Well, now that we’re into August, I can start taking guesses at how end of the year “Best of 2010” will look. Below are some albums that you should be hearing about, Grammies be damned.
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach: As I said in my review of this album, “Plastic Beach” is awesome. Damon Albarn and co. managed to hit that sweet spot where music is weird, dark, twisted, and totally accessible and catchy at the same time. Current single “On Melancholy Hill” and future hit “Superfast Jellyfish” should get a lot of attention on the alt charts, and maybe even crack Billboard. My guess? A lot of top 10s and 5s.
Gaslight Anthem – American Slang: This has the potential to be this year’s “Backspacer”; an almost too-short set of songs that get in, get awesome, and get out by the 3 and a half minute mark. Nothing here is going to break the mainstream, but it’ll gain The Gaslight Anthem some more fans for those who missed out on “The ’59 Sound” for whatever reason. Probably place…eh, Top twenties and teens.
The National – High Violet: “High Violet” is so far the “indie” album this year (Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” might supplant this next week; we’ll soon see), and The National are currently that band it’s cool to have just checked in to. With “High Violet”, The National have at least made a name for themselves outside of hipster/indie circles, but only time will tell if they can keep up this momentum. I’m gonna call top 5s and maybe a number 1 or two.
Candy Hearts – Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams: Wishful thinking on my part because no one has heard of these guys (and gal), but “Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams” is my favorite album so far this year. I’m going to write the review for it this week, promise.
And now, for a look ahead at what I’m anticipating for the year…
The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs: Oh come on, do I really need to explain myself here? After following up one of the best debut albums ever with “Neon Bible” in 2007, Arcade Fire spent quite awhile in radio silence. In 2010, they’ve had a fairly quick resurgence, first announcing some festival dates and then a new album. Hot damn!
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream: Alright, I’ll be honest. I have no personal interest in whatever happens on this album. I am, however, curious to hear it as Perry has more or less described it as her make or break in the music biz. Time will tell.
Weezer – “Heavy Mental” (title pending) and Pinkerton’s rerelease: I like Weezer. Even though they’ve “degenerated” into a bunch of goofy middleaged guys making snappy power pop/pop rock, damn if they don’t do a good job of it. “Heavy Mental” promises to have more raw rock energy according to frontman Rivers Cuomo, which will definitely be something to listen for. Then there’s the rerelease of Pinkerton in October, which sees the 1996 emo-birthing masterpiece released with new material and demos. Win-win.