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The Best Albums of 2010 (LPs, Eps, & Honorable Mentions)

Oh 2010, what a year you were. Not only were you The Burning Ear’s first full calendar year, but you bombarded us with so much amazing music. Great albums from old favorites, fresh faces, and even genres we didn’t even knew we liked. Thanks 2010. You were awesome and we won’t forget you. Cheers to the good times.

Below are the top 10 albums from my 2010. The list was compiled by weighing total play counts along with longevity. Not only did I listen to it a lot, but was I still reaching for it months after the honeymoon phase. These are those albums. And below them are a few special awards of honorable mention as well as the best EPs of the year. I know it’s a lot in one post but it’s already the end on January. Time to get this shit out there.

Since I can’t be bothered to rank these bad boys I went for alphabetical. That coupled with my attempts at some sort of pleasing visual design ended up pairing these albums in pretty interesting ways. Although, The Hood Internet mashed up our first pair quite nicely! Enjoy, and of course, drop your thoughts in the comments. Hearing your agreements/disagreements is always the most fun part of these lists!

Click album TITLE or COVER for original review.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ BEST ALBUMS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Big Boi – Shine Blockas [ft. Gucci Mane]

Hip Hop grabbed more in 2010 year than any other but Big Boi’s incessant flow, super-fly production, top-notch guests, and skits that are actually funny made this the cream of the crop.

Foals – Total Life Forever

Foals – This Orient

The once lanky and angular Foals matured into a handsome, intelligent, and often sexy sexy thing. Keep eatin’ those veggies!

Hurts – Happiness

Hurts – Blood, Tears & Gold

Melodrama done right: with no holds barred.

J. Roddy Walston & The Business – J. Roddy Walston and The Business

J Roddy Walston & The Business – Brave Man’s Death

Rock n Roll done right: with guitars, soul, and some heavy piano pounding.

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

Local Natives – Camera Talk

Texture, texture, texture. Oh, and some killer harmonies.

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. – Record Collection

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – The Bike Song (featuring Kyle Falconer and Spank Rock)

Mark Ronson probably had more fun making this record than anyone on this list. It shows.

The National – High Violet

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

I don’t know whether The National evolved to meet me or I evolved to meet them, but either way, our paths definitely crossed on this one.

Steel Train – Steel Train

Steel Train – You and I Undercover

Because sometime growing up as a band doesn’t mean you have to get more difficult. Life is awesome, treat it as such.

Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

Two Door Cinema Club – Undercover Martyn

Likewise for starting out as a band. Funk is not only ok, it’s highly welcomed.

When Saints Go Machine – Ten Makes A Face

When Saints Go Machine – Fail Forever

The best record nobody is listening to. That’s a shame. I can’t stop.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~  HONORABLE MENTIONS  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* Best album that is often brilliant, sometimes meandering, but generally gets me pumped for more from the artist *

Javelin – No Mas

Javelin – Oh! Centra / I’m sure I’m in summertime, I’m just not sure which decade…

Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wuz Here

Big K.R.I.T. – Country Shit / Yes he was. And he will be quite a bit longer with skillz like these.

* Best follow up album from an artist whose previous effort(s) I was never really into *

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

Yeasayer – O.N.E. / Their epic live shows made up for the few misses on this one.

Wavves – King Of The Beach

Wavves – King of the Beach / Sunshine and good times can be our friends. So can fidelity.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West – Monster (Ft. JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver) / Definitely not perfect, but definitely pretty damn epic.

* Biggest “grower” album *

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem – Boxer / My love for their last LP made me pretty hard on this one at first but over time I realized I was really enjoying every listen.

Everything Everything – Man Alive

Everything Everything – Suffragette Suffragette / Sometimes you just gotta do your own thing and people will either get it or not. Or sometimes both.

* Best opportunity to be proven wrong *

Sleigh Bells – Treats

Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em / Early demos left my ears bleeding. The album left my ears needing.

Bruno Mars – Do-Wops & Hooligans

Bruno Mars – The Other Side (ft Cee Lo Green & B.O.B.) / Thank god I don’t listen to the radio. I might have haughtily missed out on this piece of polished pop perfection.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Best EPs ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Awolnation – Back From Earth EP

AWOLNATION – Burn It Down / Get in, do your thing, and get out. Like an astronaut. Or this debut EP that promises some good times from this LA based space dude.


BRONZE – Deep Freeze / If they had just put every track twice and called it an LP it would have made the best albums list.

Civil Civic – 1 EP

Civil Civic – Less Unless / Between the face-melting, speaker-blowing, and their brilliant tour blog, Civil Civic are the best new band to both listen to and read about.

The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning EP

The Joy Formidable – Whirring / I’m so pumped for their debut this year!

Kensington – Youth EP

Kensington – Safe / It’s too bad their subsequent LP didn’t match the tight hooks of these jams.

Muscles – Younger & Immature EP

Muscles – Northern Beaches / Muscles is baaaack!

Be sure to catch all the 2010 “best of” lists!

  • J Rich

    sweet list. much love for some of these, and might have to go back and give some of them another spin.

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Yeah, do that. Some are obvious ones but some surprised me how much I got into them.

  • Mig

    Thank you for not following the trend, and putting Kanye West as the #1 album of the year. Good list.

  • Whitey

    The Joy Formidable is probably THE best Album of last year! I saw them at a bar in chicgao with like 200 people and i was BLOWN away! That chickie can shread! And she is only like 4 and a half foot tall!

  • J Rich

    My Favorite 5 Albums of 2010:

    1. Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday
    2. The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning (EP)
    3. Big Boi – Sir Lucious…
    4, Winter Gloves – All Red
    5. Salem – King Night

    Honorable mentions to Kate Nash, Germany Germany, Sleigh Bells, Chew Lips and an EP by Tangled Hair.

  • Marcello

    Looking forward to the 2011 list. Great stuff guys :D

  • Anonymous

    Great list – well looking forward to what 2011 brings!! Already sound albums from White Lies, Cold War Kids and Joy Formidable. If Adele is your thing ‘Someone Like You’ is a heartbreaker of a track…

  • Brandon @ TBE

    If it aint #1 then I can’t put it there, you know what I’m sayin?

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Awesome! Yeah, I bet they rip. Would love to see that show!

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Interesting picks. That Winter Gloves album just didn’t grab me besides the single. Might have to give it another go.

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Haha, yeah, me too! Thanks Marcello.

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Hmm, White Lies first single felt flat and I haven’t heard the whole Cold War Kids. Definitely gonna be on that Joy Formidable album! I can definitely some Adele. I’m kinda waiting for the full album to get my sultry chill on.

  • Slurmz_Mckenzie

    I definitely recommend the new Cold War Kids alum Mine is Yours. It’s not perfect, but I really love a lot of their songs. Especially Bulldozer, after it changes about halfway into the song.

  • Snakesky

    Great List ! Although give my fav 3 a listen.
    1.) The Autumn Film – The Ship and The Sea (2010)
    2.) American Bang – American Bang (2010)
    3.) Aqualung – Magnetic North (2010)

    @ Slurmz_Mckenzie
    Have to agree about Cold War Kids..
    Bulldozer, Finally Begin , and Mine is Yours.
    Are 3 tracks on my drive home .. (-_’)

  • Brandon @ TBE

    I grabbed it today thanks to your enthusiasm! I’ll be diving in ASAP!

  • Brandon @ TBE

    Damn. Never heard of any of those albums. I remember Aqualung from 2006 or so. Dude’s still around, nice. But what, you only like bands that start with A?

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