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Back to 2010 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    2010, huh?

    Specific year markers, like decade transitions, always seem to get to me. They put in black and white the passage of time in an even block. I both can’t believe and am not shocked that it’s been ten years since 2010. It feels both impossible and obvious at the same time. I browse through AbsolutePunk’s best-of list from the year and see it filled with albums that would define the next decade in music. Records that would be so influential that they would help shape the musical landscape for years to come. And I see albums from bands that were a part of the fabric of AbsolutePunk, like The Graduate and Valencia, that would soon disband and fade into the memory of forum posters alone.

    I also see some big names missing. My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days is nowhere to be found. An album that was profoundly polarizing upon release, and remains one of constant debate in the community. Was it ahead of its time? Was it too poppy and removed from what fans wanted? I still see these arguments playing out ten years later. I admit, at the time, I didn’t like it. In a year where I was into more gruff rock music, it felt too polished, too clean, too electronic, but in the subsequent years, I’ve found myself returning to it quite often. We’re also missing Taylor Swift’s Speak Now. It wasn’t really until Red that the forum, and staff, really started to get behind Taylor and champion her music and songwriting talent.

    At a high level, it’s an interesting year for the scene. There’s a lot of rock-oriented music in our top ten. You have The Gaslight Anthem releasing the hugely anticipated follow up to The ’59 Sound, and by most accounts it delivers and delights. You have The Arcade Fire releasing what will end up becoming a Grammy-winning album, and launching a meme. And we have The National’s High Violet, which was at times the most talked-about album on the entire website. Then there’s Vampire Weekend, Republic of Wolves, and Titus Andronicus all heavily featured. This was also the year of Jimmy Eat World releasing Invented, with a first single that people complained “sounded like Fall Out Boy,” and an album that I continue to think is underrated by the fanbase. It’s the year of Motion City Soundtrack bending back from the pop-bliss of their previous album into the more pop-punk crocheted blanket of My Dinosaur Life, and Anberlin zagging expectations with Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place. It’s a year where The Wonder Years starts to pick up steam, and Yellowcard will announce their return. A year where Finch, As Tall as Lions, Straylight Run, and Envy on the Coast will say goodbye.

    It’s also the year where Mumford and Sons were goddamn everywhere.

    To be honest with you, I don’t really want to talk about Kanye West. It’s the year of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and that album is rightfully ranked as one of the best, and most important, records of the decade. Its influence on music and production is undeniable. Its accolades and reputation are, in my opinion, deserved. It helped shift the tectonic plates of the music industry, and those reverberations are still being felt today. But I have no joy thinking of the album or Kanye West in 2020. I derive no happiness thinking about the ensuing ten years. And flipping through the current news, the extremely harmful statements, all of it, just makes me sad and angry. In order to use social media over the past four years, I’ve had to develop blindness for certain topics. A way for my brain to see and yet just skip over various things without letting them actually register. I’ve found it’s the only way to navigate social media in the MAGA era without driving myself completely mad. Kanye’s in that blind spot. I do not have the mental capacity to devote to anything he’s doing anymore. After the praising of Candace Owens, the Trump gestures around wildly everything, and so many other controversies that are too numerous to list, I’m just out. The album remains what it is, but even writing this paragraph has drained the life-force from me.

    Looking at my list from 2010, I find myself nodding along at first glance. I forgot that I put The Social Network score at number three, but you know what? That’s a damn good score, and it holds up. I remember how excited I was for that Neon Trees album, and how I thought it had a chance to influence where our music scene was headed. I’m not sure how much that held up, but that 80’s inspired vibe has continued to be something I’m drawn to. Hellogoodbye comes in at number eight, and I think that’s held down only because it was the most dramatic reimagining of a band I can ever remember. I hated their previous album and could not believe this was the same band. Would it Kill You? would go on to be one of my most played albums of the next ten years, an album that I still think sounds fresh and ready for any summer.

    I’ve returned to that Steel Train and Sufjan Stevens albums quite a bit as well. The former being one that reminds me of early Jack Antonoff pop-prowess and the later being an album that felt so out of left-field at the time, I didn’t quite know how to process it. Sometimes I think I’m the only one alive willing to fight for Minus the Bear’s OMNI, but I liked it then, and I like it now.

