2010: LPs

Let’s be clear about this. My criteria for what constitutes a great album has not changed since I was a teenager: it’s an album I want to listen to again and again. I wonder if my increasing failure to capture this in the 21st century is a symptom of my advancing years? No, it doesn’t compute, because when I do find an album that’s great I still find myself listening to it again and again and again. It’s plausible that I am becoming fussier in my forties, but this does not stop me loving the records that I love. Nor am I declaring the album a dead artform when I say that, again increasingly, I find myself enjoying one-off songs, or “tracks”, more than I do complete albums.

In the past, and I mean the distant past of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, if I fell for a song, it usually led to a more profound relationship with the parent album. This happens less now. Clearly, what follows is not only a personal list in terms of taste, it’s a list based upon what I’ve heard, which is, necessarily, not everything. Like the Pope, I am fallible. However, working at 6 Music, and reviewing for Word means that most albums of critical note pass across my desk, and frankly, if I’m not paying attention at track 3, unless I’m reviewing, I take the disc out and put the next one in.

When I heard the first bars of The Psychedelic Furs by The Psychedelic Furs, or It Takes A Nation Of Millions, or This Nation’s Saving Grace, or even, from before my time, Dark Side Of The Moon, Diamond Dogs, There’s A Riot Goin’ On, Let It Bleed or Freewheelin’, I was hooked in … and haven’t stopped playing these albums yet. Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs had this exact same effect on me in 2010, as did the others on this list. I’m relieved that this can still happen to me. But disappointed that it doesn’t happen so often. Feel free to leave comments demanding why your favourite album isn’t on my list, but I’ll pre-empt these with the answer: either I haven’t heard the album, or I didn’t get through it, or I never came back to listen to it again. I’ve put them in order of preference, but frankly, having battled to fill up a Top 10, and now finding myself with a Top 13, they’re all important. And a hello to Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest, which I tried listening to on Spotify, but my wi-fi kept cutting out, and to The Defamation Of Strickland Banks by Plan B, which, again, I have only belatedly invested in.

KANYE WEST My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
GORILLAZ Plastic Beach
THE FALL Your Future Our Clutter
THE ROOTS How I Got Over
CHRIS T-T Love Is Not Rescue
PAUL WELLER Wake Up The Nation

More Top 13s to follow. I shall probably do “tracks” next. I look forward to hearing about your favourites. There is no definitive list.


25 thoughts on “2010: LPs

  1. A Baker’s Dozen, like the Booker Prize does these days. Thirteen, the first of our teenage years, as our tastes are only starting to mature (never quite maturing fully). Thirteen: why not?

    Also “tracks”. Exactly.

  2. Not sure I’ve even heard 13 new albums this year, but one will stick with me for a long time. I am totally addicted to the new This is the Kit album and cannot stop playing it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so enchanted by an album.

  3. Ahmad Jamal – cross country tour double album
    JJ Cale – Troubador
    Grateful Dead – American Beauty
    Jolie Holland – Springtime can kill you
    ZZTop – Tres Hombre
    The Fall – I am Kurious Orange
    Miles Davis – Saturday Night at the Blackhawk
    Taraf de Haidouk – Band of Brigands
    JTB Ringleader Productions – Cavernous Psy-nus Thrombosis Mix
    Harry Christophers’ the 16 – Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli
    John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
    John Coltrane – One Up Two Down
    Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

    • You have included animals that didn’t come out this year, which is fine, of course, but different criteria to my list. I’ve probably listened to old Fall and Wu Tang Clan albums more this year than even Arcade Fire!

      • Oh sorry.

        I’m a F**kin Idiot as some Well Know Comedian might say.

        From past form, I probably won’t get any albums from 2010 until around…2025. Ask me then.

