Initially I was not going to make this list but the pressure of a helpful reader lead me to believe that it would be a fun idea. Although this is not as comprehensive as I would like it to be, here are my top 10 favorite albums of 2010.
01. The National - High Violet
It is no coincidence that the best band in the world also came out with the best album of 2010 so far. While it's their most melodic, accessible album to date, it's the emotion of each song that brings this album to life and lets me find new things with each listen. This Brooklyn-based, indie rock band also managed to get their highest ranking ever on the Billboard charts with this album during one of music's slowest weeks of the year. That alone proves their power. Soaring ballads like the gorgeous "Runaway" are balanced by poppy fare like the catchy "Anyone's Ghost" but really it's the entire album as a whole that will leave you unable to listen to anything else for the rest of the year. This is the best album I have heard in the past five years, forget the past seven months. I promise you will not be able to get Matt Berninger's voice out of your head.
Best Tracks: Conversation 16, Lemonworld, Runaway, Bloodbuzz Ohio, Anyone's Ghost (in that order)
02. Jack Johnson - To the Sea
Although I was a huge fan of Johnson's 2001 debut, Brushfire Fairytales, I was never overly impressed by his follow up albums until now. To the Sea continues Johnson's appreciation for relaxed, upbeat little songs but unlike some of his other recent work, you can't as easily picture Curious George singing along with them. There is a maturity on this album that makes his music much more lush and introspective. Somehow I believe him more on this record than any before and I have fallen in love with a few of these songs. A song will start off barely audible and turn into a fun, strange story within seconds. "Only the Ocean", the closing track, is a slow, painfully beautiful ode to the ocean that even has a non-swimmer like me relating to. Although "Flake" off Brushfire remains my favorite Johnson track, To the Sea has become my favorite Jack Johnson album overall.
Best Tracks: You and Your Heart, Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology, Only the Ocean
Best Tracks: Closer, I'd Do it All Again