Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2010

Stereogum's Top 50 Albums Of 2010 - Header

Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2010

Stereogum's Top 50 Albums Of 2010 - Header

Do you remember “glo-fi”? The much maligned chillwave? Of course you do … for now. It’s interesting to note that after all of 2010’s trendy genre terms and hot-for-a-minute one-man bands, our Top 5 consists of a handful of sturdy veterans. The Top 10 expands to include a couple newcomers, newbies amid, again, three established crews. What does it mean? Well, the situation’s analogue to 2006 when a number of so-called “blog rock” bands like Tapes ‘N Tapes, Clap Your Hand Say Yeah, and Cold War Kids made immediate wav(v)es, but albums released by old standbys received the year-end kudos. This isn’t to say you should reject the new — there are plenty of debut albums in our Top 50 and plenty of worthwhile debuts that didn’t make it — but it does say something about the amount of music released and processed and then forgotten in any given year. (Trivia: Which band that debuted in ’06 made it into our Top 5?) A positive result of all the fractures, fissures, flashy genre names: The average listener is definitely hearing more music and becoming more adventurous than in, say, 2006. (Sorry Decemberists.) Which means bands that may have seemed too “weird” for a casual listener even a few years ago are popping up in unexpected places in 2010.

It’s unclear why — oil slicks, down economy, jeggings — but it’s also been a much darker year for music via bands like Crystal Castles, oOoOO, Balam Acab, Zola Jesus, White Ring, Salem, Frank (Just Frank), the sundry so-called “witch house” (and Wierd) crews. As a result, the following list features more than a couple folks who might be charged with having goth tendencies (or at least black nail polish and old Cure and/or Kate Bush shirts). To take this sense of adventure into another direction, our No. 1 is someone your father might even know about and our No. 5 is on a “major label.” Notions of what “indie rockers” listen to is shifting and expanding, a positive step toward escaping the pratfalls of across-the-board year-end list homogeneity.

One of the fun things about lists is discovery, so it doesn’t make sense giving away too much, but we will say that what follows is the result of four people saying yes and no and maybe, and that if you were to break out individual lists from it, they’d look very different. (That said, if you asked us to collaborate again, it would look very much the same.) It should be noted that the following doesn’t include any metal — a separate one-man list for the heavy stuff will show up in Haunting The Chapel later this month, so please don’t ask why we didn’t include Agalloch or Watain. Also, we disqualified EPs; those get their own special ranking below the main list.

Start digging, digesting, and disagreeing.

Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here50 EmeraldsDoes It Look Like I’m Here?

Small Black - New Chain49 Small BlackNew Chain

Sharon Van Etten - Epic48 Sharon Van EttenEpic

Baths - Cerulean47 BathsCerulean

Frank (Just Frank) - The Brutal Wave46 Frank (Just Frank)The Brutal Wave

Perfume Genius - Learning45 Perfume GeniusLearning

Field Music - Field Music (Measure)44 Field MusicField Music (Measure)

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty43 Big BoiSir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty

Lower Dens - Twin-Hand Movement42 Lower DensTwin-Hand Movement

Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal41 Oneohtrix Point NeverReturnal

Glasser - Ring40 GlasserRing

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner39 Gold PandaLucky Shiner

Avey Tare - Down There38 Avey TareDown There

jj - nº337 jjjj nº3

the morning benders - Big Echo36 the morning bendersBig Echo

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky35 SwansMy Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor34 Titus AndronicusThe Monitor

MGMT - Congratulations33 MGMTCongratulations

Twin Shadow - Forget32 Twin ShadowForget

Warpaint - The Fool31 WarpaintThe Fool

Das Racist - Shut Up, Dude30 Das RacistShut Up, Dude

Matthew Dear - Black City29 Matthew DearBlack City

Delorean - Subiza28 DeloreanSubiza

Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid27 Janelle MonaeThe ArchAndroid

Tame Impala - Innerspeaker26 Tame ImpalaInnerspeaker

ceo - White Magic25 ceoWhite Magic

Tamaryn - The Waves24 TamarynThe Waves

SALEM - King Night23 SALEMKing Night

Marnie Stern - Marnie Stern22 Marnie SternMarnie Stern

Liars - Sisterworld21 LiarsSisterworld

Ariel Pink - Before Today20 Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiBefore Today

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma19 Flying LotusCosmogramma

Abe Vigoda - Crush18 Abe VigodaCrush

Owen Pallett - Heartland17 Owen PallettHeartland

The National - High Violet16 The NationalHigh Violet

The-Dream - Love King15 The-DreamLove King

Yeasayer - Odd Blood14 YeasayerOdd Blood

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening13 LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening

