Every year I sit down to compile a list of the best albums of the year. I usually try to write a list of the top five or ten albums, but usually end up getting over my head and even writing on albums that were not released in that year. For instance, last year I released the top ten albums of 2009 and the top ten albums that I discovered in 2009. Some of the albums were the same, and I ended up writing for days on why these albums were so important to me. This year I have decided to go a different route yet again.
This year, while deciding the route I wanted to take, I figured I would write a list of my top five and that’s it. But as soon as I started thinking about all of the great music that came out this year, I knew I had to reconsider. So I decided to break it up into categories. So this year I am writing my top five albums in the following categories:
- Rock & Roll
- Hip Hop & R&B
For each of these I will list them in reverse chronological order and I will discuss each album in detail. So sit back, relax, and let me take you on a tour of what I consider the best music, the best albums of 2010.
Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
Let’s start with electronic music. Never have I been introduced to a genre of music that has made as big of an impact as electronic dance music. I have been listening to it off and on for years, but this year was a major turning point for EDM and me. I have been listening to this stuff pretty much non-stop all year long and it was tough picking only five albums for this category. But I forced myself, as I did with the other genres, to keep true to my rules and only mention five albums per category.
5. Pretty Lights – Spilling Over Every Side
I have no idea where this kid came from, but I am glad that I found him. When I first heard Pretty Lights I was a little taken aback. It was good, but nothing worth getting excited over. Then I listened again. The more I listened to this disc, the more I liked it. I had the chance to interview him as well, and I got to know him and his style a lot more through that interview.
The album is packed with beats and samples from many different genres. This kid has some major talent, and I even had the chance to see him perform these beats live at Electric Zoo earlier in the year. He knows what he is doing, and he has a certain style that I have never seen in a DJ before. You can tell he loves what he does, and this album deserves to be on this list. Also note that all of his music is free. While talking with him earlier this year, I asked him why he chose to give all his music away. He claims money isn’t the reason he is doing this, and that if someone hears his stuff he or she will come see him live, which is his goal. He sold out Red Rocks (over 10,000 seats), so I think it’s working.
Original Release Date: July 29, 2010
4. BT – These Hopeful Machines
I don’t know a ton of his work, but the name BT rings loud in the world of EDM. When he released this album, I decided to give it a shot. From the first track, I was hooked. The album gets a little intense, almost too much for your typical EDM album, but he tries to bring it back. With tracks like A Million Stars and Love Can Kill You it keeps me entertained.
He uses a lot of vocals too, which I love in trance music. I am not sure I would even call this vocal trance, but still. This is one of those dance albums that you can put on, forget about what’s going on around you, and just relax. But I won’t be able to stop you if you get up and start dancing. The album is just packed with talent both on the decks and in the vocals. I bet I listen to this album once or twice a week.
Original Release Date: September 28, 2010
3. ATB – In the Mix 2010
ATB might be one of the best DJs on the planet. His work just continues to blow me away, and every disc he releases just seems to get better. I really enjoy his In the Mix collections, and with his 2010 release he literally blew me out of my chair. The In the Mix 2010 might be one of the best compilations ever put together by any DJ. He also released a studio album later in the year, but it doesn’t come close to this one.
The album is just a journey through time and dance. He starts with some strong beats, leads into some sexy vocals, and finishes with some breaks that impress me every time I hear them. I sometimes throw this disc on and just pretend he is spinning in the room next to me. I love his work and can’t wait until the next In the Mix. They kill his studio albums if you ask me.
Original Release Date: January 1, 2010
2. Armin van Buuren – Mirage
All right, Armin is the single best DJ on the planet. Year after year he is nominated as the biggest and best DJ on earth. And while I agree, he is one of the best out there, his latest album just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s good, actually it’s pretty great, but it’s not what I have come to expect from the world’s number 1. Armin is known for making absolutely epic mixes, producing some of the biggest names and making mixes that last all day. But Mirage lacks in that department.
The disc starts out on a high note, but soon falls victim to the popular dance tracks that all these guys are being forced to produce. This album does get better the more I listen to it, but it’s just not what he is known for. I did get the chance to see him perform these beats live before the album even came out at Electric Zoo, so that might have a little bearing on my decision to put this album at number 2, but I think this disc was rushed. Regardless, listen to it and you won’t be sorry. After all, he is the world’s #1 DJ.
Original Release Date: September 14, 2010
1. Gareth Emery – Northern Lights
I am still waiting on my chance to interview this dude, but when I was handed his new album, I was shocked I hadn’t heard of him before. He is not ranked in the top 10 in the world, and for good reason. This album is a mixture of deep dark house beats with some popular vocals that you expect out of Armin and David Guetta. The way he molds it all together for over an hour of smooth trance makes this album jump to the top spot on my list. I might even put this close to number one on my all time favorite EDM albums.
I have done some research on him since this disc came out, and I hope to land the interview soon. I just need to know where a man this young gets inspiration this deep to produce an album this epic. Gareth has impressed me beyond belief, and I highly recommend you taking a listen even if you don’t like EDM. I could go on all day about how great this album is; just go listen. You won’t be sorry.
Those are my favorite albums in electronic dance music for 2010. Next up we will take a look at my choice for the top five albums in popular music.