I love music. Duh. This was a great year.
10. The Hold Steady- Heaven Is Whenever
9. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid
8. Broken Bells- Broken Bells
7. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
6. Joshua Radin- The Rock and the Tide
5. Greg Laswell: Take A Bow- I’m not usually a huge fan of singer songwriters. I appreciate the talent, but more often than not I find them boring. Greg Laswell is the exception. His beautiful deep voice is expressive and earnest. The lyrics are sad and happy and clever. He’s absolutely fantastic live; his stage presence and commentary are awesome. If you like the genre at all, check it out. He’s the best out there.
4.Neon Trees- Habits: Catchy and fun! It’s a light album but almost guaranteed to make you dance. It has a definite 80s tinge, and they’ve clearly listened to the Killers. The lyrics are much deeper than the poppy sounds would make you think. If you like their single Animal, definitely check them out.
3. The Black Keys- Brothers: This one is a bit of a departure from the norm for them, but I love it. It’s layered and melodic, instead of gritty and raw like their previous efforts. I don’t mind a bit of polish. It’s still bluesy and soulful. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert after winning tickets, and it was a great show.
2.The National- High Violet: I know I’ve gone on and on and on about the National, but I just really and truly love them. This was a hard decision for me deciding between this and the number one album, but ultimately, this was my second choice. Matt Berninger’s baritone voice just hits the right spot for me. Combined with their lyrics and melodies, the National is my favorite band. Moody, at times depressing, this album is great for relaxing to. It’s haunting, powerful, cathartic, and a million other great words. I’ve been a longtime fan but just got to see them in concert for the first time this year, and it did not disappoint. But then again, they never do.
I’m counting this one on a technicality. It was technically released last year, but it didn’t come out in the US until February, so I think its okay.
1. Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More: I’m not sure what I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said. It’s simply stunning, and worth every ounce of hoopla and praise they’ve been receiving. Its craftsmanship, passion, and heart are all apparent through the roaring, rollicking ups and the haunting, masterful downs. The lyrics are beyond most other music that’s out there today. They’re not just lyrics, they’re brilliant poetry. It’s mind-boggling that this is their debut album. I can’t wait to see what else this phenomenal band has in store for the future.