Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 25 Musical Happenings of 2010

I decided to compile a list of the most important things to happen in the music world for me this year. They aren't specifically my top albums or singles, it's a little bit of everything. I hope you take a minute to read over my list to see what moved me musically this year and I hope that maybe I get to introduce you to something you've never heard before.

25. Last Ones Standing - Example: 2010 was a huge year for me learning about all sorts of new artists. Example is a British Rapper that has been around since 2004 in the UK but gets no play in the US. Last Ones Standing is the fourth single off his second album, Won't Go Quietly. British rap is much different than American rap in that it seems to be more accessible to the general population and seems to have more of a dance influence opposed to an Urban influence.

24. Matt Cardle - When We Collide: Matt Cardle is the 2010 winner of the much better British talent show called X-Factor and this is his cover of the Biffy Clyro song, Many of Horror (When We Collide). For me, I love the original song, have since I heard it, but Matt does something new with it and gives it a little more emotion. The arrangement being stripped down works well for this song.

23 The Flood - Take That: The comeback single from Take That's new album, Progress. This single and album are important because it shows the return of Robbie Williams to the group. The entire album is an amazing piece of work produced by Stuart Price and shows what top notch pop music sounds like.

22. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum: There are 2 country music acts that make me stop in my tracks every time, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town. I dare you to find a harmony out of place or an emotion overused in this song. This has very special meaning because Sean did get to hear this song before he passed away and he loved it.

21. Use Somebody - The Sing Off: At the beginning of each episode of NBC's acapella talent show, all the remaining groups came together and sang one big number. This song came from the second episode and I dare you to not get chills listening to it. It's one of my favorite Kings of Leon songs and with Jeremy Lister of Street Corner Symphony opening and closing it, how can you go wrong.

20. The Beat is - Alphabeat: There no way in the world you can listen to Stine and Anders and not feel good. In the follow up to their smash debut album, This is, Alphabeat continues a winning streak with The Beat is. If you just want to feel good about some really great pop music, you can't go wrong with this Danish duo.

19. Tron Legacy Soundtrack: An entire movie soundtrack written, produced and created by Daft Punk? Count me in. The only way this could have been cooler is if the original soundtrack had been done by Kraftwerk. I think the cycle would have totally come full circle then.

18. American Slang - The Gaslight Anthem: So much music this year seemed to be drawing inspiration from the past. Tell me you can't hear Paul Westerberg in those lyrics and vocals. Aside from reminding me of The Replacements, they just make me feel something. If I was gonna through a party and invite Social Distortion, I would absolutely invite The Gaslight Anthem to hang out with them too. I think their sounds would compliment completely.

17. Aphrodite - Kylie Minogue: Kylie came back bigger than ever with Aphrodite and she proved that once again, she reigns supreme as the worlds favorite pop star and her star quality has never been better.

16. Restless - Amy Meredith: There isn't a track on this album that doesn't touch some part of you. Amy Meredith is an Australian Pop Rock group that does not fail in creating music that has a universal appeal. This video for Porn Star is one of the only "official" videos still left on Youtube due to international copyrights and all that. They are totally worth a listen and you won't be disappointed.

15. Telephone - Lady Gaga & Beyonce: It's the video that shocked the nation this year with its mass murder of a diner full of patrons to a prison full of lesbian innuendo, Lady Gaga and Beyonce proved that this track had nothing to lose as it went balls to the wall. And again, it showed that even though there is a tremendous amount of flash, Gaga can deliver the goods.

14. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach: What can I say about Plastic Beach that hasn't been said. Some people may consider the Gorillaz nothing more than a concept band but I feel that they continue to push boundaries not only musically but visually as well. In the video for Sylo, the guys (and Android Noodle) have never looked better. They keep impressing me with each album release.

13. Record Collection - Mark Ronson & Business Intl: I didn't know anything about Mark Ronson until this album and it surprised me. From what I had read online, his career before this was mostly producing hip hop style albums and he does a good job with bringing those beats to this album but something else he does is give this album depth and feeling with tracks like the above video. His concepts for the videos that have been released as singles have been amazing as well and I think they add a great deal to the presentation of the material.

