By Julian De Ocampo ’13 & Josh Galvin ’13
This is the sound of the new decade.
As we celebrate our departure from the first 10 years of the new millennium, we are greeted by a number of new artists, as well as fresh albums from old favorites.
Although 2010 produced a plethora of wonderful music, we’ve decided to whittle this year’s music releases into five albums that we believe stood out the most.
Josh’s Top Picks
Gorillaz: “Plastic Beach” (March 3)
For the majority of those who haven’t heard of the Gorillaz before, it would be easy to dismiss them upon first listen as a bizarre cartoon band with creepy comic characters as members.
While they are all this—and more—this is simply part of their undeniable intrigue, and this eccentricity is reflected on their latest album, “Plastic Beach.”
What makes this album stand out is its surprising diversity.
One moment the listener is being blasted by the catchy synth intro to “Stylo,” while the next the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music sets the tone for an exotic alternative track in “White Flag.”
Gorillaz have had successes in the past (e.g. 2005’s “Demon Days”), but with the release of this new album it is clear the group has stepped out of the traditional borders of today’s musical realm to trek in unfamiliar waters—and quite triumphantly.
Angels and Airwaves: “Love” (Feb. 12)
I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be in space.
While this is something most (including me) will never experience, closing my eyes and listening to the supergroup Angels and Airwaves’ newest album
“Love” is definitely the next best thing. The deep reflective sound of “Love” creates an unrivaled atmosphere of marvel.
The listener cannot help but picture a serene, extraterrestrial scene of a revolving planet, slowly and endlessly turning.
The album is a far cry from the band members’ former projects of Blink-182 (singer Tom DeLonge) and 30 Seconds From Mars (bassist Matt Wachter).
This album—as well as the next—serves as an excellent example that popular music isn’t always the best music.
Arcade Fire: “The Suburbs” (Aug. 2)
It doesn’t often occur, but sometimes there are albums released that capture human emotion so accurately and eloquently that they cement themselves as cult classics almost instantly.
It is safe to say “The Suburbs,” indie band Arcade Fire’s third release, is such an album.
It’s an unexpected rush of adrenaline, emanating nostalgia and radiating ingenuity.
The album’s magic lies in its straightforward portrayal of typical suburban life and undertones of pragmatic social commentary.
Every track on the album feels like a portal into the most pivotal experiences in life.
When one begins to possess a sense of identity, and when one learns of true love and fellowship, when one finds oneself for the first time.
The band’s profound message is expressed effortlessly, making “The Suburbs” one of the best albums of 2010.
Julian’s Top Picks
She & Him: “Volume Two” (March 23)
The hardest part of any creative process is treading the thin line between depth and cliché.
On “Volume Two,” the folk duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward go for broke and make a mad dash into the cliché. It makes the album all the better.
Deschanel’s lyrics boil down the most basic human emotions into one of the most easily lovable albums of the year. “Volume Two” is never pretentious; throwing aside any sort of mystery for universal mantras such as, “We all get the slips sometime every day” on the cheery “In The Sun.”
When the innocently optimistic lyrics meet Deschanel’s retro styling, it’s difficult to find something in “Volume Two” to hate.
The Drums: “The Drums” (June 7)
The main problem I have with the Beach Boys is that they are always so sunny.
While The Drums owe more than a few vocal harmonies to the 60’s pop sensation, they are far less cheerful.
The Drums are the punk Beach Boys, mixing in doo-wah vocal lines with steady guitar plucks while Jonathan Pierce sings about dead best friends and belts out hooks about going surfing.
“You know what’s wrong/and you know what’s right,” Pierce sings as the album closes out on “The Future.”
He knows what he’s talking about; The Drums just feel right.