CoS Year-End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010


    albums thumb 260x260 CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010The end of the year — CoS‘ fourth on the Internet — approaches, closing a very exciting run. It has been arduously difficult to decipher the commotion over my iPod blasting a ton of new music, and for this, I am thankful. Let us cross fingers that the nukes don’t come out blazing during the New Years’ parties, or else I will miss the fireworks of a loony self-fulfillment.

    We could sit here and reminisce on everything of prominence over the past 365 days, and all of you gracious readers that strapped us into the #1 Music Blog position on could bask in nostalgia’s glorious sun shower. In the essence of practicality, while revisiting landmark albums like Exile On Main St. and Pretty Hate Machine, dismantling Consequence of Kanye at the culmination of his Dark Twisted Fantasy, and doling out five stars to Arcade Fire, we had the chance to compile this lovely Top 100 list for your critiquing and commenting pleasure.

    This is the cream of the crop from all walks of genre, sub-genre, and fused genres alike. This is the definitive mark, two-thousand-ten’s best album releases, summarily graphed — and generously bled for — by your favorite Web site’s dedicated writers and contributors. So much has happened in such a minute expanse of time, we could not feasibly compress it all into a single article, but nonetheless, here lies the certifiable superlative one-off for 12 months’ worth of music.


    [cue the confetti strands and silly string]

    Significant moments leave a deep impact during December; we start wondering if things were given due justice. Questions arise as to why certain obligations might have been neglected (did you listen to even half of the albums on our list yet?). Perhaps many will silently renew devotions for the sake of a new year. Personally, I try not to guilt myself too harshly; After all, humans are imperfect creatures. Forget about making some last-minute proclamation of weight-loss goals and nicotine withdrawals. Why not focus on enjoying that year-end martini? If you want to lose pounds or finish your novel, do it for your own reasons, not because it’s the standard.

    Make 2011 a time of positive build, not redundant letdown. Other usual goal selections are still worthy causes, but nothing is ironclad. If another passing birthday has taught me anything, it is that life is too short to bitch and moan. Think of the positives instead of the negatives, and you will find that the music sounds much sweeter than it did. The rose tint is absent, the naggers are quieted — What remains is the soothing remedy of a happy medium, the way it makes sense for you.

    Welcome to the end of 2010 — May your resolutions be fruitful, may your Armageddon be swift, and may your record collection exponentially grow in value. May Chinese Democracy be your how-to guide for overhype. May the last lone Walkman live long and prosper. And may your iTunes gift card see plenty of use.


    In bowing out, we implore you… pop the Scroll Lock from your keyboard — it’s obsolete now.

    -David Buchanan
    Senior Staff Writer

    100. Black Label Society – Order of the Black

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    Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde have both released albums this year: the former’s Scream, the latter’s latest Black Label Society disc, Order of the Black. While Scream seems to have fallen from grace (despite being entertaining enough), Black Label Society have risen from the grave. With old school rising to the nth degree, Order of the Black is definitely one of the best heavy metal albums all year. Is it favoritism if Wylde shares a birthday with my daughter? -David Buchanan Widgets

    99. Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo

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    High school must have been a trip for this fresh-out-the-suburbs band that only recently graduated. Following in the ’60s-recalling footsteps of fellow indie poppers MGMT, Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut gives us innocence on mushrooms, and plays like their own personal summer of love. “Truth Sets In” and “Five Little Shits” show the craftsmanship behind the music is top-notch. Noodly guitars form flower-child pop rock with forays into folk and country as on “One Last”. The lyrics may be a little high school, but Avi Buffalo write music like pros. The guitar work alone sounds 20 years older, as they work through one sunny jam after another. Avi Buffalo couldn’t have come at a better time, what with so many throwback rock bands making their mark in the past year. While timing is everything, so is having a solid record where every track stands out. With an album like this, it sounds like the next generation will be all right. -E.N. May Widgets

    98. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

    gaslight anthem american slang cover CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    Nowadays, rock and roll music is married to a lot of different genres, be it rap, pop, various forms of world music, etc. Rare is the truly good album that is just plain rock and roll. However, The Gaslight Anthem proved rock can still just be rock, with the down-on-their-luck punk rock of American Slang. Pain and frustration roar through the speakers, all on the backs of big, booming guitar and tight-as-it-comes drumming. The album showed that while rock music is drifting further away from its glory days, there’s still tons of room for the good, old-fashioned stuff. -Chris Coplan

