2010 has been an incredible year for music, a fact few can deny. With emerging talent from both the UK and US delivering stellar debut records, those artists returning with new music for the new year had even more of a challenge if they were to beat the new breed. These are my picks for those albums that just missed out on a spot in my top 10 albums.
25) Third Strike – Tinchy Stryder
After being the biggest selling male artist of 2009, a lot was riding on Third Strike. Even if the singles failed to reach the top end of the charts, this is still a solid effort from Tinch with enough dance smashes to keep any fans of Catch 22 happy.
24) Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Katy Perry does what she does very well on Teenage Dream, the vastly superior follow up to her debut. Outside of having two of my favourite songs of 2010, the album captures her bubbly and eccentric personality perfectly, even with some of the year’s worst lyrics.
23) Jason Derulo – Jason Derulo
On release I was disappointed with the debut from this one-man-JLS but as the year comes to a close, it’s become one of my favourites. Short but sickly sweet just enough of the time, few albums are this damn catchy from start to finish.
22) Headlines – The Saturdays
After two good, but hit and miss LPs, The Saturdays hone everything that makes them the best current UK Girlband. With only 5 new songs, it’s place in this list is arguably wrong, but the shorter EP release made
for the same top notch pop tunes, just without the filler.
21) Flesh Tone – Kelis
The thought of Kelis going from RnB diva to electro dance queen was worrying at the start of 2010. Luckily the result was top notch dance music, a celebration of the singers newborn child in euphoric disco form.
20) Basic Instinct – Ciara
Luckily nothing to do with the Sharon Stone film, Ciara hyped this record as her return to her roots. A consistent listen, but still not the career defining album Ciara needs and deserves. Gimmie Dat and Ride are definitely two of her best singles yet though.
19) Love.Live.Life – N-Dubz
Undoubtedly the band’s strongest record to date, just like The Saturdays and Katy Perry’s offerings, Live.Love.Life focused on N-Dubz in their purest form. No dull tracks, and more Tulisa than Dappy made for an album that caught me off guard and is sure to be getting even more spins well into 2011.
18) Progress – Take That
It may not give me that ‘Take That Feeling’ but with interesting, and surprisingly deep lyrics and a production style that made every fan sit up and take notice, the return of Robbie marked a huge change for the band’s sound. Progress definitely lives up to the name, even if I do miss the trademark Gary Barlow guitar twang every now and again.
17) Libra Scale – Ne-Yo
Ne-Yo may have had to reconsider his plans for a Libra Scale movie due to high costs, but I don’t think it would have been necessary. It may not be his best album, but this guy knows his way around and RnB hook, and has crafted some super catchy material.
16) Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj
The Harajuku Barbie has been making mixtapes for years, but going into 2010 as the one to watch, Nicki emerged with a worthy debut record. Her various personas make an appearance, the best being her male equivalent Roman, who shows just how well the rapper stacks up against the other huge alter ego in music, Slim Shady.
15) Messy Little Raindrops – Cheryl Cole
This was possibly the hardest album to place into my top 25, as while it features the best music Chezza has performed since her Girls Aloud days, it also features some of her worst. Raindrops and The Flood take her ballads to an all new low, but then next minute she’s trading raps with Dizzee on Everybody and getting down to Euphoric dance beats on Waiting. Whatever the merits, this is an album I’m still listening to well after release, so it fully deserves its place here on the list.
A year full of stellar debut albums, Tinie Tempah stands out as the act who surprised everyone with their stranglehold on the charts. His first album lived up to the singles that preceded it, with features from Ellie Goulding and Kelly Rowland providing even more future hits for the breakthrough UK artist of 2010.
13) Thank Me Later – Drake
Drake could have easily taken the obvious, feature heavy route with his debut full length album, but instead he retained everything that made mixtape So Far Gone a career making release. Over and Fancy are instant smashes and make great driving anthems. It’s the introspective, often quiet sounds of songs like Find Your Love and Fireworks though that truly make this stand out as a monumental first look at what Drake is sure to have in store for album 2 and even 3.
12) Loud – Rihanna
The accolade of third best album of a 5 album career may disappoint most artist, but something tells me Rihanna knows Loud isn’t as good as GGGB or Rated R. This hasn’t stopped her delivering new takes on every genre she has ever tried. What’s My Name perfects her reggae infused summer jam, while Only Girl is her most obsessive club banger since Don;t Stop The Music. Rihanna is on a career high right now, and though it’s mainly due to her impressive string of singles/videos, some credit needs to be given to Loud.
11) Raymond Vs Raymond – Usher
An early contender for my album of the year on release in March, it’s easy to dismiss the merits of Usher’s record after seeing the club direction he has taken with OMG and DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love. R vs R is so much more than that though, with RnB jams reminiscent of Burn, enough Usher ‘Yeah!’s to make any fan happy and works as an album extremely well. I can see why the focus has been on the club tracks, but it’s songs like Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) where the king of RnB is most comfortable.