Used to be by the middle of the year, my year-end favorite list would have 10 fairly strong candidates. Recently, I’m hard-pressed to even fill half those slots.
Or maybe I’m just getting pickier about what to rank.
Seven slots have been filled for the 2010 list so far, but if I were brutally honest, only the top four have a lock on their positions. The bottom three are just occupying space, and nothing else I’ve encountered so far warrants filling out the list.
Two more quarters to go, though. It could all change by then.
- Tokyo Jihen, Sports
- LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, ABBOT KINNEY It’s been a long time since LOVE PSYCHEDELICO recorded an album that grabbed my interest. The last one I remember sounded too much like Sheryl Crow, and the ones before that don’t register at all. ABBOT KINNEY sounds bigger than anything they’ve done before, while at the same time going back to level of songwriting of the duo’s first two albums.
- Res, Black.Girls.Rock!
- Sade, Soldier of Love
- lostage, LOSTAGE What astounds me about this discovery is the fact I didn’t need to go to the Evil Sharing Networks to find it. I downloaded this album from eMusic. lostage’s psychedelic rock falls somewhere between the post-rock hypnotism of downy and the garage surf of unkie.
- Natalie Merchant, Leave Your Sleep Double albums are a huge gamble, and Natalie Merchant has a strong reputation (with me, at least) of being pretty dour. Leave Your Sleep, however, is hardly dour, and the gamble pays off. By setting other people’s poems to music, Merchant reaches further than she ever has as a songwriter. I doubt she could have reached the same breadth of material with her own words.
- Jónsi, Go Jónsi’s collaboration with boyfriend Alex Somers created the unfortunate perception that a solo work from the Sigur Rós singer would not veer far from the parent band. Go proves otherwise, and it’s refreshing to hear Jónsi’s falsetto in new settings.
Although the following albums were good, I don’t feel passionately about them enough to rank in the list:
- Rufus Wainwright, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu
- STRAIGHTENER, CREATURES
- bloodthirsty butchers, NO ALBUM Mudai
- SuiseiNoboAz, SuiseiNoboAz
If I didn’t separate reissues from new releases, I’d have a complete list with the Duran Duran special editions so far released. Other catalog that’s squeezed out new releases:
- Anita Baker, Rapture Yes, I dug "Rapture" and "Sweet Love" when I was a teenager. Shut up.
- Janelle Monáe, Metropolis: The Chase Suite I know I’m supposed to be fawning over The ArchAndroid, but Metropolis is so, so much better, it makes ArchAndroid look flabby by comparison.