"My list, this be it" - Tweedsmatic
10. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II
The first Crystal Castles' s/t album packed a lot of punch and had a crazy intensity to it matched only by the antics of singer Alice Glass. The second feels a lot more complete, with smoother sampling and more interesting beats, while still maintaining that edge that made them. Glass' uses a more broader vocal range than just the shouting and screaming on the first album, which really works on songs like 'Celestica' and 'Empathy'. A bit of a grower, it's as much a growth for the artist as it is the listener.
9. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
People have always said that Andre 3000 is the strong point behind Outkast. Better flow, more interesting rhymes, just a better rapper in general. So how does Big Boi respond? Firstly by having the better half of their double-album, then by releasing a solo album that can arguably compete with any of Outkast's best work. His rhymes and wordplay are beastly and the production is tight. It's just a really fun album to listen to.
8. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
If this album had turned out to be anything less than what it is, quite a few fans probably would've been disappointed. To jump from shoegaze-oriented rock to folky pop music needed some good songwriting and a sense of familiarity, which is what Halcyon Digest has. The album still sounds like Deerhunter, which is certainly a part of its success. It's emotional, it's varied, and it seems to get better as it goes on. The final song is one of probably one of the greatest tribute songs you'll ever hear.
7. Beach House - Teen Dream
I tried about 4 times to review this album for LPC, but could never get it properly into words. Teen Dream really is dream pop. It's simple, pop music with a nice, dreamy feel. It has beautiful vocal harmonies and great echoing instruments. Teen Dream is one of those albums that fits a cliche'd situation, like a sunny spring day or a walk in the park (spoilers: That's the name of a song on the album).
6. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
I'm just gonna say it straight up - This Is Happening is better than Sound Of Silver. Sure, SoS will probably have a more cemented legacy on hipster history, but This Is Happening is just, well, better. It feels more like a post-record jam (with their first album being the extended warm-up and SoS being the production stage). Of the 3 albums, This Is Happening feels like the one that takes itself the least serious, which has always been one of the strong points behind Murphy's music. And like its predecessors, it's a great album to dance to.
5. The National - High Violet
The National just keep getting better. Not only have they developed their own recognizable sound, but they seem to improve on it with every album. Their music has that emotional feel to it which makes it believable, the kind of feel you get with bands like Arcade Fire and Belle & Sebastian. High Violet produced songs that will inevitably become fan favorites for years to come, such as 'Terrible Love', 'Afraid of Everyone' and 'England'. High Violet is their strongest, most convincing album yet, It's no wonder Obama pre-ordered it.
4. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
There's not a whole lot I can say about MBDTF that hasn't already been said. No, I don't think it's his best album. In fact, ranking his 5 albums from best to worst, I'd place it bang-smack in the middle. But that takes nothing away from MBDTF. It is an incredibly consistent and memorable album, which for its size is impressive. Not a single song sounds the same. Kanye's rapping is generally good and at times surprisingly great. Some of the quests (Pusha T in particular) destroy it. The production is typical Yeezy brilliance. The amount of memorable rhymes and lyrics is staggering. MBDTF isn't the comeback or return to form it was originally hyped to be, it's just Yeezy reminding us he never left in the first place.
3. The Roots - How I got Over
Edging out Kanye for my top hip-hop album of the year is The Roots. You'd be hard-pressed to find two albums so different to each-other within the same genre. Where MBDTF is this grandiose display of personal feelings with too many different sounds and samples to list, How I Got Over is this raw, jam-like collaboration of a band that's stronger and more unified than ever and they're telling the world how they feel about it in more ways than one. Every guest is tight and plays their part as convincingly as possible. I love an album with seamless transition between songs. With How I Got Over, it adds an entirely new flow dynamic to it.
2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Looking back on my review of The Suburbs, I wonder how much the hype got to me. I mean, it's a very long, repetitive album. There's undeniable filler. There are weak songs here and there. Then I realize, I don't care. I love the filler. I love the length. I love the repetition. For a first attempt at a concept album The Suburbs is very impressive. It's big leap from their anthemic, larger-than-life sound to a more concise and structured album. Arcade Fire weren't aiming to make another 'Wake Up' or 'No Cars Go' this time around, they were aiming to make an album. A properly themed and structured album. And I'll be damned if they didn't succeed.
1. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
It's no mystery to BSS fans that Forgiveness Rock Record is probably their weakest LP to date. For some fans, it's too different. For others, it's too tight and controlled in comparison to the clusterfuck of awesomeness that defined their sound in their second and third albums. But in a year's time these issues will be insignificant. Forgiveness Rock Record has grown on me like few albums ever have (only one that comes straight to mind is In the Aeroplane Over the Sea). A lot of BSS fans say that starts off weak, then picks up from tracks 5-12 and finishes even weaker. But I completely disagree. 'World Sick' is an amazing opener, 'Chase Scene' is very unique, 'Texico Bitches' is catchy and 'Forced to Love' is even catchier. 'Water In hell' my least favorite track on the album, is still a very nice song, and 'Me and My Hand' is a hilariously (somewhat sadly relatable) charming closer. With its chart success being undoubtedly helped by its accessibility, Forgiveness Rock Record serves a purpose to the fans aswell. It's a reminder of the band's diversity. It's a reminder that their last album wasn't an immediate favorite either. Most importantly, it's a reminder that they're fantastic.