Looking Back: The Top 25 Albums of 2010 Thus Far

We know how you all love lists, so here is one to hold you over until we throw together our top albums at the end of the year. While our year-end list will include a full summary on each album, we thought that this would suffice for any of you that might have slept on some of 2010’s first half bests. Check out the list, preview the singles, support the artists, and let us know how much you agree/disagree in the comments section below!

1. The National – High Violet (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-National-Afraid-Of-Everyone.mp3|titles=The National – “Afraid Of Everyone” feat. Sufjan Stevens]

2. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me (Amazon)


3. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh) (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Erykah_Badu-Window_Seat.mp3|titles=Erykah Badu – Window Seat]

4. The Roots – How I Got Over (Amazon)


5. Sleigh Bells – Treats (Amazon)


6. Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Four-Tet-Love-Cry.mp3|titles=Love Cry]

7. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Amazon)


8. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Amazon)


9. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (Amazon)


10. José James – Blackmagic (Amazon)


11. Caribou – Swim (Amazon)


12. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/02-janelle_monae-dance_or_die_feat._saul_williams.mp3|titles=Dance or Die (f. Saul Williams)]

13. Gonjasufi – A Sufi And A Killer (Amazon)


14. Beach House – Teen Dream (Amazon)


15. Shad – TSOL

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/05-A-Good-Name.mp3|titles=Shad – “A Good Name”]

16. The Morning Benders – Big Echo (Amazon)


17. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/LCD-Soundsystem-All-I-Want.m4a|titles=LCD Soundsystem – “All I Want”]

18. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Gorillaz-Stylo-featuring-Bobby-Womack-and-Mos-Def.mp3|titles=Gorillaz – “Stylo” f. Bobby Womack & Mos Def]

19. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Emeralds-Candy-Shoppe.mp3|titles=Emeralds – “Candy Shoppe”]

20. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Crystal-Castles-Celestica.mp3|titles=Crystal Castles – “Celestica”]

21. Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Nas-and-Damian-Marley-Nah-Mean.mp3|titles=Nas & Damian Marley – “Nah Mean”]

22. MGMT – Congratulations (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/MGMT-Flash-Delerium.mp3|titles=”Flash Delerium”]

23. Spoon – Transference (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Spoon-Written-In-Reverse.mp3|titles=Spoon – “Written In Reverse”]

24. Jamie Lidell – Compass (Amazon)

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jamie-Lidell-Completely-Exposed.mp3|titles=”Completely Exposed”]

25. Vampire Weekend – Contra (Amazon)


Honorable Mention:

Intuition – Girls Like Me (Amazon)
Phantogram – Eyelid Movies (Amazon)
Bonobo – Black Sands (Amazon)
The Radio Dept. – Clinging To A Scheme (Amazon)
Dessa – A Badly Broken Code (Amazon)
Harlem – Hippies (Amazon)
Onra – Long Distance (Amazon)
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt (Amazon)
Toro Y Moi – Causers of This (Amazon)
Homeboy Sandman – The Good Sun (Amazon)

41 thoughts on “Looking Back: The Top 25 Albums of 2010 Thus Far

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  1. scratched vinyl|

    amidst the disagreement this list is still very good. The National-High Violet is awsome, and this is coming from a self proclaimed hip hop head! gotta give props, i like where this site is going…wherever that is 🙂

  2. Alborosie – Escape From Babylon to the Kingdom of Zion

    Sick Album aswell.

  3. Can’t believe you didn’t put FEEL GOOD MUSIC by ILLUS and J.J. Brown on this list. Easily my favorite album of 2010.

  4. angelomaizzi|

    hi friends this is my personal top ten from italy: 1)Jose James BLACKMAGIK 2) The Roots HOW I GOT OVER 3) Erykah Badu NEW AMERYKAH pt.2 4)Herbie Hancock THE IMAGINE PROJECT 5)Flying Lotus COSMOGRAMMA 6)Dwele WORLD WANTS WOMEN 7)Gorillaz PLASTIC BEACH(MYLO is the best track of the year….) 8)Meemee Nelzy AME NOUVELLE 9)Janelle Monae ARCHANDROID 10)Aloe Blacc GOOD THINGS and the best coming soon John Legend WAKE UP…ciaooo

  5. strictly black music. MY TOP 8
    (hip hop, jazz, soul, blues, electro etc)


  6. Team Zooey FTW!

  7. word up on the ariel pink.

  8. Brandon Rae|

    I’d make a case for OJ Simpson if it was interludeless.

  9. definitely need some Titus Andronicus on here. and Gil-Scott Heron. and Guilty Simpson

  10. Brandon Rae|

    Zach Cole looks good in leather.

