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Top Five Albums—2010

Everyone has their lists this time of year, from top grossing movies to the top searches on Google. It only makes sense that I add my own list for 2010…albeit a short one. My top five albums for 2010 are not based on anything other than what I liked the most. Of course, I listened, and purchased more than five albums this year, but these are my favourite. Enjoy.

1. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More.
A truly incredible album. Folk, Country, and Rock all wrapped up into one unique sound. Driving, beating anthems, and moody, passionate real life lyrics. With spiritual undertones and love lost, it could be anyone’s story. I’ve yet to tire listening to this album. For those in the UK, yes this was released toward the end of 2009. But in the US it wasn’t released until February, 2010. So I’m cheating a little…playing to both audiences. If there’s a way for me to sneak it into my top five for 2011 I might do it.

Best Lyric: In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life. Awake My Soul.

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs.
While Sigh No More could be anyone’s album, The Suburbs was my album. I immediately connected with this album about the result of suburban sprawl, the new culture it creates, and the culture that is left to die downtown. This is clearly an “American” album (even though the band is from Montreal). I’ve wondered how British listeners would relate to songs about the suburbs when the cities here in the UK are very different from the US. When I hear these songs I immediately think of Dallas and Houston and wonder what cities the British listener thinks of.

Best Lyric: You never trust a millionaire quoting the sermon on the mount;
I used to think I was not like them but I’m beginning to have my doubts, my doubts about it. City With No Children.

3. The National – High Violet (Expanded Edition)
To be honest, any of my top three albums could have been number one, but High Violet has to settle for number 3. The National have been around for a while, but I just found them this year. After purchasing High Violet first I’ve gone back and purchased their Boxer album and their self titled debut album. Boxer is also very good. High Violet is moody, and melancholy, and gloomy, and full of emotion. Matt Berninger’s voice is like a drug…you can’t get enough of it. My most listened to tracks: Terrible Love, Bloodbuzz Ohio, and Conversation 16. Listening to High Violet causes me to see myself in a movie, driving down a foggy lane with high hedges, in the middle of the night, not knowing where the road leads. Any album that can transport me to “another place” like that easily fits in my top five.

Best Lyric: I still owe money to the money to the money I owe. Bloodbuzz Ohio.

4. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
For some, mainly those that follow me in the States, this will be a controversial inclusion…primarily because of the language and themes found in this album. But musically speaking, this album is a masterpiece. Yes, it’s rough. Yes, it can be hard to listen to at times. Yes, it’s probably possible to write a song without using the F-bomb 896 times, but then it wouldn’t be Kanye, and it wouldn’t be as good. One thing that must be done when listening to this album…you must constantly remind yourself of the album’s title. The songs here definitely comprise a dark, twisted, and sometimes beautiful fantasy. I don’t for one second think that some of the themes found in this album represent real life for Kanye West. Also worth mentioning is the list of cameos by other artists: Bon Iver, John Legend, Beyonce, Jaz-Z, and samples from King Crimson. Rolling Stone has this as their #1 album for 2010.

Best Lyric: The youngsters who were programmed to continue f**king up, woke up one night digging Paul Revere and Nat Turner as the good guys. Who Will Survive In America.

As an extra bit of reading related to why I think it’s okay as a Christian to include an album like this in my top 5: Mark Driscoll – Why Christians Go Postal Over Facebook, Jay-Z, Yoga, Avatar, and Culture in General

5. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo (Deluxe Version)
I’m still not quite sure why this is a Brandon Flowers album, and not a Killers album…they are one in the same in my opinion. This is a great anthemic album, yet some might giggle at my inclusion. I guess I’m drawn to the lyrics and Brandon has written some good ones. Every song can easily be sung along with, except for Swallow It, which is a ridiculous song. The best songs on the album are: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Only the Young, and Playing With Fire.

Best Lyric: This church of mine may not be recognised by steeple,
That doesn’t mean that I will walk without a God. Playing With Fire.

The good albums that didn’t quite make it:
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Bombay Bicycle Club – Flaws
The Acorn – No Ghost

Let me know what you think, but be nice about it. And let me know what your top albums were for this year. While I listen to a lot of music, I’m sure I missed some very good albums.

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