Here’s my third annual blog tradition of counting down the ten best albums of the year (check out 2008 and 2009). I’ve actually done this for years, and if you know anything about me and the listmaker that I am, that should come as no surprise.
2010 was actually a decent year for music, though largely you wouldn’t know it looking at the charts. A lot of the best music this year was off the beaten path, and it’s always fun to discover new stuff. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired by this list to dig into some artists you either hadn’t heard of or hadn’t considered listening to before.
Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 of 2010. Links will take you to iTunes or artists’ websites.
10. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now — I’ve been a fan of this trio since they first emerged a few years back. I particularly love their harmonies and their ability to create songs that embrace pop songwriting without leaving country music behind. Their second album was an improvement over their first in writing, production, and performance. From the soaring, heartbreaking title track to the upbeat numbers and everything in between, Need You Now shows the true potential these three talented people have. By no means is it perfect, however; like nearly all contemporary country, it gets cutesy in spots, and a couple of songs (“American Honey” comes to mind) are a little boring, but all in all, Lady Antebellum upped the ante with this one. (Best of the Best: “Need You Now,” “Our Kind of Love,” “Perfect Day”)
9. Chris McClarney, Introducing Chris McClarney — Chris McClarney established himself as an extremely talented worship songwriter when Jesus Culture covered two of his songs (“Your Love Never Fails” and “Your Love Is Everything”). Those two songs appear along with four others on his debut EP. In writing this post, I just discovered that he has also released a full album this year…you better believe I’ll be checking it out. Chris McClarney has a cool voice…I wish I could sing like him…and the knack for writing songs that, even in a smooth pop-rock setting, convey real power. (And I wonder how many of the ladies think he looks like Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights…) I’m sure we’ll see more great things to come from him. (Best of the Best: “Your Love Never Fails,” “Your Love Is Everything,” “Blessed Assurance”)