List season : : My Top 20 Albums of 2010

20. Gil Scott-Heron : : I’m New Here
Standout tracks: “Me and the Devil” and “New York is Killing Me”

19. Four Tet : : There is Love In You
Standout tracks: “Angel Echoes” and “She Just Likes to Fight”

18. Panthu Du Prince : : Black Noise
Standout tracks: “A Nomads Retreat” and “Stick to My Side”

17. Massive Attack : : Heligoland
Standout tracks: “Paradise Circus” and “Saturday Come Slow”

16. Das Racist : : Sit Down, Man
Standout tracks: “Return to Innocence” and “Rapping 2 U”

15. Crystal Castles : : Crystal Castles [2010]
Standout tracks: “Empathy” and “Not In Love”

14. Jonsi : : Go
Standout tracks: “Hengilas” and “Animal Arithmetic”

13. Foals : : Total Life Forever
Standout tracks: “Spanish Sahara” and “Blue Blood”

12. Nicki Minaj : : Pink Friday
Standout tracks: “Superbass” and “I’m the Best”

11. The National : : High Violet
Standout tracks: “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “Lemonworld” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”

10. Sufjan Stevens : : The Age of Adz
Standout tracks: “Vesuvius,” “All For Myself” and “Impossible Soul”

9. Beach House : : Teen Dream
Standout tracks: “Walk In The Park” and “Silver Soul”

8. Sleigh Bells : : Treats
Standout tracks: this whole album, for real (my absolute favorite track, if I had to pick one, is probably “Crown on the Ground”)

7. Robyn : : Body Talk Pt. 1
Standout tracks: “Cry When You Get Older” and “Hang With Me (acoustic)”

6. The Black Keys : : Brothers
Standout tracks: These boys can basically do no wrong in my eyes, I unconditionally love them and every sound they produce, so I’d say just listen to the whole darn thing and everything else they’ve made for that matter.

5. The-Dream : : Love King
Standout tracks: LISTEN TO THIS ENTIRE ALBUM. NOWWW! The-Dream rocks my world in ways that few modern day hit-makers can and you know what, he has probably rocked your world too and you didn’t even realize it (see ‘Single Ladies’…composed by Terius Nash AKA The-Dream).

4. Big Boi : : Sir Lucious Left Foot

3. Deerhunter : : Halcyon Digest

2. The Arcade Fire : : The Suburbs

1. Kanye West : : My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Standout tracks: If you haven’t listened to this album in its entirety on repeat then we probably aren’t friends and shouldn’t waste time trying to be. Basically everyone is voting it number one and for me, to be honest, any of my top 10 could have been my number one and definitely was at some point during the past year. With that said, MBDTF is an incredible piece of music that was clearly obsessively executed and is an absolute pleasure to listen to. This album really did hit me heavy and I’m sure I’ll continue to be excited about it in the years to come.


What I’m listening to: Superhero music

I love rap music, but this wasn’t always the case. Growing up in the Northwest I was more privy to epic folk music (think of The Decemberists and Iron and Wine) and alternative, indie rock (I’m pretty sure almost all music is considered ‘indie’ rock now though, so this isn’t exactly a narrow scope of jamming). It wasn’t until living in the dirty south, ATL-Atlanta, that I grew to actually appreciate rap music and find value in it that was more significant than simply being something fun to dance and drive to. Yes, I’d listened to rap before and liked some artists of the genre quite a bit, but that was as far as my relationship to rap music went. Now though, as I’ve said, I love rap music. I certainly have a lot more self-schooling to do when it comes to my rap education, particularly of the founders, but rap is a genre that I consider to be very significant to our culture. Lately quite a few impressive albums have come out and the standouts for me have been two rap albums from two brilliant artists, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj. Here’s what I’ve been listening to:

1. Kanye West : : My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This album is amazing. I’ve had MBDTF since it leaked in early November and I cannot stop listening to it: it’s addicting, fresh, clever, absolutely beautiful and heart wrenching both lyrically and musically. Pitchfork gave the album a 10 (the last album to receive a perfect score was Wilco’s 2002 release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) and it is entirely deserving. Of all the outstanding tracks, I’m especially fond of “Dark Fantasy,” “Blame Game (feat. John Legend)” (and CHRIS ROCK!) and “All of the Lights.”

