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The Best Albums of 2010: #21 through #30

The Y! Music Playlist Blog

These are selections #21 through #30 in our Best Albums of 2010 countdown series.

#21. Transference by Spoon

Released: January 19, 2010
Label: Merge
Metacritic Score: 80
Charts: #4 The Billboard 200, #20 Top Canadian albums, #2 Top Digital albums, #2 Top Independent albums,  #1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #1 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

I'm a huge Spoon fan, so I freely admit that this selection may be a bit biased. I also admit that I don't think this album is as good as 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, or 2005's Gimme Fiction, but this list in not a comparison of Spoon records, it's a comparison of albums released in 2010. Britt Daniel and company produced this record themselves and the consistency they're known for has not missed a beat. 

#22. Sea Of Cowards by The Dead Weather

Released: May 11, 2010
Label: Warner Brothers
Metacritic Score: 70
Album Charts: European Top 100, #5 The Billboard 200, #6 Top Canadian albums, #2 Top Digital albums, #2 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #3 Top Rock Albums
Amazon Link

I have always like Jack White best when he channels the power and immediacy of The Stooges. Sea Of Cowards finds The Dead Weather harnessing the abusive power of rock & roll in a way that gives hope to purists. This is my favorite straight up rock record of 2010 and I feel a strong urge to run out and buy a turntable just so I can hear this on vinyl.

#23. American Ghetto by Portugal.The Man

Released: May 11, 2010
Label: Equal Vision Records
Metacritic Score: N/A
Album Charts: N/A
Amazon Link

Portugal.The Man have introduced more digital elements into their music on American Ghetto with the help of producer Anthony Saffery. The result is a more uniform and enchanted sound. The album progresses smoothly without any shocks to interrupt the wonderful flow of pop goodness that permeates the record.

#24. Palomino by Trampled By Turtles

Released: April 13, 2010
Label: Banjado Records
Metacritic Score: N/A
Album Charts: #1 Top Bluegrass albums, #11 Top Heatseekers
Amazon Link

I had not heard of Trampled By Turtles until I discovered this record. It's traditional bluegrass instrumentation, but these guys show a great diversity in what can be done with an acoustic guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin and bass. Many of the players are virtuosos who can play the hell out of their respective instruments, but they also prove they can hold back for the benefit of mood. This is my surprise hit album and favorite bluegrass recording of the year.

25. Diamond Eyes by Deftones

Released: May 4, 2010
Label: Reprise
Metacritic Score: 76
Album Charts: European Top 100 albums, #6 The Billboard 200, #10 Top Canadian albums, #2 Top Digital albums, #2 Top Hard Rock albums, #2 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #2 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

The Deftones released a new album this year with stand-in bassist Sergio Vega, who is filling in while Chi Cheng recovers from a horrible 2008 car accident that left him in a coma. He is still in a semi-conscious state. The band continues to fight for Chi who has lost everything due to the costs of his medical care. The band's new album Diamond Eyes is a powerful firestorm that one can't help but feel was inspired in some way by the experience of the tragedy that befell them. 

#26. Destroyer Of The Void by Blitzen Trapper

Released: June 8, 2010
Label: Sub Pop
Metacritic Score: 76
Album Charts: #11 Top Independent albums
Amazon Link

The fifth full-length album by Portland's Blitzen Trapper, titled Destroyer Of The Void, channels much of the very best that was born from the music of the 1970s. Astonishing prog rock changes, classic rock power and folk rock harmony all supported by undeniable ability and precision. The album is quite an accomplishment on many levels and will hold up well to years of repeated listens.

#27. Wrong Control by Austin Collins and the Rainbirds

Released: April 20, 2010
Label: Eight Dollar Music
Metacritic Score: N/A
Album Charts: N/A
Amazon Link

Texas singer/songwriter Austin Collins has been proving his stuff over his last few records, but Wrong Control has taken him to the next level. This album has all the elements that first attracted us to bands like Whiskeytown. It can easily be classified as country-rock, but the songs transcend such labels while offering the perfect counterbalance of pop and twang.

#28. Somewhere In Time by Reckless Kelly

Released: February 9, 2010
Label: Yep Roc Records
Metacritic Score: 84
Album Charts: #22 Country albums, #146 The Billboard 200, #2 Top Heatseekers, #15 Top Independent albums
Amazon Link

Austin, TX based honky-tonk rockers Reckless Kelly have been on quite a roll and they continue with this fine new record for 2010. Somewhere In Time takes the music of Pinto Bennett and delivers them with heartfelt power. Haven't heard of Pinto you say? Well, you have now, so get listening.

#29. Plastic Beach  by Gorillaz

Released: March 9, 2010
Label: Virgin Records
Metacritic Score: 77
Album Charts: European Top 100 album, #2 The Billboard 200, #3 Top Canadian albums, #1 Top Digital albums, #1 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums, #1 Top Rock albums
Amazon Link

There have been a lot of complaints flying around this year about the lack of a super-single on par with a "Feel Good Inc." Detractors wail that there is no such single to be found on the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. They may have a point, but this list it a top 100 ALBUMS list, not a singles list, and Plastic Beach delivers a complete experience from beginning to end. I, for one, am happy to see a more cohesive effort as opposed to reaching for the elusive mega hit.

#30. Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom

Released: February 23, 2010
Label: Drag City
Metacritic Score: 85
Album Charts: European Top 100 albums, #75 The Billboard 200, #16 Top Digital albums, #7 Top Independent albums
Amazon Link

I've had some serious arguments with some well-known music lovers about the validity of Joanna Newsom's music. "Too boring and stale", they say. I always counter that Joanna's music cannot be listened to in the context of pop music. After all, how many harp-based pop artists have come before her? I'm glad to see her shove this triple album, filled with groundbreaking sounds, down the throats of her detractors. Joanna Newsom has invented something completely new and it's not just because the music is formed on an unusual instrument, but also because of her incredibly unique vocal style. She is a one of a kind artist whose brilliance is proven by the easily defined line between those who get it and those who don't. 

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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