    I forgot all about Stars’ Five Ghosts, but that’s an album I always thought should have been bigger. And for all my jokes about neon pop-punk, I was always impressed with Mercy Mercedes’ debut. I’m obviously missing My Chem, but the other glaring miss for me is Against Me’s White Crosses. That’s an album that I think holds up exceptionally well. They went all-in on the more accessible version of their sound, and I’ve always contended it’s an immaculately produced rock album. I don’t know why it’s not on my list. Did I put it in honorable mentions? tells me I was listening to it in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I got really into it. Maybe it’s that simple.

    So, it’s time for the re-rank. Again, my rules are arbitrary and gut-based, I don’t want to add too much into the list if I wasn’t actively listening to it at the time, and things that have been played the most in the subsequent ten years tend to get ranked higher.

    Best of 2010 (Re-Ranking)

    1. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
    2. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network
    3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    4. Hellogoodbye – Would It Kill You?
    5. Cary Brothers – Under Control
    6. The National – High Violet
    7. Jimmy Eat World – Invented
    8. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days
    9. Against Me – White Crosses
    10. Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
    11. Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away
    12. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
    13. Anberlin – Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
    14. Valencia – Dancing With A Ghost
    15. Neon Trees – Habits
    16. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
    17. Steel Train – Steel Train
    18. The Graduate – Only Every Time
    19. Dessa – A Badly Broken Code
    20. Minus the Bear – OMNI
    21. Stars – Five Ghosts
    22. The Damned Things – Ironiclast
    23. Taylor Swift – Speak Now
    24. Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise
    25. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz
    26. Republic of Wolves – Varuna
    27. Make Do and Mend – End Measured Mile
    28. Crime in Stereo – I Was Trying to…
    29. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
    30. The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits

    My number one album hasn’t changed. American Slang was the album for me in 2010. It was an album that defined the year. It’s an album I still reach for regularly and recently returned to for its tenth anniversary. I think it’s the album that best combines Brian’s songwriting skills with an aura of catchiness. Songs like “Bring It On” and “Boxer” encapsulate this perfectly.

    I still think very highly of The Social Network soundtrack, and it’s become something I’ve reached for many times over the years when I want some background music while coding or writing, and don’t want to be distracted by lyrics. The combination of piano and electronic elements keeps it fresh and modern, with just a hint of unpredictability.

    Hellogoodbye sees a big jump in the ranking, Against Me! and My Chemical Romance are slotted into the top ten, and albums from Make Do and Mend and Crime in Stereo find their way into the new top thirty. I had to make some painful cuts, but this feels far more representative of the albums I’ve spent the last decade listening to.

    The year 2010 acts as a clean delineation in time with 2020. Everything after gets put in the “last decade” bucket so you can say things like “in the last decade I did…” or “my last decade was defined by…” but, for me, this comes with a lot of reflecting and inner strife. My last decade was one of difficult moments and personal turmoil. It was one of admitting to myself that I did not like who I was, was worried about who I was becoming, and deconstructing myself in therapy and meditation until I felt strong enough to rebuild. When I look backward to the first half of this last decade, it’s doesn’t come with the same intoxication of nostalgia as previous years, it’s, for me, a moment in my life that signaled a dire need for change, even if I wouldn’t fully realize it for another few years. A realization I wish I could say I met with grace, humility, and dignity, but instead often met with anger and frustration. These early years of the last decade were where friends got married and moved away. The core group of my childhood pals would stop seeing each other as much, and then often not at all. Text chains fell silent. Group hangs further apart.

    The isolation of early adulthood and seeing your thirties just around the bend, your life no longer a dream of what you want to be when you grow up, now a reality of who you are. For me, reflecting on the music of 2010 is, in part, watching the bend before the break. I can see now what I didn’t understand then, and it has me wondering what the next ten years of my life will have me thinking about the person I am today. It’s both clarifying and motivating. I know this decade is starting in an almost apocalyptic fashion; the daily pressure fluctuates me between terror and rage. Still, the choices I make right now, how I handle it, what I do, who I decide to be, and what I decide to stand for will be what future Jason looks back upon to determine how his last decade worked out. And, for the first time in my life, I feel more prepared and ready to make that person proud than ever before.