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    97. Caribou — Swim

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    When an artist makes a turn towards pop, one wonders whether the artist has actually improved or simply tricked the listener into accepting the music. I wondered this after hearing Merriweather Post Pavilion and The Suburbs, but 48 listens later each, I’m pretty sure those are both still good albums. Like, 90 percent sure, but I didn’t need to be converted. Caribou sparked these same questions for me with Swim, and going with my instinct was the right choice. It’s hard to put this down, as they used to say when albums were physical objects. Even if you’re not on drugs, Swim will make you feel like you are. It’s not just for dance music junkies though — Caribou has much more to offer than a beat and some synth fiddling. -Harry Painter Widgets

    96. Tokyo Police Club – Champ

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    After a somewhat disappointing debut LP in Elephant Shell, which failed to capture the spark of their A Lesson in Crime EP, Tokyo Police Club returned in 2010 with Champ. Like its name would suggest, the album feels triumphant in that it reintegrates that catchy vibe and also sees the band expand their lyrical concepts by adding a dash of worldly cynicism and diversifying their sonic output with lots of effects and improved instrumentation. Consider this the band’s musical equivalent of Rocky making it to the top of the stairs. -Chris Coplan Widgets

    95. Mike Patton – Mondo Cane

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    Mondo Cane in one sentence: Mr. Bungle meets ’50s Italian pop with a backing orchestra. Seriously, it’s Mike Patton! Weird is not his calling card — it’s his genetic makeup, and I look forward to more operatic productions in the future. At the very least, a Mr. Bungle reunion? Pretty please? -David Buchanan

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    94. Cotton Jones – Tall Hours in the Glowstream

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    Not many records do an artist’s influences perfect justice, creating something strangely fresh without sounding like imitation. But Tall Hours in the Glowstream, Michael Nau’s dreamed out, smoky, hazy exploration of country’s golden age, is exhilarating in both its authenticity and dreamy beauty. -Drew Litowitz Widgets

    93. Laurie Anderson – Homeland

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    Homeland is a sprawling and desolate quasi-sequel to Laurie Anderson’s first breakthrough 1984 performance piece, United States Live. This revisiting of America rides on the back of economic desperation, global unrest, and the new electronic reality. It’s a fascinating and haunting perspective on our day and age, from America’s greatest performance artist. -Cap Blackard Widgets

    92. Weezer – Hurley

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    On Weezer’s eighth full-length album, Hurley, the band did what they do best; they made a Weezer album. And as always, Rivers Cuomo kept it close to the heart. He and the guys rehashed the glory days “back when Audioslave was Rage” on the Jackass sing-along “Memories”. Rivers kept the power pop Weezer alive too, with “Ruling Me” and “Hang On”, but also wrote some personal and emotional songs like “Trainwrecks” and “Time Flies”. No matter how many releases they have, Weezer showed us that all they will do is rock. At least as long as they have the limbs to do it. -Ted Maider

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    91. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

    the besnard lakes are the roaring night CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    Shoegaze and ’70s AOR make for a strange combination, but together they make The Besnard Lakes‘ sophomore LP, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, which sees the band continue to sharpen their sound with lush, slow-burning jams. Jace Lacek’s classic guitar work and resonant voice fit perfectly with Olga Goreas’ acidy soprano. Turn it up, bang your head, and vibe out. -Jeremy Larson Widgets

    90. Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights

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    More a step sideways than a step backwards, the new album by Antony and the Johnsons doesn’t quite reach as many high points as his previous two albums, but it doesn’t have many low points either. It’s another very solid effort from one of the most unique voices in modern music. Adding more guitar-based songs gives this album a wider palate than before, but the highlights are still Antony and his piano. His voice, like always, is the main attraction, and his lyrics are just as affecting as ever. The centerpiece of the album is the title track, a mysteriously sprawling song that is simultaneously one of the strangest songs Antony has ever produced and also one of his best. If his self-titled effort was an introduction, I Am a Bird Now was his breakthrough masterpiece, and The Crying Light was the solid followup to a near perfect album, then Swanlights proves that Antony is here to stay. -Carson O’Shoney Widgets

    89. Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring

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    Singer Gareth Campesinos! wants to talk to you about sex. And death. And fighting. And football. And everything in between. Seems like a lot of material to shove into one album, right? Yet, not only does Romance is Boring cover all of this and more, it does so in a dramatic, sarcastic, and anthemic fashion. The sprawling, 15-song effort is full of tasty moments to digest over multiple listens. The band covers sparse arrangements, noise rock, and even what the casual observer may call a hit song. Numbers like the title track, “There Are Listed Buildings”, and “Straight in at 101” are certainly highlights, but this is a record you should hear from beginning to end. Romance may be boring, but Los Campesinos! is anything but dull. -Joe Marvilli Widgets

