2010: Top 10

by Mark Millan


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10.  Willie Nelson - Country Music

Country Music finds the great Willie Nelson still at the top of his game, weaving his way through these starkly beautiful tracks.

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9.  Phil Collins - Going Back

I still can’t quite get over just how good this thing turned out.  This disc contains some of the most vibrant and uplifting music I have heard all year.
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8.  Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Just read Melanie Love’s glowing review of this one, which pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about this album; I’d rate it even higher, which still irks me, because the less said about its maker, the better.
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7.  Crowded House - Intriguer

Easily the best Australian release of 2010, Crowded House returned to form in the most stunning way with this brilliant, heartfelt, and thought-provoking album.
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6.  Drake - Thank Me Later

It’s a shame I didn’t get around to reviewing this one because it thoroughly deserves its place here in my favorite selections of 2010.  I spent most of the year waiting for the new Nelly and Ne-Yo releases only to be disappointed with them both.  Drake’s debut LP though quickly filled the void with some of the smoothest (“Light Up”) and most captivating (“The Resistance”) R&B grooves I came across this year.
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5.  Elvis Costello - National Ransom

Another superb record that I have yet found time to review.  Elvis Costello rarely repeats himself and at times that is probably his downfall, but more often than not, he comes up with the goods in the studio, and this year’s National Ransom is easily one of his best.  From the edgy title track that opens the album to the subtle swing of its closer (“A Voice In The Dark”), EC never loses his cool or strays from the course throughout this sprawling 16-track set.  Simply brilliant, this one is.

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4.  Robert Plant -
Band Of Joy
Nope, didn’t get around to this one either but I still plan to.  Along with one of the most underrated guitarists around today (Buddy Miller) Robert Plant casually dropped what could very well be his finest solo album to date.  His ethereal charm and soulful voice are in perfect harmony with both the material and the players (Miller features on every track) on this magnificent record.  Never before has he sounded more at ease and carefree as he does throughout this sonically laidback affair.  “House Of Cards,” “Central Two-O-Nine,” and “Monkey” are just a few reasons why any fan of Led Zep or Plant’s solo works should own this superb album.
 
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3.  Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone

Jeff Tweedy from Wilco produced this glorious follow-up to Staples’ stellar 2007 release, We’ll Never Turn Back.  Mavis covered some family classics like “Don’t Knock” and “Downward Road,” which, thanks to Tweedy’s deft production, sound as raw and relevant as the new material on offer here.  Tweedy’s own “You Are Not Alone” and a vital cover of John Forgery’s “Wrote A Song For Everyone” help to keep this album focused on the message of love and compassion for the human kind.  As for Mavis Staples, she has rarely sounded better or more determined than she does here.
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2.  Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Mojo

Tom Petty’s first Heartbreakers’ release in eight years was definitely worth the wait.     
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1.  Tom Jones - Praise And Blame
A stripped-back raw album of gospel, soul and traditional songs that Jones gets into in a way he never has before.  His most committed, passionate, and soulful album ever.  If ever a singer was “in the zone,” it’s TJ right about now.



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