My 10 Favorite Albums of the Last 10 Years — #10

Ten years ago, I was eleven years old and had no idea who or what I liked yet in the various categories that fill this blog. I would have scoffed at movies like The Artist and spat out even the most deliciously expensive Champagne. Hell, I hadn’t even heard of a little band called Brand New yet. If it wasn’t Power Rangers or Pokemon, then I had no interest in it. Then everything began to change. I began developing the tastes and preferences for entertainment that shape part of who I am today. One of the most important discoveries of that time for me was the blossoming of my current taste in music.

Seriously, how can anything ever be cooler than this…

So that got me thinking…what are some of my favorite albums of the last decade? What albums have made me feel the most while listening to them and have the best memories attached to their lyrics and melodies? After all, that’s what music is all about — the range of emotions that the best bands and artists can unfurl inside you as you listen to their music. What records best define my taste in music? What combinations of songs will I listen to over and over again, even years after I first heard them?

That’s what this list will be about — my favorite albums of the last decade. A lot of the music I listen to can be lesser-known, so if I can turn even a few people on to some of the brilliant bands who fall outside of the mainstream, then I will consider this exercise a success. And everybody loves a good countdown, eh?

A few rules before we begin:

1.  Brand New will not appear on this countdown. I already wrote a post about my fanaticism for them here. They’d take up 50% of the list if I included their albums, so I think it’s best to leave them off and allow other artists a chance in the sun.

2.  This list is my opinion. You are free to agree or disagree in the comments if you feel so inclined, but remember that, regardless of my excellent taste in music, this is still just one fan’s biased countdown of his favorite albums.

3.  One album per spot in the countdown.

4.  I reserve the right to break and add rules as I see fit.

Let’s get on with it!

#10 — “Brothers” by The Black Keys and “Torches” by Foster the People

See rule #4 above. As I was running through my list of albums, I couldn’t decide who deserved the last spot on the countdown, so instead of creating an honorable mention section, I’ll just include both at #10. These two albums will be some of the most recent releases included on this list, and that alone is enough to clinch they’re inclusion, mainly because both of these albums have given me hope that mainstream rock can be more than just generic, interchangeable Nickelback and The Fray radio reruns…but also because they’re both fantastic albums in their own right.

“Brothers” was the album that launched The Black Key’s brand of guitar-driven, garage blues rock into the limelight.  The band had been creating music for over a decade, but it took the incredibly catchy, while still remaining hip “Brothers,” for everyone to catch on to how brilliant this rock duo truly is. Once people discovered them, they were everywhere. Commercials, the Grammys, the Daily Show, you name it, The Black Keys were the darlings of the indie alt-rock scene where giant rimmed glasses, shaggy hair, and flannels reign supreme. And that’s fine with me because they deserved it for this one. “Brothers” finds the duo still sticking to their crunchy guitar and simple drum pattern roots but adding a whole new level of catchiness as well. Try getting “Next Girl” or “Howlin’ for You” out of your head after a listen. It’s impossible. And that’s why this album deserves to be in my top 10 — undeniable marketability while still remaining loyal to the fanbase they’d grown with over a decade of terrific music. Oh, and their music videos for this album are hilarious (see below).

Foster The People’s debut album, “Torches,” is a completely different animal. When Pumped Up Kicks hit the airwaves, it was unlike anything else on the radio. The sonically hushed vocals, the trumpets, the incredibly catchy chorus with lyrics about a kid going on a shooting rampage at a school…nothing like that had been heard in a long time. The same can be said about the rest of “Torches.”  Every song is a breath of fresh air in a genre that can sometimes feel hollow and stagnant. Everything is dressed up in Los Angeles glitz and glamour, the city where Foster hails from. Thought-provoking and deep lyrics are overlayed with electronic-infused guitars and surprisingly complex melodies backed by pulsing drums and Mark Foster’s strange, upbeat vocals. It’s like an entire nightclub party, where all the patrons are secretly depressed, was jammed into one record. For their originality and freshness in the mainstream rock arena, Foster The People’s debut album lands on my top 10 albums of the past 10 years.

These two albums will probably be the most mainstream records included on this countdown. From here on, we venture into the strange and magical world of indie music! Enjoy the samples of The Black Keys and Foster The People that I included below and stick around for the next installment of the countdown!

One Response to “My 10 Favorite Albums of the Last 10 Years — #10”
  1. Chris says:

    Brothers is a damn good album. Too Afraid to Love You and Ten Cent Pistol are amazing.

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