Top 50 Albums of 2010 – The Top Ten

10. A-Trak – Dirty South Dance 2

A-Trak – We Don’t Want No Goblins

Dubstep and Southern rap were meant to be together, or at least they are when A-Trak’s behind the crossfader.  His second foray into mixing the two genres is a dance party like no other; stand by for the ending highlight, a mashup of Joker and Yung L.A.

9. Wavves – King of the Beach

Wavves – Post Acid

Nathan Williams’ 2009 and 2010 were completely different.  The previous year, he was an up-and-comer that crashed and burned publicly; now he is a renewed creative spirit with a diverse, improved sound.

8. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West – Monster (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj)

Believe the hype – Yeezy’s fifth album is quite probably his finest work yet.  His rapping is smart and funny and his production is characteristically slick.  If he keeps making gold, we will continue to put up with his hi-jinks, Internet, interview, or otherwise.

7. One Wolf – One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf

One Wolf – Backyard

Perhaps the doom and gloom from One Wolf’s self-titled effort has disappeared, but in its place is diverse instrumentation, inescapable pop hooks, and sharp optimism. A sonic collage of indie, Americana, and even metal, this is one that just grows and grows on you.

6. Thrift Store Cowboys – Light Fighter

Thrift Store Cowboys – Regardless

Lubbock’s elder statesmen etch their place in historic alt-country with this, their fourth and finest album.  Daniel Fluitt’s keen storytelling and unmistakable voice lead the listener on a gradual crescendo in under fifty minutes.  Give it one listen and observe the injustice – Deer Tick should be opening for these guys by now.

5. The National – High Violet

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

After two amazing albums, the National only continue to improve and amaze.  Their already-beautiful songwriting has grown by leaps and bounds, and Matt Berninger’s baritone is soft yet stern, captivating all on its own.

4. Big Boi – Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Big Boi – General Patton

It was a long, hard-fought wait for the space-age pimp of Outkast, but after literally years of in-label nonsense, Big Boi’s first solo outing was released, and “worth the wait” doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  A long delay indeed, but Luscious still sounds ahead of its time by years and years.

3. Robyn – Body Talk

Robyn – Stars 4-Ever

Robyn has returned after a five-year hiatus, delivering her finest dance pop yet.  The Body Talk series was originally planned as three EPs (this was supposed to be the third), but this LP takes the finest from the first two with new highlights for an instant greatest hits package.

2. Sleigh Bells – Treats

Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground

It’s hard to shun this Brooklyn duo as gimmicky with an album this banging.  Sleigh Bells answered the haters with a loud rock’n’roll ear assault that sounds like the wildest house party you’ve ever attended.  And yes, the bass is in the red – we wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. Deftones – Diamond Eyes

Deftones – Diamond Eyes

It’s been a tough couple of years for Deftones – bassist Chi Cheng still lies in a California hospital recovering from severe brain trauma from a car crash.  After a long wait, the group pressed on, scrapping their nearly-completed Eros album and starting from scratch.  The result is Diamond Eyes, the sound of a rejuvenated, rekindled, optimistic veteran metal band at their creative peak.  The songs are sharp and fresh while simultaneously reigniting the vigor of Deftones’ best works like Around the Fur and White Pony.  In fact, Diamond Eyes might actually be better.  As far as 2010 goes, it’s certainly the best.

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