Even though it was 300 degrees outside, the coolest thing that happened all year was when I finally got to see Faith No More perform live. I didn't go to too many other concerts (Steroid Maximus was another highlight), but I did hear plenty of good music. The one record I listened to more than any other this year was French pop singer Olivia Ruiz's Miss Meteores. The album is so good that I've decided to name it Album of Year... 2009. Yeah, a year late, I know. I'd like to give a more in-depth review of that album sometime soon. Maybe in 2013.
In terms of singles, La Roux's "Bulletproof" and David Guetta/Akon's "Sexy Bitch" were a couple of my favorites, though they were also both technically from 2009. Some of the songs Michelle Branch recorded in 2008 were finally released by Warner Brothers as an EP this year. They're good, but I don't know if they count here. Glassjaw also finally got some material out as an EP. These were really good tracks as well, but I have no idea when they were actually recorded (and technically the EP isn't available until 2011). The best singles I heard that actually do qualify as 2010 releases were Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You" and Sarah Bareilles' "King of Anything." I hope they win some Grammys and stuff.
Now here are my favorite albums of 2010:
This year, many of the artists I had been waiting for in 2009 finally put out their albums. The Deftones had scrapped an entire album after bassist Chi Cheng fell into a coma, but quickly wrote and recorded an entire new album instead. Like "Minerva" and "Hole in the Earth," the title track from Diamond Eyes represents what I love most about this band--heavy riffing with soaring, ethereal choruses. I was particularly attracted to the harmonizing effect on the end of Chino's vocals. Other favorite tracks were "Rocket Skates," "Sex Tape," "Beauty School," and a faithful cover of The Cardigans' "Do You Believe."
At Night We Live
*** You will cry if you watch this video. Don't say I didn't warn you. ***
Far was one of a million 90s bands that reunited to tour in the past recently, but they were one of the only to actually get back in the studio and record a new album. The result was more of a modern update of the guys' evolution than a return to the classic Far sound. That's not a complaint, by the way. I'm not sure if they decided to continue on together after the album was released, but I really hope it's a stepping stone to further collaborations from a band who never really reached the level of acclaim they deserved while together the first time around. Other tracks from the album are a bit more upbeat, so if you're interested, check out "Better Surrender," "Dear Enemy," or the left-field cover of Ginuwine's "Pony."
The first song from this album sounds very much a natural extension of their last album, but then subsequent tracks reveal a new electronic direction for Tub Ring. At first, I worried that everyone playing an organic instrument may have quit the band, but then I realized that this recording is yet another experiment for a band having fun by changing their sound on each album. Whether change is out of necessity or self-challenge, it's important for musicians to be confident enough to take chances like this, and I look forward to whatever they have on deck for the next album. I would, however, like to see these tracks performed live first. Their set is extremely energetic and I think some of the weaker tunes on the album would benefit greatly from a live treatment. It's a shame that they haven't toured on this record at all. I'm sure they have their reasons. Anyway, favorite tracks: "Stop This (Now!)," "Bird of a Different Color," "Feed the Rapture," and the cover of Queen's "Flash."
Corin Tucker Band
I've already covered this album in detail, so I won't repeat myself. After subsequent listens and seeing the band live, I still think the writing and instrumentation on the album is tight and refreshing. I'm glad that this is what "middle-aged mom records" sound like these days. I'm also glad they released a video for a song other than "Doubt" because I don't think that track was a good representation of the album. I think the title track is my favorite.
The Damned Things
Dudes from Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall Out Boy put together in one supergroup. I went to see them at their first ever live performance earlier this year, and I'm happy to say that the equation worked out perfectly for me. The album does not disappoint. Keith Buckley of ETID is one of my favorite lyricists ever, and his transition into a more melodic vocal style is a lot of fun to hear. There are definitely aggressive ETID-like passages found in the songs, but overall, the songs have more of an updated classic rock/action movie feel. It's not that the songs are cheesy, there's just an underlying appreciation for that aesthetic in the album subtext from the guitar solos to the background vocals in the choruses. They take cliches like partying on Friday night, a little darlin', and bad blood, and make them awesome for 2010. If The Wraith is ever remade, I want The Damned Things to create the soundtrack.
I should also take this moment to recognize "We've Got a Situation Here" as my pick for Video of the Year:
We've got references to comic books, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Full Metal Jacket, plus Joanna Angel blowing Brian Posehn. The whole concept is based on a Patton Oswalt joke and directed by Metalocalypse's Brendon Small... how could it not work? They rock the streets clean, indeed.
Shamefully, I have still not heard The Bride Screamed Murder, so if you were wondering where the Melvins were... sorry. I'll bet they're on somebody else's list. Let's go read those lists now!