Leor Galil’s Best Albums of 2010
This year, I’m not entirely sure I’m fit to write a “best of” list that speaks for all of society. Then again, lists like these shouldn’t be thought of as the final word on a year’s cultural output, even for the person who wrote the list. Tastes change, people discover music from years past and realized they overlooked it. No one goes around saying, “that was my 23rd favorite album of 2007.” At least, I hope not.
Yet, this year I found my musical listening habits have forced me into a bubble, one cut off from a good chunk of the big names in pop music that have talked about all year. Through a variety of reasons, I missed a lot of music. I get the feeling I would’ve liked some of it, like Big Boi’s new album. I’m still vaguely curious about other releases, like the new offerings from Janelle Monae, No Age, Joanna Newsom, The Roots and Grinderman. Even more artists simply sound foreign: I don’t know much about the Besnard Lakes, and I can’t tell what shade of pink Ariel Pink is.
Still, that didn’t stop me from discovering, listening to and enjoying a lot of music this year. They might not all be the consensus for the best albums of the year, but these records made my list:
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
A lot has been made of the Civil War concept that Titus Andronicus made liberal use of with their new album, The Monitor. But even when recalling historical motifs, Titus Andronicus can put together a mean ditty about modern restlessness, emptiness and hopelessness that’s altogether inspiring. Never has a more poetic verse been written about the Fung Wah, an infamously inexpensive bus line frequented by the young and cheap (aka today’s vagrants), and if there’s any band that can perfectly summarize the lethargy of these troubling times, it’s Titus Andronicus.
Baths – Cerulean
Nearly every bedroom-produced electronic pop act to drop an album this year got thrown under the “chillwave” bus, a term that hardly speaks to the complexity of Baths’ Cerulean. Will Wiesenfeld’s debut record is filled with weirdo-pop songs that share more aesthetic sensibilities with his Anticon labelmates than with, say, Neon Indian. Unlike many airy, weightless chilwave songs, the songs in Cerulean have real teeth, and come with a great dynamic emotional complexity that can’t be codified by the next big genre-tag.