Best Albums of 2010

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Dic 24 2010, 17:58

Lights and Bright Lights
Ellie Goulding


Ellie Goulding is definitely, without an effing doubt, one of the best newcomers of 2010 – if not the best. I mean, it's hard not to fall in love with her. Her number-one debut album Lights is packed with songs that mostly chronicles heartbreak in quite a personal, heartfelt manner. They appear to have that extra magical element to them, driven by Goulding's soaring vocals (sweet as candyflosses and pink lemonades on a warm summer afternoon), twinkling synths and folky guitars. I will certainly never forget finding out such gems as Under the Sheets and the oh so adored demo version of Wish I Stayed last year. With Bright Lights, Goulding expands her catalogue with equally epic songs, including a wintry cover version of Elton John's classic Your Song, which is the perfect example of how to properly cover an Elton John song.

Standouts:
• From Lights: Under the Sheets, This Love (Will Be Your Downfall), Your Biggest Mistake, Lights, Salt Skin
• From Bright Lights: Human, Home, Animal, Believe Me


Head First
Goldfrapp


Goldfrapp are for sure the ultimate female-fronted electronic music group, and an undeniable influence on the current generation of synth sirens such as Lady Gaga, Little Boots and La Roux. While some may view Head First as a step back for the duo – with a few critics noting that they are playing catch-up to the aforementioned female artists – I view it as a glorious, retro-futuristic mix of spacey synths, roller discos, pink spandex and neon lights. In contrast to its darker predecessors, 2003's Black Cherry and 2005's Supernature, Head First finds vocalist Alison Goldfrapp in a light-hearted, blissful mood, as if she had been hit by Cupid's arrow (who ironically happens to be mentioned in the opening lines of Believer: "A Cupid on the go/No arrow and no bow"). Oh, and congrats on the two Grammy nods – you go, Glen Coco!

Standouts: Rocket, Dreaming, Alive, Believer


Body Talk series
Robyn


Very few artists manage to successfully embrace heartache and wistfulness quite like Robyn, without sounding clichéd and/or overly dramatic. The baby-voiced platinum blonde songstress has her own way to do it, which is truly convincing and sympathetic. This is the type of thing that is chronicled throughout her Body Talk trilogy, with each album representing a specific stage, so to speak. On Body Talk Pt. 1, we have Dancing on My Own, which is the hands-down best, most moving synth ballad of the year, as well as the definite anthem for those of us who have had their heart broken by an unrequited love. Next, there's Hang with Me from Body Talk Pt. 2, whereon she proposes staying inside the friendship line, otherwise it's gonna be "all heartbreak, blissfully painful in insanity." Finally, on Body Talk, she is ready to love again like she had never been hurt before, as stated on Indestructible. Plus, she's from Sweden – need I say more?

Standouts:
• From Body Talk Pt. 1: Dancing on My Own, Cry When You Get Older, None of Dem
• From Body Talk Pt. 2: Hang with Me, Love Kills, U Should Know Better
• From Body Talk: Time Machine, Indestructible, Call Your Girlfriend


Happiness
Hurts


Like previous artist Robyn, these two sexy guys from Manchester duo Hurts also have their own way to make sentimental music without sounding corny, reminiscent of such '80s giants as Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears and Pet Shop Boys. The result is Happiness, a classy debut which spans lyrics best described as melancholic, reflective and gloomy, derived by subdued synth arrangements. Ironically, the only happy song is the energetic Better Than Love. Also included is a beautiful collaboration with Kylie Minogue, titled Devotion.

Standouts: Sunday, Stay, Better Than Love, Wonderful Life, Devotion


Aphrodite
Kylie Minogue


I suppose this next artist needs little introduction. To me, Kylie Minogue is not your ordinary "pop diva." She might be no Björk or Kate Bush, buts he has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes her look and sound cool and fresh, and puts her practically side by side with today's synth sirens (yup, the ones I mentioned in the Goldfrapp bit). Aphrodite consists mainly of staccato synths and takes influence from '80s and '90s Italo house, though I must admit I personally prefer the icy, Scandinavian-sounding electronics of her previous album, 2007's X.

Standouts: All the Lovers, Get Outta My Way, Everything Is Beautiful, Aphrodite, Illusion, Too Much


The Family Jewels
Marina & the Diamonds


Hailing from the current wave of electronic/indie/whatever female artists that also includes Little Boots, Ellie Goudling, Florence + the Machine et al., Welsh singer Marina & the Diamonds is not just another hotly tipped critical darling. Her debut album The Family Jewels is a truly precious diamond, rooted mostly in '80s New Wave. I must admit that her uniquely quirky voice may seem a bit hard to digest at first, but after a few listens, it's guaranteed that you'll not only get used to it but also fall in love with it. Her songs are ambitious, dramatic and quite relatable (at least to me), with lyrics that offer commentary on modern society, fame obsession, commercialism, feminism and relationships, often in a sarcastic tone.

Standouts: Shampain, Hollywood, Oh No!, Mowgli's Road, Numb


Voluspa
The Golden Filter


Probably the most underrated and least known act of this list, New York-based electronic duo The Golden Filter recall fellow Best of 2010 artist Goldfrapp in certain aspects, but also have enough quality to stand on their own. Their debut album Voluspa is solid gold at finest. It is mysterious, beautifully haunting, atmospheric, escapist and occasionally pensive, aided by lead singer Penelope Trappes's ethereal yet sexy vocal delivery, sparkling synths and Italo disco influences with an indie spin. Oh, and they have the sickest pictures around.

Standouts: Solid Gold, Freyja's Ghost, Look Me In The Eye, Hide Me, Moonlight Fantasy


The Constant
I Blame Coco


Another fairly underrated artist, Coco Sumner, the frontwoman of I Blame Coco, is perhaps best known as, but not limited to, the daughter of The Police frontman Sting. She is also noted for her androgynous looks and a husky voice that has drawn occasional (and lazy) comparisons to the likes of Marina & the Diamonds, yet one can't help but notice a certain resemblance to her own father's vocals as well. Like the majority of the albums on this list, synths are prominently used on the band's debut album The Constant, but there are also elements of rock and New Wave, as well as mild influences from reggae and ska, as noted in songs like No Smile. One of the album's highlights is Caesar, a fantastic collaboration with fellow Best of 2010 artist Robyn.

Standouts: Caesar, Quicker, In Spirit Golden, Selfmachine



Honourable mentions:



Lady Gaga: for, well, being Lady fucking Gaga, and for being responsible for two of the best music videos of the year: Telephone (miss you, Honey B) and Alejandro.




La Roux and Florence + the Machine: two of the best artists of 2009, for finally (and deservingly) breaking into the U.S. market this year. The former notched a top 10 hit with the timeless Bulletproof and two Grammy nods, while the latter was also nominated for a Grammy (Best New Artist), besides giving a mesmerising performance of Dog Days Are Over at the MTV Video Music Awards (which boosted the sales of both the single and the album Lungs in Uncle Sam's land).

Commenti

  • xAng3luSx

    Lady Fucking Gaga! 2011 is also gonna be her year!

    Dic 25 2010, 20:45
  • groovemebabe

    without a fucking a doubt :)

    Dic 25 2010, 21:01
  • jordi_89

    the red-hots for the win! *-* also both Kylie and Robyn albums are amazing! :D specially Robyn's one, that is better than i expected :D

    Gen 2 2011, 1:35
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