Luke Winkie

Top 10 Albums

The National
High Violet

I don’t have much to say about High Violet because, well, it’s another great National record, with some new lyrical topics (parenthood, aging), but still the same somber coolness. Great like the National are usually great.

White Magic
Modular/Sincerely Yours

White Magic is easily the most optimistic record on this list. In a quick 30 minutes, we’re shown a kaleidoscope of balmy electro, sung ever so sweetly by one half of the Tough Alliance, Eric Berglund.

LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening

I’ll be honest, I’m not old enough to remember most of the bands Murphy talked about on “Losing My Edge,” but I still felt I was on his side to a certain capacity. So if This is Happening is truly the last LCD record, I’ll take it with a bit of sadness, but I’ll also remember there’s scarcely a better album to hang a career on.

Arcade Fire
The Suburbs

Yeah, The Suburbs is pretty good. Let’s just move on.

Titus Andronicus
The Monitor

Titus Andronicus made it on my list for sheer audacity. Most bands wouldn’t even think about releasing a “concept album,” especially one that’s ludicrously based on a Civil War metaphor for a bad break-up, but Titus makes it work, 14-minute songs and all.

High on Fire
Snakes for the Divine

High on Fire’s Snakes for the Divine is a fairly standard metal album, but that’s the need the band sets out to fulfill. They’ve got metal chiseled down to a raw art.

Big Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Legend of Chico Dusty
Def Jam

Obviously Mr. West took my top spot, but nobody wrote a straight-up more entertaining album this year than Big Boi. Sir Luscious Left Foot is fun, crass, obnoxious and utterly undeniable. Strange given the record label drama, Big Boi had more of a reason to be pissed off than anyone.

Halcyon Digest

Such a fragile album, Halcyon Digest sounds like a perfect continuation of Deerhunter’s ongoing transcendence into rock & roll ubiquity.

These New Puritans

Hidden was one of the most under-appreciated albums of the year, and I think that’s mainly to do with nobody (outside of Great Britain) really caring about what These New Puritans had to say after their debut. For those who did pay attention, we were treated to a bleak, monolithic world of skull-punching drums and treble-testing shrieks. Truly the most original album of 2010.

Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam

Kanye West was the obvious choice this year, but he earned that obviousness. A whirlwind year capped by a perfect album that literally no other human being—be it indie rock, rap, or a Zeppelin reunion—could have made. Swollen with the pressure of public-knowledge and a documented lifestyle, Twisted Fantasy is truly like no other.