Massive Attack - Heliogoland (Virgin)
released: February 8, 2010
Seemingly oft-forgot as a release of this year, being that a super early leak in late late '09 caused the Bristol duo to push up the official outing of Heligoland, Massive Attack's fifth studio album sat sweetly amongst my most played. With a generous serving of guest vocalists, names like Damon Albarn and Horace Andy strengthened this disc, but it's Mazzy Star's sweetie, Hope Sandoval, who comes out swinging on the super sensual and album standout track, Paradise Circus. This album would rank higher, if every track on the release was that song. On repeat.
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Purple Ribbon / Def Jam)
released: July 5, 2010
It's almost impossible to believe that this is Big Boi's first solo offering. After a successful run of releases with Outkast, the ATLien finally got his shit together (the debut was promised for many a year) and threw out a bundle of seeds that blossomed into a garden of great rap tracks. Corralling a number of his closest friends (and even some new ones like Yealwolf) Boi done did the damn thing with a solid and slick flow that won't soon move off our most played / recently loved lists. Boo, I got a back up plan to the back up plan to back up my back up plan. Wordsmithing at its finest.
Dominique Young Unique - Domination (ArtJam Records)
released: June 10, 2010
Shut up and listen. That's what Dominique Young Unique implores you to do. Also, that's precisely the phrase I'm spitting at you in the event you say "oh hell naw, how dare you include a free mixtape on your be[a]st albums list!" Well guess what: Domination is in part better than most full lengths put out this year, and in whole, one of the finest flowing selections from a more than unknown we've heard in too long. She's a "gangster hard hitter out of 8 - 1 - 3" and she might just accomplish the world over like the title implies. Total domination at the tender age of 19.
Kelis - Flesh Tone (will.i.am music / Interscope)
released: May 14, 2010
Flesh Tone serves as Kelis' "enough is enough is enough, I will survive, it's (not) raining men" collection of anthemic works. And while it's not disco, it IS dance... and that's precisely what the husky honey demands you do via her fifth studio recording. Snagging production work from Jean Baptiste, David Guetta and Benny Benassi amongst others, the former rap-sing-song artist went through a label drop, divorce and dietary specialist classes (she's a chef y'all!) and came out on the other side with her truest tones yet. Emancipate yourself, indeed!
Trentemøller - Into the Great Wide Yonder (In My Room)
released: May 28, 2010
If every song recorded this year (and I mean EVERY song that was created, produced, put out, sing, sang and sung, etc...) sounded like Trentemøller's ...Even Though You're With Another Girl, I would have been crying nonstop for 365 straight days. And then probably some more. But this doesn't mean that the Portishead-esque single carries and bears all the weight of the Danish musician. Equally pleasing cuts like Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, Go! and Shades of Marble anchor a seamless wall of sound from the opening sounds to the closing choruses of his sophomore offering.
ceo - White Magic (Modular)
released: July 2, 2010
It really should be no surprise that a Swede pops up on my list of BE[a]ST Albums, considering my penchant for all things Scandinavian and sugary sweet. Enter ceo, with his debut album, White Magic, and while we already knjow and love Eric Berglund (formerly of The Tough Alliance) and his tall body of work, this solo effort whisked us away to a land of pillow fights and playful arrangements, all the while maintinaing a modern day relevance and sustainability. Singles such as come with me and illuminata are immediate album standouts, but it's the happy handclappers like love and do what you will that remain my most oft-repeated. Queue applause now.
The Hundred in the Hands - The Hundred in the Hands (Warp)
released: September 21, 2010
You might cry foul or even go so far as to call me a beast of a biased nature since Eleanore and Jason have oft been spotted sounding off on my radio show, or even found themselves on the receiving end of a rad amount of praise, but when talking about one of my justifiably most-played, praised and self-popularized releases of the year, it's without a shred of doubt The Hundred in the Hands' freshman self-titled disc that wins out. The Warp signees compile 11 tracks ranging from pop to new wave, dark disco and goth dance. This solid effort is a seamless listen from start to finish, whether used as filler or front of house music, and the break that hits at the 3:05 mark of lead track Young Aren't Young is enough to make you want to keep hitting repeat.
Robyn - Body Talk (Cherrytree / Interscope)
released: June 14, September 6 and November 22, 2010
One of our most lauded and loved beasts through the course of the year was none other than Robyn, and with every good reason. She talked, not only with her body, but with her unique release schedule, in which 2 smaller "EPs" lead to the final chapter in a terrificly trifectal tour of tunes. Each compilation had it's powerful and passionate moments, from the emotionally-destructive and equally beautiful Dancing On My Own, to singles like Hang With Me and Indestructible, other cuts proved just as poignant without the official stamps on 'em (see: None of Dem and Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do). Overall, one of the most brilliant moves from one of modern music's brightest stars.
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II (Fiction Records)
released: April 23, 2010
Don't confuse this release with the one of the same name as debuted by Crystal Castles two years ago. Sure it's all a bit head-scratching, what with a pair of discs under identical monikers being offered up, but don't mistake one for the other. The sophomore album from the Canadian duo soars much higher, louder and intrinsically more powerful than the freshman first. From the immediately affecting sounds of Baptism, to the, dare we say it, sexy and sultry songs like Celestica, Suffocation and Pap Smear, this release is one you can easily thrash out or make out to. Believe me. I've done both and each experience ended with the most smashing and beastly of results.
Sleigh Bells - Treats (Mom + Pop Recordings / N.E.E.T.)
released: May 11, 2010
11 tracks in 32 minutes and fight music you can dance to. Enough said.