Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ten for 2010: The Best Music of the Year

As the year winds down, I'd like to add my top 10 list to the pile of so many lists that we, in the media, love to prepare. It gives us the opportunity to distinguish good work and remind loyal readerslike youof some high quality art. In my case: music.

First, a word about how I created this list: Music is my religion. I judge it based on the following criteria: interpretation, sound quality, and the element of surprise, focus and the producer. What follows is a list of ten albums for 2010 that distinguished themselves. All of them have been reviewed in Critics At Large. (Click on the album title to read the full review.)

1) Band of Joy by Robert Plant
Plant, like many of his contemporaries now in their 60s, is pursuing an artistic course with nothing to prove. As a result, this album is truly a “joy” to hear.


2) Tin Can Trust by Los Lobos 
Released last June, this album reminds us that the so-called "bail out" in the United States missed a few people.

3) Ten by Jason Moran
Fresh, experimental, risky yet accessible: everything you want in a jazz record.


4) Pot Calls Kettle Black by Small Sins
Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene stole most of the headlines in Canadian music this year. But this record has everything you want in pop music: hooks, harmony and hints of genius.

5) Le Noise by Neil Young
Daniel Lanois should get second billing on this outstanding record that gets Young back in touch with his muse.

6) No Better Than This by John Mellencamp
Recorded at Sun Studios for most of the tracks, this inspired recording puts Mellencamp in the same league as Dylan and Springsteen.


7) Jasmine by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden
Two of the finest musicians in jazz check their egos at the door and create one of the most beautiful albums this year.


8) Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant
Five years in the making and worth every day Merchant put into writing music for existing children's poetry; remarkable.


9) Yesterday You Said Tomorrow by Christian Scott
Free of pretense with musical reminders of what has passed and where jazz could go.


10) Pathways by the Dave Holland Octet
Holland continues to grow as an artist with every album he releases. This one stands out for its originality and the quality of the ensemble.


Re-issue of the year: The Mono Recordings by Bob Dylan
Dylan's first 8 records on Columbia, released as a CD or Vinyl Box Set.


-- John Corcelli is a musician, actor, broadcaster and theatre director.

1 comment:

  1. Nice list - a couple of surprises!

    I am amazed that you were able to get each of the reviews down to a tiny blurb!