The Best Music of 2010 [Albums #5-#1]

We conclude our countdown of the best albums of the year with the five finest records of 2010, taking into account the collective opinion of our highly knowledgeable panel. Each of these albums received significant support from multiple judges, and each was considered the album of the year by at least one of our experts. In the end, I had to sort them out, and this seemed the most righteous order.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these albums, so scratch off the back of your iTunes gift cards and get downloading (or better yet, support your local independent record store).

Okay, let’s go.

#5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

LCD Soundsystem is described on Wikipedia as “dance-punk.” That sounds like a made-up genre, and maybe it is, but that’s just because LCD’s particular brand of genius often defies easy categorization.

This Is Happening is supposedly the final album this band will ever make, and if so, they have sandblasted a Mount Rushmore-level monument to their talents. This album is so good, so versatile, so original, it makes you rethink what a band can be. As Sasha Frere-Jones of the New Yorker wrote, “A drummer who worked for years as a sound engineer, [bandleader James] Murphy has an uncanny ability to hear sonic detail and then edit, enhance, and assemble those pieces into an easily felt, comprehensible new arrangement.” The result is an album packed with mindblowing tracks that transcend genre.

Here’s a good example. “Dance Yrself Clean” reminds me of the boxing style of Micky Ward, as portrayed by Marky Mark in The Fighter — lull your opponent into thinking he has you figured out, then unleash a kidney punch when he least expects it. Listen to this track and brace yourself around the three minute mark. Go on, I’ll wait.

It’s OK. I won’t tell anyone about how you just pooped your pants in happiness.

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