AOTY 2017

PopMatters' Best 50 Albums of 2010

48. Superchunk - Majesty Shredding

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
82
15 reviews

Returning with Majesty Shredding, their first full-length release in almost a decade, the underground legends don’t waste any time proving that they haven’t lost a single step

47. Yeasayer - Odd Blood

February 9, 2010
Critic Score
78
29 reviews

45. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

September 21, 2010
Critic Score
83
19 reviews

Whatever the case, we finally have My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky to judge, and—whatever baggage it might carry—what a gift it turns out to be.

44. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh

March 30, 2010
Critic Score
82
17 reviews

“See, you don’t want to fall in love with me,” drawls the inimitable Erykah Badu to her potential suitors in “Fall in Love (Your Funeral)”. “Prepare to have your sh*t rearranged the way I say,” she warns. “You’ve got to change jobs… and change gods,” she taunts. With a nod to the Notorious B.I.G.‘s classic line from Ready to Die‘s “Warning”, Badu lays the smack down, “There’s gonna be some slow singin’ and flower bringin’ if my burglar alarm starts ringin’.”

43. Autechre - Oversteps

March 23, 2010
Critic Score
76
17 reviews

40. Vampire Weekend - Contra

January 12, 2010
Critic Score
79
29 reviews

39. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

Justin Townes Earle confidently writes and performs these 10+ songs as if he’s singing about life back in Tennessee instead of the Big Apple, and does this so damn convincingly that you believe him.

37. Twin Shadow - Forget

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
81
16 reviews

Although Forget might not usher in a new musical era, it’s a near-flawless album and certainly one of the most impressive debuts we’ve ever seen.

35. Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses - Junky Star

Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses - Junky Star
August 31, 2010
Critic Score
72
7 reviews

Bingham’s work on the Crazy Heart soundtrack found him working with producer T-Bone Burnett, who produced Bingham’s third album, the new Junky Star. This is Bingham’s record, a showcase for his tightening songwriting and singular vocals, but it also carries all the hallmarks of a Burnett project, which means, of course, that it sounds terrific.

34. Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do

March 16, 2010
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

The good news for Drive-By Truckers fans is that their new album The Big To-Do rarely strays from what the band does best. The bad news is band’s lyrics are taking on a far greater resonance for millions who have lost their jobs and homes in the Great Recession.

31. Neil Young - Le Noise

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
71
16 reviews

That Young takes risks with his music at this stage in his career is remarkable enough; that this one has paid off so handsomely is nothing short of spectacular.

27. Caribou - Swim

April 20, 2010
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

Caribou carries through pretty deftly, striking far more often than he misses.

26. Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
90
6 reviews

The Guitar Song quite firmly cements Johnson's place at the forefront of today's country music songwriters, performers, and singers.

25. Spoon - Transference

January 19, 2010
Critic Score
77
23 reviews

24. Grinderman - Grinderman 2

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
81
19 reviews

Instead, there’s a conflation of sexual politics and the very real violence of power on Grinderman 2 that makes it as unnerving as it is invigorating to listen to.

23. Konono N°1 - Assume Crash Position

Konono N°1 - Assume Crash Position
June 8, 2010
Critic Score
77
7 reviews

20. Das Racist - Sit Down, Man

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
84
11 reviews

19. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

October 12, 2010
Critic Score
77
24 reviews

Like its concluding song, The Age of Adz is occasionally transfixing, but overall inconsistent.

16. Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
79
10 reviews

14. Galactic - Ya-Ka-May

Galactic - Ya-Ka-May
February 9, 2010
Critic Score
79
5 reviews

13. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

February 23, 2010
Critic Score
83
25 reviews

It’s too bad really, that Have One on Me is so overdone because there’s a decent album hidden somewhere in there. It’s an album the Newsom we saw in 2006 would have found, formed, and made shine.

12. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
84
30 reviews

Halcyon Digest is, to my mind, the best we’ve seen from Deerhunter, and a hint that their best is still to come.

11. Sleigh Bells - Treats

May 11, 2010
Critic Score
83
30 reviews

While part of Sleigh Bells’ appeal has to do with its bold inventiveness, a lot more of it has to be chalked up to the air of invincibility that comes through in the duo’s bruising, high-impact sound, which elicits a visceral reaction that gets you to really feel its excesses and indulge in them.

9. Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
April 27, 2010
Critic Score
68
11 reviews

Since Super Taranta!, Gogol Bordello’s excellent 2007 breakthrough, the band has built plenty of hot anticipation for a follow-up by earning a reputation as one of rock’s most combustible live bands. Along the way, they caught the ear of goldsmith-guru Rick Rubin, who has produced their fifth album, Trans-continental Hustle.

5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

August 3, 2010
Critic Score
89
34 reviews

Last year’s war of words between the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Arcade Fire front man Win Butler was, at the time, an enjoyable diversion. Although Coyne’s comments (about what he perceived as arrogance in Butler’s crew) seemed somewhat impolite and petty, the flare-up between the two acts injected some energy and fun into a modern rock scene that is too often stuffy and image-conscious. Butler responded, Coyne apologized then retracted his apology, and finally the whole affair died down. Both bands continued to sell records and make money.

4. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

November 22, 2010
Critic Score
91
36 reviews

But it is the heart, soul, and humanity of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that ultimately marks it as the defining pop moment of 2010.

3. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

May 4, 2010
Critic Score
86
28 reviews

Flying Lotus, much like Yorke, Greenwood & Co., has made a definitive summary of a decade’s worth of advances in electronic music, a release that transcends genre and deserves to become a glorified phenomena by those who experience it.

2. The National - High Violet

May 10, 2010
Critic Score
85
29 reviews

High Violet summons up perfectly and terribly the sneaking suspicion you start getting in your 20s that possibilities are closing off, that your life might not turn out the way you wanted it to, and that there’s probably no-one else to blame but yourself.

1. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

May 18, 2010
Critic Score
86
25 reviews

Suite II boasts a range of moods and musical styles that could be released on its own. Suite III, while maintaining the quality of the other Suites, wouldn’t be my choice for a standalone release—largely because it’s really strange.

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