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The AP Chooses The 10 Best Albums Of The Year

09:01 AM Monday 12/20/10 | |

Looking for stocking stuffers? Here are a few ideas from the Associated Press' Top 10 album list for 2010.

1. Janelle Monae, ArchAndroid: Monae's ArchAndroid was a pure dreamland that wove in Walt Disney influences, Fela and James Brown-inspired beats, Outkast-style rhymes and Beatle-esque melodies for a heavenly, spectacular debut that envelops you completely in her fantasy world.

2. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: It's typical for artists who feel persecuted in the press to spill out their anger, frustration and pity in song; thankfully, West's stunning fifth album doesn't go down that road. Instead, he brilliantly owns up to his dysfunction, acknowledging his flaws through (mostly) flawless tracks, gripping in their honesty and riveting in their musicality. Kanye can get away with being a jerk, as long as he makes music this amazing.

  • Kanye West

    F1 race meeting, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    November 12, 2010

    (AP Photo)


3. Eminem, Recovery: There are elements of Slim Shady, but what makes Recovery so commanding is hearing Marshall Mathers confront his demons with brutal honesty - and, of course, warped wit - on an album that restored his much-deserved reputation as one of rap's all-time greats.

4. Sia, We Are Born: When word came that Sia was going to put out a dance album, there was every reason to fear that the serious songbird was taking an ill-advised jump on the Lady Gaga bandwagon. But Sia charts her own path with We Are Born, an album filled with infectious grooves, and it keeps you engaged even when the tempo slows.

5. R. Kelly, Love Letter: No midgets, no booty calls, no sex in the kitchen. R. Kelly trades perversion for perfection on the old-school throwback "Love Letter" - classy and classic.

6. Taylor Swift, Speak Now: Swift gets a lot of attention for her read-between-the-lines tomes, but after the guessing game stops (is this one about John Mayer? Is that one about Taylor Lautner?), what remains are terrific, compelling songs with rich plot lines that will stay with you long after the gossip fades.

  • Taylor Swift

    Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.
    September 9, 2010

    (AP Photo)


7. Sade, Soldier of Love: Sade's music is so reliable in its greatness that sometimes people - say, Grammy voters - forget how much work it takes to be so good. Always alluring, always enchanting, always sensuous, Sade - with her first album in 10 years - returns with an exquisite collection of entrancing songs.

8. Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea: Rae channeled her grief over the untimely death of her husband into The Sea, but what developed is an album that's wistful and peppered with optimism in the face of despair.

9. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise: Ray LaMontagne has been known for his masterful songwriting for some time, but on God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise - a sometimes morose, heartbreaking collection of despairing tracks - his lyrical gifts are perhaps at its best, especially on the track with which any New Yorker can identify: "New York City's Killing Me."

10. Gorillaz, Plastic Beach: The cartoon gimmick may have lost its edge, but the Gorillaz haven't: Plastic Beach blends hip-hop, funk, rock and electronica for spacey party grooves.

  • Gorillaz

    O2 Arena, London, UK
    November 14, 2010

    (AP Photo)


Honorable mentions: Vampire Weekend, Contra; Lizz Wright, Fellowship; Drake, Thank Me Later; Florence & The Machine, Lungs.


  1. advance2go wrote:

    07:44 AM, Dec 30, 2010

    It is effin tragic what black music has become. Where are the Smokey Robinsons  Stevie Wonders  Marvin Gayes  Delphonics  Stylistics  Temptations  Curtis Mayfileds  James Browns   Curtis Mayfields et. al    That was music man.  Today's songcraft is devoid of rudimentary musical priciples. Especially where its most important. the Melody.  Its "message" music-- delivered in a robotic monotone (w/attitude) or over the top 1000 notes a minute singing found primarily in the bland R & B of today.   Then again maybe im just a goddam dinosaur  

  2. dianalovey wrote:

    11:21 AM, Dec 27, 2010

    aside from the utter crap that is this list..florence & the machine-lungs was best of 2009, not '10---jeez research first "writers"

  3. Livewolf wrote:

    04:18 PM, Dec 22, 2010

    What kind of sick, twisted $&^$(* came up with this crap?!??????

  4. DeltaSigChi4 wrote:

    02:20 PM, Dec 21, 2010

    Arcade Fire? The AP obviously has their heads stuck up their asses,


  5. jaredoliveira wrote:

    10:32 AM, Dec 20, 2010

    60% of that list is pop culture fodder for the narrow minded masses who refuse to actually look for better music.