  11. Zach Cole|

    Right right.

  12. Oh snap, good call there! I was just kind of being a jerk about the current lo-fi fad.

  13. Zach Cole|

    Andrew Martin – I dig the responses, very accurate synopsis. Although, I must chime in on Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – just for the sake of playing devil’s advocate, I’m going to have to bring up Cody ChesnuTT’s The Headphone Masterpiece. I know they’re rooted in different genres, but both are fantastic and worthy lo-fi albums from the 2000s!

  14. Definitely agree with The National, but I’d add Titus Andronicus, The Black Keys, and Clark Understudy & the Stage Left.

  15. I’ll comment on what I’ve heard:
    1. The National – High Violet
    -Gorgeous album. No complaints whatsoever.

    3. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh)
    -Another gorgeous record. Great transitions, concepts, and vibe.

    4. The Roots – How I Got Over
    -Minor flaws but overall fantastic. I think people, including myself, are being too tough on Black Thought. But hey, what do you expect when most either overrate or underrate him?

    5. Sleigh Bells – Treats
    -The most enjoyable – in the sense of it being insanely fun – LP of the year so far.

    7. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
    -Insanely well crafted electronic jazz. Just has a limited replay value.

    8. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
    -A little too long, but I’d rather listen to their Beatles-esque tunes than a Paul Simon cover band.

    9. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
    -The only lo-fi nonsense I want to listen to from the 2000s.

    10. José James – Blackmagic
    -Slick vocal jazz, though you have to be in the mood for it.

    11. Caribou – Swim
    -Pretty good danceable stuff, but it’s not for me.

    13. Gonjasufi – A Sufi And A Killer
    -Great experimentation on here, though not a lot of replay value.

    14. Beach House – Teen Dream
    -Didn’t do it for me at all.

    15. Shad – TSOL
    -Best straight-up rap album so far.

    17. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
    -Fun, but not really for me unless I’m in the mood.

    18. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
    -Didn’t do it for me, but I might need to listen a few more times.

    19. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?
    -Great ambient stuff.

    21. Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives
    -Props to Nas for branching out and doing it well. A few cornball tracks, yeah, but it feels real and not forced.

  16. @frank_be hahaha I pretty much disagree with you on every front there. We didn’t review a lot of the stuff on this list because before our shift in direction came about 3 months in. We felt like our audience didn’t want much to do with indie stuff so we held back and didn’t report on it, even though I felt like it deserved some shine. But so far the response has been good.

    If you are going to accuse anything of lacking nuts right now, it’s hip-hop. Shit is more stale than ever and quite frankly, besides 2 or 3 releases this year, it has bored the hell out of me. I mean, Reflection Eternal was a shit storm. Rhymefest, as you know, was atrocious. Nas & Damian Marley was boring to me, even though I know a lot of people liked it. Drake is Drake. The only hip-hop I would even care to listen to right now is The Roots (which I think is a good album at best), Shad (another good one), and Homeboy Sandman.

    At least the indie stuff is fun to listen to, even if you think it’s a ripoff of some of that 60’s and 70’s music (which I see the influence, but I wouldn’t call it a ripoff). I feel like at the same time, anything goes in indie, people are doing whatever they want and are being accepted. In hip-hop, people are afraid to do anything but make some limited boom-bap that has been around since day one. No one is able to innovate and take it to the next level. The Roots tried with this new release, and I give them credit for that. But I think they were held down by certain things. But do you see what even the best of the best is doing? Sampling INDIE ROCK. It’s obvious where the music is thriving, and I feel confident in saying that it is in indie rock.

    And I think Cosmogramma was a tad overrated just because its the one and only FLYING LOTUS. That dude isn’t god, and neither is that album.

  17. I approve of this list. I’ve heard 8 out of 25…

  18. Zach Cole|

    dannypizzle – Haha, you got me there.

  19. dannypizzle|

    Zach Cole – We’re only six months in…

  20. frank_be|

    Not feelin this list at all. I am not an indie fan. I’ve given way too many of those records a chance I’m good. For all the shit neo and retro soul got, these predominantly white artist are doing nothing that the beatles, beach boys, joni mitchell, the kinks, early stones and zapa didn’t do. That shit lacks nuts, a moxi that engages me as a listener. It also confuses me that some albums that were not even rated or got low scores on this very site are on the list. Furthermore ain’t nuthin fuckin with Cosmogramma on any level. Brothers also shits on every single one of the albums on that list. But in all honesty this year has been my least favorite year since 05. I hope the second half treats my ears better

  21. I agree with Zach. A lot of this year’s hip hop releases just don’t quite cut it. Now when Sir Lucious Left Foot comes out next month, it’ll be a different story entirely…

  22. Zach Cole|

    Sam – Good call with Strong Arm Steady. Those other records are nice, but fall just short.

    dannypizzle – Really?

