2010 in Review

One of the most important developments of 2010 was that Drake, a bubbling hip-hop superstar without an official studio release, delivered on the prerelease hype with Thank Me Now, which spawned 6 singles and proved that he was the real deal. In the years since, seeing how far Drake and the genre have advanced, I think Thank Me Now gets kind of a bad rep. Folks say they don’t like it, and it definitely feels a bit dated and basic, but you can’t deny how HUGE the album was at the time and how inescapable Drake was in this period. 

Thank Me Now may have been one of the biggest albums of 2010, but it wasn’t the best. The year was extremely top heavy across all genres. Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy essentially redraws the boundaries of what an artist could do on a hip-hop record, while Rick Ross’ Teflon Don exemplified the peak of luxury rap. Arcade Fire continued its incredible run of indie rock records, while Beach House released one of the best indie pop albums. But, despite other notable releases from acts like Robyn, Foals, Tame Impala, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, The Black Keys and The National, most weren’t the absolute best the bands have to offer, and there were a lot of lackluster, unmemorable projects, too, that flamed out pretty quickly. 

Speaking of flaming out, Dubstep! Remember that? A subsection of college kids in the 2009-2010 time frame thought they were cool and became bass-drop junkees, and Skrillex, Deadmau5, Diplo and Bassnectar were the best musicians they had ever discovered. Blast it in the car. Blast it in the pool. Blast it in the club. Blast it in your mom’s basement. 

Most dubstep artists, with the exception of Skrillex perhaps, never really broke through to the mainstream, and even the best songs started to sound dated within a four-year period. But for a time – and seeing how some pop artists were clearly drawn to it –  it felt like the genre could take over. 

I also feel like I should mention Eminem here briefly. Recovery was seen as a comeback album for him, and produced two of the biggest tracks of the year – “Not Afraid” and “Love The Way You Lie.” While the album racked up sales and singles were constantly on the radio, it was a watered-down rap album and much closer to the sound of a pop product like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars or Rihanna. 

Songs of the year

2010 Albums

The SuburbsArcade Fire★★★★★99RockAlternative RockIndie Rock
My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyKanye West★★★★★99Hip-Hop
Teen DreamBeach House★★★★½94PopIndie PopDream Pop
Total Life ForeverFoals★★★★½92RockAlternative RockMath Rock
InnerspeakerTame Impala★★★★79RockPsychadelic RockIndie Rock
Plastic BeachGorillaz★★★★75ElectronicAlternative Hip-HopTrip-Hop
Teflon DonRick Ross★★★½73Hip-Hop
This is HappeningLCD Soundsystem★★★½72RockAlternative RockAlternative Dance
Les Chemins De VerreKarkwa★★★½71RockIndie PopChamber Pop
BrothersThe Black Keys★★★½71RockAlternative RockBlues Rock
Thank Me LaterDrake★★★½71Hip-HopR&B
High VioletThe National★★★½69RockAlternative Rock
The Wild HuntThe Tallest Man on Earth★★★64RockFolk
There Is Love in YouFour Tet★★★64ElectronicAmbientIndietronica
I’m Here NowGil Scott-Heron★★★63ElectronicR&BTrip-Hop
Come Around SundownKings of Leon★★★61RockAlternative Rock
CongratulationsMGMT★★★58RockIndie PopPsychadellic Pop
Before TodayAriel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti★★★58RockArt Rock
Body TalkRobyn★★★58PopDance-PopSynthpop
CosmogrammaFlying Lotus★★★57ElectronicInstrumental Hip-Hop
The Social NetworkTrent Reznor, Atticus Ross★★★57Electronic
Broken BellsBroken Bells★★★56RockIndie PopIndietronica
Paparazzi LightningGhostland Observatory★★★56RockIndie PopAlternative Dance
Halcyon DigestDeerhunter★★★55RockPsychadelic RockDream Pop
ContraVampire Weekend★★★55RockIndie Pop
Teenage DreamKaty Perry★★★55PopElectropop
B.O.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby RayB.O.B.★★½53Hip-HopPop Hip-Hop
Heaven is WheneverThe Hold Steady★★½52RockAlternative Rock
Doo-Wops & HooligansBruno Mars★★½51PopR&B
The ArchAndroidJanelle Monae★★½51PopR&BNeo-Soul
One Life StandHot Chip★★½50ElectronicIndie PopSynthpop
Disc-OveryTinie Tempah★★½49Hip-HopPop Hip-Hop
The Age of AdzSufjan Stevens★★½45RockElectropop
Speak NowTaylor Swift★★½45PopCountry Pop
Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son Of The Chico DustyBig Boi★★½45Hip-HopSouthern Hip-Hop
RecoveryEminem★★44Hip-HopPop Hip-Hop
Raymond v RaymondUsher★★42PopR&B
Tron: LegacyDaft Punk★★42Electronic
RokstarrTaio Cruz★★39PopR&B
My World 2.0Justin Bieber★★39PopDance-Pop
Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. RagerKid Cudi★★38Hip-Hop
Scary Monsters and Nice Spirits EPSkrillex★★38ElectronicDubstep
A Thousand SunsLinkin Park★½34RockAlternative RockElectronic Rock
Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous KilljoysMy Chemical Romance★½33RockPunk RockPop Punk
FlockaveliWaka Flocka Flame★½28Hip-HopSouthern Hip-HopTrap
Pink FridayNicki Minaj★½27Hip-HopPop Hip-Hop
I Am Not A Human BeingLil Wayne24Hip-Hop

