Our Critics' Year-End Top Tens: Music Editor Pete Freedman Finds Plenty Beautiful About Kanye West's Dark Twisted Family
Music editor Pete Freedman picks a pop album masquerading as a hip-hop album as his best of 2010.
10. Crystal Castles -- Crystal Castles II
9. Delorean -- Subiza
8. Vampire Weekend -- Contra
7. Gorillaz -- Plastic Beach
6. Sleigh Bells -- Treats
Whether you hate or love Sleigh Bells' aesthetic of blown-out guitars, machine-gun percussion and infectious hooks, there's no denying the fact that in 2010 they created an aesthetic that could safely be called their own. In this age of rehashed sounds, that's a production feat worth celebrating.
5. The Black Keys -- Brothers
4. Arcade Fire -- The Suburbs
3. Titus Andronicus -- The Monitor
Finding an analogy between the Civil War and one's breakup with an ex may seem excessive, but in Titus Andronicus mastermind Patrick Stickles' case, it provided inspiration for the best concept album of the year. Flippant, angry and almost overly dramatic, this collection of pop-indebted punk isn't afraid of grandiosity, and it reaps the benefits.
2. LCD Soundsystem -- This Is Happening
1. Kanye West -- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Despite having long been embraced by the purveyors of pop, hip-hop has almost without fail resisted reciprocation. Odd, then, that a disc as self-aware as this one would be the one to buck the trend and embrace the inevitable transition. Self-deprecation has never sounded less pitiful.