Brow Beat

The Best Music of 2010

2010 was a great twelve months for pop music. Early next year, Slate ‘s Jody Rosen will be hosting our annual Music Club to talk in depth about it (Ann Powers, Carl Wilson and I will join him). In the meantime, I wanted to share the 10 albums and 15 singles released this year that I enjoyed the most, along with some things that weren’t albums or singles that I enjoyed just as much. Everything’s presented in alphabetical order, though my three favorite albums of the year are indicated with asterisks. (One rule I follow is that there’s no overlap between the albums and singles lists. Even if, say, Kanye West’s “All Of the Lights” was one of my favorite singles of the year, West made my albums list, so that’s it for him. This choice is motivated by something like greed: I can fit more artists this way!)


Actress, Splazsh (Honest Jon’s)
Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Purple Ribbon/Def Jam)
Das Racist, Sit Down, Man (mixtape, Greedhead/Mad Decent)
Fabolous, There Is No Competition 2 (mixtape, Gangsta Grillz)
Glasser, Ring (True Panther/Matador)
Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me (Drag City)* [ Slate review ]
Earl Sweatshirt, EARL (mixtape, Odd Future)
Vampire Weekend, Contra (XL)*
Wavves, King of the Beach (Fat Possum) [ Slate review ]
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)* [ Slate review ]

Singles (with links to streams)
Arcade Fire, ” We Used to Wait
Lloyd Banks feat. Juelz Santana, ” Beamer, Benz or Bentley
Beach House, ” Zebra
Justin Bieber, ” Runaway Love
James Blake, ” Measurements
Chris Brown feat. Drake, Fabolous, Kanye West, T.I., and Andre 3000, ” Deuces (Remix)
Drake feat. The-Dream, ” Shut It Down
Lil B feat. Messy Marv, ” Hannah Montana
Lil Wayne, ” Six Foot Seven Foot
Nicki Minaj, ” Did It On ‘Em ” 
Rick Ross feat. Gucci Mane, ” MC Hammer
Salem, ” Redlights ” ( King Night version)
The-Dream, ” F.I.L.A.
Yeasayer, ” Ambling Alp
Young L, ” Young L-E-N

Entities, facts, phenomena, occurrences
50 Cent’s Twitter feed , the best work he’s done since Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
Dr. Luke’s universal-earworm theorem
The Steve Albini-indebted, corroded-ship’s-hull guitar sound on Mr. Dream’s ” Learn the Language
The SNL-tastic sax solo on Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”
The jubilant, hypnotic video for The Rej3ctz’s jubilant, hypnotic “Cat Daddy”
Nicki Minaj’s show-closing verse on Kanye West’s “Monster”
Nicki Minaj’s show-closing verse on Keyshia Cole’s “I Ain’t Through”
Deborah Solomon’s Times Magazine Q&A with Hima Suri and Victor Vazquez of Das Racist
The dazzling time-lapse-choreography video for OK Go’s ” End Love
Waka Flocka’s official Halloween mask , which, as holiday face-gear goes, beats 2011 New Year’s novelty glasses by a mile