The Australian queen of Pop made a huge comeback, and produced her most predictably ‘Kylie’ effort to date. I have no problem with that, as this is exactly the sort of album fans were hoping for. Full of ‘Kylie moments’ from the elation in the Put Your Hands Up instrumental section to the Piano intro of Get Outta My Way, and fan of Pop music had nothing to complain about here. By not pushing boundaries, not trying anything new, Kylie has produced her most consistently good album yet.
9) /\/\/\Y/\ – M.I.A.
After receiving huge critical acclaim for both of her previous albums, Arular and Kala, M.I.A. had to do a lot in order to retain her position as one of the music industries most inventive musicians. /\/\/\Y/\ (MAYA, her real name) pushes the style of both previous albums to new areas of music, moving into pure pop for the incredible XXXO and going down a much louder crazier route in Meds and Feds. M.I.A.s take on technology in the modern was a must listen in 2010.
8) Animal – Ke$ha
I will always stand by our friendly neighborhood skank Ke$ha when people try to downplay her musical ability. When my iTunes tells me I’ve listened to an album well over 50 times, and songs like Take It Off, Backstabber and Party At A Rich Dude’s House still get me in a mood for a crazy night out, I have to pay attention to Animal as an album. Ke$ha achieves what she sets out to, with pop smash after pop smash appearing round every corner. Partying with Ke$ha was essential in 2010, even if you did feel like you needed a shower straight afterwards.
7) The ArchAndroid – Janelle Monae
An album that completely caught me off guard, I did not expect to enjoy Janelle Monae’s first full album release. At 70 minutes long, it was tough to get into, but two listens later, I was sold on Monae’s style that never fits into any genre. A nonstop tour through Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, Pop and Electronica, it feels like watching a well directed movie, the story of a confused Android coming to terms with a life alone in city Metropolis. An essential experience, not just one of the best albums of 2010. The future is looking very bright for Janelle Monae.
6) The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
Another concept album, but one that resembles a movie even more closely, Ben Drew (aka Plan B) becomes Strickland Banks a soul singer who ends up on the wrong side of the law. Following his arrest in one of 2010s best songs She Said, the rest of the album sees Strickland dealing with life behind bars, fending for himself and being known as ‘The Recluse’ to his cellmates. Mixing Drew’s signature rap style with old school soul music makes for an album that not only mixes two genres together, but uses both to tell a worthwhile story. It’s no wonder this became one of the biggest selling albums of the year.
5) Treats – Sleigh Bells
If you had let me hear the opening of Tell Em at the start of 2010, I would not have believed you that Treats would become one of my favourite albums of the year. With guitars so loud it makes Metal artists jealous, I thought this album would be impenetrable. How things change. At just 30 minutes long, Treats is as loud, crazy and yet melodic as music can get. The combination of riff heavy production and breathy girl band vocals makes for a genuine surprise of a record. Hearing Riot Rhythm in a pair of full blast headphones is one of the best moments music in 2010 delivered, and Treats is one Huge moment.
4) Lights – Ellie Goulding
Female pop artists have done surprisingly well on my end of year chart haven’t they! Ellie Goulding had the added pressure of winning the Brits Critic’s Choice award before releasing her debut album, but luckily she had the top notch pop records to back up the hype. I can’t quite explain exactly why Lights has become my 4th best album 2010, sure, I get that Kylie/Take That style feeling when I hear The Writer, and a song like Under The Sheets is both danceable and expertly sung, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. If it’s a brilliant pop album you want though, Lights is one of the best from 2010.
3) Love King – The-Dream
He may not be in my good books right now because of how he suddenly left none other the Christina Milian in a shock divorce, but it’s hard to argue with just how talented The-Dream is. Having perfected and surpassed the R Kelly formula on Love vs Money, I knew follow up Love King would be a solid record too. It nails everything Dream does so well, songs that blend into one another, some terribly dark moments such as threatening lines in Abyss, and the slickest RnB this side of Ne-Yo. As a songwriter, producer and artist Dream is a genius, so why shouldn’t his third album be just as strong. After topping my list last year, The-Dream has come close yet again.
2) Body Talk – Robyn
If I’m going to be honest, going into 2010, I knew who would make up my top 2 albums of 2010. With new records from my two favourite artists due this past year, it was a question which would be number 1 rather than if either would. Robyn took a new approach in her attempt to secure the top spot, releasing two 8 track albums and one full fat compilation in just 6 months. Body Talk is no less than the 15 best pop songs of 2010. When a track like Get Myself Together is counted as one of the ‘weaker’ tracks on an album, the quality is undeniably high. From the frenetic Fembot, to heartbreak disco on Dancing On My Own, to the switch of position of Call Your Girlfriend, Robyn is the best artist currently making pop music
1) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
I could have written 18 posts worth of analysis on the intricacies of Kanye’s record, but instead I’ll sum up my album of the year in one sentence. By mixing together every aspect of his previous albums, from the tribal production on 808s to the cocky swagger on Late Registration, Kanye not only made his best record to date, but a true listening experience in a world where no one cares about making fully realised albums.