Monday, December 27, 2010

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2010

It’s that time of year once again. The end of the year, where we pause to reflect on all that has happened over the last 12 months while pondering what the future has in store. And as I look back, it’s particularly nice to know that 2010 was another year filled with vast musical greatness. That’s what makes picking the 10 best albums of the year such a hard one.

After much thought, listening, re-listening, and deep scrutiny, I was finally able to come up with a list of my 10 favorite records. My choices are below. Feel free to leave a comment with what you felt were the best records of 2010.

10. The Movie We Are In – Pete Francis

Pete Francis was new to me this year. The singer/songwriter released a modern folk masterpiece in The Movie We Are In earlier in 2010. With a hybrid of acoustic folk and electric rock, The Movie We Are In is a fantastic and fun record. Lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally talented, Pete Francis is a musician that more people should be paying attention to. His lyrics are deep, his voice is excellent, and the music he creates is simply stunning. The Movie We Are In is a fine example of his work and an album worthy of adding to any music lover’s collection.

9. Time – The Rebellion

Canadian rockers, The Rebellion, released an exceptional album in Time this year. Blending the styles of Coldplay, U2, and The Fray, The Rebellion is a modern rock act worthy of recognition. Time, which is their debut album, is a showcase of just how grand the band is. With a modern sound worthy of everyday radio, powerful vocals, catchy hooks, and riffs that you will be singing along to, Time is worth seeking out.

8. Sting In The Tail – The Scorpions

In 2010, The Scorpions recorded what is reported to be their final album. The multiple guitar attack of Rudolph Schenker and Matthias Jabs decorates Sting In The Tail with color and style. Their finger picking is at its finest and the shredding solos performed by each of them helps to vibrantly color the record. Sting In The Tail is a fine record that has the The Scorpions going out on a high note. If this truly is the final piece of their legacy, it’s a good one to leave behind.

7. Easy Wonderful – Guster

This past fall, Guster returned to bless us with a new album. I was certainly happy that they did. Filled with the delightful sounds that I’ve come to expect from this band, Easy Wonderful was a breath of fresh air into the music scene. Guster sent us a beautiful piece of art that can be enjoyed for hours on end in Easy Wonderful.

6. 13 Arcane Hymns – The Unravelling

2 guys. 1 album. Simply amazing. 13 Arcane Hymns by The Unravelling rocks hard and heavy. It’s heavy metal for the new generation. It’s hard to believe that only two guys came up with such an amazing album. If you’re a fan of heavy, dark, rock, than 13 Arcane Hymns is a record you should own. With bold and beautiful music, lyrics that make you think, and lead vocals that range the spectrum like not many can, The Unravelling’s 13 Arcane Hymns is a solid album worth listening to over and over again.

5. Slash – Slash

Branching out with his first solo record, Slash, fans weren’t sure what to expect. The album is jam packed with guest vocalists (including Fergie, Lemmy, and Ozzy) and a lot of exceptional guitar work. Slash is a solo album done right. While Slash is the obvious centerpiece of this record, the wise decision to bring in multiple guest vocalists help push this disc over the top. It was a very unexpected treat in the 2010 releases.

4. Scream – Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne proves that he still has it and maybe never lost it on his latest record Scream. Released this summer, I had the opportunity to review Scream for Hard Rock Hideout and man was I impressed. I wrote that “Scream is an album that renews faith in the current state of rock and roll and solidifies Ozzy’s status as a rock god.” Those words are still true months later. Scream is an incredible album.

3. Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic – Gangstagrass

It’s bluegrass. It’s hip-hop. It’s Gangstagrass. One of the most unique records to be released in 2010, Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic is a magnificent album and a trailblazer for a new musical style. More than just a passing fad, Gangstagrass have pioneered a whole new genre that’s worth listening to. Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic is a unique experience that everyone will enjoy.

2. Social Code - Rock N Roll

Debuting with their first major label record this year, Social Code showed all the other newcomers how rock was meant to be played. Best described as dirty (or gritty) rock, Rock N Roll is a powerful album. Blending the styles of Hinder, Lynch Mob, and Papa Roach, Social Code is the real deal and Rock N Roll proves it. Bar jamming, foot stomping, good time hard rock is what Rock N Roll is all about. Social Code has my vote for best new band of the year, and Rock N Roll has my vote for best hard rock album of 2010. If you like rock, you need to pick up a copy of this record.

1. The Lucky Ones – Doug Keith

I was blessed with the gift of Doug Keith’s The Lucky Ones very early this year. When I reviewed this album back in February, I stated that if you purchased only one record this year, it had to be The Lucky Ones. That statement is still true in December. By far, the best album I have heard in 2010 (and I’ve heard a lot) is Doug Keith’s The Lucky Ones. A fantastic modern folk record that everyone needs to own and enjoy.

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