2010 albums of the year

Well it’s that time again for another “albums of the year” post.  This year I had to sort through over 70 albums, sifted it down to about 17, and then began the most difficult of tasks in reducing that 17 down to only 10.  Clearly 2010 was yet another great year for music so, here we go!

10: Matthew Barber ~ True Believer

This marks yet another most excellent album from the Canadian songwriter.  It is very true that Matthew is one of Canada’s gems.  His folky style is something that appeals to me a great deal. My favorites on this album include: Insanity or Death, Hawks on the Highway, I Think You’re Going to Feel My Love, and my personal favorite, The Little Things (which reminds me of Alex, Ella, Oliver, and Harry)

09: Danny Michel ~ Sunset Sea

Sadly I have not have the opportunity to see Danny live.  He came to Regina a while back and I was going to go but then at the last minute my inherent lameness took over and I did not go.  This album, although only 8 songs, is quite excellent. It simply makes me very happy every time I listen to it.  My favorites on this album include: This Feeling, Norma Desmond, When I’m You, Who’s Gonna Miss You?, and my personal favorite, Maybe You Can Find It In Your Heart

08: Gogol Bordello ~ Trans-Continental Hustle

This was one of the albums Jason gave me throughout 2010. I really didn’t listen to it at all until one day when I had all my 2010 albums on random and My Companjera came up in the playlist. I must say that it put a giant smile on my face instantly.  Being truly unique, this is a must hear album in my mind, simply brilliant!  My favorites include: Pala Tute, Break the Spell, Sun Is On My Side, When Universes Collide, Sun is On My Side, Last One Goes the Hope, and my personal favorite, My Companjera

07: Wintersleep ~ New Inheritors

It has taken me a little bit of time to warm up to Wintersleep’s 2010 album. I have all of their albums. However, I found their last album (2005) to be a little “canned.”  That said, their 2010 album is simply awesome. Another band I have not yet seen live (they always go to Saskatoon and never Regina) but I am hoping to very soon. My favorites include: Black Camera, Trace Decay, Terrible Man, New Inheritors (I love the lyrics in this tune), and my personal favorite Encyclopedia

06: Rah Rah ~ Breaking Hearts

A Regina band! …and a very good Regina band at that. I find it being quite awesome that there are so many excellent local Regina bands, including The Bystanders, The Dustin Ritter Band, Troy and the Jens (etc.) and of course Rah Rah. To be completely honest I was not really a fan of Rah Rah before this album. However, after listening to this album (which Kristy so kindly lent me), I changed my mind completely. I actually love every song on this album and if you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend it.  To be consistent, my favorites include: Ghosts, Beaches, Joey, and Communist Man

05: Old Man Luedecke ~ My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs

There is certainly something great about Old Man Luedecke. Another one of Canada’s gems, his music just makes me very happy. Perhaps this is a theme of the albums I’ve picked so far (could it be my age?) ~ I really enjoy music that makes me feel happy (oh dear, that was cornball; I need to go watch a die hard show now 🙂 This album, like all his others, is just a treat.  My favorites include: Foreign Tongue, Caney Fork River, Machu Picchu, and my personal favorite, Inchworm

04: The Mountains and the Trees ~ Made This For You

Yet another band I need to give credit to Jason for; man, what would I do (musically) without Jason?? 🙂 This was also another album I really didn’t listen to right off the bat. It was actually their CBC Radio 3 Session (live) that, after listening to it …and listening to it again and again that I truly knew I was listening to one of the best bands/musician(s) I had heard in a long while. This album is just excellent all around.  Favorites include: Goodbye Little Town, The Times, Fear of Ghosts, and my personal favorites, Travellin’ Song and Up & Down

03: Arcade Fire ~ The Suburbs

Getting down now to the nitty gritty. This album was actually a top runner to be my number 1 album of the year.  In September I had the absolute mind blowing experience seeing the Arcade Fire live in ‘toon town. Being a huge fan of the band since their first album, this, to me, is their best album yet and that (to me) is a true testament to their musicianship as I often find that bands struggle to continually surpass previous efforts (although this is not always the case ~ I find it often occurs). I simply love this album; every song really is excellent.  My favorites, if I have to choose, would include: Empty Room, Ready to Start, Suburban War, and my personal favorite, Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains ~ what great lyrics!)

02: The Gaslight Anthem ~ American Slang

This was another late edition to the ol’ playlist. At first a few songs really stood out: Bring It On and Boxer for sure.  After really delving into the album, much more of its greatness became apparent to me.  This is one truly exceptional album. I simply love it and can’t say enough good things about it.  If you haven’t, buy it, but it, buy it…and if you’re lucky enough, see them live! (another missed opportunity this year for me but my cousin Sammy saw them and she said the concert was simply brilliant). I love every song on this album but, of course, my favorites include: Boxer, Bring It On, The Diamond Church Street Choir, Star Lucky, The Queen of Lower Chelsea, …shit, it’s ALL fantastic!

01: Great Big Sea ~ Safe Upon the Shore

Being one of the best Canadian bands of all time in my opinion (being a band for 17 years in 2010), it’s about time I honor GBS with the #1 slot in one of my top 10 lists. It’s true that all GBS albums have been in all my top 10 lists (since I started doing this list thing) but have never quite reached that #1 spot (although that really means nothing as they were all still on my top 10 list and all most excellent albums!).  With their latest album, no question it is for surely one of my favorite albums of theirs, as well as simply one of my favorites of all time. It’s just a very fun, easy going album ~ very much like the band itself.  Every time GBS comes to Regina, I’m there, and if you haven’t yet seen them live really it’s one thing everyone should do!  Sadly I missed a little bit of their show in Regina this year due to Joey’s football (he (with Miller) played during an epic snow storm, it really was most epic so missing a bit made it ok), they played many tunes off their new album and they all sounded excellent. Like with a few other albums on my top 10 this year, I like every song on the album: The title track Safe Upon the Shore is just fantastic, Road to Ruin, Dear Home Town, Wandering Ways, Yankee Sailor, (etc.) …the whole album really shines! There is one song though I really enjoy, Good People. It is no secret my thoughts on us, with myself questioning the many things we all do to be hurtful to ourselves, each other, and the environment (etc.). That all said, this song really made me think (and concede) that, yes, there are many good folks out there ~ that, generally, we are all good people (cornball! …haha, oh yes but I think it’s true nonetheless). An awesome album by an awesome band

Honorable mentions (in no particular order):

  • Disturbed ~ Asylum
  • Dustin Ritter Band ~ Dead Airwaves (Echo When I’m Gone is one excellent tune!)
  • Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans ~ The Falcon Lake Incident
  • Kathryn Calder ~ Are You My Mother
  • The Acorn ~ No Ghost

And although this album was really from 2009, I only heard it in 2010 (thank you CBC Radio3 and Jason (again)): Richard Laviolette and the Oil Spills ~ All of Your Raw Materials.  This is such an awesome album I just had to mention it!

Well, there you have it ~ my top 10 of ’10. It was a great year for music!  Here’s hoping 2011 brings more of the same! -tMac

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