Top 25 Albums of 2010

12/08/2010 1:00 AM |

#1 Arcade Fire

The Suburbs

Depending how you look at it, either indie rock got a final nail in the coffin this August when The Suburbs hit number one on the Billboard 200 and Arcade Fire sold out back-to-back shows at Madison Square Garden, or it experienced its greatest moment of glory, cementing a place outside its usual niche and in the greater public consciousness. Either way, it’s fitting that The Suburbs is a return to indie rock purism. On it, a band plays songs like they mean it, about things that are important to them—in this case, the struggle between big-city ambition and suburban virtue; about who they were and who they are. Something a lot of New York transplants can relate to.

Nostalgia ran deep in 2010, but Arcade Fire didn’t pander to woozy keyboard lines and a longing to retreat to the womb. They dug deep, crafting an album that rewards patience and repeated listens. The more you listen—you have to really listen—the more The Suburbs serves as a reminder of why we care about music in the first place: because it makes us feel and think about things we hold dear and the things that trouble us. “2009, 2010, wanna make a record how I felt then,”Win sings on “Month of May.”Turns out, he did much more than that. Key track: “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

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!