I’ve done a bunch of “best of” music lists over the years, but this was one of the hardest. I gave up on limiting it to ten almost right away and went right to 18. There was a ton of great music this year across a bunch of genres (as you can see by the list). I don’t have time to describe them all now, but you owe it to yourself to check them all out.
Again this year, there’s an appearance by some spectacular mashup work. Girl Talk gets all the press, but The Kleptones released the best album of the year with their double album. Uptime/Downtime is amazing, and while Uptime will keep you dancing, Downtime is the more impressive to me. It sounds like a complete album and you don’t feel like you’re listening to mashups. They’re just great songs. With most mashups, you’re totally aware that you’re listening to a bunch of stuff that wasn’t meant to go together. In the best ones, they’re all made to work and sometimes build an even better song out of the component parts. In the Kleptones’ case, even way back to A Night at the Hip-Hopera, they build great songs out of the pieces they find lying around to the point where you forget that these songs even existed in another form.
- Uptime/Downtime by The Kleptones
- Heligoland by Massive Attack
- Broken Bells by Broken Bells
- The Lady Killer by Cee Lo
- New Inheritors by Wintersleep
- Permalight by Rogue Wave
- Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
- The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
- Together by New Pornographers
- Fields by Junip
- This is Good by Hannah Georgas
- We Kill Computers by The Pack A.D.
- Wake Up! by John Legend and The Roots
- Mt. Chimera by Brasstronaut (not available on Amazon, you have to get it from Zunior, but trust me, it’s worth it!)
- Of the Color of Blue Sky by Ok Go
- All Day by Girl Talk
- The Five Ghosts by Stars
- Latin by Holy F\^ck
And I can’t leave without an honorable mention for new discovery: Lungs by Florence + The Machine – I think I’ve listened to this album more in the past few months than almost anything else in the top 20.