    88. El Guincho – Pop Negro

    el guincho pop negro CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    The man who has been hailed the “Panda Bear of Spain” followed up his immensely successful sophomore album, Alegranza!, with yet another album of his curiously eccentric brand of pop music. Although this release did not receive the same acclaim as its predecessor, it was, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable pop albums of the year. Opening track “Bombay” proved not only to be perhaps the sunniest, most memorable track on the album, but also provided one of the coolest videos of the year. El Guincho stayed true to form on Pop Negro, losing absolutely no integrity, having instead created yet another enjoyable work from his zany imagination. Spanish speaker or not, everyone will be able to understand the obvious musical prowess showcased on this album. -Winston Robbins

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    87. The Thermals – Personal Life

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    It ain’t easy squeezing a respectable catalog out of three chords. Few bands do it well, but The Thermals have thankfully stepped up to join the ranks of artists like The Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion as the modern day torch carriers of power punk. Unlike their earlier work, Personal Life displays more new wave tendencies, with lovelorn, bass-heavy tracks like “Only for You” and “Never Listen to Me” owing more to The Cars than The Germs. But mellowed out or not, 10 perfect songs in under 35 minutes is an equation that can’t be beat, even by their younger, rabble-rousing selves. -Dan Caffrey Widgets

    86. Interpol – Interpol

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    Even though Carlos D was in the studio for Interpol‘s fourth go-round, the self-titled LP will always be associated with the visible bassist’s departure soon after its release. This is not completely unfair; If it weren’t for Paul Banks’ distinctive monotone, it would be hard to recognize this as an Interpol album. True, it’s not the Interpol we remember and expect, and it’s no Turn on the Bright Lights. But, my, did this LP not deserve to be ignored the way it was. This is more an album of scattered standout moments than one of constant pop perfection, but given repeat listens, those standout moments are worth the time. It’s hard to give Interpol the benefit of the doubt at this point, but here’s hoping the future improves for the New Yorkers. -Harry Painter Widgets

    85. Four Tet – There Is Love in You

    four tet there is love in you CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    It turns out that 2010 was an amazing year for emotional, powerful electronic music, but none is more emotionally strong than Four Tet‘s There Is Love in You. It’s a powerful album where a baby’s heartbeat is turned into an actual beat. The vocals, the beats, the atmosphere — it’s all beautiful. -Evan Minsker

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    84. Delorean – Subiza

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    Spanish quartet Delorean know what they’re doing. Subiza offers layer upon layer of samples, synths, and catchy melodies that result in an uplifting, atmospheric album sure to have your toes tapping. Repeated, airy vocals entrance the listener and add even more depth to the already complex and varied soundscape. The album plays like a DJ set, songs flowing in and out of one another, keeping true to the band’s Balearic roots. Animal Collective references aside, Delorean has forged a home in today’s overpopulated realm of electronic pop music. Whether it’s the ,majestic single “Stay Close” or “Warmer Places”, with its anthemic repetition of “Never settle, never settle, never settle”, Subiza does no wrong. -Caitlin Meyer Widgets

    83. Pete Yorn – Pete Yorn

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    Before the drowsy acoustics of 2009’s Back and Fourth and a bubbly collaboration with Scarlett Johansson, Pete Yorn was roughing it up in the garage with producer Frank Blank. At the Pixies frontman’s behest, Yorn swiftly recorded his eventual sixth album in 2008, giving his usual classic rock stylings a newfound sawtooth urgency. Pete Yorn‘s first half is pared down to nothing but crunchy distortion, with power pop nuggets like “Velcro Shoes” and “Badman” recalling a scrappier T. Rex, while the more jangled second half pays tribute to R.E.M. and Big Star. “Come on wheels, take this boy away,” he croons in the twangy closing track. As long as it’s back to where he started, we’ll all be in good shape. -Dan Caffrey Widgets

