Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Neon Hustle's Totally Subjective and Woefully Incomplete Guide to the Best Music of 2010

It's been a while since I've felt compelled to make a list. And now I have. The numerical rankings are as arbitrary as they ever are, but it's all in good fun, right?

Honorable Mentions:

Sharks - Show of Hands

British kids doing it the way British kids did before British kids made terrible music.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

In a year where Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady, and about million other awesome bands made astonishingly mediocre records, Arcade Fire made another great one. That says... something, doesn't it?

Surfer Blood - Astro Coast

American kids doing it the way American kids did it before American kids made terrible music.

#5 The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

Maybe the most Springsteen-y of all the new, Springsteen-y bands around. And I mean that in the absolute best way possible.

#4 The National - High Violet

We're already taking them for granted, aren't we? Although they might not be as flashy as some of the artists taking end of year honers around the web, The National have done nothing less than craft by far the most durable, assured, indie rock record of the year. It might never be your "favorite" album, but this is one we'll return to time and time again, right after (or fucking BEFORE!) we listen to Alligator or Boxer for the 1,000th time too...

#3 LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening

James Murphy said that this might be the final LCD record, and that it was its best. Only time will tell regarding the former, but the latter is true. The first LP was a fun exercise, cobbling together a bunch of singles and throwing together a portrait of the artist as a not-young-for-long man, and the second has maybe the all-time great LCD tracks, but this is the best, most balanced, top-to-bottom BEST of the lot.

#2 Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I'm seriously almost sick of talking about this album. But it IS an ALBUM- and that is itself a rarity in hip-hop. Put it this way: Whether or not you believe he's an artist of this particular caliber, what matters is that Kanye West BELIEVES that he is Bob Dylan and Elvis and The Beatles and Prince and whomever else. That's why he acts how he acts. That's why he is who he is. And that's why he's able to produce a work as drop-dead-incredible as MBDTF. When he interrupted Taylor at the VMAs, most people thought "Oh my God! What an asshole! What a jerk! I just hate him!" I thought "Dude... The next Kanye record is gonna be sooooooo gooooooood..." And it is.

#1 Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

Rarest of feats: A high concept album that almost instantly makes itself at home within the listener like a long-beloved favorite. Alienation, frustration, indignation and every other boon of youthful righteousness, all delivered directly from the brain of one Patrick Stickles, generation Y's first truly great guitar hero.

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