  4. My favourite albums released in 2010.

    Farrah // Swings And Roundabouts
    Bleu // Four
    Secret Powers // Lies And Fairy Tales
    Stars And Sons //Good Morning Mother
    Moon Safari // Lover’s End
    Oranjuly // Oranjuly
    Timmy Sean // Songs From & Inspired By Noisewater
    The Real Numbers // Welcome to the Numberhood
    Larsen B // Musketeer
    The 88 // The 88
    Agony Aunts // Greater Miranda
    John Grant // Queen of Denmark
    Maia Hirasawa // GBGvsSTHLM
    Admiral Fallow // Boots met my face
    Jont // Set it free
    Woodpigeon / Die Stadt Muzikanten
    Perfume Genius // Learning
    Maple Mars // Galaxyland

  5. Top albums of 2010
    Luke Haines – outsider music vol 26
    The fall – your future our clutter
    Clinic -Bubblegum
    Beach fossils – s/t
    Foals -total life forever
    Villagers -becoming a jackal
    Propaganda – a secret wish (deluxe edition)
    Laura marling – I speak because I can

  6. This is great, a great platform to hear of and try the best of this past year.

    Being totally and unashamedly biased I would say to add to this list:

    Interpol – Interpol (amazing performance at Brixton Academy last night, a really special band)
    Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (as you have)
    Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
    Midlake – The Courage of Others

    Interesting reading that you are moving back towards single tracks – I too have become a lot fussier as to who I will let in, but I have in the last decade become exclusively an album person. I love the unfolding story that they tell and have a message the band want you to explore. I, as you listen over and over and over when something clicks…I find albums that are growers, have a hidden brilliance that comes through with each listen. I love that excitement of a track that you under appreciated with the first listen, before discovering it to be amazing!

    The worst album I have tried to listen to has to be by the Editors, moving from moody post punk Interpol sound, to 80s electronica….didn’t work for me.

  7. Very nice list indeed. Although if you like Arcade Fire and The National you should have The Phantom Band on your list because it’s in the same vein but even better. I demand to know why it isn’t on your list!

    I also still listen to albums I love over and over and over and over again – hope I never grow out of that.

  8. I miss the album, and whilst things like Spotify are great for finding new music it’s far too easy to skip songs and just focus on those particular tracks that work. Typically the only things I listen to as full albums any more are things I got into pre-MP3 and 70s and 80s albums. A lot of them just don’t make sense as collections of individual songs, but as an album they just work. That’s why I’m planning to get a record deck after Christmas. I miss listening to whole albums and I miss physically buying music.

    I was actually listening to an apt song on great album by a great band who split up a couple a couple of years ago. Reuben were an Aldershot based band who, on their last album released a song called “Crushed Under The Weight Of The Enormous Bullshit”.

    Here’s the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilg9U4Qr46Y

    And here are the lyrics to the first verse:

    “I can still remember when I first heard the riff that opens “Nevermind” Up…My neck hairs stood up stiff…And since those first discoveries i’ve tried to recreate the feeling I had back then but nothing sounds that great.

    So please give me an album that I love straight away, that I don’t have to grow into after constant play. See, I buy a lot of records and take most of them back ‘cos I feel dissapointment after just one track”

    Great great great band. Such a shame that they split.

    • Tristan

      I miss the album, and whilst things like Spotify are great for finding new music it’s far too easy to skip songs and just focus on those particular tracks that work. Typically the only things I listen to as full albums any more are things I got into pre-MP3 and 70s and 80s albums. A lot of them just don’t make sense as collections of individual songs, but as an album they just work. That’s why I’m planning to get a record deck after Christmas. I miss listening to whole albums and I miss physically buying music.

      Yes I guess I’d have to concur. I don’t get too fussed about the format (MP3, CD, Vinyl or Bakelite) but don’t really get as much satisfaction listening to a song here or a song there by different artists.

      To modify a well known philopsoher’s quote

      Hell is other people’s shuffle.