    82. Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

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    Inspired by Charlotte Gainsbourg’s brush with death and subsequent time spent in an MRI scanner, IRM reveals Gainsbourg’s continued evolution and maturation as a singer. Through producer and co-writer Beck’s diverse instrumentation which ran the gamut between lush and minimalist, Gainsbourg’s distant, barely there whisper offers the occasional peek behind her mystique. The collaboration between Gainsbourg and Beck is a match made in heaven, with both artists bringing the best out of each other. Who else but Beck could replicate the pulsating rhythm and sense of claustrophobia produced by the machine, and turn it into such captivating music? IRM is two artists nearing 40 exploring and reflecting upon death, and the result is the best Beck album since Sea Change. -Frank Mojica

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    81. Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love

     CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    A new Belle & Sebastian album is a welcome outcome in itself; Such is the band’s track record. This latest offering doesn’t disappoint, but requires repeat plays to really sink in. Once there, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that B&S have delivered yet another first-class pop album — bright, breezy and accomplished, both vocally and in the tight, rich ensemble instrumentation. -Tony Hardy Widgets

    80. Damien Jurado – Saint Bartlett

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    On his ninth LP, the grossly undervalued alt-folk lion continues his decades-long odyssey into the broken heart of America, working with friend and producer Richard Swift to deliver a collection steeped in vintage sounds and ideas. Damien Jurado‘s work on Saint Bartlett is timeless and penetrating, at once a sonic nod to mid-century production techniques and a reminder of the importance of storytelling in an age that increasingly has little appetite for nuance and reflection. Indeed, his thoughtful, literary tales and troubled, but familiar characters have never seemed so vital. -Ryan Burleson Widgets

    79. Wild Nothing – Gemini

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    Upon listening to “Summer Holiday”, the first single from Wild Nothing’s debut full-length Gemini, it would be too easy to lump the band and its principal actor Jack Tatum in with other bands currently feeding on ’80s nostalgia pop, like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. In fact, tracks like “O, Lilac” do sound as if they came out of the Pains’ playbook. However, the album as a whole is a bit more diverse. Not simply relying on fuzzy tones or shrilly synths as a crutch, Wild Nothing also owe something to early ’90s indie pop for its sound. The more I listened to Gemini, the more I also heard elements of the Drop Nineteens and the Swirlies (or other bands from the early SpinArt roster), especially in the way Tatum plays his guitar. Everything is utilized loosely to help highlight the wistful haze surrounding Wild Nothing’s particular approach to dream pop. The carefree jangle theand gorgeous vocal harmony on “Our Composition Book” is like Galaxy 500 on caffeine. “Bored Games” has an underlying dance beat that is akin to some of the sounds found with IDM artists on Ghostly International, and “Chinatown” is simply a strong pop song oozing with dreaminess. -Len Comaratta Widgets

    78. Fang Island – Fang Island

    fang island CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    Give credit to these punks. They’re punks in the true sense because their style and sound is something at odds with the status quo. The frugality that 2010 favors in its music is laughed at by Fang Island’s three part guitar harmonies and the band’s exuberant vocal power. Their sound is that of a band incubating until they someday find themselves in a stadium or an arena. You’d be hard-pressed not to have people tell you it’s prog, but underneath there’s a rich cushion of the history of rock, metal, and strong arena melodies. In other words, they make what they do sound authentic — the highest form of currency in 21st century music listening. -Jeremy Larson

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    77. The Drums – The Drums

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    If there was a perfect pop album from cover to cover this year, a strong argument could be made for the Drums‘ self-titled full-length. Coming off the success of 2009’s Summertime EP, the Drums returned with a strong, vibrant album that captured elements of ’60s pop melodies and blended them with the jaded post-punk/new wave attitude of many U.K. bands from the late ’70s. The full-length featured a few repeats from the 2009 EP, including a re-recording of “Let’s Go Surfing”, the hot single that started it all; But newer tracks like “Forever and Ever Amen” and “Best Friend” demonstrate that the band has for-real potential. Their look and sound is vintage U.K. new wave and if they were to be subjected to a time machine accident dumping them out on the streets of post-Punk Revolution London or Glasgow, nobody would bat an eye. With that in mind, the Drums are in no way derivative and they do for the pop sounds of the era what bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand did for the post-punk/dance punk sounds of bands like Gang of Four and Wire. -Len Comaratta Widgets

