Those of you who have been reading me for a while know that I cannot resist a year-end list (as you can certainly see here, here, and here). Here are my top twenty-five albums for the past year:
25. Andrew Bird, Useless Creatures (2010)
24. James Vincent McMorrow, Early in the Morning
This album is sweet and beautiful. Almost every song sounds like the background music to a montage of characters on a CW show looking longingly into the distance during the last five minutes of that evening's episode--and I mean that in the best way possible.
23. Lisa Hannigan, Passenger
22. Owl City, All Things Bright & Beautiful
21. Cults, Cults
I got really into this eighties, new-wave, ambient, female-fronted electro-pop this year. Believe it or not, that is an actual thing (see also: College, I Break Horses, Desire, etc.).
20. Austin Stone Worship, Austin Stone Live
19. Ryan Bingham, Junky Star (2010)
Tracks I just can't get over: "Hallelujah" and "The Weary Kind."
18. Death Cab for Cutie, Codes & Keys
17. The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow
16. Foster the People, Torches
You've got to give it to these guys: They've got spunk & style. I can't get this catchy record out of my head.
15. Givers, In Light
Do yourself a favor and 1) see this AMAZING band live and 2) play "Atlantic" on repeat. You're welcome.
14. The Decemberists, The King is Dead
13. Oh Land, Oh Land
12. Amos Lee, Mission Bell
11. The Head & The Heart, The Head & The Heart
10. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
This record helps to cement Fleet Foxes as this generation's Simon & Garfunkel. From me, that is the highest praise.
9. Ryan Adams, Ashes & Fire
THANK YOU, Ryan Adams, for putting out a new record that isn't B-sides or heavy metal or whatever it is you have been doing since you "quit music." You are officially forgiven.
8. John Mark McMillan, Economy
7. Fitz & the Tantrums, Pickin' Up The Pieces
Finally, a indie band both you and your parents will enjoy (see also: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings)!
6. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto
In my mind (& heart), Alison Krauss can do no wrong. AK & US know how to really stick to the southern style blue grass/folk country they have perfected, and this record just feels like home. Krauss's vocals are out of control, as always. I couldn't stop listening to "My Love Follows You Where You Go," a track whose lyrics are as perfect as the classic music and vocals.
4. M83, Hurry Up We're Dreaming
I had no idea this album would hook me as much as it has! M83 creates these beautiful, big, sweeping electro-pop wonders. Their attention to detail in each of their tracks is out of this world.
I can't explain how ECSTATIC I was when I found out the one of the most talented musicians on the planet was not only coming out with a new full-length album but also touring North America. The music planet had certainly aligned! Beirut, known for their European-influenced sounds, toned the gypsy-rock down just a touch for what is truly their American record. I can't recommend this album enough for even the casual music lover. It is accessible and beautiful and so well done it will make you smile for weeks.
You had to know this was coming. This outstanding record is a thing of indescribable beauty--the kind of thing that makes you want to pull your car over and just cry or worship or just do something meaningful.
Good job, Josh Garrels. You have officially made the top spot for two of the past three years! This album is unbelievable (and free). His lyrics are prophetic, his music is stunningly beautiful. This album is a completely credible work of art; a true labor of love made for reasons other than making a profit. Josh Garrels may just save Christian music yet. My favorite tracks? "Rise," "Revelator," & "Ulysses."
What do you think? What albums would make it onto your year-end list? What is missing from mine?