Thursday, August 9, 2012

Looking Back at the Music of 2010

Best CD I Bought in 2010 Not Released in 2010:

Joshua James, Build Me This
A muddy, soul-stained voice are at odds with James' angelic features, but it's a beautiful dichotomy.

A few that almost made my Top 10:
I have a strange point system when I do these lists and these three CDs nearly made my Big 10. Laura Marling's fragile and angry I Speak Because I Can; Annie Lennox's transubstantiation of holiday classics on A Christmas Cornucopia; and Sade's smooth and sexy Soldier of Love.

And Now, The Top 10:

10. Kylie Minogue, Aphrodite. I know! I was surprised it made my list too. But it's a damn fun collection of dance music.

9. Brandon Flowers, Flamingo. The Killers front man got a lot of flack for this CD, but I'm among the few who really liked it, and it only grew on me the more I listened to it.

8. Broken Bells, Broken Bells. Everyone's favorite new band earlier in the year.

7. Patty Griffin, Downtown Church. I purchased this without knowing it was covers of old gospel tunes. That would normally have sent up a red flag. But Griffin makes these songs sound mighty secular. In an interview earlier in the year, she admitted to not being a religious person herself and having the same response to gospel music as many of us.

6. Johnny Flynn, Been Listening. Johnny's second full-length CD and the second one to make my Top 10. That voice kills. The {insert big timer songwriter of your choosing} of the nu-folk movement?

5. Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Some of the best rock from across the pond since U2.

4. Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Age of Miracles. A quiet spiritual experience that steals upon you and draws from history and recent social and worldly upheavals to demonstrate its point.

3. Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise. There are some songs here that will rip your heart out, even while you're mended by Ray's voice.

2. Various, Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows. A John Prine tribute album that kicks tribute album beeehind, with artists like Josh Ritter, My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, and Justin Townes Earle.

1. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More. Well, it's just amazing. Folkin' Roll. Again, the nu-folk movement shows the rest of the world how it's done. With harmonies that could fill a symphony hall and instrumentation that delves into genius, you should be ashamed of yourself if you don't get this CD. SHAME!

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