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    Crisp X, skogsraet and Mary V like this.
  2. irthesteve

    formerly irthesteve Prestigious

    My 2010 list, haven't re-ranked them but I don't think there would be any major changes other than shifting a few spots, and adding a few albums I've found since then

    1. Steel Train - Steel Train
    2. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
    3. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    4. Gold Motel - Summer House
    5. Sleigh Bells - Treats
    6. Good Old War - Good Old War
    7. Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
    8. Foxy Shazam - Foxy Shazam
    9. Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
    10. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
    11. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggresive You
    12. Wild Orchid Children - ...Are Alexander Supertramp
    13. Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?
    14. Anberlin - Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place
    15. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business - The World We Know
    16. The Wonder Years - The Upsides
    17. Weezer - Hurley
    18. Girl Talk - All Day
    19. Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives
    20. Valencia - Dancing With A Ghost
    BEsterley and artbynickferran like this.
  3. OhTheWater

    Let it run Supporter

    1. Bomb the Music Industry - Adults!!!
    2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    3. The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits
    4. How to Dress Well - Love Remains
    5. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
    6. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
    7. The National – High Violet
    8. Rick Ross - Teflon Don
    9. The Roots - How I Got Over
    10. Shad - TSOL
    11. Taylor Swift – Speak Now
    12. Los Campesinos - Romance is Boring
    13. Nana Grizol - Ruth
    14. Perfume Genius - Learning
    15. The Wonder Years - The Upsides
    16. Black Milk - AOTY
    17. Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids
    18. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
    19. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
    20. Sleigh Bells - Treats
    Contender, mad, Orla and 1 other person like this.
  4. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    I have so many of these reviews in my folder that I'm re-editing a bit and re-posting on here soon. But I don't think I'm gonna include my MBDTF review for reasons Jason stated above
  5. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    I have reviews for Anberlin, Sufjan, Damned Things, Graduate etc

    I have a lot of 2012-2013 stuff too
    Crisp X, Mary V, Garrett and 2 others like this.
  6. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Really can't believe this one was a decade ago. I remember most of these albums like they came out yesterday. I've already strolled down memory lane for American Slang and High Violet, and I'd say I like both of those albums more today than I did when they came out, which is a good sign. Both aged very well. That Chad Perrone album is super underrated/overlooked, but it remains my favorite from this year. 2010 was actually the year @cshadows2887 clued me into Chad, which was a huge, awesome discovery.
    1. Chad Perrone – Release
    2. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
    3. Sara Bareilles – Kaleidoscope Heart
    4. Taylor Swift – Speak Now
    5. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
    6. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    7. Jimmy Eat World – Invented
    8. The National – High Violet
    9. The Alternate Routes – Lately
    10. The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
    11. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
    12. Butch Walker – I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart
    13. Valencia – Dancing with the Ghost
    14. Anberlin – Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place
    15. Cary Brothers – Under Control
    16. The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever
    17. The Maine – Black and White
    18. Donovan Woods – The Widowmaker
    19. Jesse Malin – Love It to Life
    20. Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
    21. Ryan Bingham – Junky Star
    22. Stars – The Five Ghosts
    23. Guster – Easy Wonderful
    24. Black Lab – Two Strangers
    25. Wakey!Wakey! – Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You
    26. I Can Make a Mess… - The World We Know
    27. Jakob Dylan – Women + Country
    28. Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away
    29. Hellogoodbye – Would It Kill You
    30. Locksley – Be In Love
    Also shout out to The Way I Fell In by The Morning Of, an album I rarely listen to all the way through anymore, but that still has two of my all-time favorite songs in "The Time It Takes to Grow" and "I Know You Know."
  7. Crisp X, @@ron and Craig Manning like this.
  8. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    His solo records were both such pleasant surprises. I remember really not expecting much from this one, and then playing it all fall.
    Crisp X, @@ron and Jason Tate like this.
  9. artbynickferran Jul 8, 2020
    (Last edited: Jul 8, 2020)

    Jason, your paragraph on Kanye is spot how I feel/have been feeling about him over the past few years. Though I will say that paragraph was exhausting to get through lol.