12. All Day - Girl Talk: There are mashups and there is art. There are artists that make something new out of preexisting tracks then there is Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk. He can do things with music that amazes me because of the combinations he comes up with. Songs that you never thought should go together in combinations that shouldn't work either. Rhianna and Fugazi shouldn't go together but they do and it's made me reconsider my position on some hip hop artists and rappers.

11. The Lady Killer - Cee Lo Green: I've been a fan of Cee Lo since the Guicci Mob days. Followed him through Gnarls Barkley and his solo career. This album shows that Cee Lo can do anything. His vocals are strong, his production is tight and his song choices are impeccable. The song I've chosen, Bright Lights, Bigger City showcases all of this brilliantly and it also reminds me of Smugglers Blues

10. Ke$ha: Some people call her a guilty pleasure, I call her a complete and total pleasure. There isn't anything I can say negatively about Ke$ha because I think she is a very smart business woman and she knows what she's doing. On top of really catchy pop music, she is catering to her demographic in a manner that not many other artists do. Call her out for being autotuned or whatever but the woman is still making bank and is making people happy in the process.

9. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry: Again, like Ke$ha, most people immediately write her off as a teeny bop princess but you need to take a minute to dig a little deeper. I wrote a review of the album when it came out and still feel the exact same way. Don't pass this album up as just fluff because you'd be missing out.

8. The Dirty Disco: What can I say about an artist that gives me props online. I know that it was just a mention on twitter but how many people do you know can say they were given massive love from what could be one of the biggest bands in all of Europe in the next year. Do not, I repeat do not dismiss this band. Not only does Adam have one of the most amazing voices in the industry right now but he is also super hot and super queer friendly.

7. The ArchAndriod - Janelle Monae: With inspiration that is all across the map, it's no wonder to hear the diversity and understand exactly where Janelle is coming from. With help from some friends like Big Boi, B.o.B, Lupe Fiasco and Of Montreal, The ArchAndroid was an unexpected jewel to discover this year. I hope that she is given the creative freedom to finish her vision that is a 4 part opera detailing the life and love of Cindy Mayweather because I need to know how the story ends.

6. Teenage Dream - Darren Criss: 3 minutes of the most important television that aired this year. When you have a gay boy singing one of the most dreamy songs that has ever been written toward another gay boy that is wrapped up inside one of the best storylines Glee has ever done, you get some of the most emotionally charged material ever.

5. Foxy Shazam - Foxy Shazam: I think it's the pure raw energy or the manic delivery that Eric Nally puts into each and every performance. Maybe it's the unadulterated joy that can be found in each and every track on this album but Foxy Shazam is one of the most important bands you've never heard of and you should be ashamed. I got the privilege to see them in concert with my best friend and that cements them in my list of most amazing events I've ever experienced.

4. Body Talk Part 1, 2 & 3 - Robyn: One of the most ambitious projects I've ever seen tackled by an artist, specifically an independent artist. Robyn released each of the 3 parts separately over the year and created one of the largest collections of amazing tracks released. Each of the videos is from one of the albums. I think these 3 songs kind of tell a story which is why I picked them. One of the cool things she did was release a stripped version of a song on the earlier album then when the next album came out there was an up tempo version. (Hang with Me and Indestructible). Get all 3 albums and just let her wash you away.

3. Wonky Pop: Way back in July, I wrote a piece on what Wonky Pop is so instead of rehashing it, here is the link to my original post with more videos (Link)

2. Mumford & Sons Tour: You don't know how much I wanted to include their album in this countdown but it was actually released in 2009 but what wasn't was their North American tour that John Allen and I got to go to. We drove to Knoxville (almost 5 hours but so worth it) and spent time with Marcus and the boys and I can honestly say I was taken to church with 500 of my closest friends. This will be etched in my brain forever as another of those life altering events and for that I am grateful.

1. Night Work - Scissor Sisters: There are so many reasons this is my top pick for musically related happenings for 2010. Most importantly it's an amazing album by my most favorite music artist of all time. From start to finish, this album is a journey that I can only equate to a movie soundtrack. An awesome 80s movie soundtrack that John Allen and I have actually written out the main points of and when we invent a time machine we are going back to write the movie and get it produced and made and it will be awesome. This album reminded me of what pop music should do. It should transport you somewhere you've never been and then teach you how to get back there. My wish is that the guys and girl of Scissor Sisters keep taking us on these trips to new and exotic places for many years to come.

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