Moving forward in my case, means making another attempt to keep this blog alive and active. Those that know me know my work days are 13 or 14 hours with commute and I don't have a laptop to work on this as I ride MAX for a combined 2.5-3 hours a day. Believe me, I would definitely welcome that opportunity. That lack of time, coupled with my wife's present health issues (occurring for the past two months and still going strong), makes me wonder what I will have to devote to this in 2011.
2010 was the year I forgave Kanye West for that whole Taylor Swift thing. HA!. Let's face it. I really never cared he did that. Was he an ass? Sure. But I'm not gonna stop listening to someone who has flashes of brilliance just because he's an asshole that can't obey simple social constructs. To get back in my (and everyone else's) good graces, Kanye released a (pretty damn good) new song every week for three months. Not really a full-on stinker in the bunch. Then, for an encore, he put out his most realized, most complete album to date.
Yes, it was the year I fell back in love with 'Ye for realizing his full potential. It was the year I quietly clapped for Eminem as he enjoyed the biggest success of his career while truly not giving a shit about anything he put out for the first time since he told us what his name was.
It was the year the flirting between Best Coast and I developed into a full-on love thing. 2010 also marked the time I finally got my shit together and called it quits with Interpol, My Chemical Romance, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dr. Dog, and the saddest breakup of all, Kings of Leon.
I do have the hope (and the desire) to do this personal passion of mine and it has to start somewhere. So here it resumes, with a look back at my favorite music of 2010. Reliable favorites like LCD Soundsystem, The National, and Deerhunter mixed it up with new discoveries including Best Coast, Bear in Heaven, and jj to fill my ears with the sweet sounds that simultaneously drowned out the voices inside my head while making the reality outside of it much more bearable.
The Mixtape's Top 50 songs of 2010
1. I Can Change / LCD Soundsystem
2. Desire Lines / Deerhunter
3. Bloodbuzz Ohio / The National
4. Lovesick Teenagers / Bear In Heaven
5. Angela Surf City / The Walkmen
6. Up All Night / Best Coast
7. What Would I want? Sky. / Animal Collective
8. What Did My Lover Say? / Wolf Parade
9. Glitter / No Age
10. Flash Delerium / MGMT
11. Bad Vibrations / Black Angels
12. Home / LCD Soundsystem
13. Runaway / Kanye West (and Pusha T)
14. Golden Town / Super Wild Horses
15. Power / Kanye West
16. Drunk Girls / LCD Soundsystem
17. Walls / Shout Out Louds
18. Hellhole Ratrace / Girls
19. My Way / jj
20. Revival / Deerhunter
21. The High Road / Broken Bells
22. 11th Dimension / Julian Casablancas
23. Go Outside / Cults
24. Monster / Kanye West
25. A More Perfect Union / Titus Andronicus
26. Laredo / Band of Horses
27. World Sick / Broken Social Scene
28. Brought It Out / BRAHMS
29. When I'm With You / Best Coast
30. Cousins / Vampire Weekend
31. Shutterbug / Big Boi
32. Tell 'Em / Sleigh Bells
33. All Summer / Best Coast, Kid Cudi, and Rostam (of Vampire Weekend)
34. Stylo / Gorillaz
35. The Last Prom on Earth / Gayngs
36. Solitude is Bliss / Tame Impala
37. Soldier of Love / Sade
38. Dance Yrself Clean / LCD Soundsystem
39. Helicopter / Deerhunter
40. GOOD Friday / Kanye West
41. Round & Round / Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
42. Marathon / Tennis
43. The Day / Curren$y (w/ Mos Def and Jay Electronica)
44. Congratulations / MGMT
45. I Think Ur A Contra / Vampire Weekend
46. England / The National
47. Always On My Mind / Reading Rainbow
48. Mickey Mouse / Wavves
49. We Used To Wait / The Arcade Fire
50. Crystallized / The XX
The Mixtape's Top 10 Albums of 2010
1. Halycyon Digest / Deerhunter
The last thing I needed to grasp on to and call friend during one of the darkest times of my life was this introspective musing on nostalgia. I didn't need to have the notion that the best times lie behind burned into my brain while I fought to make it through each repetitive, answer-less, depressing day. While my wife spent most of a month in a hospital and my zombie-like carcass trudged to work before most people were awake, I thought I needed the complete opposite of this album.
Despite it's few pop-leaning moments, I thought I needed more of the shiny, polished hooky goodness of "Fountain Stairs" and "Revival." To counteract the hazy mental malaise that I still find myself under, I believed I required more of those happy sing-along moments and much less of the sparse, insular ones that comprised the core of "Earthquake", "Helicopter", and "Sailing".
What I found, aside from irony finding yet another way to say "howdy", was a sanctuary in sound. Musical consonance wrapped around lyrical dissonance. A temporal pleasure rooted firmly in nostalgic tendencies. What I've found in the three months since it was released and put in my ears, is that I've played every song on Halcyon Digest at least 45-50 times with "Revivial" and "Desire Lines" approaching the 150 mark. What I found was the most complete, most expertly sequenced, incredibly perfect sounding collection of songs at the exact moment I needed them. My album of the year, by a mile.
2. This Is Happening / LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy and company continue to mature and evolve with each amazing release. This time out may be their last according to rumors, but if so, they're doing so at the top of their game. No other band makes dance music this cerebral and elegantly produced. Every plink, pluck, snap, bump, and crash are precisely where they need to be, all the time.
No one else makes precision and densely layered instrumentation feel looser and more natural than Murphy and this ridiculously tight band. Most importantly, the end result never feels forced or over-wrought. It just makes you want to move. I'm still happily worshiping at the Church of LCD.
3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy / Kanye West
America's douche-bag or hip-hop's savior? Selfish, ego-driven asshole or misunderstood multi-talent? Idiot savant or just straight idiot?
For me, everything that has been covered by the media about Kanye in the media is eclipsed by the fact that he is really, really good. Since he shifted from full-time producer to artist in 2004, Mr. West has been releasing good, sometimes great albums that revealed his biggest flaw to be an lack of editing. The music, not what passed his lips. As he bridged the distance between old soul, rap, hip-hop, and pop, West often tried to be too many things to everyone at the same time.
This album is a result of Kanye keeping the best of what he's done this past year in one place. His dozen or so songs that were released each Friday or Saturday on his GOOD Friday blog were all pretty amazing and you could put those all on another album that would be almost as good as MBDTF, but he picked the right songs with the right guests and put them in the right place. I hope when all is said and done, Kanye is remembered for his work more than being a jerk. His musical output in 2010 eclipses 75% of his catalog in terms of production and overall quality. Not what we expected from Mr. West, but he's rarely predictable.
4. High Violet / The National
5. Everything in Between / No Age
6. Lisbon / The Walkmen
7. Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty / Big Boi
8. Treats / Sleigh Bells
9. Contra / Vampire Weekend
10. Congratulations / MGMT