Top 25 Albums of 2010

12/08/2010 1:00 AM |

#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”

9 Comment

  • for me Titus Andronicus “No Future Part III: Escape From No Future” is track of the year. Nice list.

  • The lack of The National’s High Violet is a major oversight, especially for such a Brooklyn-centric publication.

  • the title of this list be top 25 albums for hipsters. All of their “rock” stuff listed is such a carbon copy of that “indie” soft rock that’s so narcisistic (excuse my spelling) which I think might be the fruition of the facebook generation which is completely self-absorbed in their trivial personal drama and completely removed from reality.

    For example, you have a song like Suburbs from Arcade Fire and you have a great opportunity to talk about real issues regarding suburban sprawl, sustainability, and the advent of the car-economy and super-consumerism. Instead, it’s personal nostalgia for simple days growing up as a white teen in the suburbs.


    (What’re your top 10 albums of the year, that we might more easily situate you within a specific demographic based on your musical taste?)

  • The spelling I can excuse.

  • Nice list. Wasn’t that Charlotte Gainsbourg album released in 2009 though?

  • @madluke
    Nope, Jan 26, 2010.

  • Easy mistake. 🙂
    Nevertheless I like this list more than most. A few albums I’d have liked over others but you can’t please everyone. 🙂

  • Nice list, and you obviously have good taste (thankfully) – I agree with the earlier poster and think that High Violet should be in there. The other big omission to me is Plastic Beach by Gorillaz which I think was one of the most inventive and downright fun records in years. But good job and I love your column!