Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The AV Club's Year-End Top 25 List

Last week, the AV Club published its list of the twenty-five best albums of the year, as determined by a poll of their thirteen music writers. In an interesting follow-up feature, the AV Club's thirteen music writers show their individual ballots, as well as their honorable mentions. The next day, Kyle Ryan, Josh Modell, and Steven Hyden get together on a podcast to speak in-depth about the top ten albums from the AV Club's year-end list, the biggest surprises of the year, and bands they love whose 2010 releases were not as good as their previous albums. This was a great year for music, with substantial releases from the best acts around (The National, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The Walkmen, The Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady, etc.) and comebacks from some old favorites, like Superchunk, Verses, and John Mellencamp.

I look forward to the AV Club's best-of-the-year lists, because the first couple of years they did them, 2004, 2005, and 2006, were both extraordinarily good years for music, which happened to coincide with my being in graduate school, living in a college town with indie radio stations and hip record stores, and winter breaks in which I could catch up all of the music I had missed during the previous year. Those lists introduced me to The National, The Hold Steady, and The Walkmen, among others, for which I will be eternally greatful to the AV Club.

Looking at those lists with five or six years of hindsight, it is noteworthy that The Hold Steady had albums on the top ten lists all three years, as did Neko Case, either by herself or with the New Pornographers. To crack the top ten three years in a row, in years as good as those, is remarkable. Other than Bob Dylan and The Beatles, has any band released three albums in three years as good as Almost Killed Me, Separation Sunday, and Boys and Girls in America? Or Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Twin Cinema, and The Tigers Have Spoken? Spread out among even more different groups, Jenny Lewis release her solo album Rabbit Fur Coat, in addition to being in Rilo Kiley (More Adventurous) and The Postal Service (Give Up).

Those three years also had a lot of great albums by bands that seemed as if they would never go away, like Bloc Party, The Streets, Snow Patrol, and We Are Scientists, who careers, for one reason or another, have derailed. Just a great couple of years for music.

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