There is no cultural relevance to be found in my list of favorite 2010 albums.


In terms of music, I’ll remember 2010 as the year of my overdue, yet grateful passage into Old Fartdom.

I’m outdated, I no longer matter, and I don’t care at all. So there.

Granted, contemporary relevance in music long has been slipping from my grasp, and in 2010, I let it go without any noticeable regrets. Now, having arrived at the half-century plateau, my tastes are almost surely fixed — and so be it.

I’ll always enjoy big bands and archival jazz, and most forms of “classical” music with the exception of the final frontier, opera, which continues to elude my sporadic efforts at comprehension.

Whatsoever the state of hip hop, rap, or whatever identity urban music goes by these days, I’m utterly oblivious, which is not to say hostile. It simply does not move me. Insofar as country music is played with instruments more suited to rock and roll, I’m willing to listen, but those vast chunks of country music devoted to chronicling the boundaries of rural cluelessness can remain where they are, safely out of earshot.

The very fact of my continued resistance to iPods and downloading, and a stubborn adherence to compact discs, testifies to the permanent passage of youth, and to repeat, that’s perfectly fine with me.

Pop and rock releases always will comprise the bulk of yearly favorites, and picking my top new albums (that word again) of 2010 is fairly easy, with the top five enjoying excessive and repeated listens.

I cannot choose between them, and so they’re listed alphabetically. What’s the main difference between the first five and the second five? Catchier ditties, that’s all. To paraphrase Ray Charles, if you can’t whistle the tunes while walking down the street, the game isn’t worth the flame.

Crowded House – Intriguer

Bryan Ferry – Olympia

Goldfrapp – Head First

The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

Manic Street Preachers – Postcards from a Young Man

The second five also are listed alphabetically.

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia

Elton John & Leon Russell – The Union

Robert Plant’s Band of Joy (eponymous)

Wild Beasts: Two Dancers
(technically a 2009 release, but dominant in my life in January, 2010)