To read our #1 through #6 album picks, click here.
To read our #13 through #20 album picks, click here.
#7 – “Lights” by Ellie Goulding: From the exact second her debut single “Under The Sheets” was playlisted on British radio and music television, Ellie Goulding was a star. There was no getting around the fact that the music industry found their new darling to hold up high – and they RAN with it at nothing short of godspeed. For me, it did feel like the climb to critical acclaim was “too fast” for Ellie Goulding, (she received a Brit Award after just one single…) but when she released “Lights” it was quite obvious that her music had that unique special quality that reached inside the inner core of the British mainstream. With that kind of immediate likeability about her, the only way is well and truly “up” for Ellie Goulding and let’s just hope the Americans “get” her too. “Starry Eyed” was a strong follow-up single and with the rest of the album being amazingly brilliant, “Lights” is one of those albums that every discerning pop lover should own – like the first Zero 7 album.
#8 – “Pieces” by Erik Hassle: This Swede outsider is most certainly mega-cool in my book. The songs on “Pieces” weren’t necessisarily brand spanking new on the album when it was packaged up and eventually released for the British public, but with songs like “Don’t Bring Flowers” and “Bump In The Road” being painfully brilliant, “Pieces” is probably the ONLY album that I legally downloaded and purchased in the shop despite the fact I own two promo copies of it. When you feel like life is getting you down a bit, you can literally put on “Pieces” and it feels like Erik Hassle is ironing out everything that’s a bit wrong with the world. Daft analogy I know, but “Hurtful” alone makes you question why other artists can’t even come close to creating the kind of perfect pop that Erik Hassle does.
#9 “Flesh Tone” by Kelis: Ok it’s time for the brutal truth. I didn’t exactly jump up and down when I first played “Flesh Tone” by Kelis. “Acapella” was pretty good, albeit even a little bit left-field for my initial taste, but I wasn’t singing the praises of the album until a couple months into the release when you literally just wake up and go – “Wow – that record is actually very good”. What makes “Flesh Tone” one of the best records of 2010 is that it is chock full of subtle hints of brilliance that aren’t exactly right up in your face. Like the pulsating drum beat in “Intro” and the lyrics in “4th Of July (Fireworks)” to the anthematic scream-at-the-top-of-your lungs chorus in “Brave”. Perhaps I was thinking Kelis was trying too hard to compete with Lady Gaga, but spend a few days listening to “Flesh Tone” and you realize that Kelis walks alone on her own brilliant cosmic plane.
#10 – “Night Work” by Scissor Sisters: 2010 was the year I had the most fun with the Scissor Sisters. I’ve been a fan ever since “Comfortably Numb” but when the Scissors released their third studio album in way of “Night Work” I honestly felt closer to their music than I ever had previously. It was like Jake Shears was reading my mind when he wrote “Sex And Violence” as it was exactly the dark sort of track I was waiting for them to come up with in their candyland of pop/rocktronica. The first time I heard “Any Which Way” I literally squeeled with delight, especially when Ana Matronic does her little monologue thingy. When Jake croons away on “Skintight” it literally grips my core and makes me appreciate that a band like Scissor Sisters can even exist. On “Invisible Light” I literally get the chills whenever I hear it. I literally have fell in love with what Stuart Price has done with the band on “Night Work” and how authentic the whole production feels – it literally washes over you like a tidal wave of eurphoria – like you are getting high from listening to the music. Bravo.
#11 – “Scatterheart” by Bim: Bim and their 2010 album “Scatterheart” had us mesmerized before it was even released. Having put out a self-titled mini-album almost a year prior which featured the gorgeous tracks “The Battle” and “Stay In My Memory”, one thing was most certainly matter-of-fact about Bim – they are magical and that special shine beamed effortlessly forward into “Scatterheart”. The album isn’t your usual electro-pop fodder either, it’s mixed with shimmery ballads and real songs that warm the soul and touch the heart. We’ve always compared Bim to Dido and and upon just one listen you’ll probably think so too. Lead single “Head Over Heels” made a bit of a splash in the pop blogesphere which garnered the band a fair amount of faithful followers – some of which traveled hundreds of miles from all over the UK when the duo showcased the album at EQ Live. If you don’t own “Scatterheart”, you’re most certainly missing out on one of the most thoughtful, elegant and unexpected electronic pop albums of 2010.
#12 – “Won’t Go Quietly” by Example: It’s been an amazing year for Example. I have to admit when I first heard lead single “Watch The Sun Come Up” I was rather skeptical of this young man and his ability. “Watch The Sun Come Up” didn’t exactly scream hit to me, but when he relased the title track – it was like you got on a never-ending roller coaster which ruled the roost at the amusement park. And from there, the hits just kept coming with “Kickstarts”, “Last Ones Standing” and current single “Two Lives” being pop favorites among UK radio and music television. Having won Popjustice Twenty Quid Song Contest, a lot of Americans were like “what?!” – Example isn’t your usual pop music cookie-cut, he rocks along to his own tunes and he may not have a set of great tits, slick dance moves or whips his hair back and forth, but one thing’s for sure is that he makes some sick beats and I’m a massive fan.
#13 – “The Beat Is” by Alphabeat: 2010 was the year that the 90’s made a comeback in modern pop music and it was Alphabeat who really led that effort with “The Beat Is”. I wasn’t a huge fan to be honest of their first album and all it’s fabulous indie flair, but with “The Beat Is” we saw the band undergo a major transformation from cool indie kids to super slick electronic pop purveyors and that dear readers was a most welcome change. “The Spell” was a massive hit and you couldn’t escape it – it was everywhere. That song even helped land the band an all-important opening slot for Lady Gaga which saw the band play to some of their biggest crowds ever. Key tracks like “DJ (I Could Be Dancing)” and “Hole In My Heart” only further proved that Alphabeat didn’t suffer from the dreaded sophomore album blues. Whenever I needed a smile, all I needed to do was put on Alphabeat and their technocolour collection of tracks which immediately sent rainbows through my veins. You can’t deny the effect that Alphabeat has on your mood when you listen to “The Beat Is”.
To read our #13 through #20 album picks, click here.