2010 marks major year for the music industry

By Kate MacDonald

Courtesy Facebook

For better or for worse, it cannot be denied that 2010 was a big year for music. While many may argue that most of the albums released were mediocre at best, the sheer number of major CDs released can’t be ignored.

The Internet also saw a revolutionary year for music. While downloads are, of course, not on the decline, more and more people are paying for their tunes via legal websites or programs. This could be a result of the illegal downloading magnate Limewire meeting its demise. Then, near the end of the year, The Beatles made headlines when their music was finally released on iTunes.

Because of the sheer amount of albums that came out, it’s hard to whittle them down to a list of the best albums of the year. But here are the top ten albums of 2010 (in no particular order).

“Contra” Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album was a step up from their debut. The affected youths kept up their quirky style, relying on great guitar riffs and orchestral accompaniment on hit songs like “Cousins,” “Horchata” and “Giving Up the Gun.” A great CD all around, indie fans won’t find much fault in “Contra.”

“Revolution” Miranda Lambert

 No one can deny that 2010 was Miranda Lambert’s year on the country music scene. For “Revolution,” Lambert brought home the “Best Album of the Year” Country Music Award. “Revolution” truly proves Lambert’s staying power, and showcases her strong vocals on “White Liar” and “Me and Your Cigarettes.”

“Thank Me Later” Drake

Arguably the most highly-anticipated album of 2010, though Drake is one of rap’s brightest stars, it is the Canadian’s first CD. Formerly relying on mixtapes and collaborations (much like Nicki Minaj), hits like “Over” and “Fancy” showed fans that Drake isn’t leaving anytime soon.

“Need You Now” Lady Antebellum

If 2010 was Lambert’s year, mega-popular group Lady Antebellum was not far behind. Part country, part pop, Lady Antebellum found their home on radio stations all year long with the single “Need You Now.” True fans, however, know that “Love This Pain” and “American Honey” were easily better.

Recovery” Eminem

Many music fans out there are polarized – they either love or hate Eminem. While his talent may be debated, one cannot deny that “Recovery” was a major comeback after losing considerable popularity and falling hard into drugs. Probably not his best release, but anyone not living under a rock during the summer of 2010 can probably sing at least a few lines of “Love the Way You Lie.”

“Teenage Dream” Katy Perry

Katy Perry, too, is not everyone’s cup of tea. That said, to pop music fans, it almost seems as if the newlywed can do no wrong. “California Girls” owned the airwaves this summer, and the dark “Circle the Drain” and tongue-in-cheek “Peacock” are worth a listen.

“Congratulations” MGMT

Though it may not be on the same level as their debut “Oracular Spectacular,” their second foray into the music world is simply a new direction for the band with some familiar sounds. With no real singles, the CD is meant to be listened to in its entirety. Though “Siberian Breaks” and “Flash Delirium” can probably be skipped, fans will find solace in “Congratulations” and “Brian Eno.”

“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” Kanye West

The most outspoken person in the industry, Kanye West released perhaps the most hyped album of 2010 in November. Acting as a tortured artist, West finds relief in music after his Taylor Swift outburst and the death of his mother.  Jay-Z, Minaj and Rihanna make appearances as West attempts to remedy his shortcomings, and succeeds in taking an evident step in his career.

“My Kinda Party” Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean mixes equal parts of rock and country in his latest CD, and even includes a little rap. Country and rock fans alike will find their heads bobbing and toes tapping to the powerful title track and “If She Could See Me Now.” Pop fans will appreciate Kelly Clarkson’s appearance on a power ballad, and rap fans may get a kick out of Aldean’s attempt to rap in “Dirt Road Anthem.”

“The Suburbs” Arcade Fire

“The Suburbs” has been named in both Amazon.com’s and Rolling Stone magazine’s albums of the year lists, while People Magazine said, it’s “one of the best rock albums you’ll hear all year.” While not a perfect album, the mix of strings and classic rock influences combine to produce the CD’s best songs, “Empty Room” and “City With No Children.”

Honorable Mentions go to Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday,” Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now,” Black Keys’ “Brothers” and Cold War Kids’ “Behave Yourself.”

A huge amount of the modern day powerhouses in each genre released new albums over the last 12 months. Reba McEntire kept country music fans on their feet, while rap stars from Drake to Diddy ruled the rap scene. Releases from Anberlin and Jimmy Eat World represented the wide array of rock music that came out, and old favorites Sheryl Crow and Keane brought something new to the table themselves.

As long as 2011 keeps up with this rate of music production and quality, next year should be a great year for music enthusiasts of all kinds.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]