After a stunning 750,000 sales in the first week, Eminem regained his place on top of the mainstream music world. The record’s singles were always on the radio and every person in the world was singing Rihanna’s haunting chorus of “Love the Way You Lie.” It’s not often that someone makes such an effect on a country’s pop culture. Especially in these times.
It would have been shameful to not include Eminem’s return album on this countdown. After all, it is an incredible collection of songs and you can tell he put a massive amount of work into it.
While some might say I’m embedding the video for “Love the Way You Lie” because it was probably the most played song of the year, but really it’s because it features Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox.
To purchase this album on Amazon, click the album cover below.
I know, I know. You’re probably asking why a comedy album is listed amongst the top music albums of the year.
Well, first of all, I would argue that comedy albums are still, in fact, albums… and are therefore qualified. Additionally, there are Grammy awards for comedy albums, so that made the decision for me to include this a lot easier. Finally, if you look back at previous years, I have included comedy albums, including and not limited to Bo Burnham and Demitri Martin.
While David Cross may not be for everybody, if you agree with some of his views, he is simply ingenious. Growing up watching Mr. Show With Bob and David on HBO, I have been following him for years. I have always been a huge fan of his stand-up, I adored Arrested Development, and now I’m obsessed with “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” on IFC.
Yes, David Cross gets political. Yes, he gets (anti) religious. But, his thoughts are unique and valuable. And he always knows how to turn every moment of life into comedy.
The video I have embedded below is not from his 2010 album, Bigger and Blackerer. Instead, it’s a hilarious clip I grabbed from YouTube that is from his popular DVD from several years ago titled “Shut Up, You F**King Baby!”
To purchase this album for the holidays, click the image below.
I have been a fan of Chromeo’s since the start of their journey. Thus far, all of their releases have been fun and energetic, unique and outrageous.
If you’ve never heard Chromeo before, they could be best described as Prince meets Michael Jackson, but with a side of digital funk grooves. As hard as it is to classify their dance-esque style of music, it’s extremely easy to be infected by their tight grooves and clever harmonies.
For a two-piece act, it doesn’t get much better than Chromeo. They are a group that really knows how to utilize the resources they have in their possession while also not taking themselves too seriously. When a serious band knows how to relax, have fun, and even make fun of themselves sometimes, it usually makes the music that much more enjoyable.
Business Casual is another solid effort from the group. I have featured the song “Don’t Turn the Lights On” below in the form of a video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
To purchase this album from Amazon, click the album cover below:
If there is a band that has consistently wowed me since their conception, Circa Survive would be amongst the top of the list. Of course there are others that share the same quality (namely – Tool, 311, Coheed and Cambira, and more), but Circa has done it throughout only 3 albums. They have yet to hit a dull moment and they have somehow evolved to become better and better with every release.
Their latest release, Blue Sky Noise, is both deep and aggressive. The lyrics from this band are always so meaningful. The beats are always so driving. The melodies are always so infectious.
One could argue that because Circa Survive has quickly risen to the top of my favorite modern artists list that they are deserving of a higher spot on this year’s countdown. To that I would say that the album is not perfect. The minor and very few moments of potential improvement is truly what kept this album from the top 5.
I have embedded a video of the first single off the album, “Get Out” below.
To purchase this album from Amazon, click the image below.
After they released the absolutely incredible album, Boxer, a few years ago, I doubted that they could come back with another headturning album. Much to my suprise (a good surprise), they made more of the same music. It almost felt like a continuation of Boxer, and you have no idea how good that is.
The most attractive element about the National is the lead singer’s very deep and mundane voice. While he would never win American Idol with his lack of range, his tone is haunting and fits the backing music perfectly. It’s odd, but for whatever reason, it’s so delightful to listen to.
For anyone that hasn’t heard a lot of the National, I suggest checking out their album Boxer first. Then, proceed to their 2010 release, High Violet.
I have embedded the video for their first single, Bloodbuzz Ohio, below. Enjoy!
To purchase this album, click on the picture below to be whisked away to Amazon.com.
It doesn’t happen often that an artist’s SEVENTH album ends up being their best. Since Laura Veirs has been around for a while, it’s hard to believe that she has never had much critically acclaimed material. In fact, she has gone relatively unnoticed in her musical career. I’ll be honest here and tell everyone that I only heard a little bit of her music and deemed it “not good enough” to partake in. Boy, is this album quite the opposite.
As an avid lover of folk music and soft “singer with an acoustic guitar” records, Laura’s melodic tunes satiate my needs this year. Since a lot of my favorite folk artists didn’t release anything this year (Iron and Wine, Rocky Votolato, City and Colour, etc.), I had to cherish this album as much as possible.
July Flame is 12 songs of great, delicate music. The self-titled track features a pretty cool music video, which can be seen below.
To purchase this album from Amazon, click on the image below.
It’s tough to let the debut solo album from the frontman of the amazing, Sigur Ros, pass by without proper acknowledgment. The Icelandic signer and composer is best known for his eclectic compositions, and he continues to flaunt that style on this debut record.
The record “Go” does feel like the bastard child of a Sigur Ros album. There aren’t 9+ minute songs. There are odd sounds. There are crazy instruments. However, through all of it, there is true art and a real passion for taking music to another level. This guy is seriously something else and I hope he continues to put out solo albums every few years.
I have a lot of favorite tracks on this album. I pinpointed “Boy Lilikoi” to embed below because it was the first single off of the release.
To purchase this album from Amazon.com, click on the album cover below.
Although I didn’t hear about them from television, a quick bit of research had me realize that the band Frightened Rabbit received an influx of mainstream interest from a feature on the MTV show, World of Jenks. This has caused a few of their music videos to possess a lot of views, their latest album to gain a lot of reviews, and the band itself to capitalize on album and ticket sales.
However, they are still not a household name in the music industry. They made this list because they created a solid album whether or whether not they were on television. The album is called “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” and it’s as indie as this year’s album’s got.
I have embedded the music video for “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.” Miraculously, it has garnered almost a half a million views up until today.
To purchase this album from Amazon, click on the album cover below.
Ring is the debut album from the one woman act known as Glasser. The woman is Cameron Mesirow. She’s interesting and smart. But most importantly, she’s very talented.
If I were to compare her sound to anybody else around today, I would say that she is a strange concoction of Bjork, Fiona Apple, and Azure Ray. I know that sounds weird. Her music actually isn’t weird. She’s just very original and unique.
Ring offers some stellar moments. The opening track is called “Apply” and it doubles as the first single off the album. It’s a perfect sample for anyone wondering what the album sounds like. I have embedded the music video of the song below.
To order this album from Amazon.com, click on the album cover below.
Titus Andronicus has been another one of the those bands that always seems to seep through the cracks of popular music. Somehow, as of today, this album only has 14 reviews on Amazon.com. But guess what? All of them are 5 stars except for one. That’s because their sophomore album, Monitor, is a masterpiece to say the least. It’s a masterpiece that you need to know about.
So I must get this out of the way before I get into the songs themselves…
This album is a concept album. Yes, one of THOSE. I know a lot of people dread concept albums (for whatever reason), but trust me when I say that these guys are brilliant. They put together this album carefully and had a great time doing it.
The concept of this album is the civil war. This makes room for a lot of emotion and an incredible story to follow.
I enjoyed their first single, “A More Perfect Union” when I was first exposed to it. I have embedded the video below for you to check out.
To purchase this album from Amazon, simply click on the album cover below.