2010 was another year in the slow climb back to prominence for Rock music. I’ve talked about it endlessly on here and in my day-to-day conversations that the decline in creative rap/popular music is linear with the rise of sensible, eclectic forms of rock music. Just a matter of time before another seismic boom in Rock music lands. Here today let’s give a rundown of some of the best the last twelve months!
Album of the Year
- A true triumph for the Canadian alt Gods. In the past they’ve relied on heavily orchestrated, long, dreary pieces that to me didn’t click as well as many others felt. These critical darlings have gone from a blend of Radiohead and Talking Heads to just doing their own thing. “Ready to Start”, “Modern Man” and “City With No Children” are all simplistic, solid songs. No frills. “Empty Room” and “Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains” can keep long-time fans happy. “We Used To Wait” is a fantastic 4:47 of music. All around Arcade Fire finds the perfect balance between high-art, complex music and pop melodies to make 2010’s best album start to finish.
- KoL successfully pulls off what few (Pearl Jam) have accomplished and many (Hoobastank? Lifehouse?) have failed to do: Not pigeonhole yourself after having a crossover, mainstream hit. These Nashville rockers could’ve come out and continued to make top-40 sugar pop after the success of last year’s smash single “Use Somebody.” Instead the take pride in being the current Champions of Rock and made music that’s right up there with anything they’ve ever done. “The End”, “Mary”, “The Immortals”, “Back Down South” give fans a taste of their talent. “Pyro” and “Radioactive” will play great at festivals in front of 100,000 people. “Birthday", “Beachside” and “Pony Up” are treats. All around can’t say enough about the hottest act in the business.
- This Ohio duo serves up their best release yet. With the help of Danger Mouse as their producer these guys make a soulful album that leaves you wanting more. "Everlasting Light", "Howlin' For You", "Next Girl", "Tighten Up" and "She's Long Gone"are dirty rockers while "Never Give You Up"and "Ten Cent Pistol" would fit in with any Motown classics. Danger Mouse is the best producer alive right now.
- Spoken a lot about these Jersey rockers. Again Springsteen-like lyrics with punk guitar work give these hipsters something to be proud of. My bet for “next big thing” status in rock. “American Slang”, “Bring It On”, “The Queen of Lower Chelsea”, “Boxer”, “The Spirit of Jazz”, the Van Morrison-esque “The Diamond Church Street Choir” all give you a sense of what this band is about. Also “Old Haunts” wins chorus of the year as I’m sure Springsteen is kicking himself for not writing something so brilliant.
- The best work of Johnson’s career by far. Astonishing how big this album sounds and feels compared to his earlier work. Seriously compare “Inaudible Melodies” from his debut album “Brushfire Fairytales” to “At or With Me” off his latest release. You have to hand it to the guy who’s really worked on his guitar playing. I was really disappointed with his last release “Sleep Through The Static” but see now that it was just a way to find a new sound for himself and he clearly took one step back to take two steps forward. “You and Your Heart”, “To The Sea”, “From the Clouds”, “The Upsetter”, “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” and “Only the Ocean” make me long for Summertime. “Turn Your Love” featuring Paula Fuga is really well done. Johnson has set himself up as an icon.
- Great release to set the tone in Rock for 2010. These guys are making fun music that’s really unique. I really dig songs like “Cousins”, “Diplomat’s Son”, “Giving Up the Gun” and “White Sky.” “Holiday” was one of my favorite songs of the year before the song was sold to Tommy Hilfiger and Honda for Christmas ads.
- Sneaky pick of the year. This debut album is great start to finish and I’m guessing these guys will be making a lot more noise with the next release they have. “Floating Vibes” should give you a taste of what they’re all about.
Singles of the Year
- Some great guitar work and country harmonies from these Seattle veterans.
- My favorite new band name from the SoCal alt-duo. Best part about this song is EVERY other song off their debut release “Crazy For You” sounds the exact same.
John Butler Trio- “I’d Do Anything”
- Infectious. Good lyrics, great melody from this Australian.
- There are dozens of mainstream rappers that could learn how to flow rhyme like 42 year-old, British and White Damon Albarn.
- You may recognize their song “Let’s Go Swimming” from those new Volkswagen commercials, too.
- A dispute with their record label forever derailed this band to more mainstream success. The love child of Weezer and the Beach Boys has still made great pop rock.
- The Killers lead singer released his solo debut this year. "Crossfire" is a good example of what made Flowers and his main band as popular as they are.
- I’m in the minority but personally I think this was the most disappointing release of the year, but I do love this song.
- Production award of the year. Download this single from iTunes and listen to it on some great headphones or speakers because Incubus’ front man kills it on this single. I’d argue the most underrated singing voice of the last 20 years easily.
- Jack Johnson’s label mates are just down for a good time and this is no exception.
- This is probably the most successful attempt at recreating a Pink Floyd sound I’ve ever heard. Really throw this song into the middle of 1979’s “The Wall” and it fits right in. Awesome rhythm and shredding on the guitar.
This is my favorite song of 2010.Hey how’d she get in here?!
Misc. Releases (Old Dogs/New Tricks)
Another year down, looking forward to what 2011 brings!