    76. of Montreal – False Priest

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    Coming off their proggiest album, 2008’s Skeletal Lamping, of Montreal could have gone any direction with this release. Fans and critics alike criticized Skeletal for being too nonsensical and tough to grasp, which are spot on analyses. Fortunately, of Montreal stuck to their guns for False Priest, expertly cranking out infectious psych-pop. But, of course, in true of Montreal fashion, the sound of the music did not remain static. This album incorporated the usual Prince/David Bowie influences, but also a largely unexplored territory for the psych-rockers: R&B. Citing Stevie Wonder as a major influence for the record, front man Kevin Barnes deliberately included appearances from longtime friend and psych R&B darling Janelle Monáe, as well as Solange Knowles, the younger sister of pop enigma Beyoncé. In the end, the record wasn’t their strongest, but it was a return to the youthful, lovable of Montreal we’ve all become so enamored with. -Winston Robbins Widgets

    75. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

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    My Chemical Romance made its name on vampire songs and screamy music for sad kids. This will only take you so far in terms of earning critical respect, though. They followed up 2006’s heavy-handed concept album The Black Parade with 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. This is another concept album, to be sure, but it’s one that rings true and doesn’t overwhelm the music. The album takes us through a radio show piloted by pirate DJ Dr. Death through a post-apocalyptic wasteland controlled by a mysterious corporate behemoth. Luckily, alter-egos the Killjoys are on the loose, providing us with death-defying escapades, corporate defiance, and, of course, some of MCR’s best music to date. It’s still guided by Gerard Way’s snarly, self-indulgent punk vocals, but this time, they’re layered over the top of some solid rock music. Danger Days takes the best of MCR’s skill set and combines it with incredibly listenable, textured rock tunes that will lend MCR some much-needed cultural relevance for many years to come. -Megan Ritt Widgets

    74. School of Seven Bells – Disconnect from Desire

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    For School of Seven Bells, creating atmosphere is what it’s all about. On their second album, they do more than succeed at that lofty goal. Each track transports you to a new location, one that’s different, yet still familiar. It turns from the high-pitched, rhythmic vocals of “Windstorm” to the rave-inducing “Dust Devil” and back to shoegaze without any jarring transitions. The duel vocals of twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza move between angelic and haunting within the same song. Meanwhile, guitarist Benjamin Curtis brings up a whole array of effects that he masterfully uses to his advantage. My recommendation? Lie back, close your eyes, and lose yourself in this album. You won’t regret it. -Joe Marvilli Widgets

    73. Goldfrapp – Head First

    head first CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    These days, there are a ton of bands who readily make use of the musical cash cow that is the 1980s. However, none do it as skillfully as Goldfrapp on their fifth LP, Head First. Full of shiny synths, melodies like sweet ear candy, and coming off like ABBA meeting Olivia Newton-John on some glorious dancefloor in paradise, the album is everything most people loved about the ’80s with an update, thanks to some kicking house and dance music. Plus, you don’t have to wear shoulder pads or neon to enjoy it. -Chris Coplan

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    72. Miniature Tigers – F O R T R E S S

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    It was going to be hard to top Tell It to the Volcano, but Miniature Tigers did just that on the followup to their 2008 debut LP. F O R T R E S S was greatly overshadowed by the hype surrounding Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (which was released a week later), but music fans who overlooked this album missed one of 2010’s brightest nuggets of precision-crafted pop and a timeless collection of songs that our own E.N. May called “so close to perfect, it hurts.” -Ray Roa Widgets

    71. GAYNGS – Relayted

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    GAYNGS’ debut LP led to The Purple One attending (and almost playing at) their first show ever, but what Relayted really accomplished was giving us something to chill to without having to call it “chillwave.” Filled with bowel-shaking low end and airy vocals, the 11-track effort from this super collective – which features members of Bon Iver, Megafun, and Solid-Gold – was surely the soundtrack to many a joint-smoking session. -Ray Roa Widgets

    70. PS I Love You – Meet Me at the Muster Station

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    PS I Love You‘s album was a pleasant surprise this year — a rock ‘n’ roll record without pretensions or frills from a band who broke through with one single. Paul Saulnier churns out some instant hits here: “Facelove”, “Breadends”, and the title track all come to mind. Killer rock, no gimmicks. -Evan Minsker Widgets

    69. Revere – Hey Selim!

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    Revere is an eight-piece London outfit that skilfully blends rock and orchestral instrumentation to create a lush and majestic sound. This fusion, attached to some great songs and an expressive lead vocal, is an explosive mix. This debut album provides a glimpse of the intensity of the band’s live performances through epic songs like “The Escape Artist”. The group is still relatively unknown outside the U.K., but the impact of this album has already led to an invitation to SXSW in 2011. -Tony Hardy Widgets