    1. You, Me, and Everyone We Know – Some Things Don't Wash Out
    2. The National – High Violet
    3. Steel Train – S/T
    4. Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
    5. Bayside – Killing Time
    6. Valencia – Dancing With a Ghost (miss this band so much)
    7. I Can Make a Mess– The World We Know (probably my favorite Ace release ever)
    8. Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise
    9. Jimmy Eat World – Invented (agreed this one is underrated)
    10. Four Year Strong – Enemy of the World
    11. The Wonder Years – The Upsides (such an important album for me at the time though I rarely listen to it now)
    12. The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits
    13. Hellogoodbye – Would It Kill You?
    14. Stars – The Five Ghosts
    15. Kanye – MBDTF
    Jason Tate likes this.
  10. Heh, was exhausting to write.
    artbynickferran likes this.
  11. artbynickferran

    Also curious about your thoughts on the YMAEWK album. I remember there being some drama on the website with them back in the day, wondered if that factored into your feelings about it or if you've just never been a huge fan?
  12. FTank

    Trusted Prestigious

    Probably the first year I can feel good about ranking 20 records from, lol

    1. Jimmy Eat World - Invented
    2. Taylor Swift - Speak Now
    3. Valencia - Dancing With a Ghost
    4. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
    5. The National - High Violet
    6. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    7. Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
    8. Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns
    9. Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?
    10. A Day to Remember - What Separates Me from You
    11. Bayside - Killing Time
    12. Beach House - Teen Dream
    13. The Maine - Black & White
    14. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
    15. Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
    16. Story of the Year - The Constant
    17. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
    18. The Graduate - Only Every Time
    19. The Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits
    20. Anberlin - Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place
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  13. btr


    This is what 15-year-old me was about lol

    1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    2. The Wonder Years - The Upsides
    3. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
    4. Eminem - Recovery
    5. Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World
    6. Waka Flocka Flame - Flockaveli
    7. The Black Keys - Brothers
    8. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days
    9. 3OH!3 - Streets of Gold
    10. Kesha - Animal/Cannibal

    11. Drake - Thank Me Later
    12. Odd Future - Radical
    13. Mac Miller - K.I.D.S.
    14. The Maine - Black and White
    15. Weezer - Hurley
    16. Rihanna - Loud
    17. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday
    18. Earl Sweatshirt - EARL
    19. Taylor Swift - Speak Now
    20. Travie McCoy - Lazarus
    DaveyA89 and Contender like this.
  14. I don’t remember the drama if there was any, I’m blanking. I just haven’t gone back to it very often and it feels more haphazard these days. Some good stuff, but it just missed the cut.
  15. FTank

    Trusted Prestigious

    Just realized I forgot Underoath but no one else has it either... Ø (Disambiguation) was 2010, wasn't it?
    BEsterley, Crisp X and Anthony Brooks like this.
  16. Yeah it was.
    FTank likes this.
  17. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    that was in my top 10 that year and yes I have that review still as well hehe
  18. artbynickferran

    Maybe it was just the drama surrounding the band and Ben's behavior at the time in general that I'm remembering. But that's fair enough! I only ask because I've gotten to know Ben well since their first 'reunion' in like 2012 or so, and that album has continued to hold a special place in my regular rotation. So many hooks and clever lyrics. Maybe worth a re-listen 10 years later ;-)
  19. justin.

    Trusted Supporter

    Man, the soundtrack to The Social Network is so good.
    Chase Tremaine and bobby_runs like this.
  20. Former Planets

    Aaaachem! Supporter

    I couldn’t stand My Dinosaur Life when it came out and something about it still irritates me to this day. I can’t even explain it.
  21. AshlandATeam


    I don’t think I realized this til now, but 2010 produced my favorite records from three of my ten favorite bands (Gaslight, JEW, MCS). Invented especially is just a masterpiece - it’s gotta be the most dynamic, diverse JEW album, and I think the most cinematic sounding. It’s what I go for almost all the time when I want a whole album instead of making a playlist.
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  22. mad

    I was right. Prestigious

    A Badly Broken Code defined 2010 for me
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  23. paperlung

    there's no place like my room Supporter

    I remember loving Blue Sky Noise that year.
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  24. Fucking Dustin

    Prestigious Prestigious

    No The ArchAndroid in this thread yet makes me sad
    DaveyA89, Crisp X and Contender like this.
  25. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Re: Taylor Swift

    I definitely remember there not being that many people on the site that would admit to liking her music at the time. The official thread for Speak Now was definitely nowhere near as bustling as the threads for her albums are now. I definitely remember feeling stupidly guilty about ranking her album high at the end of 2010, even though it was easily one of my most played records of that year. I went into that album with preconceived notions about what it was going to sound like, knowing nothing about Taylor outside of the hits from Fearless, and being absolutely blown away by how much I loved so much of it on first listen. Definitely a crucial album for tearing down my dumb snobbish viewpoints on both country music and mainstream pop.