Top 10 Albums of 2010

2010 has come and gone, and I got to hear a healthy amount of quality music. The bottom half of this year's top 10 list was pretty hard to sort out, as there were more worthy candidates than available spots. I can't promise that I wouldn't change the list if I wrote it up again tomorrow. Anyway, Happy New Year, and let's hope for more good stuff in 2011.

10. Red Priest, Johann, I'm Only Dancing: I learned much less about the music of J. S. Bach in the music courses I took in high school and college than I did from listening to this CD.

9. Vilma Timonen Quartet, Forward: And they do move forward, thanks to more vocals.

8. Simon Fagan, Outside Looking In: This one gets bonus points for overall consistency.

7. Vampire Weekend, Contra: Another band gets better the second time around.

6. Amadou & Mariam, Welcome to Mali: It's the kind of album that will annoy a purist. But purists tend to miss out on a lot of good music.

5. The National, High Violet: The last two songs, "England" and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," really pushed this album up the list.

4. Ozomatli, Fire Away: Some people will complain that they've gotten more commercial, but they've also gotten more musical and still have the same energy.

3. Richard Thompson, Dream Attic: From the 60s to the 10s. That makes six decades during which he's made essential music.

2. Johnny Clegg, Human: Like Richard Thompson, he's aged well, and deserves a much bigger following.

1. Jesca Hoop, Hunting My Dress: Definitely the most original recording I've heard in a while, and she backs up her originality with some quality songwriting.

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