Sia - "We Are Born"
Sia's remarkably uplifting album is almost completely perfect - even the "weaker" songs (like "Cloud") are a ton of fun. And though there's nary a song on the album that you can't dance to, Sia's soulful vocals and poignant lyrics keep the songs from becoming mundane or superficial. It's pop music with major heart.
Sufjan Stevens - "The Age of Adz"
Such a moving album, the transformation from beginning to end is simply remarkable. Every single tiny layer is so meticulously placed and yet everything feels so ridiculously spontaneous that even the 25 minute closer to the album, "Impossible Soul", doesn't drag on. And even though this is the album where "Sufjan goes electronic" he doesn't lose any of his original personal emotion. For proof, just listen to "Want to Be Well" or "Vesuvius".
Best Coast- "Crazy For You"
The classic, summery emotions, beats and rhymes prevalent on each track of "Crazy For You" may seem, at the surface, to be a gimmick repeated to the point of unimportance. However, when you listen to each little gem (some not even two minutes long) you realize how perfectly fun and unique they all are. Majorly addicting, this album will make you feel like you're on a beach in California, no matter what time of the year it is.
The National - "High Violet"
While "Crazy for You" and "We Are Born" are a couple of the most fun albums of the year, "High Violet" is by a mile the most moving. Each song is complex, never too long and yet ultimately satisfying. When the album reaches its highest emotional point at "England", an indescribable feeling of bittersweet has taken hold and doesn't let go for days after you finish the rest of the album.
Little Boots - "Hands"
Quite a different style from The National, newcomer Little Boots is totally a guilty, sugary pleasure. This dance album almost evokes the early aughts and though the two standout tracks "New in Town" and "Remedy" completely outshine the other tracks, it is still, as a whole, perfectly addicting.
Crystal Castles - "Crystal Castles (II)"
Crystal Castles's second album was my introduction to this electronic duo and what an introduction it was. It's unlike anything else - atmospheric, exhilarating, and sometimes, even frightening. It disregards the rules in a way Ke$ha could only dream of doing. Plus, all those crunched 8-bit sounds totally cater to my nerdier side. Which is like, most of me, so, there you go.
Rihanna - "Loud"
I swear, I've had "Only Girl (In the World)" stuck in my head since the first time I heard it. I've never really cared much about Rihanna until "Loud" and it's fitting that this album is the one that finally caught my attention. I also give Rihanna props for performing on SNL and actually sounding decent. I'm not sure what it is about perfoming on SNL, but it seems like nobody sounds good on that show. So, congrats Ri ri. Haha.
Well, there you have it - and that's just a small portion of all the great music that was released this year (not even counting film soundtracks!). What were some of your favorite albums/singles from 2010? Share below!