The Last Drop

Reviews and Clues on Music That Matters (to me)

Top Drops: 2010


So, I’m getting a bit better on posting my favs from the prior year. 2010 theme: size and depth. It was a good year for the grandiose and high minded concepts. Amidst the cacophony, it was also a notable year for thoughtful lyrics. Put it all together and it was a great way to end the first decade of the aughts.

Honorable Mentions

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – I told you. I respect it as a work of high art. There is a ton of talent on display. And it really can’t get any more (tastefully) bombastic. But there is too much lacking in lyrical quality to deign a top ten placement let alone the top spot.  Maybe next year.

Girl Talk, All Day – I just listened to this album again. Like today. It’s damn good. The formula is familiar but it stands on it’s own. No revolution starting with this one, but it’s supremely solid.  It’s been a let down year for Pittsburgh in general – abismal baseball, underachieving hockey, and let down superbowl dreams. Here’s to Greg Gillis holding up his end of the bargain (oh, and this guy was on too).

The List
7.The Morning Benders, Big Echo – This album definitely filled the space of “new indie rock group with a definitive album of the moment but will inevitably fall off the radar in 3 months”. Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear can both count themselves as alums. This does not diminish the strength of each band’s respective album. Nor does it limit my desire for each band to come back and amaze me with new work. Just sayin, sometimes one great album is all you’ve got. And that’s not entirely a bad thing. For this genre, The Morning Bender’s seem to have the most range with a possibility of heading in many different directions. I’m hoping they realize their potential.

6. Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty – Bar none, the best hip hop album of 2010. Pure in it’s delivery, varied in subject matter, bouyant, boistrous, and terribly Atlanta. For all of the gains in regional, emo, ringtone, and whatever rap, a good old fashioned Deep South R&B laden, sizzurp sippin album with the talents of half the best rap group ever (yeah, I’m making that claim. That’s probably another post altogether. Stick with me until I get there) still bubbles to the top of the fray. Full of (non- Solja Boy) swagger and delightful, slippery energy, Big Boi delivers a great resurgence to the forefront of hip hop.

5. Janelle Monae, ArchAndroid – Partly based on the actual quality of the music, partly based on the aesthetic and future possibilities of the emerging genre, The ArchAndroid has vaulted Janelle Monae towards the top of my pile. Her voice is undeniable – cheeky, brash, energetic, and more experienced than she lets on. She has mastered the appearance of youth and wide eyed idealism through many years of practice. It’s easy to sense there is much more to come from Janelle. But what she has already done is surprisingly well formed – a concept that is well shaped but not to the point of feeling put on. And potentially ready for world domination. If this world will have her.

4.Arcade Fire, The Suburbs – The consummate band creating another killer concept album. It is such a pleasure to witness a truly talented band slowly but surely take over the world.  I’ve been waiting, hawkishly, for any of their efforts to be less than worthy. Or at least not as good – on some level – than the previous. Looks like it may be a long wait. The Suburbs further cements their prowess as in depth documentarians. First is was our relationships, then it was the world at large, now it’s our (so called) lives. Everything is under review and very little get’s past the rueful gaze of Win & Co. They are one of the artists that I can listen to and actually feel smarter for just listening to them. Strident, assertive, and on point. And now that the rest of the world knows of their prowess, let’s hope we all get smatter.

3.Robyn, Body Talk – By now you know that I tend to throw in some Euro dance album into the heap as a good faith nod to dance music actually staying relevant beyond the dance floor. The world has their Gaga, I have my Robyn.  Taking the unusual approach of releasing drafts via mini albums, Body Talk is so jam packed with hits, it almost doesn’t build into a sensical flow. Robyn is obviously on form and not afraid to prove it at every possible instance. Write a hit about a spurned girlfriend who can only seek solice on the dancefloor? Check. What about an anthem to giving love a second chance after you have been burned? Check. How about something completely goofy, with Snoop Dogg? Absolutely. What sets her work apart is the absolute attention to crafting lyrically significant dance songs. These songs stick in your head not only for their beats, but for the endearing and often introspective concepts. Falling in and out of love is only cliche if you fall on cliches to describe it. Robyn, thankfully, knows no such easy cliche. There is a lot of grey area in relationships and she is more than happy to frolic merrily in these waters. And now we all get to reap the benefits.

2.Menomena, Mines – Yes, I am using my wild card on a band no one recognizes in hopes of everyone starting to recognize them 🙂 I think I did a pretty good job summing them up here, so take a gander. It’s really worth a few good hard listens.

Top Drop. LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening – If this is the last album for LCD (and I BEG of you to please make this untrue, Mr Murphy…), it is the only way to go. Emotive, contrite, and utterly poignant. As I stated earlier, I really didn’t think you could top “All My Friends”. When you’ve already created a song that is in the pantheon of life changing music, where do you go? Apparently to Drunk Girls. I don’t think anyone can say enough good things about this band or this album. Each listen only makes you want to dig deeper. James Murphy has such a way of striking to the heart of a subject that is at once obtuse and yet so familiar. See “Pow Pow” as an example. His signature vocal style of rambling stream of consciousness dissecting the dynamics of perspective paired with heavy disco levity. Who gets away with this? Ever? Only LCD. It’s simply amazing. It’s visceral and conceptual at the same time without relying on histrionics. A fitting achievement for a man who genuinely believes that he isn’t worth the accolades. Humility never sounded so good.

Written by TopDrop

February 14th, 2011 at 4:32 am

3 Responses to 'Top Drops: 2010'

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  1. hello, I’m new on here and glad to be a part of the conversation !

    Shelley A

    14 Feb 11 at 9:15 pm

  2. […] ugly, nasty rumor is true. My most recent Top Drop of 2010 is calling it quits. Figures. When you finally hit your peak (in my eyes) why not […]

  3. Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

    Toya Kretzinger

    19 Feb 11 at 1:08 am

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