  23. There’s no point of arguing here. All lists are opinion based, so if you don’t agree, make your own list. lol. Obviously what one person considers to be “album of the year” isn’t what somebody else would agree with . That’s the beauty of it. 😛

  24. dannypizzle|

    How is Shad – TSOL not straight in at 1 mystifies me. Best album of this decade, straight up no chaser

  25. Also, with all the indie rock, I’m surprised to not see Broken Social Scene on the list. I thought they had a great album with Forgiveness Rock Record

  26. Freeway & Jake One, Guilty Simpson, Def Dee and Language Arts, Raekwon, Strong Arm Steady, Shabazz Palaces all brought out great albums this year (and they certainly could all rhyme circles around Shad)

  27. Normally I almost agree with things posted on this website list-wise, but I definitely have a few problems with this. First, This Is Happening, Black Sands, Plastic Beach, and Contra should all be higher. When I saw MGMT was above Contra and Transference I was pretty shocked to say the least. And I don’t think albums like Congratulations or Distant relatives should be on this list, or even be an honorable mention. Take for instance Dessa, she put out a much stronger album than Nas and Damien, maybe she just doesn’t have the name yet that allows her to put out a mediocre record and still get props for it. That being said, I like that There is Love in You and A Sufi and A Killer are both relatively high on this list.

  28. I don’t understand why everyone hates on Congratulations. At least they stayed true to themselves and did something besides write crowd-pleasing frat boy party jams. I think people are taking their apologies too seriously. They said, essentially, “Hey, sorry we were a little self-indulgent on this album, but we needed to be, or else we’d go crazy.” See: their interview with The New York Times or The Guardian.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, I really liked Congratulations. And I think this is a pretty solid list.

  29. Dave – I think that is fair and I appreciate the response. I feel there is a definite lack in quality hip-hop albums released so far this year. The only reason I made the comment is because, in the past, I have often looked to you all to keep me informed on quality hip-hop that I may have missed. My concern is simply that a good hip-hop album that I missed will not make it on a list like this because it got bumped by a better indie rock or electronica album. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

  30. “but I think a lot of the long time followers of the blog would appreciate an exclusive hip-hop list”

    On the basis of this year, it would be a short list.

  31. MGMT = Fail-adelphia. Chik Fail-A. They even went on a campaign to apologize for the album in the press before it came out. They only ever wrote like 5 good songs. I’ll keep “Someone’s Missing” and toss the rest back in the shitter from whence it came. Wish I could have the couple hours I spent trying to get into them back. Maybe I’ll sue.

  32. David Reyneke|

    @kma399 I understand where you are coming from. But to contest that, I had a really hard time even coming up with 10 albums to include on a list like this. All the hip-hop that we felt was worthy is included on this list.

  33. I’m not sure how to feel about this list. I know you recently explained your expanding vision for the blog and I fully support that. I enjoy quality music, regardless of what form it takes. However, I am still a hip-hop head at heart. It may be too much to ask, but I think a lot of the long time followers of the blog would appreciate an exclusive hip-hop list. Just a suggestion; take it for what it is.

    Anyway, I have much respect for you all staying true to yourselves. I love this blog. Thank you for representing and promoting quality music!

  34. David Reyneke|

    Oh yeah, shit.. Owen Pallett was awesome hahaha. No way MGMT was fail city… NO WAY

  35. Dave, I enjoyed the TP record a little, but it’s just too derivative. But MGMT was fail city, bro. And you missed the Owen Pallett record, which is top notch.

    You’re right, though: I hate the beach, but I love the Beach House.

  36. Brandon Rae|

    I fuckin’ love Zooey, uh, She & Him!

  37. David Reyneke|

    Craig – You obviously don’t support sweet psychedelic beach jams as much as I do. MGMT was tons of fun, you just have to give it a chance.

  38. Get MGMT off here. That record is a certified shit sandwich. Also, FlyLo, Gorillaz and Beach House should be higher, while Tame Impala’s Revolver-jacking Beatle lovefest and Joanna “I Wish I Was Joni Mitchell” Newsom could drop a few spots. Lists!

  39. David Reyneke|

    She & Him is top one for me, but I had to be fair to the rest of you.

  40. Brandon Rae|

    [Too High] The National, Sleigh Bells.

    [Too Low] Beach House, Flying Lotus, Gonjasufi.

  41. Bonobo Black Sands > the MGMT or Crystal Castles projects. Can’t believe I slept on the Four Tet project.

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