Monday, December 13, 2010

PoMo Jukebox's (and friends'!) Top 25 Albums of the Year: 25-21

Welcome to PoMo Jukebox's first ever Album's of the Year List (2010 edition). By now it seems pretty evident that 2010 was all about excess. We had Kanye West's excessive production and ruminations on celebrity, Sleigh Bells' excessive volume, Joanna Newsom's excess of material, The Arcade Fire's excessive everything, and Sufjan Stevens' excess of feeling and whatever the hell else is going on with The Age of Adz. Oddly, through all of this excess 2010 ended up being a pretty incredible year for music. While excess has traditionally been a dirty word when talking about music, all of a sudden our excess of excess ended up giving music fans an excess of exciting, larger-than-life albums that managed to mix raw enthusiasm with their unchecked ambition.

Over the course of this week, we are excited to be rolling out our 25 favorite Albums of the Year list. We, literally, couldn't have made this list without you, our friends and readers. After our call for lists we received well over twenty lists with votes for over a hundred albums. What follows is the result of your tastes and ours. Enjoy, and let us know what you think.

25. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
Label: Dead Oceans

One of the great moments of the year for me was hearing The Tallest Man on Earth’s “The Wild Hunt.” Singer/songwriter Kristian Mattson, from Sweden, sounds American with his Dylanesque melodies and reminds me how much I love folk music. Highlights include “King of Spain” and “The Wild Hunt,” but “Love is All” may be the true ode to early Dylan. A purely simple, quiet album that gets better with each listen. --Brandon Hobson

24. The Black Keys - Brothers
Label: Nonesuch

Six albums in, the blues-rock revisionists The Black Keys still sound fresh. Brothers demonstrates what the band does best: mixing old sounds with the new. While they haven’t reinvented themselves here, the album feels more relaxed than anything they’ve done – yet they’ve maintained that sonic atmosphere that gives their sound its tightness. Brothers sneaks up on you and upon first listen, you get the feeling you’ve been here before. However, this is not a rehash – the songs on Brothers feel like they’ve always been here. --Andrew Terhune

23. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Label: Def Jam

When people thought of Outkast, they often pictured Andre3000, his antics and costumes. On Sir Lucious, Big Boi shows he is every bit as weird as Andre and every bit as talented, if not more so. While the album drags on a little long, and while some of the guest appearances are questionable (I mean, Vonnegutt? Why?), on many of the tracks, the rhymes are as fresh and the beats are as tight as anything Outkast produced. And a little Janelle Monae certainly never hurts anything. --Joshua Cross

22. Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love
Label: Matador

I love every album Belle and Sebastian have put out, and “Write About Love,” their seventh studio album, is no exception. For me, their approach is always hypnotic, like vintage light sixties pop, but this time with lyrics less haunting than past albums. Still, “I Didn’t See it Coming,” is a fantastic opener, and “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” featuring Norah Jones, is a highlight to this really fine album that won’t disappoint B&S fans. --Brandon Hobson

21. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Label: XL

The American Civil War serves as a controlling metaphor on The Monitor, both in the form of era-specific speeches and in lyrics that reference battles on land and sea. But ultimately, this album is about being young in present-day New Jersey and feeling that all your options are closed, as evidenced by lyrics like “down in North Carolina, I could have been a productive member of society / But these New Jersey cigarettes and all they require have made a fucking junkie out of me.” While thematically dark, this is one of the loudest, most energetic albums of the year. --Joshua Cross

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