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The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Ali’s Top 5 Albums of 2010

Ali’s Top 5 Albums of 2010

1) My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy– Kanye West

You knew this was coming. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 496,000 copies within its first week. According to HiphopDX.com, as of Jan. 2, the album has sold 882,000 copies. West truly outdoes himself with brutally honest but brilliant lyrics, amazing guest-artists (including Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, John Legend, and, surprisingly, Elton John), and extreme self-awareness (both of his talent and his mania). The ambiance of the tracks shift mercurially as West vacillates from anger to remorse. Ryan Dombal states perfectly on Pitchfork.com, “Since the nerd-superstar rap archetype he popularized has now become commonplace, [West] leaves it in the dust, taking his style and drama to previously uncharted locales, far away from typical civilization.” No matter his infamous egotistical attitude or his commonly-mocked tweets, West embodies a true artist on MBDTF.

Songs to download: Power, Monster, All of The Lights

2) The ArchAndroid – Janelle Monae

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Having seen Monae live, I’m a little biased about her greatness. But honestly she is a 25 year-old, outlandish, artistically-talented wide-eyed genius. According to ExpressNightOut.com, “Monae is less like a pop artist and more like a magician”; she keeps the audience guessing while dazzling them with her voice and enthusiasm in this extremely eclectic album (songs range from gospel to rap to pop to R&B to jazz and even to folk). The ArchAndroidconsists of parts two and three to her concept series “Metropolis,” which started in 2007 with an album by the same name. The series follows an android (yes, that’s a robot) named Cindi Mayweather who goes back in time to save the city of Metropolis. Seems a little crazy, no? Guess you’ll have to listen for yourself.

Songs to download: Tightrope, Faster, Cold War

3) The Lady Killer– Cee-Lo Green

You’ve probably heard his highly-played but extremely fun single “F**k You” (or “Forget You,” the less-good radio edit), but Cee-Lo Green has a lot more where that came from. Green’s soulful voice transcends basic R&B with tracks like “Satisfied” and “Cry Baby,” and he even includes noir-type tracks like “Bodies” and “The Lady Killer,” which is the theme of the album.  Green’s ability to make a video go viral in a matter of days (according to OCWeekly.com, “F**k You” received two million views within the first five days after it was released) only hints at his immense talent all packed into his immense refrigerator build.

Songs to download: Bright Lights Bigger City, Love Gun, Satisfied

4) Together – The New Pornographers

Embarrassingly, though the album from the Canadian indie-rock band came out in May, I did not fully listen to it until a few weeks ago. But,  I immediately developed a fondness towards it — it is incredibly fun and catchy, with tracks that stick in anyone’s head after just one listen. As Philip Cosores, a music critic at music blog Consequence of Sound, states, “It [is] a new kind of pop music, pop music that would never be popular, but [is] more infectious than anything that [is].” Though the album has been criticized for being too purposefully crowd-pleasing, I think there is nothing wrong with creating deliberate pop songs, as long as they are well-crafted, which in this case they are. If not just for the guest appearances by horn players Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (to whom I have a special affinity), this album is worth listening to.

Songs to download: Daughters of Sorrow, Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk, Your Hands (Together)

5) Brothers – The Black Keys

This spot was hard to choose, but a consensus of popular opinion led me to choose this album, debuting at number three on Billboard 200 and selling 73,000 copies in the first week after it was released. It’s hard to describe Brotherswithout using the words “chill” and “alternative rock,” both of which are extremely vague, but are the only way I can describe my first impression of the album. Dan Auerbach’s falsetto (like in “Everlasting Light”) adds a nice upbeat feel to the album, in addition to the whistling-hooks like in “Tighten Up.” This will be an album that you want to listen to over and over again,  even though most of the songs are relatively simple, maintaining the same beat and tone throughout. About this aspect, Ted Maider (an album critic at Consequence of Sound) correctly comments, “The Black Keys are going to be remembered as one of the bands in this time that brought rock back to the basics.”

Songs to download: Howlin’ For You, Tighten Up, Ten Cent Pistol

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    Sam BJan 20, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    more people should seriously listen to the new pornographers.. regardless of their name good choice

    u should also consider tourist history by two door cinema club.. one of the better indie albums of the year

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