Best albums of 2010 part 5: the TOP 5!

After a week long countdown, the tension is unbearable; but today we finally expose our 5 favourite albums of the year.

At number 5, Robert Plant with Band of Joy. I found his Raising Sand album enjoyable but a  touch bland; this is in a similar vein but with just a bit more bite.  It's basically a 'covers' album but the choice of songs is brilliant; Townes Van Zandt (see the video below), Richard Thompson and Low amongst the writers.  His voice may not have the raw power of Zeppelin days, but it is still a great instrument, and the musicians are tight and empathetic.  Am album to enjoy for many years I think.

At 4, the Mystery Jets with Serotonin.  Not a weak track on this album, just one great pop / rock song after the other.  Some tracks might be called 'indie', a couple are arguably 'dance' but really this is 'just' brilliant, clever, hook-filled pop at its very best.

Number 3 is a band I don't think I'd really heard of till 2010 although they have been around a while.  Yeasayer with Odd Blood is similar to last year's favourite the Wild Beasts; brilliant, creative, futuristic, quirky dance/rock.  And live they were one of Reading's highlights; they sing complex harmony vocals effortlessly and in person exceeded even the excellent album. I must warn you however that this is a very weird video!

Madder Red

YeasayerMyspace Video

At number 2, the great Arcade Fire with The Suburbs. My biggest musical disappointment of the year was not making it to the O2 to see then live - had tickets, got snowed in. I still can't decide how The Suburbs rates alongside their two previous albums, and it has a few only 'good' tracks which is why it isn't number one.  But still, genius is laced throughout what is in effect a double album.

And my number 1 was never in doubt.  I tend to get a but emotional talking about Laura Marling - I don't know why, perhaps it is because she is the same age as my daughter.  But with I speak because I can she staked her case to be the best female singer songwriter the UK has produced in my lifetime, and the Joni Mitchell comparison which is increasingly made may prove ultimately to flatter Joni. This is the album from 2010 that I am most confident will still be listened to in 20 years time.  'Folk' songs but with a totally contemporary sensibility, lyrics that are always interesting, with strong melodies and emotional heft.  What will she be doing in 10 or even 20 years time?  Wanting to know the answer to that question is something that makes the prospect of ageing slightly more bearable!

So, hope you enjoyed our list, and comments / disagreement very welcome. And why not support new music and musicians - buy a few of these and go and see some live performance in 2011!

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