Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2010

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2010

Original Source →

50. Wavves - King of the Beach

August 3, 2010
Critic Score
76
24 reviews

49. Wild Nothing - Gemini

May 25, 2010
Critic Score
76
13 reviews

Though some of indie's brightest leading men have come through Virginia's halls of higher education (Steve Malkmus, David Berman, Travis Morrison), your average college rock band in the Old Dominion area probably sounds more like Agents of Good Roots. So if you live in a place like Blacksburg, Va., home of the Virginia Tech campus and not much else, and you want to be in a tropical punk act (Facepaint), an introspective singer-songwriter project (Jack & the Whale), or a band that covers Kate Bush instead of Dave Matthews (Wild Nothing's breakthrough rendition of "Cloudbusting"), you'll probably have to do what Jack Tatum did and start them yourself.

47. Women - Public Strain

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
78
18 reviews

The group's sophomore effort, Public Strain, pushes forward in both directions-- the hooks are noisier, the noise is hookier, and both are fogged over with enough reverb to make Felt records seem bone-dry by comparison.

46. Matthew Dear - Black City

August 17, 2010
Critic Score
73
15 reviews

If you've followed Matthew Dear over the years, then you know he doesn't like to stay in one place for very long. Even as a primarily electronic artist in the early 2000s, Dear hopped from label to label, switched aliases often, and made everything from steely microhouse to harder Detroit techno. But his biggest departure was 2007's Asa Breed, the record where he stepped out from behind the decks and reached for the mic. Singing on tracks and leaning more heavily on song structure, he built strange hybrid music that had one foot in techno and the other in pop.

45. Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here

February 9, 2010
Critic Score
78
23 reviews

44. Kylesa - Spiral Shadow

October 26, 2010
Critic Score
81
5 reviews

43. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker

May 25, 2010
Critic Score
75
14 reviews

Innerspeaker demonstrates a subtle yet encompassing sense of control, never obstructing the grander motifs while still offering a variety of odd details that guide you back to the album's hooks.

42. Drake - Thank Me Later

June 15, 2010
Critic Score
72
22 reviews

Drake sings or raps the word "I" 410 times on his debut album. Even in the realm of hip-hop-- a style famous for its unswerving solipsism-- this is a feat. For comparison's sake, noted mirror watcher Kanye West managed to work only 220 "I"'s into the verses and hooks of his big break, The College Dropout. Illmatic; 210. Reasonable Doubt; 240. With Thank Me Later, Drake attempts to enter the pantheon of those rap game-busters by the sheer force of first person singular pronouns. All eyes are on him-- especially his own. But considering this mixed race, half-Jewish, all-Canadian "Degrassi: The Next Generation" alum looks and sounds unlike any major rap star before him, betting the house on nothing but himself turns out to be a wise gamble.

41. Delorean - Subiza

June 8, 2010
Critic Score
75
14 reviews

Delorean helped define the bright, beachside vibe of last summer's indie landscape, but they also deserve to be placed in a broader context. On their new album, Subiza, the Spanish four-piece deploys the build-and-burst tempos of 90s house and techno music, and they do so explicitly, never shying away from arms-in-the-air piano bridges or incandescent raves. This music is proudly informed by the resiliency and vigor of classic club music, and its title (named after the Basque town in which the album was recorded) recalls the famously nightclub-centric Ibiza and the Balearic dance music that originated there.

40. Abe Vigoda - Crush

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
71
15 reviews

The songs may sound more conventional, but they're no less complex. The music is hard-wired and overflowing with activity, even in the record's sparsest moments.

39. Best Coast - Crazy for You

July 27, 2010
Critic Score
74
24 reviews

38. Rick Ross - Teflon Don

July 20, 2010
Critic Score
75
14 reviews

37. Zola Jesus - Stridulum II

August 23, 2010
Critic Score
78
10 reviews

36. Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?

June 8, 2010
Critic Score
79
9 reviews

Describing Emeralds' music feels a little like capping that underwater oil spill must: how do you get your hands around this stuff? The Cleveland trio may favor methodical cadences in their music, but their releases come fast and furious. According to Discogs.com, they've put out around 40 releases in just four years, most of them CDRs and cassettes. There are variations of mood and intensity, and each major release has its own particular signature, owing in part to changes in gear and technique, and in part to being a band that improvises and records non-stop. Any given album feels like a snapshot of the band in time.

35. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

March 9, 2010
Critic Score
83
32 reviews

Ex-Blur frontman Damon Albarn ditches the idea of writing pop songs a cartoon band might front and makes one of his most gorgeous pop records in years.

34. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

May 25, 2010
Critic Score
73
22 reviews
Crystal Castles return with a second self-titled album, embracing a more direct pop sound while retaining the sharp edges that made their debut so compelling.

32. Tyler, the Creator - Bastard

Tyler, the Creator - Bastard
December 25, 2009
Critic Score
72
2 reviews

31. Woods - At Echo Lake

May 4, 2010
Critic Score
75
11 reviews

30. The-Dream - Love King

June 29, 2010
Critic Score
78
17 reviews

29. The Fresh & Onlys - Play It Strange

The Fresh & Onlys - Play It Strange
October 12, 2010
Critic Score
71
11 reviews

But this one finds them starting to pull all those ideas into something a little more focused, something easier to digest.

28. The National - High Violet

May 10, 2010
Critic Score
85
30 reviews

High Violet is the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously, and they play the part so fully that, to some, it may be off-putting.

27. Four Tet - There Is Love in You

January 26, 2010
Critic Score
83
27 reviews

Driven by dance-inspired beats and ghostly sampled voices, the new Four Tet album is the most focused in Kieran Hebden's catalog, and also among his best.

