Monday, December 6, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: moazzam23

Although I don't think he's joined the staff yet, moazzam23 gets his list in today. Let it be known that I do not share his sentiments with Metal Machine Music.

Balkan Beat Box - Blue Eyed Black Boy

BBB's music can best be described as Israeli-Palestinian-Gypsy. On this album they've got a message - anti-gun and anti-racism songs are a-plenty. Their trademark horns - live and recorded - are in full swing. BBB have a freewheeling feel to their music which a lot of other world musicians can't capture. I don't know how they do it, but by combining Balkan and gypsy music with Reggae, Rock and Hip-Hop they've made one of the best dance albums of 2010.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Arcade Fire certainly do not like to repeat themselves. They've replaced their anthemic crescendos for more space to just wander around in. The two songs that are the best examples of their fondness for change are Month of May and Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). One is a straight-up punk rock song with amped-up church organs and the other goes into electro territory, with the mirrorball sound bringing out the best in Regine Chassagne.

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot

I thought this would be good stuff to listen to while waiting for the Outkast comeback, but it turns out Lucious Left Foot is a main event itself. His rhymes are at their best, but where you would expect Andre 3000 to come in and pick up the slack - the beats department - Big Boi, who co-produces most of them, dishes out as much variety as you could expect on any Outkast record.

Neil Young - Le Noise

Neil Young continues his tradition of following nobody's rules on Le Noise. It's just him, a guitar and producer Daniel Lanois. The result is a stripped-down distorted sound that isn't all that epic, but it also doesn't have to be. A lot of people get turned off by the spontaneous approach he has to his music nowadays, but I feel that that's where the ragged quality of his recent albums lay, and Le Noise is the best example.

Nas and Damian Marley - Distant Relatives

One of the best collaborations of the year and also one of the best political albums of the year. It's the melody of reggae meeting the "real hip-hop" that Nas champions. Both these guys love to wax poetic about the wisdom of the ancients and they have the skills to do it. Nasir Jones is as great of a critique as he's ever been, and contributions by K'Naan and Stevie Wonder make the album all the better.

The Roots - How I Got Over

The Roots are a very forward-thinking band, but they still retain a 90's hip-hop feel on How I got Over. There are some good contributions from Dirty Projectors and Joanna Newsom, but The Roots steal the show themselves. Black Thought shows he's every bit as politically aware as Nas. The album has a sobering feel that's appropriate for these times.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I like to think of Fantasy as a concept album - about fame, porn and the walking contradiction that is Kanye West. Can't really say anything about the production and sampling that hasn't already been said. College Droupout was his introvert album, Late Registration was the well-rounded one, Graduation was a celebration and 808's was the one that always got picked on. Now Fantasy can take it's place in the center of all his work and compliment their strengths.

Sleigh Bells - Treats

From Wikipedia: As a radical departure from the rest of Reed's catalog, Metal Machine Music is generally considered to be either a joke, a grudging fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or an early example of noise music. The album features no songs or even recognizably structured compositions, eschewing melody and rhythm for an hour of over-modulated feedback and guitar effects, intricately mixed at varying speeds by Reed himself. In the album's liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal music and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre. The album made Reed a laughing stock in the rock industry while simultaneously opening the door for his later, more experimental material. Historically, Metal Machine Music is now considered a seminal forerunner of industrial music, noise rock, and contemporary sound art.

That album was shit. Now 35 years later Sleigh Bells debut with an album that's almost as rakish as MMM, but easy to dance to. I don't know how that works, but it does.

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

One of my personal favorite bands from the last 10 years and for my money the most splendidly unique. Having already incorporated Arabian, Reggae and Dub into their brand of Gypsy Punk, in Trans-Continental Hustle they also throw Brazilian folk-music into the cocktail. The emphasis on this album isn't so much on the raucous crew mentality that make them an awesome live band, but rather on Eugene Hutz' songwriting. So lyrically it's on another level but the simple and fun Gogol Bordello formula is still there.

M.I.A. - MAYA

As a fan of M.I.A's, I feel the need to defend this album, so I re-listened to it, accepted it for what it is and learned to appreciate it. The beats may take some getting used to and there are still some lyrics that draw a grimace from me, but now I've started to love the beats and notice that the opinionated lyrics that made me love Kala in the first place are still intact in MAYA. Everybody who has this album and liked Kala and Arular owe it to themselves to replay MAYA a few times.

6 comments:

  1. thank based god that no one noticed I had his name wrong at first

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  2. Terrible things could have happened.

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  3. Let me guess, you forgot the a.

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  4. way to pick one of the worst bombs/failures of 2010 as your #1. Edgy.

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