oh 2010 - you were good.  i'd be remiss if i didn't sum up this year in music.  like most people w/ feelings, music ranks just below my pets and my chosen life partner as my most favorite thing in the world.  music is everything i need and 2010 was a fvcking good year for really amazing music.

arcade fire - the suburbs
oh arcade fire.  this album is all about poignantly sad honest moments of growing up and growing apart balanced with church-like moments of uplift and cacophonous sound.  i saw this tour when it came through town and i cried (not a common thing for me) - they well up an emotional sound and an emotional experience few can replicate.

favorite song: we used to wait

vampire weekend - contra
they're the band we all love to hate, but they're pretty damn awesome and this album is imperfect and smart and i like it.   

favorite song: diplomat's son

rihanna - loud
ok yes - this is not a "great" album by any stretch.  it is, however, some really well-crafted pop dance music, and i'm not above loving that shit.  i kind of like rihanna (albeit begrudgingly) and this album is right up there as my best running music of 2010.  

favorite song: what's my name (featuring drake)

kid cudi - man on the moon II: the legend of mr rager
kid cudi is hard to get a handle on.  he's emerging as a really talented dude w/ some demons and i'm all for more honest and real hip-hop.  he keeps me interested and i love his voice.

favorite song: ashin' kusher, ghost

black keys - brothers
love love love this band.  they sell a lot of music for ads but hey - get money kids.  the amount of power and noise patrick makes on drums is insane and dan's voice is like honey.  they're sexy rock and roll and they're just freaking great.

favorite songs: sinister kid, next girl, everlasting light (even w/ the falsetto)

the roots - how i got over
fvvvvvcuk this album is so great.  it is sad and scared and raw and hopeful.  i listened to it for weeks straight without pause - the roots are one of my most favorite bands around today.

favorite songs: how i got over; dear god 2.0

the national - high violet
this album is near perfect to me.  it sounds like whiskey and feeling like your heart is so sad you just can't bear it.  it sounds like life when life is tough and this is what art does - make things beautiful even when they're hard.

favorite songs: sorrow -"sorrow found me when i was young/sorrow waited, sorrow won."; bloodbuzz ohio

kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy
how can i even do this album justice?  it is one of the smartest and most poignant complete hip-hop albums i've ever heard.  it stands together as a strong story for one giant listen but each song stands alone just as well.  the ego and loneliness in this album breaks my heart. 
kanye is such a polarizing figure and i stand firmly in the kanye camp. he is savvy and intense and wonderful and god i hope he makes more albums like this.

favorite songs: 
runaway (w/ pusha t) - this song.  this song. 
monster  - i adore jay-z for having such a fierce verse where he says his weakness is love - that man is a beast, and nicki minaj w/ "you could be the king but watch the queen conquer."

big-ups as well to rock the bells 2010, which will forever rank as one of the greatest concert experiences of my life.  my face hurt from smiling. 

another amazing christmas present - a book of robert frank 'the americans' photographs.  frank took these photos on a cross-country trip from 1954-1955. the tate modern had frank's contact sheets on display when i was there in october and i spent 15 minutes poring over them - it was wonderful to see how many shots he took and the ones he eventually chose. magic.
frank said 'when people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.' sometimes i feel like this is the most exquisite collection of american photographs ever taken.  

i've been in an all kanye all day every damn day mode since thanksgiving, and it shows no real signs of stopping.  his new album is one of the best complete albums i've heard in so long, and it is SO GOOD.  this video has made the "isn't this pretty/ballet is so hot right now" rounds, but let's all just appreciate the musical genius (yeah - i said it) in this little snippet of kanye.

the song?  powerful.  a man with an ego, talent, and fame like kanye, singing about his emotional flaws, plus pusha t rhymes and piano?  this song gives me chills.  that's beautiful stuff right there.