Top 25 Albums of 2010 

Page 7 of 9

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#3 Titus Andronicus
The Monitor All the talk of The Monitor being a concept album about the Civil War actually worked against it. Because in truth, as is the case with all concept albums, the concept exists more cohesively and obviously in the mind of the person who conceptualizes it than it does outwardly, for the rest of us, and so focusing on it too much can cast things in a sloppy, unkind light. But with The Monitor, if we look away from all that, and take these songs for what they are, well then shit, you're talking about some of the most powerful, conflicted and rousing songs anyone wrote all year. Like Arcade Fire, Titus Andronicus are very much hung up on the idea of us against them—of cities versus suburbs, of punks versus the straight-laced masses, of tradition versus rebellion. In trying to make sense of it all, they put forth a batch of hard-hitting, anthemic songs about being let down repeatedly, by the last people you ever expected to let you down, and then finding, or not finding, the strength to carry on. The beauty of the record is the way perspective shifts from song to song, as the sides with which singer Patrick Stickles identifies constantly change. "The enemy is everywhere"is the album's defining line: you can never escape it entirely, we learn, so either drink up or keep fighting. Or both. Key track: "Theme From Cheers"

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