  9. I came up with a top ten albums list along these lines:

    Field Music – Field Music (Measure)
    Julian Lynch – Mare
    Dark Dark Dark – Bright Bright Bright
    Sharon van Etten – Epic
    Forest Swords – Dagger Paths
    Soundcarriers – Celeste
    Laura Veirs – July Flame
    Voice of the Seven Thunders – Voice of the Seven Thunders
    Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now
    Nina Nastasia – Outlaster

    I think some of these are probably classified as EPs rather than LPs, but that might explain why I like them. A lot of albums are a bit too long, I find. None of them are on your list Andrew, although to placate you a bit I think I owe hearing most of them to your fellow 6Music DJs, particularly the ‘holy trinity’ of Marc Riley, Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft.

  10. If 13 is the new top 10, then I recommend the recent 13 individual albums “13 Japanese birds” by Merzbow. Yes, some of them were released last year, I know. Listen to them all one after the other to achieve total meltdown.

  11. I’m really loving Brian Eno’s ‘Small Craft on a Milk Sea’, precisely because it is so absolutely an album. Put it on after Holy Fuck! (have you seen them live yet, or have you really stopped going to gigs?) for a fine mood-gear-shift.

    I can also recommend Clinic’s ‘Bubblegum’, though if you didn’t like them before, it’s unlikely to convert you.

  12. How did a new Holy Fuck album completely pass me by? Slap my wrist. The only 2010 album I have bought that (a) I have listened to more than once and (b) I can remember as beign a 2010 album is Iron Maiden’s The Final Fronteir, but a list of one is not really a list! And I’ll finally get round to passing judgement on the Gorillaz disc sometime after Christmas Day as I happen to know it will be waiting for me under the tree.

  13. Lots of stuff from the twenties and thirties. My own Frankie Laine compilation. Lots of Nilsson albums. Beatles. Dylan. Makeba. I’m twelve again… I’m not even sure I’ve bought a new track this year, let alone an album.

  14. i’d love to here you talk more about them, especially kanye west’s album.. fascinating listen and definitely one of my top few, but i’m not sure what it is about it.. a certain indefinable quality.

    others i loved that you haven’t mentioned are sufjan stevens, caribou and roots manuva vs wrongtom – duppy writer

  15. Excellent call on the Chris T-T album. It’d definitely be in my top 13 as well (Gonjasufi’s probably been my most listened 2010 release)

  16. I must be so out of touch as I haven’t heard of any of those bands apart from Gorillaz.

    I bought 3 albums this year, the Daft Punk soundtrack and Hurley by Weezer and Bang Pow Boom by Insane Clown Posse.

    Any good? No? Oh… *crawls back into cave*

  17. some great choices there.edwyn collins is my album of the year closely followed by I am kloot’s sky at night.I received a copy of arcade fire’s the suburbs for my birthday recently but as yet it is unplayed,call me a philistine.the coral’s butterfly house ,the temper trap,band of skulls,two door cinema club would be on my list and get cape wear cape fly deserves a listen
    I’m a similair age to you andrew but I still love an album,although it is a dying art, I loved weller’s quote about 22 dreams”it’s only 70 minutes of your life” but I take your point as most of the albums I listen to in full now are from pre 90’s,maybe the shuffle on thye i pod is to blame?

  18. These all stood out for me. Not in any order the numbers are just there to stop me typing at thirteen.
    1 The Dead C – Patience
    2 Sun City Girls – Funereal Mariachi
    3 Emeralds – Does It Look like I’m Here
    4 Evan Parker – Whitstable Solo
    5 Charlemagne Palestine – Strumming Music For Piano, Harpsichord And Strings Ensemble
    6 Rangers – Suburban Tours
    7 Pocahaunted – Make It Real
    8 Jandek – Canticle Of Castaway
    9 Richard Youngs – 20years
    10 Antony & The Johnsons – Swanlights
    11 Acid Mothers Temple – In O To ∞
    12 Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2cd version)
    13 Alasdair Roberts Band – Too long In This Condition

    With regards to Andrews criteria for a great album, I’m really of the opposite mind. Here’s what I call the chocolate cake analogy
    Eat 1 slice = enjoy
    Eat many slices = your palate get’s wiped out and you forget what you really enjoyed about it in the first place.
    Many Of my favourite records are the least played in my collection.

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