Saturday, December 25, 2010

Best Music of 2010: Part 4

11. Shout Out Louds - Work
Shout Out Louds are from Sweden, making them the second artist from that country on this list. Only the United States and Canada are better represented. They just missed being only the third artist in this year's top ten who have never ranked there before. So, I guess that tells you what you have to look forward to is a fairly predictable top ten. Or does it?

12. Neil Young - Le Noise
The title of this collaboration with producer Daniel Lanois is not only a tribute to his trademark sound, but it's also a clever play on his name. I've considered Neil Young my favorite artist for about 20 years now, but does his output during the time I've been producing year-end lists justify that distinction? It doesn't really have to, as it's the older material that's earned him that place in my heart. However, with three top ten finishes—Greendale (2003), Silver & Gold (2000) and Broken Arrow (1996)—and two near misses—Le Noise and Living With War (#13 in 2006)—his material over the last 15 years still ranks him right up there.

13. Tift Merritt - See You on the Moon
There are two artists among the top 12 with a fairly significant female presence. Those contributions notwithstanding, this is the highest ranking woman on the list. I believe I've mentioned before that, each year, I chose one countryish album to give to my father for Christmas. Well, this year he'll be introduced to Ms. Merritt.

14. Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
When I wrote about this album in Frequent Spins, I referred to its comparison by one critic to Neil Young's Harvest. That's far from an insult, of course, but I would've chosen to compare it to his looser material from On the Beach, American Stars 'n Bars, and Hawks & Doves.

15. The New Pornographers - Together
There were albums released this year by a total of six artists who have/had current streaks of two or more consecutive releases to make the top ten. Some of these streaks continued, and some didn't. The New Pornographers produced a fine effort this year, but they came closest among the artists whose streaks came to an end. More on this subject later.

16. Spoon - Transference
There's not a whole lot to say about Spoon. They've made my extended list three times now, but have never reached the top ten. They're an all-white, all-male, all-American band. Pretty boring, I realize. Boring, however, is not a word I'd use to describe their 2010 effort.

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