2010 was an amazing year for indie music, with albums by The National, Beach House, Gorillaz and more.
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Each Arcade Fire fan has a favourite album, but every one of them love The Suburbs. It’s the kind of opus that gives you nostalgia about places you’ve never been to. The eponym track is a classic, but you will find other gems: the shoegazy ‘Empty Room’, the intense ‘Ready to Start’, or the best Regine song, ‘Sprawl II’. The short movie “Scenes From The Suburbs” is also a must-watch, in these dystopian times. The Suburbs won the album of the year award at the Grammy’s the next year, against industry mastodon Eminem and Lady Gaga.
This is Happening – LCD Soundsystem
Sometimes, a song can make an album, and not in a bad way. ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ is a masterpiece that sets the rhytm for LCD Soundsystem‘s This is Happening. ‘All I Want’, ‘You Wanted a Hit’… all the way to the amazing ‘Home’ make the whole album memorable. James Murphy and the New York band became even bigger indie legends with this opus.
Teen Dream – Beach House
Oh Beach House… everyone’s favorite band. They can’t do wrong, really. But they outdid themselves with Teen Dream. ‘Walk in the Park’ is a song you can cry to. ‘Used to Be’ ends with an amazing piano that goes off-beat for no reason, but for all the reasons. ‘Norway’ shows us the extent of Victoria’s incredible voice. ‘Real Love’, ‘Take Care’… Oh Beach House!
High Violet – The National
High Violet has the most recognizable The National song -probably: ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’. Matt Berninger’s deep voice, the drums, the inexplicable feeling that it’s an amazing yet simple song (a bit like ‘The Suburbs’ by Arcade Fire)… There is no a standout hit on the album, which is best listened to in full. Collaborators include Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon and Richard Reed Parry.
Contra – Vampire Weekend
There is always pressure for the release of a sophomore album. Vampire Weekend did it with brio. Contra showcases the immense talent of the band, but most of all we appreciate the beauty of Ezra Kroenig’s voice. There is no “hit” like ‘A-Punk’, but maybe it’s for the best.
Brothers – The Black Keys
Brothers has one of the most simple album cover. It is also a very, very good opus with hits like ‘Tighten Up’. The Black Keys are also hopeless romantics, with songs like ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and ‘Too Afraid to Love’.
Plastic Beach – Gorillaz
Damon Albarn is an amazing musician, human and a hit-machine. ‘Rhinestone Eyes’, ‘Stylo’, ‘Empire Ants’ and the timeless ‘On Melancholy Hills’. Five years after Demon Days, Gorillaz shows that they’re here to stay and headline the biggest festivals.
Congratulations – MGMT
It was hard to follow-up Oracular Spectacular with the hits that are ‘Kids’ and ‘Time to Pretend’. MGMT did it, with Congratulations. Exploring new, more psychedelic sounds. No big hit but an overall great album, which saw the band take more confidence and evolve into their sound. Also, Congratulations was an amazing step-up during their concerts.
Total Life Forever – Foals
Total Life Forever cemented the status of Foals after Antidotes. The latter had festival classics like ‘Cassius’ and ‘Two Steps Twice’, but Total Life Forever has something that no other album, nay, no other band has: ‘Spanish Sahara’. The song is amazing yet doen’t overshadow the rest of the LP.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
The last one of the list isn’t indie in the definition of the 9 others, but in a way it is. If you liked the rest of the list, you would probably like this one. A masterpiece by Kanye West, whose character is controversial but music is not. If you want a taste, try ‘Devil in a New Dress’, then plunge into the whole LP.