26. Twin Shadow - Forget

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
81
19 reviews

The songs may be catchy, but their intricacy and thoughtful storytelling makes them stick.

25. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

October 12, 2010
Critic Score
78
25 reviews

But instead of succumbing to trends, Stevens barrels through with another long-form work that requires-- and rewards-- time and devotion.

24. Hot Chip - One Life Stand

February 9, 2010
Critic Score
76
30 reviews

Dialing back some of their eccentricities and embracing personal songwriting, Hot Chip have crafted their most consistent album yet.

23. Das Racist - Sit Down, Man

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
83
11 reviews

22. Girls - Broken Dreams Club

November 22, 2010
Critic Score
78
16 reviews

If Broken Dreams Club is indeed an honest glimpse of what's ahead, it sounds as though Girls have much more to give.

21. The Walkmen - Lisbon

September 14, 2010
Critic Score
80
25 reviews

And that brings us to "Angela Surf City", the song on this album that deserves a place alongside "The Rat" and "In the New Year". It starts off tense and withdrawn, Leithauser singing about some relationship without ever letting us in on what, exactly, is going on. Underneath, there's a tense, withdrawn surf-rock beat. And when the chorus starts to well up, the music underneath keeps surging upward, becoming huger than anything the song should be able to handle, then getting even huger from there, as Barrick lets off relentless Bonham-level thundercracks.

20. Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal

June 21, 2010
Critic Score
82
10 reviews
Having softened his attacks and smeared his notes into indefinite shapes, he seems to sever the music from any kind of causality, so that it simply floats freely, morphing, rippling in a dance of infinite regeneration, like some perfect lifeform.

19. How to Dress Well - Love Remains

October 19, 2010
Critic Score
77
19 reviews

How to Dress Well is to my mind the biggest breakthrough in home-recorded lo-fi in years. It feels brave, like it's going places a lot of artists in this sphere are afraid to go.

17. Caribou - Swim

April 20, 2010
Critic Score
81
28 reviews

After drawing from IDM, krautrock, and sunshine pop, Dan Snaith's project sets its sights on dark and intricate dance music, with dazzling results.

16. Sleigh Bells - Treats

May 11, 2010
Critic Score
82
31 reviews

The New York duo's debut full-length is a wildly fun noise-pop thrill-ride, delivering on the promise of last year's widely circulated demos.

15. Robyn - Body Talk

November 22, 2010
Critic Score
82
17 reviews

With Body Talk, Robyn ups the ante for pop stars across the radio dial and raises her own chances of appearing on yours.

14. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

May 4, 2010
Critic Score
86
29 reviews

13. No Age - Everything in Between

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
79
22 reviews

Simply a sonically chameleonic, musically generous, seriously compelling record from a couple guys who've once again got all their pedals in a row.

12. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

May 18, 2010
Critic Score
87
28 reviews

Where many concept albums run a high risk of being pompous, cryptic, and self-important, Monáe keeps things playful, lively, and accessible.

11. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

August 3, 2010
Critic Score
89
35 reviews

It's a satisfying return to form-- proof that Arcade Fire can still make grand statements without sounding like they're carrying the weight of the world.

10. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

March 9, 2010
Critic Score
81
26 reviews

It all turns out so ridiculously fun-- with Ken Burns-style readings of speeches from Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, daguerreotype cover art, and song titles all participating in the reenactment-- that it never even begins to approach the pretentiousness these elements might suggest.

9. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

June 8, 2010
Critic Score
78
20 reviews

Ariel Pink's best songs are surprising, and there's a real sense of musical delight on Before Today; the sections sound logical but never predictable, and there are wild bridges and short bits that emerge seemingly randomly but wind up taking the song somewhere unexpected.

8. James Blake - Klavierwerke EP

October 10, 2010
Critic Score
82
4 reviews

8. James Blake - CMYK EP

May 31, 2010
Critic Score
82
4 reviews

8. James Blake - The Bells Sketch EP

James Blake - The Bells Sketch EP
March 15, 2010
Critic Score
90
2 reviews

7. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

February 23, 2010
Critic Score
84
28 reviews

The best songs feel more like conversations rather than artworks to be hung on the wall and admired from several paces away. Newsom seems to sing from somewhere deep inside of them, and her earthy presence has a way of drawing you in, bringing you closer to her music than you've been before.

6. Vampire Weekend - Contra

January 12, 2010
Critic Score
79
33 reviews

Contra works because of its juxtapositions-- of natural sounds to processed ones; of manners to tantrums; of party rhythms to deadpan poetry; of black music to white music.

5. Beach House - Teen Dream

January 26, 2010
Critic Score
81
30 reviews

This is both the most diverse and most listenable of their three full-lengths, and yet it never seems like a compromise. 

3. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

September 28, 2010
Critic Score
83
31 reviews

Halcyon Digest is a record about the joy of music discovery, the thrill of listening for the first time to a potential future favorite, and that sense of boundless possibility when you're still innocent of indie-mainstream politics and your personal canon is far from set.

2. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

May 18, 2010
Critic Score
85
30 reviews

Even considering his bold-name touchstones for This Is Happening, it would be shortsighted to cry rip-off; Murphy is remaking essential 70s art-rock in his own hyper-modern, self-aware image.

1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

November 22, 2010
Critic Score
91
38 reviews

As a result, the record comes off like a culmination and an instant greatest hits, the ultimate realization of his strongest talents and divisive public persona.

Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/7893-the-top-50-albums-of-2010/
Connect with AOTY
Like Us
Follow Us

October Playlist
AOTY Discord
Forums