2. Nicki Minaj : : Pink Friday

I’m all about this chick; there are far too few female rappers in the game, particularly of her caliber. Her lyrics are witty, funny, empowering, flirtatious and often give that punch right below the belt that reminds everyone that she plays with the big boys and can dish it out just as well. After hearing her featured on innumerable tracks by just about everyone, I’d been anxiously waiting for her full length to come out and boy oh boy did it impress. Pink Friday goes beyond what I expected to hear from her. There are songs that are sweet, even romantic, soon-to-be pop hits immediately followed by her hard spitting, high force rap jams. On this record there are times where she is vulgar and vulnerable, honest and vindicated, silly and clearly having fun. It’s just a great album to listen to and if you’re not a rap fan, I can understand being uninterested in Nicki Minaj (you probably quit reading a while ago if this applies to you), but there are quite a few tracks on Pink Friday that I would argue easily appeal to the masses and are absolutely worth listening to (see “Right Thru Me,” “Save Me” and “Your Love”). In the words of Nicki, in her proud opening act “I’m the Best,” “I’m the best now/ anybody with some money should invest now”….no kidding.

Also worth mentioning:

Cee Lo Green : :  The Lady Killer

Cee Lo’s third solo album is certainly a battered, romantic, lady killing set of songs. Obviously “Fuck You” is awesome, but I’m pretty wild about his cover of the Band of Horses track “No One’s Gonna Love You,” the soulful “Satisfied,” “Cry Baby” and “Wildflower.”¬†

Four Tet : : There Is Love In You

Ohhhhh, this album is so good and not exactly new, but he’s playing in Seoul next week so I’ve been listening to this album quite a lot. This is the kind of music you listen to and you start staring at the ceiling for hours and kind of forget about everything. It’s really wonderful and mesmerizing and I cannot wait to see him.

I have an interview with Paste…

and to commemorate this special occasion I’m going to paste some music lists in this here blog of mine.

Top 5 songs played in iTunes:

1. The Mistress Witch From McClure- Sufjan Stevens

2. Plasticities- Andrew Bird

3. I Will Light You on Fire- Golden Shoulders

4. Intervention- The Arcade Fire

5. Here it Comes- Modest Mouse

Top 5 songs played on Catalina (old ipod):

1. I Know, I Know, I Know- Tegan and Sara

2. On the Radio- Regina Spektor

3. Champagne High- Sister Hazel

4. Aaron and Maria- American Analog Set

5. I Will Follow You Into the Dark- Death Cab for Cutie

Top 5 songs on Carlos (Catalina’s lover):

1. Hide and Seek- Imogen Heap

2. Trouble- Elliott Smith

3. Kids- MGMT

4. High and Dry- Radiohead

5. Wild Horses- The Rolling Stones

My Personal Favorites  (in no particular order!)

1. After the Curtain- Beirut

2. For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti- Sufjan Stevens

3. Mambo Sun- T.Rex

4. The Mistress Witch From McClure- Sufjan Stevens

5. A Comet Appears- The Shins

6. Consequence of Sound- Regina Spektor

7. Let Down- Radiohead

8. Island in the Sun- Weezer

9. Some Kinda Love- The Velvet Underground

10. Look Up- Stars

11. A Sunday Smile- Beirut

12. Gigantic and Where is My Mind- Pixies

13. Ceremony- New Order

14. Lit Up- The National

15. Woke Up New- The Mountain Goats

16. For the Actor- Mates of State

17. Intervention- The Arcade Fire

18. Hold on I’m Comin’- Sam and Dave

19. Blowin’ in the Wind- Bob Dylan

20. Transatlanticism- Death Cab for Cutie

21. Red Right Ankle- The Decemberists

22. 2:45 am- Elliott Smith

23. Petals- The Honorary Title

24. Jezebel- Iron and Wine

25. Born Secular- Jenny Lewis