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The Best Albums of 2010: #11 through #20

The Y! Music Playlist Blog

These are selections #11 through #20 in our Best Albums of 2010 countdown series.

#11. Grinderman 2 by Grinderman

Released: September 14, 2010
Label: Dirt Anti
Metacritic Score: 83
Album Charts: European Top 100 albums, #8 Top Independent albums, #14 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #17 Top Rock Albums
Amazon Link

Power, catharsis and domination are three words that come to mind when trying to describe the music found on Nick Cave's second Grinderman release. Cave has created a lot of fantastic and important music over the years, but Grinderman 2 stands right up there with the best of them. This is bound for classic album status and it must be owned and listened to repeatedly.

#12. Teen Dream by Beach House

Released: January 26, 2010
Label: Sub Pop
Metacritic Score: 82
Charts: #43 The Billboard 200, #21 Top Digital albums, #6 Top Independent albums, #6 Top Modern Rock/Alternative albums, #9 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

The hypnotic beauty that is the music of Beach House has reached a new pinnacle with the release of Teen Dream. And that's quite an accomplishment considering how good the band's 2008 album Devotion was. Teen Dream is filled with a shimmering and dreamy expansiveness that's instantly appreciated even by the most critical music lovers.

#13. Before Today by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Released: June 8, 2010
Label: 4AD
Metacritic Score: 85
Album Charts: #5 Top Heatseekers
Amazon Link

Ariel Pink is credited with the creation of a whole new sub-genre called chillwave. On his band's newest release, Before Today he incorporates a lot of the 70s and 80s influences that he's known for. The blend is definitely something unique, but also familiar. Music aficionados will have a great time just picking out the influences that can be found compressed into this release, but as a whole the album works as a step forward, not back.

#14.  Brothers by The Black Keys

Released: May 18, 2010
Label: Nonesuch
Metacritic Score: 82
Album Charts: #3 The Billboard 200, #2 Top Digital albums, #1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #1 Rock albums
Amazon Link

The Black Keys new album Brothers contains the perfect combination or blues, funk, rock, soul and psychedelia. Some of the tracks are feel good stompers and others are instantly appealing future classics like the stand out track "Tighten Up", which includes past collaborator Danger Mouse.

#15. Broken Bells by Broken Bells

Released: March 9, 2010
Label: Sony
Metacritic Score: 71
Album Charts: European Top 100 albums, #7 The Billboard 200, #16 Top Canadian albums, #2 Top Digital albums, #2 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #3 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

When Danger Mouse is not helping the Black Keys create one of the best albums of 2010, or conquering the pop charts as half of Gnarls Barkley, or lending a hand to the Gorillaz, he has some extra time to form a new project with the Shins James Mercer. The first product of this new partnership is Broken Bells whose self-titled debut pretty much made an instant impact and cemented Mr. Burton's legend as a producer who turns everything he touches into gold.

#16. American VI: Ain't No Grave by Johnny Cash

Released: February 23, 2010
Label: American Recordings/Lost Highway
Metacritic Score: 79
Album Charts: #2 Country albums, European Top 100 albums, #4 Top Canadian albums, #1 Top Digital albums
Amazon Link

American VI: Ain't No Grave is the final installment of the legendary Johnny Cash recordings that were born from his famous partnership with super-producer Rick Rubin. These songs were recorded only a few months before Johnny died. His wife passed during the sessions and he knew that he didn't have much time left to live. With that context in mind, the songs on the album face mortality head on with hopeful indignation. The end result is some of the most powerful music released is 2010.

#17. Infinite Arms by Band Of Horses

Released: May 18, 2010
Label: Columbia
Metacritic Score: 69
Album Charts: #7 The Billboard 200, #2 Top Modern Rock/Alternative albums, #2 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

Ben Bridwell continues to push Band Of Horses though more member changes -- this time everyone, but himself. But that fact is actually unimportant as Bridwell is both the heart and brains of the project. Bridwell's voice is strong on Infinite Arms and the confidence in the music is palpable. The band helps drive his musical ideas with accuracy and intensity, but the songs themselves are so good that they would probably work no matter how they were arranged and produced.

#18. Contra by Vampire Weekend

Released: January 12, 2010
Label: XL
Metacritic Score: 81
Album Charts: European Top 100 albums, #1 The Billboard 200, #1 Top Digital albums, #1 Top Rock albums, #1 Top Independent albums, #1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #1 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

No matter what you think of Vampire Weekend you cannot deny that these guys are doing something different and unique. You may disagree on how well it works, but you can't say they don't do it well. I happen to be on the side that thinks their blend of indie rock and Afro-pop is a formula that is both fun and refreshing. Their second full-length album Contra continues to prove the detractors wrong.

#19. I'm New Here  by Gil Scott-Heron

Released: May 12, 2009
Label: Second Motion Records
Metacritic Score: 78
Album Charts: #5 Jazz albums, #38 R&B albums, #28 Top Independent albums
Amazon Link

I'm New Here is Gil Scott-Heron's first new album in 16 years. It's a very short LP at just over 28 minutes, but every minute is precious. It features personal and powerful poetry and Gil's enrapturing voice, both spoken and sung. What pushes this over the top is the perfectly balanced production of Richard Russell who gives Scott-Heron a platform that lets his talents shine as brightly as possible.

#20. This Is Happening  by LCD Soundsystem

Released: May 18, 2010
Label: DFA/Virgin
Metacritic Score: 84
Album Charts: #1 Top Electronic albums, #10 The Billboard 200
Amazon Link

How exactly could LCD Soundsystem meet the expectations that they set with their highly acclaimed 2007 album Sound Of Silver? That was the question fans had before they were able to hear This Is Happening for the first time. With the new album's release in May, LCD Soundsystem officially earned the title "consistent". 

See a video for a song from the album at YouTube

More albums of the year:
1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100

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