Admittedly, I have had a downer of a year in a lot of respects. Even so, when I read my Best of list for 2010 I was completely disappointed. I have been doing these things for as long as I can remember whether they were going to print or not (obviously this one is not). Rereading this thing was about as stimulating as reading reviews from Paste magazine edited by The Economist. So with that being said, I decided to try and redo the list and have a little bit more fun. Here goes, with massive apologies to Neill Cumpston… Also, since my wife claims that she never hears me listen to “anything other than that country shit”, I have included a short wrap up of the best “country” discs that were not Jamey Johnson at the end of the list. In my defense, there is a blurry line between a love of country music and a drinking problem. http://countryclubofthezeroseven.blogspot.com
1. Robyn – Body Talk If you are like me, most dance music conjures up images of shirtless dudes thumping around town in a Mini Cooper while huffing tape cleaner and Axe body spray. Robyn’s Body Talk goes the opposite direction. It actually reminds me of a rave I was at somewhere around 1994 where these two twins that could have worked as Jessica Alba’s body doubles were taking turns dry humping the shit out of me while visions of Moby being cornholed by the “firestarter” danced through most of the collective’s subconscious. Did I mention that I also had a pacifier, a glow stick and enough ecstasy to make my spinal column dryer than Irene Ryan after a full day on the set of The Beverly Hillbillies? Oh yeah, none of this actually happened, but if you can’t get off on Robyn’s “automated booty applications”, you deserve to be locked in a closet with a wild boar, Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” and a case of Wallaby organic yogurt.
2. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening Unfortunately punk doesn’t look very much like Alan Vega anymore. In 2010 punk rockers look like the chick from Bend it Like Beckham that sings songs about riots and paper planes. And even if James Murphy couldn’t get any of his chins through the neckholes in Stiv Bator’s dog’s bondage gear, the newest LCD Soundsystem disc is still the punkest shit going in 2010. Tell me “Dance Yrself Clean” doesn’t make you want to throw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a bank, and I will show you my Tea Party voter registration card.
3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Listening to a Kanye West disc is a lot like eating Christmas dinner with that uncle that has touched all of your relatives inappropriately. You squarely hate the motherfucker, but he does give really good back rubs and toys, so you have to tolerate him. I am guessing there are a wide and increasing array of medical procedures that would be more pleasant than hanging out with Yeezy, but goddammit you hear a track like “Power” or “Runaway” and all is forgiven. To be fair though, Nicki Minaj comes close to stealing the whole disc with her drop at the end of “Monster”.
4. The Black Keys – Brothers If I were an old black man, and I was going to chain a girl to my radiator in only her panties until I could work “the devil” out of her, The Black Keys would definitely score that soundtrack. Wait a minute that has already been done… Fuck it, I say we remake Black Snake Moan with Brothers as the soundtrack and find a way to work the ghost of Col. Sanders, Tara Reid and Koko B. Ware into the mix. “Everlasting Light” alone has more soul than Jonestown circa 1978.
5. Junip – Fields My blissful and inaccurate vision of the seventies involvies copious amounts of Panama Red being offered up by nude hitchhikers with bushes looking like they might have ?uestlove in a leglock. Add to this the fact that it is happening while lounging in a hammock by a stream, knee deep in the woods, and Fields would definitely be playing in the background. To keep with continuity somewhere we would have to find a place for gnomes and wood fairies, but for the time being they can stay behind the harvest gold refrigerator. Pass the bong and bring me my beaver pillow.
6. Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs – Medicine County If one of your presents on Christmas Morning involves a restraining order, nude pictures of your cousin and a bottle of whiskey, you might need a copy of Medicine County.
7. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs Recently I woke up from a dream wherein a seven foot giant was raping my earholes. You can imagine my horror, but even more shocking was the fact that I let it continue. It turns out that the behemoth with an ear fetish was Win Butler of The Arcade Fire. I guess once the press dropped the lazy Springsteen comparisons, Butler became much more interesting and listenable. If you would have asked me a year ago the odds of me including The Arcade Fire in a “best of” list, I would say that there would be a better chance of finding Katy Perry literate.
8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal First things first… No this disc is not an outtake reel of Tron queefs. Sometimes when a band is trying to break the tethers of your mind and send you out past the edges of perception it just sounds like hot air channeled through a robot. Kind of like watching Altered States with the vertical hold on your television set to homeless shelter.
9. Das Racist – Sit Down, Man Seriously, who would have thought that an Indian/Hispanic trio would make not only one of the best rap albums of the year, but the hottest interracial action since Mr. Horton tried to break Dudley off on Diff’rent Strokes.
10. Xiu Xiu – Dear God I Hate Myself If there is any lesson to be learned from Xiu Xiu’s 2010 release it is clearly the fact that Jamie Stewart hates himself but loves “cute pee-pees”. Quite possibly the gayest album to feature prominent banjos.
Best “Country” discs of 2010 – that were not Jamey Johnson’s great, but ridiculously overrated “The Guitar Song”. I guess country music has set the bar so low for so long, that a bloated double disc set might seem like the second coming of Kris Kristofferson.
Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) The perfect placeholder until the new Hayes Carll disc KMAG YOYO comes out in February.
Reckless Kelly – Somewhere In Time Nothing out of the ordinary here, just straight ahead heartbreakers and chug-a-longs from the long underrated Austin journeymen.
Leroy Powell & the Messengers – Atlantis If they were to refilm that movie Fantastic Voyage, but in this version the crew is shrunken and spend a week inside of Johnny Paycheck’s liver, this could be the soundtrack.
Gary Allan – Get Off On the Pain Easily the best commercial country disc of the year.
Whitey Morgan & the ‘78s – Self Titled The disc that Jamey Johnson’s “The Guitar Song” could have been if it were shorter and aged in a whiskey barrel.