50 Best Songs

  1. Devil In A New Dress – Kanye West, Rick Ross
  2. Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National
  3. Runaway – Kanye West, Pusha T
  4. Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem
  5. Black Gold – Foals
  6. Dancing On My Own – Robyn
  7. Aston Martin Music – Rick Ross, Drake, Chrisette Michelle
  8. He Would Have Laughed – Deerhunter
  9. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire
  10. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People
  11. Tightrope – Janelle Monae, Big Boi
  12. Blue Blood – Foals
  13. Monster – Kanye West, JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver
  14. 10 Mile Stereo – Beach House
  15. Not In Love – Crystal Castles, Robert Smith
  16. Go To Sleep – Lupe Fiasco
  17. Giving Up The Gun – Vampire Weekend
  18. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem
  19. Tighten Up – The Black Keys
  20. Rhinestone Eyes – Gorillaz
  21. Mr. Rager – Kid Cudi
  22. Me And The Devil – Gil Scott-Heron
  23. Right Above It – Lil Wayne, Drake
  24. So Appalled – Kanye West, JAY-Z, Pusha T, Cy Hi The Prynce, Swizz Beats, RZA
  25. What’s My Name – Rihanna, Drake
  26. Miss Me – Drake, Lil Wayne
  27. Round And Round – Ariel Pink
  28. After Glow – Foals
  29. Helicopter – Deerhunter
  30. Vanderlyle Crybaby Cry – The National
  31. Stylo – Gorillaz, Bobby Womack, Mos Def
  32. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
  33. Shutterbugg – Big Boi, Cutty
  34. All I Want – LCD Soundsystem
  35. Wasted Hours – Arcade Fire
  36. Leave House – Caribou
  37. A Crime – Sharon Van Etten
  38. Suburban War – Arcade Fire
  39. Limit To Your Love – James Blake
  40. Young Blood – The Naked And Famous
  41. Silver Soul – Beach House
  42. I’m Beamin’ – Lupe Fiasco
  43. On Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz
  44. Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj, Drake
  45. B.M.F. – Rick Ross, Styles P
  46. Futile Devices – Sufjan Stevens
  47. Never Been – Taylor Gang
  48. Pray For Rain – Massive Attack
  49. The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
  50. Alter Ego – Tame Impala

Genre Highlights




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