Favorite Edition 2010: Quarter final (new releases)

This year, I’m doing something slightly different. Given my propensity for catalog, I’m going to split my lists between new releases and catalog discoveries. The year-end favorite list is a time-honored rockist tradition, but how do you quantify a year-end favorite list of past titles? You don’t — it’s subjective.

Probably a more interesting list would be to pit 2010 against catalog. I think 2010 would lose that fight.

I’m fairly sure the first five slots of this list — although shifted from earlier drafts — are solid. The remaining five are malleable. In fact, I’m not sure how LCD Soundsystem made it on there. (Well, merit, of course, but I think I gave more spins to The Shape of Jazz to Come and Zenyatta Mondatta.) Comments provided for only the newest entries from previous drafts …

  1. Tokyo Jihen, Sports
  2. Cocco, Emerald
  3. Renée Fleming, Dark Hope
  5. Res, Black.Girls.Rock!
  6. Royal Wood, The Waiting
  7. Jónsi, Go
  8. KIMONOS, Kimonos Yes, I wasn’t committal about ranking Kimonosas a year-end favorite, but LEO Imai and Mukai Shuutoku check and balance each other. In pulling back Mukai’s erratic muse, Imai is subsequently pushed to be more daring.
  9. ACO, devil’s handsACO has an unfair advantage of being one of my favorite artists, but this album pretty much announces her full embrace of rock. Yes, there are some electronic beats to be found, but no other ACO album has had so many guitars. She and Sasagawa Miwa must have been thinking the same thing.
  10. LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening I was initially disappointed that this album wouldn’t make for good workout music, but after a few spins, it’s charms assert itself. The awesome video to “Drunk Girls” certainly helped.

Honorable mention:

  • Sade, Soldier of LoveSade releases albums so infrequently now that they’re nearly guaranteed to be lauded.
  • The Arcade Fire, The Suburbs Certainly better than Neon Biblebut not quite enough to make me want to make a physical purchase.
  • Friday Night Lights, Original Television Soundtrack, Vol. 2Awesome mixed tape!
  • Natalie Merchant, Leave Your SleepPerhaps the most remarkable thing about this double album is that such a breadth does not diminish the work.
  • lostage, LOSTAGE
  • Mark Ronson and the Business International, Record Collection What I found on Record Collectionwas the intangible thing I had hoped Stuart Price could coax out of Kylie Minogue and Scissor Sisters.
  • UA, KABAUA has gone back to being weird, but for this cover album, she holds back. Thing is, a lot of the source material is elevated even when UA shows restraint.
  • SuiseiNoboAz, SuiseiNoboAz Mukai Shuutoku fashions SuiseiNoboAz into the image of ZAZEN BOYS, which doesn’t do ZAZEN BOYS much favors since SuiseiNoboAz is just slightly more accessible.

I don’t really like listing my disappointments, but I just have to point out that TheArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe so did not live up to the promise she established with Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Metropolis did so much with so few tracks that I think Monáe choked when she had to expand those ideas over a longer form. I’m curious about what she may do next, but it just seems the heap of praise for TheArchAndroid is misplaced. Also, I can’t help but read that title as TheArchArachnoid.


  1. I like Kimonos quite a bit too, but didn’t feel like it was on the same level as Laser Rain, which was a huge grower to me. And it was interesting reading your thoughts on The ArchAndroid. I was curious what you’d think of it since it’s an ambitious pop album. I guess we’ll never again experience the magic of KZK.

  2. Also, thanks for recommending SuiseiNoboAz. I’ve seen them on Keikaku’s recommend list once, but must’ve forgotten to look them up. Their sound is exactly the sort I’ve been yearning for.

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