The Year in Review: Best albums of 2010
Friday 24 December 2010
The Courage of Others, Midlake
My most-played album of the year was Midlake's gorgeous paean to solitude, rusticity and the ways of the past. Soaring harmonies, ringing guitars and haunting flutes combined to evoke the sombre mood of Tarkovsky's film about Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev.
Band of Joy, Robert Plant
Another tribute to the old ways, Robert Plant's Band of Joy was suffused with the spirits of Appalachian mountain music, early rock'n'roll, delta blues and British folk traditions, ingeniously blended with the drone/trance influences which link Plant's beloved North African desert-blues with the indie-rock of Mormon trio Low.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
As overblown as his ego, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was a complex epic which found Kanye confronting his character deficiencies and celebrating his demons in some of the most flamboyantly fanciful, rococo arrangements ever attempted in hip-hop.
The Archandroid, Janelle Monae
Listening to The Archandroid was an extraordinary experience, with each track seeming to take off in a different direction, as Janelle Monae's sci-fi fantasy spread across the entire range of musical endeavour, from R&B through psychedelia, glam-rock, jazz and folk, with a few classical arrangements thrown in for good measure. An amazing talent.
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Less paranoid than its predecessors, The Suburbs found the band reflecting upon their adolescent dreams, and how those dreams were directed by the suburban sprawl in which they grew up – just one of several ways in which they emulate their intellectual rock forebears Talking Heads.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits back at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
The Apprentice 2014: Nurun Ahmed and Lindsay Booth fired in double elimination
MOBO Awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with double elimination
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters