Albums of 2010: 40-21

40. She & Him – Volume Two

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s second collection of cutesy, retro pop songs.

39. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night

Epic rock composed from tense guitar feedback, thumping drums and falsetto vocals.

38. Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen – For the Ghosts Within

Oddball jazz standards and self-covers from Robert Wyatt and distinguished friends.

37. Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’

Unpretentious bedroom twee on the half-Aussie, half-English quartet’s debut.

 

36. Yeasayer – Odd Blood

The Brooklyn trio cherry-pick noises from all over, for their electro-psychedelic second.

35. Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights

His restraint never wavers, but this shows off Antony Hegarty at his most diverse.

34. James Blake – The Bells Sketch EP; CMYK EP; Klavierwerke EP

A surprisingly intimate trio of EPs have made Blake next year’s great electronic hope.

33. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The Montreal collective remain serious and grand, evoking Springsteen on their latest.

32. Robyn – Body Talk

Mostly released in EP form earlier, this is chart pop with heart and a sense of humour.

31. The Phantom Band – The Wants

The Scotsmen revisit the experimental soul of The Beta Band, mixing disparate styles.

30. Peter Broderick – How They Are

His short set of neoclassical pieces and sparse folk songs uses the simplest instrumentation.

29. Grinderman – Grinderman 2

Second time round, Nick Cave’s dirty side project offers more entertainingly sordid rants.

28. Everything Everything – Man Alive

Jerking between ideas, the quartet’s frenetic, fun debut is an obvious product of its time.

27. Eels – Tomorrow Morning

To close a trilogy, E returns to optimistic form with his most pleasing pop songs in years.

26. Caribou – Swim

Highly detailed compositions make Swim one of the coolest electronic albums of the year.

25. Olan Mill – Pine

A short, stunning mixture of acoustic and electronic, reminiscent of Kid A’s ambient closer.


24. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

Post-punk and vintage electro soundtrack Murphy’s latest set of arch monologues.

23. Field Music – Field Music (Measure)

Closely measured performances abound in an set of succinct, often cerebral, rock songs.

22. Ólöf Arnalds – Innundir Skinni

Rustic but fanciful folksongs and a duet with Björk on Iceland’s album of the year.

21. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

His latest comeback is overwhelmingly tasteless, egocentric and very, very catchy.

***

Albums selected from this longlist.

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