YBP Top Albums of 2010


It’s that time of year again folks! We always have a good time digging through the many albums released throughout the year and narrowing it down to the top 20 albums of the year. The musical landscape has certainly changed a lot judging by our top albums lists from 2009 and 2008. This year was particularly tough with the amount of great albums that have been released, but after much deliberation and debate we have managed to come up with a list of 20 albums that we feel represent the best albums that have been released in 2010.

20. Johnny Flynn – Been Listening

Johnny Flynn - Been Listening

We will start off with Johnny Flynn’s latest release Been Listening. Anticipation was pretty high for this one after his amazing debut, A Larum, and Flynn did not disappoint. Starting off with perhaps the album’s catchiest track, “Kentucky Pill” and moving forward the album is solid from start to finish. Long time friend Laura Marling even makes an appearance on “The Water” and let’s face it, anything with Laura Marling on it is immediately great. 

19. Kathryn Calder – Are You My Mother?

Kathryn Calder

This next album came as a big surprise to us, but the moment we heard the first of Kathryn Calder’s lovely vocals on her debut solo album, entitled Are You My Mother? we knew it would be on our list. Calder has sort of been flying under the radar for years as a member of both Immaculate Machine and The New Pornographers but she has really spread her wings on her debut.

18. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

arcade fire

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Arcade Fire have also made a triumphant return with their latest, entitled The Suburbs. We were happy to see that the Montreal natives haven’t lost their touch and not that Grammy awards mean anything but the album has been nominated for three this year including Album of the Year, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. If they win they will be among some of the all-time great past winners like Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, Ne-Yo, Beyonce, The Dixie Chicks and Green Day. Good luck guys!

17. of Montreal – False Priest

of Montreal - False Priest

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Is it just me or do of Montreal get crazier with every album they release. Who would have thought that this little Kevin Barnes led, 60s influenced pop band would ultimate evolve into what they are today. Colaborations with Solange Knowles and the incredible Janelle Monae (who we will see lower down) make this album perhaps of Montreal’s oddest yet, still they manage to draw us in. For those still holding on to what of Montreal used to, it’s time to start embracing the change!

16. ceo – White Magic


We don’t know much about ceo except for the fact that it is the solo project of one Eric Berglund who used to be a member of a band called The Tough Allience. The other thing we know about ceo is that he has released one of the most impressive and captivating albums of the year. Even though the whole album runs just shy of a half an hour, each song is an absolute gem. We can’t wait to hear more from this obviously very talented Swede.

15. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles II

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Ethan and Alice were back this year with a new self-titled LP (their first LP was also self-titled) and once again they did not disappoint. They continue along the same lines of their first release, alternating between moments of utter insanity and ethereal and dreamy electro pop. Their first album was named as one of the top 50 albums of the decade by NME, let’s see where this one will go.

14. Hot Chip – One Life Stand


Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Hot Chip can do no wrong in our book. And they certainly did no wrong with their latest release, One Life Stand. Top track honors would have to go to the album’s title track along with “I Feel Better” (with it’s oh so creepy music video) and “Alley Cats”. But let’s face it the album is strong from start to finish and certainly deserving of top 20 honours.

13. Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love

Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Belle & Sebastian finally returned to us this year with their first new LP since The Life Pursuit was released back in 2006. The good news is that the world’s most adorable band haven’t lost their touch even the slightest bit. In fact, we would even go as far as to say that Write About Love is a better album as a whole than their last release. While it may not be better then 2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress it’s certainly close.

12. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of ADZ

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Sufjan really threw us a curve ball this year with his latest epic, entitled The Age of Adz. If anyone was expecting the usually soft-spoken Sufjan Stevens to give us another album of bitter-sweet lyrics, catchy melodies and monumental choruses that was all thrown out the window with his latest release. A perfect example of this new Sufjan can be seen on the album’s 25 minute closing track, “Impossible Soul”. Nevertheless, it’s great to have Sufjan back and doing what he does best, which is blowing our minds through music.

11. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt


Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

The Tallest Man on Earth followed up his excellent 2008 released Shallow Grave with a new album of catchy acoustic jams. The Wild Hunt doesn’t have one misstep to speak of and the only thing better than listening to this album is actually seeing Kristian Matsson playing these songs live. And if you haven’t already heard it, check out our theme song, written by The Tallest Man himself.

10. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record


Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Broken Social Scene return this year with their latest epic masterpiece entitled Forgiveness Rock Record. All the usual characters are back at work on this one including Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin and Andrew Whitman. But it wouldn’t be a Broken Social Scene album without a host of guest artists. On this one we find Feist and Emily Haines back at their usual posts along with Pavement’s Spiral Stairs, Death From Above 1979’s Sebastien Graigner and many more. BSS is back and it’s nice to have them back in our top 20 albums of the year.

9. Best Coast – Crazy For You

Best Coast - Crazy For You

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

After a string of 7″ and EP releases this year brought us the release of Best Coast’s debut LP, entitled Crazy For You. Beth Cosentino should be crowned the queen of lo-fi. With her simple and raw lyrics and feel good vibes, it’s hard to not take a liking to Cosentino and her (now celebrity) cat, Snacks. An album certainly deserving of top 10 status.

8. Vampire Weekend – Contra

Vampire Weekend Contra

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Besides all the drama concerning the lady depicted on the album cover, Vampire Weekend’s latest release, Contra, is without a doubt one of the top 10 albums of the year. They didn’t reinvent the wheel, or stray too far from what made droves of fans fall in love with them in the first place, but in this case it’s probably a good thing. And 10 more bouncy and fun Vampire Weekend tracks is enough reason on it’s own to get excited.

7. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest


Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Brad Cox and the gang were at it again this year with Halcyon Digest, the follow up to 2008’s Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. Everyone was going absolutely nuts about the song “Helicopter” when it first made an appearance around the interweb, but it was good to see that the incredible track was followed up by an equally incredible album.

6. The National – High Violet

The National - High Violet

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

There was so much hype leading up to The National’s latest release. You couldn’t go an hour without either hearing “Bloodbuzz Ohio” or reading something about the new album online. Did the album live up to all the hype? I think the answer is a definite and resounding yes.

5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM 

You can tell that there was a ton of work that went into LCD Soundsystem’s latest release, This is Happening. It’s understandable then that lead LCD member James Murphy would be upset when the album was leaked early, leading him to say that this would likely be the final LCD Soundsystem album. We can only hope that this is not the case because their latest album is a true gem and we’d love to hear what else they have to offer.

4. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid


Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Janelle Monae’s debut album, The ArchAndroid was simply a breath of fresh air this year. It seems as if the hip-hop/R&B genre has gotten so stale these past few years and then someone like Monae comes along and shows just how much more you can do. The album is also nominated for a Grammy this year in the Best Contemporary R&B Album category. It will win.

3. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

Joanna Newsom would probably be on our top 20 albums of the year list every year, if only she released albums every year. But to put out a two hour long triple album every year would just be insanity. It’s been nice to be able to see Newsom develop as a musician from her first recordings until now. Have One On Me is certainly Newsom’s most ambitious work to date and perhaps the best thing she’s ever put to tape.

2. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Ariel Pink - Before Today

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

The number two slot goes to LA rock band, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and their latest album, Before Today. Pink showed with this release that he’s not simply the guy that can put on a completely crazy live show, but he can also craft an incredible album, and at the end of the day, it’s Pink’s songwriting ability that is his bread and butter. An album that is just chock full of instant classics as this one is certainly deserving of top honors. Our number 1 album of the year is Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s Before Today.

1. Beach House – Teen Dream

Beach House - Teen Dream

Available on vinyl from: Analog.AM

The album’s title tells the story here. From the first moments of “Zebra” until the end, we are taken on a dreamy voyage on the wings of lead singer Victoria Legrand’s soothing voice. An utterly beautiful album from start to finish. It came out early in the year, but we haven’t forgotten… Deservedly, the number one album by a 10 Mile Stereo, goes to Beach House’s “Teen Dream”.

Spotify link: YBP Top 20 Albums of 2010

Honourable Mentions:

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Weezer – Hurley
Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now
Tunng – …And The We Saw Land
Yeasayer – ODD BLOOD

3 comments for “YBP Top Albums of 2010”

  1. No surprises here.

  2. Epic list. Crystal Castles was a great shout.

  3. […] Top albums of 2010: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2010/12/25/ybp-top-albums-of-2010/ […]

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