top real albums, by ol' Bobe
Welp, this was a pretty good year for the ‘toons, but, ah, there’s a bunch I haven’t really listened to that are probably good. Those’ll have to wait for another year i reckon, here are the one’s I heard and thought were ear-pleasing and thought-freezing.
The National – The High Violet
Grandiose and magnificent, and my nummer one dandiest album of 2010, High Violet extends the National’s run of musical mastery. Lyrics deal with the fear of responsibility, regret, and general Matt Berninger weirdness. The guitars have been toned down even more than Boxer, which allows one to appreciate the beautiful arrangements the band has crafted from the other instruments used on the album. Highlights include every song on the album, and the b-sides from the album, and the Dessner twins’ unibrows.
The Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
Frightened Rabbit break out the anthemic jambs on this album, and I for one couldn’t be more pleased. There’s not much of the acoustic sound that made up the majority of Midnight Organ Fight’s track list, but more of a stadium-rock vibe, with effects-laden guitars and big choruses. The lyrics have taken a turn for the (relatively) bright; “Things” starts off the album and indicates the band is ready to start fresh, recovered from the turmoil detailed in their previous album.
The Yeasayer – The Odd Blood
Makes me dance like a stupy and smile like a dumbo. Equal parts avant-garde, goofy, and poppy, Odd Blood is filled with weird instrumentals and huge choruses, and some vocals like Prince-Man or Mike L. Jackson. The first track is peculiar, and it takes a bit of a nosedive in the back half, but tracks 2-5 are as good as any songs released this year (O.N.E. and Ambling Alp in particular).
The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
This album is sprawling, like the very suburbs that form the majority of the subject matter of each of its songs (and, more straightforwardly, as the titles Sprawl I and Sprawl II suggest). The songs range from up-tempo rock-o’s, like Ready To Start and Month of May; to sweet-n-sassy, beautiful meditations on stuff, lake buds and pals, on tracks like Half-Light (not based on the popular and fucking awesome Valve game, I’m afraid) and Suburban War (possibly based on the war that GM is waging with its well-known SUV line).
The Jimmy Eat World – The Invented
Although I liked Chase This Light, I consider this album somewhat of a return to form for Jimmy-Jims. Showing they still know how to write the angsty, emotional music they wrote earlier in their career (the sobering Cut, the glorius Mixtape), but still throwing in some pop gems more akin to their more recent output (the feisty Evidence, the fancy Movielike), Invented is a great representation of Jimmy’s style and progression. All in all, a bunch of great ‘toons to sip and smooch to.
The Envy – The Recitation
More of the same from Envy, which is fantastic. Recitation is upbeat than their past albums, but still full of the pummeling rhythms and Japanese hootin’ and hollerin’ that I find wonderful. Fact I might have made up: Envy’s bassist invented the concept of a “bento box;” he is now in the Japan Hall of Fame.
The Constants – The If Tomorrow the War
Not as space-rocky as their last two records, If Tomorrow the War shows Constants switching to a more straightforward rock sound. I guess they’re back! You know, from space! That’s why they’re not SPACE-rock anymore!!!! More like EARTH-rock!!! And what’s the deal with Earth? Is soil on Mars called Mars?!?!?! But seriously…what’s the deal with Starbucks? They’re putting those joints EVERYWHERE!!! What’s next, a Starbucks built inside another Starbucks?!?! Talk about bucks, more like A BILLION BUCKS, those guys are rollin’ in the dough!!!!! And I’m not talking about dough from their pastries either!!!!
runners up aka not as good'o's
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: wacky sack
The Morning Benders – Big Echo: big and echoey
Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown: sounds like Kings of Leon, yep
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis: I haven’t listened to this but I’m sure it’s awesome
Hans Zimmer – Inception Score – DUUUUUUUNNNN DUUUUUUNNN HUUUUUUHH
tracky-dacks and sacky-wacks
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
Frightened Rabbit – Foot Shooter
Yeasayer – O.N.E.
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Jimmy Eat World – Heart Is Hard To Find
Kanye West – All of the Lights
Envy – Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night
Constants – The Sun, the Earth
The Morning Benders – Excuses
Deerhunter – Desire Lines
Kings of Leon – Pyro
Big Boi – Shine Blockas
LCD Soundsystem – All I Want
The Slow Six – The Night You Left New York