I’m about a million years late posting this. The annual Consequence of Sound Year-End Report - 100 albums, 50 songs. This year I was more integral to compiling the final list, but I made short lists of 20 albums and 10 songs just like everyone else. (Actually I ended up doing a 15 song list, only 10 counted.)
As with every Year-End list I find myself struggling to catch up with the year’s music. Usually it’s only early into the next year that I really figure things out. As a result this list is a bit different from the one I submitted. Alas, there’s sure-fire gems like the Gorillaz’ (R.I.P.) Plastic Beach and Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot:The Son of Chico Dusty and Jónsi’s Go - to name a few, that I’m certain would be here if I’d had the chance to listen to them… Might trot on down to the record store tomorrow and do exactly that. No doubt I’ll be able to give a fully educated 2010 list by the end of this year, but what good would that do? I’ll be struggling to put together my 2011 list then.
Along with the albums are my accompanying write-ups for the final CoS list. Also, I did the artwork for all the Year-End pieces. Boosh:
My Top 20 Albums
20) The Left Rights – Bad Choices Made Easy
19) Evelyn Evelyn - Evelyn Evelyn
18) Megaran & K-Murdock – Forever Famicom
17) The Bird and The Bee - Interpreting Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates
16) Adam Warrock - The War for Infinity
15) Chromeo - Business Casual
14) Chumbawamba - ABCDEFG
13) Crash Test Dummies- Oooh La-La!
12) Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
11) Scissor Sisters - Night Work
10) Laurie Anderson – Homeland
Homeland is a sprawling and desolate pseudo-sequel to Laurie Anderson’s first breakthrough 1984 performance piece, United States Live. This revisiting of America rides on the back of economic desperation, global unrest, and the new electronic reality. It’s a fascinating and haunting perspective on our day and age, from America’s greatest performance artist.
9) Menomena - Mines
8) Goldfrapp - Head First
7) Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back
Covers albums are often forgettable or regrettable, but when as massively influential an artist as Peter Gabriel steps up to the task or reimagining some of his favorite songs, the result is nothing short of amazing. The music is simple, somber, and stripped of any bells and whistles leaving only raw intentions, pure lyrics, and Gabriel’s passionate voice. This collection of tracks, from Paul Simon to Radiohead, are laid bare – exposing just what makes the originals beautiful and brilliant while lifting them up to an emotional catharsis they may have never intended to go. What’s more, Scratch My Back is part of a double-album concept in which the artists Gabriel covers return the favor by covering him. If the moons align, the follow-up compilation, I’ll Scratch Yours will be out next year.
6) Vampire Weekend - Contra
Mike Roffman’s review of Contra for the Year-End article is phenomenal. You should check it out.
5) Hot Chip - One Life Stand
4) Devo - Something For Everybody
3) Yeasayer - Odd Blood
2) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Every so often an album comes along that speaks from the collective consciousness of a generation. The Suburbs was made specifically for this moment in time, for the twenty-somethings of 2010. The world as we know it is changing. This isn’t just a portrait of restless former suburbanites and the listless teenagers they used to be, but of the world that this generation was the last to know, and what’s already been left behind. The digital age has come. Everything is instantaneous, no one is truly lost anymore, and it’s easy to feel lost in memories for a pre-internet existence that seems like a lifetime ago.
The Suburbs marks the efforts of Arcade Fire’s previous albums combined – the darkness and rich musical layering of Neon Bible and Funeral’s dream-like hopefulness in spite of the world. It doesn’t place suburban sprawl and teen angst on a pedestal, nor does it condemn them. As a concept album it embraces the full scope of angles and emotions keeping the songs from choking on their own sentimentality. What makes The Suburbs stand out amidst other teenage snap-shots is that it’s not just a simple photo, it’s a panorama. And it’s ours.
1) OK Go - Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
With Of the Blue Color of the Sky, OK Go have become something so much more than Internet video darlings. True, they’re still pulling out all the stops with their visual accompaniment, but musically they’ve evolved into so much more. Of the Blue Colour of the Sky is pure art rock - fun, soulful, funky, with just enough cynicism to keep things raw. Their matured sound is built on the backs of greats, The Pixies, Talking Heads, Prince, but ultimately the sound is their own and OK Go have now joined their ranks. Between the album, the videos, forming their own label, and endless hi-jinks on the road and at cutting-edge arts festivals, 2010 has proven that OK Go are true musical artists.
My Top 15 Songs (Click to listen)
14) Thomas Dolby - “Oceanea” (Couldn’t find the original track to post. Instead here’s an amazing fan rendition on piano.)
7) Yeasayer - “Ambling Alp” (Best video of the year? It has my vote!)
“Later is Now” didn’t make the list, but “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)” did. here’s that write-up:
Devo’s return has been nothing short of amazing. Something For Everybody rocked our Top 20 of 2010 and “Don’t Shoot (I’m A Man)” is right there at the top of the track stack. It’s a high-energy electronic joyride through Devo’s hall of modern peril - delightfully dancey, outstandingly cynical, and easily the most fun song of the year. Plus it gets a million bonus points for working “don’t tase me bro” into a dance song – pop art brilliance!
After decades of apprehension, the “future” has arrived. It’s 2010. It’s not what we expected, but it’s here, and the world has dramatically changed. With “We Used to Wait”, Arcade Fire channels the loss of the world as we understood it, reminding us of the human tradition of waiting for letters, the romance and tragedy in that simple act, and how that tradition has been all but eliminated. It’s a simple, but profound observation that perfectly characterizes this transitory space we now exist in – right as humanity steps into a new age. It’s 2010, and many of us will keep on marching into the world of tomorrow, but some of us can’t bear to forget the analogue age. “We Used to Wait” is a fitting and elegy for that simpler time, and a beautiful way to remember the year that we looked out across the valley to see one day end and another begin.