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Albums of the Year (2010)

Music, Year-End, Reader Lists | By The Top 13 on January 10, 2011

With 2010 now squarely in the rear-view mirror, we reveal the Top 13 Albums of the Year, as selected by our readers. We received more submissions for this Top 13 than we have ever before received, and the results suggest that, for the most part, the public agrees with the blogs and other media outlets on 2010's best albums.

Honorable mentions go to the albums with the next seven highest vote totals: Surfer Blood's Astro Coast (14), Broken Bells' self-titled album (15), Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (16), Vampire Weekend's Contra (17), Sleigh Bells' Treats (18), Best Coast's Crazy for You (19), and Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid (20).

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Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

1

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Easily the top choice of our readers, the Arcade Fire's third studio album was named on more than 60 percent of the submissions for this Top 13. The Suburbs was not only critically acclaimed, but it also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and garnered husband and wife duo Win Butler and Régine Chassagne's band three Grammy nominations.

The National - High Violet

2

The National - High Violet

The National's fifth studio album barely held off the album right below it on this Top 13 for the second position. Featuring a phalanx of guest musicians such as Sufjan Stevens and Justin Vernon, High Violet was first made available to the public as a stream on the website of The New York Times, which welcomed the new album with a glowing portrait of the band in its Sunday magazine.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

3

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

By the time West's fifth studio album hit the stores, fans had already heard many of the album's best tracks, which West had released a song at a time through his innovative G.O.O.D. Friday program. But that didn't dampen enthusiasm for the release of the impeccably produced Twisted Fantasy, which features fantastic cameos from an array of hip hop heavyweights like Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj, and received this controversial perfect review from Pitchfork.

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

4

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

Rumored to be the final album from James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening was released in May to universal acclaim. Not only a darling with the critics, the album - with infectious tracks like "Drunk Girls" and "I Can Change" - actually ended the five-month reign on top of the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart of Lady Gaga's The Fame.

Beach House - Teen Dream

5

Beach House - Teen Dream

Beach House's debut on Sub Pop would have been our choice as the top album of 2010 - and many of our readers agreed. In fact, the sublime Teen Dream was ranked first by more of our readers than any other album, including The Suburbs. Anchored by Victoria Legrand's moving vocals, this Baltimore-based duo's third album is already a dream pop classic.

The Black Keys - Brothers

6

The Black Keys - Brothers

The sixth straight fantastic blues rock album from this Akron, Ohio duo, Brothers might just be the album that really breaks the Black Keys. The band's highest charting album to date, it also picked up three Grammy nominations. "Tighten Up," featuring production by Danger Mouse (who produced the band's previous release), became the band's biggest hit and is now ubiquitous on television shows and in commercials.

Wolf Parade - Expo 86

7

Wolf Parade - Expo 86

If Expo 86 is indeed the final album from this fantastic Montreal band, Wolf Parade is leaving us in its prime. While perhaps not quite as good as the band's perfect (at least in our eyes) debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, this album shows Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner - each back from successful albums with their respective side projects - fully delivering on the promise of the band's debut.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

8

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

The second best album of the year on the Top 13's personal list (but eighth on your collective list), Halcyon Digest reflects the continuing evolution of Bradford Cox's Georgia-based quartet. This album is more restrained than the band's prior two full-length releases, but it also features an array of new instruments (including the sax, harmonica, and banjo) that make its best tracks ("Desire Lines," "Helicopter," and "He Would Have Laughed") just as compelling.

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

9

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

The only debut album (members of Local Natives also released an album in 2006 under the name Cavil at Rest) you voted onto the Top 13, Gorilla Manor was actually released in England in 2009 before receiving a U.S. release last year. Regardless, Gorilla Manor is as pleasant as any album released in 2010, and the Los Angeles-based quintet has drawn favorable comparisons to Grizzly Bear.

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

10

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

The third album from Damon Albarn's hip hop cartoon project, this album once again shows off the former Blur frontman's genre-bending creativity. Plastic Beach features cameos from the likes of Lou Reed, Mos Def, and Snoop Dogg (among many others) and, while it didn't make our personal Top 13, the album reached the second spot on both the British albums chart and the Billboard 200 chart.

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

11

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

This fantastic sophomore effort from the Brooklyn-based Yeasayer, released back in February 2010, is the only album on this Top 13 that didn't receive a single first place vote. But the folky, psychedelic Odd Blood, which the band previewed during a late 2009 show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, is one of our personal favorites.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

12

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Stevens' first proper full-length release since 2005's classic Illinois, this album was the singer-songwriter's first to hit the Billboard 200 chart. His return followed two years in which he struggled with a debilitating virus, and the The Age of Adz, particularly the 25-minute long, album-closing "Impossible Soul," sounds like it may be Stevens' catharsis.

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

13

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

Stunning in its breadth and ambition, Have One on Me barely snagged the final spot on this Top 13, as a handful of other albums were within a single first place vote of overtaking it. But our favorite harpist earned her place on this list with a triple album release of more than two hours that manages to hold our interest despite its length, while also demanding repeated plays to fully appreciate all of the nooks and crannies in Newsom's terrific opus.

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Comments Leave a comment

TheMusicMan 

The Suburbs is such a boring album and the Gorillaz are just awful. Otherwise, I approve of this list.

10:14 PM   Jan 09, 2011

stillathreat ★★

Needs more hip hop - Kanye is a start, but what about Currensy or Big Boi?

10:16 PM   Jan 09, 2011

jason ★★

Obligatory comment that Local Natives came out in 2009 and shouldn't be here! Loved Teen Dream the best of all this year, but all of these albums are worth a listen.

12:58 PM   Jan 10, 2011

mbjb1972 

As a long time fan of the Arcade Fire, I cannot understand how they wrote such a boring record or the community's overall approval. I'd rather just listen to Springsteen or Blondie.

1:45 PM   Jan 10, 2011

angelchua11 

4:49 PM   Apr 08, 2011

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