December 13, 2010

My Top 25 albums of 2010: #16 - #11

My Top 25 albums of 2010:
#16 - #11

15. Young The Giant - Young The Giant
//Country: US
//Favorite tracks: My Body, Cough Syrup, I Got

Very promising debut album from energetic indie rockers, reminiscent of the debuts of artists such as Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and The Strokes. Read more, or watch the video for my favorite song:

14. Jónsi - Go
//Country: Iceland
//Favorite tracks: Kolniður, Hengilás, Boy Lilikoi

Sigur Rós' vocalist Jónsi is way too happy these days to make melancholic, dark and dramatic post-rock, it seems. We could already sense this in the band's 2008 album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, which was much more upbeat and cheerful than before, only occasionally diving into Jónsi's trademark melancholy. When he released his debut solo album this year, the recipe was exactly the same: happier and more fast-paced music. Turning solo also allowed him to explore several things that were harder to do under the Sigur Rós moniker, namely a complete overhaul of instruments and soundscape, and singing in English instead of Iceland or 'Hopelandic'. Check out the beautiful unofficial video for Kolniður below. It's basically shamelessly copying the style of Sigur Rós' Heima DVD, but I don't care - slow images of picturesque landscapes is what still works the best together with Jónsi's magical voice.

My favorite Jónsi song of 2010 is however not on this album! Check out the almost painfully beautiful 'Icicle Sleeve', a song that for some unfathomable reason didn't make the album, but has been played live on this year's tour:

mp3: Jónsi - Icicle Sleeve (live)

13. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
//Country: UK
//Favorite tracks: Some Kind of Nature, On Melancholy Hill, Plastic Beach, Empire Ants

mp3: Gorillaz - Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)

Damon Albarn and his many friends jump from genre to genre in this very eclectic album that just about anyone can find something they enjoy on. Hip hop legend, 60s/70s alternative rocker, and Swedish-Japanese indietronica singer - an amazingly diverse mixture of artists joined in on Albarn's project this time around, and contributed with their vocals. If you've ever found yourself at a party with a diverse musical crowd in 2010, you'll know that Plastic Beach has the rare gift of bringing together the indie kids, the electronica purists and the hip hoppers in front of the stereo, singing along to the lyrics in peaceful unison. This album is so full of hit material that it's hard to pick any favorite tracks - from the amazing buildup of electronica track 'Empire Ants', to Lou Reed's incredibly cool and nonchalant rapping on 'Some Kind of Nature', there are too many great moments to choose from. But I do know that this is the video I'll always remember this album for, and also that this is the song that will always come to my mind first when I think about the spectacular Gorillaz show I saw this summer:

12. Röyksopp - Senior
//Country: Norway
//Favorite tracks: Senior Living, The Alcoholic, The Drug

mp3: Röyksopp - The Alcoholic

For their fourth album, the Norwegian electronica duo went back to their roots - instrumental and atmospheric chillout music. After two albums of vocal heavy electro pop, they returned to their debut album's magical and at times even eerie soundscapes. The latter dominated on this year's album, as it's apparently inspired by darkness, drugs and … senior citizens. Read more, or check out the mesmerizing video for 'The Drug':

11. Vampire Weekend - Contra
//Country: US
//Favorite tracks: Horchata, Holiday, Cousins, White Sky

Ah, the sophomore album - it's never an easy task, and as for indie phenomenas MGMT and Vampire Weekend, we saw two very different approaches this year. While I very much respected MGMT's decision to not just follow the same formula as on their very hyped debut album, with the high risk of disappointing their fans by failing to re-create the debut's magic, I equally respect Vampire Weekend for just giving it a shot - and actually succeeding! The 2007 self-titled debut included lesson after lesson in magical pop song writing, with afropop rhythms that never tried to hide its very obvious strong Paul Simon influences. This year's album includes … exactly the same. And the same number of unforgettable songs. Check out my favorite song now:

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