Top 10 Albums this year

It is that time of year when we all huddle around a warm fire with hot chocolate and rank the albums that came out this year. I guess this year has been a big hip hop year for me seeing as eight of my top ten are hip hop. These are still subject to change. I did want to mention how much I loved the album From Below by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros but due to the constraints of the list being from this year and it being released last year well, I had to leave it off. That album was a huge part of my year though. Now on to the list.

10. M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\
I got really stoked about this album from the first time I saw the ginger slaughtering video for “Born Free”. The album was less intense and, I feel, more cohesive than the last entry in M.I.A.’s catalog. The song “Tell Me Why” is arguably one of her best (non-single) songs and has such chilled out mass appeal that even my dad liked it (and my dad fucking hates hip hop). Yes it’s noisy. Yes it can be come close to obnoxious. Yes it is probably not for everyone. With all that in mind M.I.A. has consistently impressed me with her skills. All in all I was very please with this album.

9. Mountain Man – Made in the Harbor
When I first put this album on I laid down in my bed and drifted into a land of my childhood. I grew up with gospel harmonies and twangy guitars. It really feels good to get such a chilled out voice and guitar combo when I feel like everything lately has been blown up so loudly that it is almost unlistenable (see rest of the list for example). I guarantee if you put on the song “Animal Tracks” and close your eyes and let it take you, you will not be disappointed.

8. Girltalk – All Day
What can I say about Girltalk that hasn’t been said before? Nostalgia whore? Mashup king? Badass whiteboy who can create art from other art? All of these are true. From the opening moments when you hear the universally known “War Pigs” guitar riff blended seamlessly into Ludacris’ “Move Bitch” you feel like you’re going on a journey through the history of music. In the catalog of Girltalk albums this is somewhere in the middle for me. It didn’t have as many “wow” moments as his last two releases, but within this year it ranks as a must listen.

7. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
Honestly, I didn’t think there could be anything close to Dilla left in this world. Flying Lotus comes very close with this album. Just put it on and fucking jam. Tell me this song with Thom Yorke doesn’t fucking kill.

6. Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer
Goddamn this is a good album. The song sheep… well fuck… I’m not sure how to explain how fucking good this song is so I’ll just let you see.

5. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh)
Badu is back in true form. This album is a return of the chilled out, somewhat less strange sounds of Badu. It reminds me more of Baduism than the Last New Amerykah album and this is a good thing. I loved the last album but I like to put on my Badu and pretend that I still smoke weed. I think this album fulfills that void I needed.

4. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Jack White can do no wrong. The Dead Weather is a band I listened to damn near once a day this year. I couldn’t stop. Seriously, I may have a problem with this album. Rehab? Christ isn’t Allison Mossheart just about the hottest thing you have ever seen?

3. Zaz – Zaz
Okay, full disclosure: I feel in love with this French girl while listening to NPR. This music can put me into the best mood and has gotten me out of many slumps this year. Her voice/style combo reminds me of Edith Piaf, but I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that. She is gorgeous, multi-talented, and hugely popular everywhere but America because we can’t listen to anything that doesn’t speak out language, it’s like treason or something.

2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I hate that I love this album so much. I fucking hate it. I know somewhere this guy is stroking his huge ego knowing that I love this album. I think Kanye West is the biggest douche nozzle of our generation. Every inch of my body wants to hate this album, but I can’t. It fucking kills. I have had this album for three days and I don’t think it’s left my ears for more that a few seconds. It is so goddamn good. So much better than the crap he’s put out since College Dropout and so much better than half the crap this year. I guess if he keeps putting out such amazing albums I will allow him to be a complete tool.

1. Das Racist – Sit Down Man/Shut Up Dude
My final pick for number one is actually two mixtapes by Das Racist. I couldn’t decide which one was better and since they both came out this year I figure why not combine them into one. These guys are sick. You don’t find too many rappers that are so self aware and so not serious. I mean for fuck sake they sample Enigma, NOBODY IN RAP WILL EVER SAMPLE ENIGMA!!! They’re funny, intelligent, and goddamn talented. I don’t think they’ve blown up too big yet but give ’em another year and another couple of mixtapes and goddamn. Next big thing in hip hop right here.

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