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You," aren't nearly as complicated as Kanye's tracks, but the songs are soulful, high-spirited and imminently danceable.
Closer to my heart is Athens, Ga., rock trio The Whigs, who have made a few stops in Boise in the last couple of years, playing "the big stage" at Knitting Factory most recently. Their 2010 release In the Dark (ATO Records) is aptly named. It's darker than their earlier albums, and the basic combo of guitar, bass and drums is ratcheted up in these guys' capable hands. If you want a gritty rock record, pick this one up and check out the single "Kill Me Carolyne."
On the surface, Menomena's Mines is the most accessible release to date from the Portland, Ore., trio, but it's by no means simple. The album is both catchy and astoundingly dynamic--its 11 meticulously layered tracks wander from fuzzy, drugged-out numbers like opener "Queen Black Acid," to thrashing ass-shakers like "BOTE," back to mellow confections like "Sleeping Beauty." Mines is an album that has remained in regular rotation on my record player and one that continues to mature with each subsequent listen.
Another 2010 release making constant turns is Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me. The first time I threw on the indie folk nymphet's third more-than-full-length release, I barely got through the album's first disc before I had to push pause and process. Though the triple album requires a serious time commitment, Have One On Me rewards fans by revealing a more vulnerable, mature side of the warbling harpist. Peppered with Newsom's natural imagery, Have One On Me also throbs with a heartache not seen on her previous releases. For those in a time crunch, I'd suggest starting with the oh-so-lovely third disc.