It's been quite a year for music, but maybe I'm just saying that because I bought a new computer a year ago since my old one had no space left, which enabled me to go crazy like a kid in an iTunes store. And, boy, did I. There was a lot of quality enjoyable music this year, but these are the ten records I really identified and became obsessed with:
Love Remains by How To Dress Well - Last year, it was The XX, but this year, the best make-out album is from a white-boy philosophy student doing his best ethereal, reverb-heavy, R&B impression. And it works.
Treats by Sleigh Bells - The most pleasant surprise of the year. I love the way Alexis Krauss's voice floats over the driving guitars and thrashing beats. In a way, it kinda reminds me of The Deftones. Particularly bad-ass are the screams thrown in in the middle of "Kids" and "A/B Machines." It's impossible not to rock out to this.
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem - If you had a cookout this summer and you weren't listening to this album, then your cookout sucked.
Contra by Vampire Weekend
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West - He's crazy, but his fifth LP sounds like it could have been a greatest hits compilation. Music with this much depth, wit, and variety proves he is a true talent.
Heaven Is Whenever by The Hold Steady - No, it's not their best album. Hell, it's probably their worst. But when a band's worst album is still miles above anything else released, you know they're truly the best bar band in America.
Lungs by Florence + The Machine
The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae
Body Talk by Robyn - Don't just buy the "Body Talk" album. You also need the first two "Body Talk" EPs. When all three are combined, they create the best pop album of the year, and probably the decade. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Swedes know their way around a pop hook. This, combined with Robyn's attitude and delivery, makes this record not only fun, but essential. Usually when I'm singing in my truck and I pull up next to someone, I stop. But when "Dancing On My Own" or "Fembot" is playing, I keep right on singing.
There were several albums I was excited about before they were released, and unfortunately, many were disappointments. But there were just as many that totally came out of left field and surprised the hell out of me. I'm starting to lose faith in new albums from Blur and No Doubt, but the new PJ Harvey, Strokes, and Lupe Fiasco albums are a sure thing this year, and that makes me happy.