I had quite the year. I began to write a short blurb about it to post here, but it basically turned into a 3000-word essay. I've grown up a lot and I've learned a lot, but mainly just realized that I don't really know what I want to do in the future. Here's to hard work and paving the way in 2011. Oh, a very necessary thing to include: I owe a lot to this website and to Jason for bringing me on as staff. I absolutely love what I do here and hope to do it for a long time. With that said....
Top Albums of 2010
1. The Wonder Years - The Upsides
If I tried to describe this album to someone who had never heard it, I wouldn't be able to. Because I have listened to The Upsides so much, because I have expressed my gratitude for this record so many times, because I have grown close with the band that wrote it, because I have basically shoved it down the throats of everyone I know since it leaked this time last year...I have nothing else to say about The Wonder Years' realist pop-punk opus. It's pop punk the way that it should be done, and the way that only this band can do it. This album is the reason I'm a journalism major, it's the reason I work for AbsolutePunk, it's the reason why I have trouble finding redeemable qualities in most of the women I meet, it's the reason for my happiness and my despair. Whether I need a pick-me-up song or a song to listen to when I'm sad or a song to listen to when I'm angry or a song to listen to just to listen to music, it's here. It's the most essential album for a college student since the last most essential album, whatever that was. If you listen to anything on this silly list, listen to this. It changed my life at a time where I needed a change more than anything, and I think it has the power to do that for anyone who is open to it.
2. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
This band entered my stratosphere this year. The stratosphere where Bruce Springsteen and Brand New and Manchester Orchestra live. I think The Gaslight Anthem are doing rock and roll better than any modern band right now, and they've earned the right to be mentioned with the most talented groups in our scene. Brian Fallon is every bit as captivating a frontman as Jesse Lacey or Andy Hull, and that's a very short list to be on. American Slang is a short record, but every single bit is entertaining. There are no mistakes on this album.
3. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
This record was at my #1 spot until December 1st, when I revised this list for the first time since August. Think about is Bruce Springsteen had a long-lost younger cousin who grew up in a worse neighborhood and listened to a lot of punk rock, then went to Asbury Park and saw The Boss play a set with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Then he went home and wrote The Monitor. Excellent dirty rock and roll, with more emotion than almost anything to come out this year. This band had something to say, and boy, did they say it.
4. AM Taxi - We Don't Stand A Chance
The third rock and roll album in a row on this list. We Don't Stand A Chance is the more radio-friendly version of Gaslight's American Slang. Tracks like "The Mistake" and "Fed Up" would have topped the charts in yesteryear, while others like "Maydays and Rosaries" and the New Years-appropriate "Champagne Toast" make this record an unstoppable force. Seriously, it's one of the catchiest records on my list and I don't know anyone who has listened to it and cast it aside.
5. The Graduate - Only Every Time
The Graduate outdid themselves here. With a forceful, emotional, driving punch, Only Every Time sticks with you like almost nothing else. I keep thinking that having this at #5 is too low, but this year was just too good. Every song is worthwhile, and the top tracks are basically untouchable. It's an airy, almost spacey record, but the production keeps it edgy and on the rocking side. The Graduate is a band you are going to want to know in the future...this album is their first application to join my aforementioned stratosphere of the best bands in our scene.
6. Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?
Oh boy, if you told me last New Year's that Hellogoodbye was going to put out a top ten record, I would have laughed right in your face. Would It Kill You? is an example of pure indie pop perfection...done better than any band since The Format released Dog Problems.
7. Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World
Talk about living up to expectations. My hopes for the next Four Year Strong full length were probably unfair, but Enemy of the World matched Rise Or Die Trying and then some. I'll stop short of calling it a better record than its predecessor, but I stand by the claim I made in my review: this album has the best gang vocals that have ever been recorded.
8. Foxy Shazam - Foxy Shazam The first time I listened to Foxy Shazam's self-titled, my jaw literally dropped. It's something that I won't ever forget. The night that I became a staff member on this website, I was having trouble sleeping so I popped in my earphones and listened to this record, which I had downloaded like a month prior but hadn't yet heard. The introduction with the dogs and Eric Nally's insane scream made my jaw physically drop as I lay awake in bed. I didn't fall asleep until the record had played out, a mixture of Queen and Meat Loaf and something hipster-ish, and I don't think I listened to anything else all of April.
9. Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life One of the best records of the first half of the year. My Dinosaur Life sort of lost its grasp on me during the summer, but made a fall/winter comeback and made me remember how strong I felt about it. Justin Pierre lets us into his past more than ever and it makes for a crazy, instantly lovable ride through their smart pop punk sound.
10. The Narrative - The Narrative Without a doubt the best album released by an unsigned band this year. Suzie Zeldin's vocals are are charming as any you've ever heard, and the three-piece group penned an intelligent pop rock debut full length. If you buy anything from my list, it might as well be this. These folks are hard-working and deserve your dollar...plus, you won't be disappointed.
11. Marianas Trench - Masterpiece Theatre
My heart almost hurts to have this outside of the top ten. Curse you, 2010. This album is indeed a masterpiece...sugary-poppy pop rock done right. These guys are huge in Canada, and should be big in the states soon.
12. Valencia - Dancing With A Ghost
Valencia not only matured with this record, but opened themselves up to a whole new realm of possibilities. They aren't just a pop punk band anymore, and only time will tell what great things this band goes on to accomplish.
14. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Quite possibly my favorite hip hop record of all time. It's catchy, it's clever, and even its bad songs are things that I can put up with. The entire tracklisting after "Runaway" is weak, though, and that's what kept it out of the top ten.
16. Man Overboard - Real Talk
This record was the theme music to a long summer of being a delivery driver at a Chinese restaurant. And that's what it is, a summer album. Man Overboard are making strides, and they're long ones.
20. PM Today - In Medias Res
Such a cool sound on this album. If it came out a little later in the year, it would be higher on this list. Best thing that Rise Records put out all year.
21. Carpenter - Sea to Sky
22. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
23. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
24. Chiodos - Illuminaudio
25. Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
26. River City Extension - The Unmistakable Man
27. Mercy Mercedes - Believe It
28. Transit - Keep This To Yourself
29. Fake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught On Tape
30. Lakes - The Agreement
31. Cary Brothers - Under Control
32. Senses Fail - The Fire
33. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
34. Good Old War - Good Old War
35. The Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits
36. A Day to Remember - What Separates Me From You
37. Steel Train - Steel Train
38. The Forecast - The Forecast
39. Envy on the Coast - Lowcountry
40. Fair - Disappearing World
41. Jimmy Eat World - Invented
42. Terrible Things - Terrible Things
43. Punchline - Delightfully Pleased
44. You, Me, And Everyone We Know - Some Things Don't Wash Out
45. Washington Square Park - Washington Square Park
46. Eminem - Recovery
47. The Spacepimps - Stuck Here Forever
48. Anberlin - Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
49. Coheed and Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow
50. Vampire Weekend - Contra
Best EPs/Splits of 2010
1. Frank Turner - Rock & RollEP
2. Balance & Composure/Tigers Jaw - Split
3. Captain, We're Sinking - It's A Trap!EP
4. Bright & Early - Louder Than Words EP
5. Koji - Some Small Way EP
6. Into It. Over It./Koji - IIOI/KOJI Split
7. I Call Fives - Bad Advice EP
8. Fireworks - Bonfires EP
9. Stay Ahead of the Weather - We Better Get Going If We're Gonna EP
10. Safety Word Orange - On Your Mark. Get Set. EP
Most Anticipated for 2011
1. The Wonder Years
Yes, that is a tie. Go Hopeless Records!
3. Manchester Orchestra
4. Brand New plz
5. Frank Turner
7. The Swellers
8. Blink-182...I have an awful sinking feeling about this record.
9. Set Your Goals
10. New Found Glory
10 and a half. Rise Against
Best Record Labels
1. Hopeless Records
They are pushing all the right buttons and they've got the right staff to do it. They're getting bigger (the size of their roster) and will soon have the reputation and standing to match. With full length releases by All Time Low, The Wonder Years, Yellowcard, Silverstein, and The Dangerous Summer already confirmed for 2011, they're going to attract as much attention as any other indie label out there.
2. Run for Cover Records/No Sleep Records
In that order. Jeff at RFC and Chris at No Sleep both have an uncanny tendency for finding truly burgeoning talent. As that talent moves on and gets signed away to other labels, these guys continue to assemble a phenomenal roster of bands. Run For Cover took a bit of a hit at the end of the year but for most of 2010 had the most talent out of any label out there.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. They know what they're doing.
Best Movies of 2010
Never thought I'd make a list for this but it has become essential.
1. The Social Network
If you don't agree with me, maybe you just don't use the Internet enough. Or maybe you don't like Jesse Eisenberg, but that's impossible.
Am I really even writing this list?
3. The Black Swan
I saw this last week and was immediately tempted to put it at number one, but I want to see it again. The music in this movie is out of this world. The psychology in the film is unbelievable. Left me completely drained by the end. This is the type of movie that could go down in my favorites of all time...while a movie like Inception is one that I can recognize for being fantastic but won't be in my own cult classics.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Most fun I've ever had watching a movie. Without a girlfriend.
5. Toy Story 3
How did I forget to put this on my list at first? I was like, oh well, I'll have to leave it at four movies. But no, this movie almost made me cry.
Really Really Bad Stuff
Bring Me the Horizon, Blood On The Dancefloor, I See Stars, the Underoath record, hotel Internet connection, the disappointment I felt when I heard The Damned Things record in full, Fall Out Boy breaking up (I wasn't a fan but golly are they an important band), the fact that there is no Blink-182 record, the fact that I missed the Blink-182 tour, Nicki Minaj's songs but not her guest verses, MTV, The Maine, the fact that AltPress gave The Maine's record four stars, oh my god how did I not put Attack Attack! first on this list, Bullet for My Valentine, the fact that Reuters wrote an article that described A Day to Remember as "rock n roll", and lastly people who make awful, awful mixtapes.
Really Really Awesome Stuff
Everything I get to do for this website, all the stuff I get from this website <3, all the people I met who work for this website, all the people I met doing work for this website, seeing bands live especially The Wonder Years and Man Overboard both of whom I saw a ton this year, THE FEST, Tony at No Idea Records for putting on THE FEST, Gainesville, the Florida Gators, The Gaslight Anthem for making rock and roll important again, making good decisions, not regretting your bad decisions.
Really like the explanation for the upsides. That record means so much to me and I feel exactly the same way. I don't even care that tigers jaw, transit and man overboard are so low just as long as TWY has the top spot this is a great list. And gaslight in second is also great!