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.
Rock & Roll
I have my days where I just want to turn something on and scream at the top of my lungs. Usually I don’t really scream, but sometimes if the rock is hard enough I will let out a grunt here and there. Rock and roll music is the foundation for a lot of our tastes in music, ranging from the Rolling Stones to Metallica and beyond. I don’t listen to rock and roll a lot, but I had to throw that in here because of couple of these albums are just too good to leave off.
5. Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns
Nothing these guys produce will ever top their debut album Hybrid Theory, but Linkin Park is back with a new disc titled A Thousand Suns. With this new album they are reaching, trying to find something that just isn’t there. It seems that these guys just need to focus on rock, and try not to get political and force themselves into a genre that just isn’t for them.
There are some tracks on this album that seem to be completely forced and not at all genuine to their cause. I have seen these guys live, and they are insane to see perform. But on this disc, they leave a lot on the table. What is next for Linkin Park?
4. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
Peter Hart will be happy I put Kings of Leon on my list this year. You see, I am not a big fan of these guys. They continue to sell out everywhere they play, and continue to impress everyone that hears them, but I just don’t see it. Their first album (well, their first popular album I should say) got them on a headlining tour and they were selling out venues seven nights a week. I hated them; I literally spited them. Then they released this disc, quietly compared to the first, and just kept on moving without blinking an eye.
At first, I hated his voice. I still do as a matter of fact. Listen to a band like NeedToBreath if you want vocals like this. But this new album is reaching epic proportions. It reminds me of old town Las Vegas, when the Rat Pack was crawling the streets of Sin City.
Their lyrics, and their instrumentals, are what did it for me. I could live without his voice, though.
3. Train – Save Me, San Francisco (Golden Gate Edition)
I love San Francisco, but that’s not why I like this album. Now, I know what you are saying. This isn’t “rock and roll” music. But it’s close, and it’s the only place I could fit it. I love their lyrics, and I love the fun you can tell they are having song for song. Their tunes are witty, and they have some addictive elements to every song on the album.
We have all heard the track, Hey, Soul Sister, but that song, even today, is fun to listen to. It just makes me want to put the windows down, drive ten over the speed limit, and let all my cares float away with the wind. This album is timeless, and Train has been around for a long time. They are a great band, and deserve more attention than they get. The Golden Gate Edition has a handful of bonus tracks that just put the cherry on top of this incredible album.
2. Anberlin – Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place
Oh man, I love this band. I have been listening to these guys since they were on Tooth & Nail Records back before they started producing harder, more fear driven music. I actually saw them perform in Chicago at the Metro Chicago when they were with Tooth & Nail.
They have released quite a few albums the last few years, and thanks to a few Vans Warped Tour headlining dates, have been able to sell a lot more records and make a permanent name for themselves on the top of the charts. This new album, Dark is the Way, Light Is a Place is not what you are used to from them. It’s not a total rock and roll album; they are starting to mess with some ballads here and there. However, nothing will ever top their album Never Take Friendship Personal.
1. Drowning Pool – Drowning Pool
All right, this is what I’m talking about! This is hardcore, punch your buddy in the arm, and melt your face rock music. Turn it up, because that’s the only way to listen to this stuff. 11 is not loud enough! This stuff just rocks, plain and simple.
Drowning Pool has a new lead singer, and he shows up with force. You can hear his attitude in his voice, and I would love to see these guys perform live. Their lyrics are not that intelligent, but they work. They make sense for what you hear behind them. Songs like Let the Sin Begin and Feel Like I Do just make me want to fight! (Alright, I don’t fight, but that is what this music is making me want to do!)
These guys are back and if this is any sign, they are here to stay.