    68. Rufus Wainwright – All Days Are Night: Songs for Lulu

    all days are night songs for lulu CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu finds Rufus Wainwright in an intense place, both musically and personally, as the album was written as his beloved mother succumbed to cancer. This album, full of love songs to the dark muse, represents a major evolution for the songwriter. He’s dark without being morose (“Zebulon”, “What Would I Ever Do with a Rose”), he’s heartbreakingly earnest (“Martha”), and respectably well-read (“A Woman’s Face”, “Shame”, and “When Most I Wink”, all adaptations of Shakespearean sonnets). The resulting album — performed on tour in a grand, uninterrupted song cycle — is a moving collection of 12 tracks that represents some of Wainwright’s most well-composed and executed work to date, music to be remembered by. -Megan Ritt

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    67. Liars – Sisterworld

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    This dank, echoing gem of an album accomplishes something I didn’t think possible: It comes close to the glory that was Drum’s Not Dead. And Liars achieve greatness on Sisterworld with string arrangements as they did on Drum’s with feedback. Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill, and Julian Gross masterfully produce dark, powerful rock without delving into the overt theatrics of metal or the macabre-for-the-sake-of-it aesthetics of goth material. The disc plays out like the soundtrack to an expressionist horror film yet to come. Not the slasher “he’s right behind you!” type, but the eerie, “what’s going on here” type. -Adam Kivel Widgets

    66. Torche – Songs for Singles EP

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    If Mastodon has its passion for epic themes, and ISIS was Tool with a twist, Torche is most likely a candidate for the second coming of Kyuss and Beaver. Strapped with a wall of stoner metal fuzz, ethereal vocals, and a drummer on speed, 2010’s Songs for Singles EP keeps up the tradition of ’08’s Meanderthal — short bursts of Torche awesomeness that leave ringing in your ears. -David Buchanan Widgets

    65. Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! – Fixin’ the Charts, Volume 1

    everybody was in the french resistance now fixin the charts volume 1 CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010


    Known for his work with Art Brut, Eddie Argos combined forces with his girlfriend, Blood Arm member Dyan Valdes, and came up with a unique concept for an album: make responses to famous pop songs. Whether it’s telling Bob Dylan that ex-girlfriends should think twice or playing the part of Billy Jean’s bastard son, Argos and Valdes crafted a concept album that isn’t weighed down by its concept, instead being free to be smart and funny and appealing without being overly cerebral. Pop music ain’t perfect, but they’re the best maintenance team we could ask for. -Chris Coplan Widgets

    64. These New Puritans – Hidden

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    Tighter around the frame than its predecessor, mixing elements from trip-hop, theatrical music, jaunty keyboard, and avant-garde, Hidden is what future critics will undoubtedly label as These New Puritans‘ 2010 magnum opus. Regardless of who is right or wrong, this Immediate Music meets Interpol for the Dead Man’s Bones fans (the handful left) will stay stuck to your brain, sobriety be damned. -David Buchanan Widgets

    63. Cee-Lo Green – The Lady Killer

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    Known for being a member of Atlanta-based rap group Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo Green returned with his third solo album like he was the blaxploitation version of James Bond. The Lady Killer was drenched in the sounds of soul, R&B, and top-40 radio from the ’70s, every song about being done wrong by a she-devil. With a voice to match, Green demolished a lot of preconceived notions and forged himself an album of the best vintage sounds he could cull, and that’s as one-of-a-kind as the introverted and bombastic singer himself. In a phrase, he killed it. -Chris Coplan

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    62. The Chemical Brothers – Further

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    The Chemical Brothers‘ seventh studio album holds a special place in the electronic genre. With the romantic swirl of “Snow” and “Escape Velocity” giving way to the soaring highs of “K+D+B” and “Wonders of the Deep”, the Brothers Chemical showed on Further that electronic music can be cool, slick, technical, danceable — and most importantly — emotional, moving, even almost religious. The results are an endlessly listenable album that transports the audience to a higher place. -Megan Ritt Widgets

    61. The Walkmen – Lisbon

    1fde87a6bf5f46eb the walkmen lisbon cover CoS Year End Report: The Top 100 Albums of 2010

    Lisbon plays out like the music a civil war-era punk band might conjure up, if time, technology, and knowledge permitted. With click-clacking trashcan drums, minimally vintage electric guitar, occasional strings, lush brass, and, of course, Hamilton Leithauser’s reedy howl, Lisbon takes The Walkmen sound deeper into the past. By imitating the sounds of yesteryear with contemporary instrumentation, Lisbon sounds like something entirely new. -Drew Litowitz Widgets

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