Getting the top ten wasn’t too difficult. What was so damn difficult was ordering ’em. Just about every album on here has been in just about every order. In fact, the only album that never changed was our #1, KiD CuDi’s Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager.
As redundant as it was in ordering them, I really enjoyed listening to each and every one. I grew a whole new respect and appreciation for them, one which I never would’ve had without this list. Thank you all for giving me the discipline to listen a little more closely.
I hope you enjoy as much as I did, they’re all worth a listen.
A Sample of a Song from Each Album:
See if you can spot the “mistake” in the slideshow (I’ll explain if someone figures it out)
With members from three of the most talented groups from the Midwest – Solid Gold, Mel Gibson and the Pants & Bon Iver – not to mention around 20 others, I had high expectations for GAYNG’s debute album, Relayted. The album may not have blown each of the group’s previous projects away, but it sure has something I’ve never heard before.
+ It’s there’s a handful of tracks on here for an evening with the loved one.
If I could jump back to ’08, Pretty Lights would probably take the #1 & #2 slots for albums of the year. As good as the three EP’s he’s released this year are, they ain’t got shit on some previous works. He probably deserves a higher position on this list, but like a lot of other artist considered this year, their potential was a big factor in their rankings.
Nevertheless, PL is going to be a huge influence on Electronic music for at least the next century. Look out for my Countdown to New Years with Pretty Lights coming soon – I’ll be showcasing some of his best unreleased music!
From the first time I listened to Chiddy Bang, I knew they were born for stardom (and probably mention it too much). Proto’s way with words coupled with Xaphoon’s perfect for party beats, makes this a good preview to a very Swelly 2011.
The one thing that worries me is their recent appearance on Now That’s What I Call Music! 75. I don’t really have anything against it, but I wouldn’t say the music there is usually complimentary to the music here. But as long as the quality is there, I could give a fuck where it is.
I first heard about Emancipator’s debut album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, through my obsession with Nujabes (r.i.p). Unfortunately, it overshadowed Emancipator’s second album, Safe in the Steep Cliffs, for most of the year. But when considering albums of the year, I knew I had to check it out just to cover my ground.
To my delight, Safe in the Steep Cliffs, is a fine addition to his first. It may not carry the nostalgia that I have with Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, but I’m sure in time it will. Like Nujabes, Emancipator has a gift at taking the most delicate of beats and fine-tuning ’em into a rich, tranquil soundscape.
This out of any of the top ten probably deserves a higher spot. 4th place came down to Cee Lo’s The Lady Killer & Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach. Cee Lo’s is definitely packed with more loveliness, but Gorillaz took it with their expanding style and their use of many other talented features.
But don’t let the six spot damper this delight. Cee Lo has continued to bring back the Soul that’s been lost for some time. I just can’t wait for the Prince/Cee Lo Green collaboration.
Check out I Want to Fuck You
Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy may have been the most frustrating album of the year. With his GOOD Fridays featuring up until the album released, Kanye got me hyped on what was to come. But when I found out half of the album was made up of those songs, I was a little let down. So I sat on it for a while and decided to get back to it when I didn’t have such a bias against it.
Giving it a little more thought and less petty criticisms, I realized where Kanye shined and where he fell short. As far as production goes, Kanye is at the forefront of hip-hop – he is defining, on a production level, what the future of hip-hop will be for the next decade. Where he fell short was his, and his featured acts, inability to connect with me on a level in which the other top ten did. There were a few songs which Kanye gave a heartfelt recollection, as well as a few others with empowering words. But his eclectic, progressive production far outshines this albums overall message.
Gorillaz latest album is another genre bending set of songs, but the ever stretching styles Gorillaz is know for, has set this album back. The consistency in quality heard in Demon Days is just not there in Plastic Beach. There are quite a few tracks to take in, but there are also just as many gaps to be filled. Surprisingly, the songs that lacked the most were the ones that featured the best, namely Snoop Dogg & Mos Def. Regardless, Gorillaz experimentation with sound lends it a top spot.
Broken Bells released a few singles back in late ’09/early ’10 to kick off their LP that came out this last March. From the first song I heard of theirs, “The Ghost Inside” instantly reminded me of a less electro-intense Gorillaz. When comparing the two over this year, I realized what Broken Bells had over Plastic Beach.
Plastic Beach has a handful of quality tracks, but the album as a whole doesn’t come close to the consistency felt in Broken Bells’. Broken Bells’ album, may not be as forward thinking as the Gorillaz, but has a better flow, track to track, overall.
Ultimately, Gorillaz & Broken Bells both brought a contender for this year. Gorillaz may have started off the race late last century, but Broken Bells is going to be one hell of a competition in the coming years.
More on The Ghost Inside
With most musicians I come across, the quality of their music eventually diminishes over time. It’s hard for artists to differentiate their sound while still keeping up with the same quality as their originals. Rarely do I find a musician who progressively gets better with time; however, Bonobo be that man.
Bonobo’s Black Sands is a an elegant mix of natural sounds with a nu jazz, hip-hop vibe. Each track is woven with intricate, lush instrumentals that feed the ears with electro-soul. I still can’t believe where his albums have taken me and I sure as hell can’t wait to see what’s to come.
Make sure to check his best beat to bump in the car – convertible highly recommended.
It’s still difficult for me two write about Cudi’s Man on the Moon II. I feel like I should be spouting off tons of praises for my #1 pick; but CuDi takes it for probably the simplest reason of any, how he puts it all together. He may not have the production value Kanye does, nor the soul that Cee Lo embodies, but when you take his lyrical & vocal abilities you realize his depth, especially when layered with production made for this melodramatic Mescudi.
“Get caught up in his highs and lows.”
A few more disjointed thoughts on Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.