Crystal Castles - II12 Crystal CastlesII

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me11 Joanna NewsomHave One On Me

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest10 DeerhunterHalcyon Digest

Wild Nothing - Gemini09 Wild NothingGemini

Antony & The Johnsons - Swanlights08 Antony & The JohnsonsSwanlights

Vampire Weekend - Contra07 Vampire WeekendContra

Sleigh Bells - Treats06 Sleigh BellsTreats

Robyn - Body Talk05 RobynBody Talk

Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz04 Sufjan StevensThe Age Of Adz

Beach House - Teen Dream03 Beach HouseTeen Dream

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs02 Arcade FireThe Suburbs

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy01 Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


Here’s that list in more copy/paste friendly format so you can post on your LiveJournal:

50 EmeraldsDoes It Look Like I Am Here?
49 Small BlackNew Chain
48 Sharon Van EttenEpic
47 BathsCerulean
46 Frank (Just Frank)The Brutal Wave
45 Perfume GeniusLearning
44 Field MusicField Music (Measure)
43 Big BoiSir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
42 Lower DensTwin-Hand Movement
41 Oneohtrix Point NeverReturnal
40 GlasserRing
39 Gold PandaLucky Shiner
38 Avey TareDown There
37 jjjj nº3
36 the morning bendersBig Echo
35 SwansMy Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
34 Titus AndronicusThe Monitor
33 MGMTCongratulations
32 Twin ShadowForget
31 WarpaintThe Fool
30 Das RacistShut Up, Dude
29 Matthew DearBlack City
28 DeloreanSubiza
27 Janelle MonaeThe ArchAndroid
26 Tame ImpalaInnerspeaker
25 ceoWhite Magic
24 TamarynThe Waves
23 SALEMKing Night
22 Marnie SternMarnie Stern
21 LiarsSisterworld
20 Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiBefore Today
19 Flying LotusCosmogramma
18 Abe VigodaCrush
17 Owen PallettHeartland
16 The NationalHigh Violet
15 The-DreamLove King
14 YeasayerOdd Blood
13 LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening
12 Crystal CastlesII
11 Joanna NewsomHave One On Me
10 DeerhunterHalcyon Digest
09 Wild NothingGemini
08 Antony & The JohnsonsSwanlights
07 Vampire WeekendContra
06 Sleigh BellsTreats
05 RobynBody Talk
04 Sufjan StevensThe Age Of Adz
03 Beach HouseTeen Dream
02 Arcade FireThe Suburbs
01 Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


Coming up with the Stereogum list meant leaving out some personal favorites of our four staff members, so here are each of our HONORABLE MENTIONS:

01 S. CareyAll We Grow
02 Jaga JazzistOne-Armed Bandit
03 Best CoastCrazy For You

01 Pantha Du PrinceBlack Noise
02 Earl SweatshirtEARL
3a PVTChurch With No Magic
3b WeekendSports
3c ARPThe Soft Wave

01 Sun City GirlsFuneral Mariachi
02 Daniel HiggsSay God
3a M.I.A./\/\/\Y/\
3b Blessure GraveJudged By Twelve, Carried By Six
3c The Dead CPatience

01 Scout NiblettThe Calcination Of Scout Niblett
02 DrakeThank Me Later
03 Wolf ParadeExpo ’86


And as mentioned in the intro, we decided to do EPs as a separate list — because, really, as we started compiling our individual staff lists we released 2010 generated more amazing EPs than any year in our collective recent memory.


15 BlondesTouched
14 Laurel HaloKing Felix
13 KingdomMind Reader
12 GatekeeperGiza
11 Janka NabayBubu King
10 LemonadePure Moods
09 Tanlines – Settings
08 oOoOOoOoOO
07 Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People
06 GamesEverything Is Working
05 Balam AcabSee Birds
04 GirlsBroken Dreams Club
03 Twin SisterColor Your Life
02 James BlakeCMYK
01 Zola JesusStridulum


Finally, remember the Gummy Awards? This would’ve been their fifth year, but we realized too late that the code to build it was swallowed when we moved to WordPress earlier this year. So this is a modified Gummys, because we still want to know what you think. Fill out these fields by Friday 12/17 at 6 PM EST and we’ll post the rankings soon after. We won’t use your e-mail address (no spam-o) to do anything other than pick one voter at random to receive a Wavves grinder (i.e., the perfect stocking stuffer).

more from 2010 In Review

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