Thursday, December 23, 2010

Way Out Here: The Top Albums, Singles and Concerts of 2010

The 25 Best Albums of 2010
A new album changes my life every other year. It just didn't happen in 2010. With no clear favorite, I made my hometown jazz hero's new album my top pick. (My jazz-only selections are here.) The Star's Tim Finn compiled dozens of regional music lists here.

1. Bobby Watson- The Gates BBQ Suite
2. Sleigh Bells- Treats
3. Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green- Apex
4. Deftones- Diamond Eyes
5. Rick Ross- Teflon Don
6. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
7. Tracey Thorn- Love and Its Opposite
8. Merle Haggard- I Am What I Am
9. Esperanza Spalding- Chamber Music Society
10. Alaturka- Tamam Abi
11. Erykah Badu- New Amerikah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
12. The Gobots- D-Boy Era
13. Mulatu Astatke- Mulato Steps Ahead
14. Seu Jorge and Almaz
15. Brad Mehldau- Highway Rider
16. Gary Allan- Get Off On the Pain
17. Lazerbeak- Legend Recognize Legend
18. XV- Vizzy Zone
19. Patty Griffin- Downtown Church
20. M.I.A.- Maya
21. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid
22. Jonas Kaufmann- Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven & Wagner
23. Z-Ro- Heroin
24. Soulcrate Music- The Heartland Panic
25. Hearts of Darkness- Hearts of Darkness

The 25 Best Singles of 2010
I concur with the general consensus that singles have once again supplanted albums as the dominant medium in popular music. My three favorite singles of 2010 reflect the strength of the format. Taken together, the aspirational hunger of Akwid, the libertarian ire of Josh Thompson and the affluent angst of Kanye West capture the national zeitgeist.

1. Akwid- "California"
2. Josh Thompson- "Way Out Here"
3. Kanye West- "Power"
4. Leela James- "Tell Me You Love Me"
5. DJ Khaled- "All I Do Is Win"
6. The Black Keys- "Tighten Up"
7. Antoine Dodson- "Bed Intruder"
8. Young Jeezy- "Lose My Mind"
9. Best Coast- "Boyfriend"
10. Tech N9ne- "O.G."
11. Nas & Damian Marley- "As We Enter"
12. Janelle Monae- "Cold War"
13. Eminem- "Love the Way You Lie"
14. Das Racist- "Rainbow In the Dark"
15. Sunny Sweeney- "From a Table Away"
16. Lloyd Banks- "Beamer, Benz or Bentley"
17. Waka Flocka- "Hard In Da Paint"
18. Yelawolf- "Pop the Trunk"
19. Cee Lo Green- "F*** You"
20. James Fortune- "Encore"
21. 8Ball & MJG- "Bring It Back"
22. Sade- "Soldier of Love"
23. LCD Soundsystem- "Drunk Girls"
24. Eric Church- "Smoke a Little Smoke"
25. Jaheim- "Finding My Way Back"

The Top 36 Live Performances of 2010
Why 36? I've witnessed 366 live performances in 2010. And I'm going out again tonight.

1. Os Mutantes- Granada
2. Janelle Monae- Liberty Hall
3. Marilyn Maye- Jardine's
4. Bobby Watson and Horizon- Blue Room
5. Sufjan Stevens- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
6. V.V. Brown- Record Bar
7. Slayer- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
8. Phoenix- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
9. Marty Stuart- Paola Roots Festival (Same show fan footage.)
10. Matt Otto Quartet- Jardine's
11. Levon Helm- Crossroads (Same show fan footage.)
12. Pat Metheny- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
13. Kansas City Symphony, Sibelius and Stravinsky- Lyric Hall (Official concert preview.)
14. John Hammond- Gladstone Blues Fest
15. Alice In Chains- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
16. Stefon Harris and Blackout- White Recital Hall
17. The Flatlanders- Knuckleheads
18. Keith Sweat- Municipal Auditorium
19. Deborah Brown- Blue Room
20. Hammerlord- Beaumont Club (Same show fan footage.)
21. The Bad Plus- Folly Theater
22. Billy Joe Shaver- Knuckleheads
23. Karrin Allyson- Jardine's
24. Kronos Quartet- Lied Center
25. Weezer- City Market (Same show fan footage.)
26. Raul Malo- Knuckleheads
27. Five Finger Death Punch- Liberty Memorial (Same show fan footage.)
28. Trey Anastasio- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
29. Rachel Lee and Michael Brown- Folly Theater (Same show authorized footage.)
30. Soft Reeds- Riot Room
31. Bobby Watson and UMKC jazz students- GiGi's Jazz Inn
32. Andrew W.K.- Sandstone ((Same show fan footage.)
33. Rich the Factor- Uptown Theater (Same show fan footage.)
34. Tony Ladesich- Davey's Uptown
35. Allen Toussaint- Folly Theater
36. Carrie Rodriguez- Knuckleheads

The 10 Best Opening Acts of 2010
I attended so many one-and-done classical and jazz events this year that I've gained a new appreciation for concerts with multiple acts.

1. Janelle Monae for Of Montreal- Liberty Hall
2. Dead Weather for the Flaming Lips- Sandstone (Same show fan footage.)
3. Ice Cube for Snoop Dogg- VooDoo (Same show fan footage.)
4. Woven Hand for Tool- Sprint Center
5. Fran Healy for Brandon Flowers- Liberty Hall
6. Roger Daltrey for Eric Clapton- Sprint Center (Same show fan footage.)
7. Cypress Hill for Slightly Stoopid- Crossroads (Same show fan footage.)
8. Will Hoge for Shinedown- Midland Theater
9. Katie Herzig for Brandi Carlile- VooDoo
10. The Mynabirds for Mumford & Sons- Record Bar

(Original image of Ariel Pink by There Stands the Glass.)


bigsteveno said...

You're one of the few people I've read who wasn't let down by M.I.A.'s Maya album. I'm a big fan of her first two, but I gave Maya another try just yesterday, and I can't find my way into it.

Thanks for reminding me that Mulatu Astatke put out that album of new material this year. I'm still compiling my list, and it looks like I'm going to have to expand to 25 too.

Happy In Bag said...

Maya sounds like it was made over a lost weekend. It's messy, dumb and half-baked. I find those qualities endearing in M.I.A.

I probably should have ranked Astatke higher than #13.