Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clutter Top Ten: Albums of the Decade (2010's...So Far)

We fully, madly, deeply enjoy music.  And without claiming to be the next, or even a comparison to, Rob Sheffield....we compiled a list of O-U-R Top Ten albums of the decade so far.  Sure, we're only three years in, but that doesn't mean we can't take a jab at jams we determinedly believe will be highly relevant in another seven years (and beyond).  Especially in a trio of years so fraught with varied talent, from the rebirth of (English) soul from Adele to the resurrections of John Mayer and Fiona Apple.

Let us know what albums we missed, which are your favorites, and (maybe) which we gave you a peak inside for the first time.  Enjoy our Top Ten (technically eleven)!!

1. The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow".  The Civil Wars pack enough soulful, country-infused, folk-rock into "Barton Hollow" to start a revolution.  Joy Williams and John Paul White have such beautiful harmonies and they look so damn cool doing just about anything (even collaborating with Taylor Swift).  Hitch your wagon to The CWs stagecoach because they'll be around for a long time.

2. Frightened Rabbit, "The Winter of Mixed Drinks".  With the slickest album title in recent memory, Frightened Rabbit hopped forth from the hoards of super-keen Scottish bands (Glasvegas, Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian) to make a name for themselves in 2010.  Sounding like Glasvegas' more refined younger brother, with some of Belle's lyricism and Franz's funk, Frightened Rabbit are a hugely refreshing sound out of bonnie Scotland.

3. Mumford & Sons, "Sigh No More" and "Babel". Two killer albums in the last three years meant we couldn't pick between Mumford's raging debut and their amazing sophomore follow-up.  In an era of throw-backs, they're truly revitalizing the folk-pop, jam band, real musician vibe and are in great company with new contemporaries The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men.

4. Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs".  "Funeral" was brilliant, "Neon Bible" was so good, but "The Suburbs" was just such a beautifully executed rock opera you can listen to it from top to bottom or in chunks and still feel transported by Win's lyrics and Regine's haunting falsetto.  We live in the suburbs, but we'd like to move to The Arcade Fire's neck of the woods...or wherever they take us on the next album.

5. Vampire Weekend, "Contra".  "Contra" was not as well received as the band's self-titled debut, but who pays mind to critical opinion anyway?  VWs sophomore is a polished tour of steady electric beats, African influence, and Ivy League references, most of which go way over our heads.  And they made a video with Jake Gyllenhaal...so they're cool, guys.  Take our word for it. 

6. Robyn, "Body Talk". Robyn rocked this album. Speaking of resurrections, I'm pretty sure I jammed to Robyn (with a Y) in seventh grade and would still kick it with new school Robyn (still with a Y) any day of the week.  "Call Your Girlfriend" is the slickest track, but they could all be club bangers, or just pregame hype music for an epic evening.   

7. Broken Bells, "Broken Bells".  Zach Braff told Natalie Portman that The Shins would change her (character's) life in the classic, "Garden State". This was before James Mercer, lead singer of The Shins, teamed up with Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) to form Broken Bells and flip the script on all music, Shins or otherwise, in 2010.  Natalie, listen to Broken Bells...they WILL change your life.

8. Adele, "21".  Ok...duh. Adele destroyed it on "21". She is hands down the biggest musician of our time, and will likely make another album (maybe "23" or "25") and redefine music (again) in a handful of years.  Every song is brilliant, every note is the example of what singing should be.  She's a doll and we'd love to have tea with her, if she'd have us.

9. The Decemberists, "The King Is Dead". Ummm...so I guess The Decemberists spent most of 2010 rocking to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to pull off 2011's brilliant, "The King Is Dead".  Harmonicas, banjos, foot-stompin, hand-clappin, down-home music out of Portland redefining The Decemberists sleek, indie vibe of yesteryear.  They sound more like The Avett Brothers than the guys who made 2003's synth-y "Her Majesty".  We're loving the new vibe, guys! 

10. The Black Keys, "Brothers".  "Brothers" already won for greatest album cover of the decade (check it out) and this album equals the confidence of their in-your-face, here-we-are cover.  Another Danger Mouse honed animal (on "Tighten Up"), The Black Keys are equal parts rock, blues, funk, and even country on the baddest ass album so far this decade.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Frank Ocean, "channel ORANGE"
  • Florence & The Machine, "Ceremonials"
  • John Mayer, "Born And Raised"
  • Janelle Monae, "The ArchAndroid"
  • The Lumineers, "The Lumineers"
  • Fiona Apple, "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser..."

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