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Old 06-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Uncle Vernon's favorite albums from 2010 to June 2013 (ranked)

So this is the thread where I list my favorite albums from 2010 until present time (June 2013), a.k.a. the 2010's so far. I don't have many favorite releases from the first ten years of the 2000's, which was a pretty disappointing music decade overall for me. Then again, that was when I mostly listened to 70's rock, and the new releases I mostly listened to were new releases from old bands. Anyway, the list is going to be a top 10 with a review for every album! Let's start with some honorable mentions:

Robert Glasper - Black Radio
Black Sabbath - 13
Gary Clark Jr. - Blak and Blu

And number ten is...
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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#10: Nas - Life Is Good (2012)



Released: July, 2012
Genre: Rap, hip hop
Length: 58 minutes

Nas is an artist that had one of those debut albums that he will always be compared to, in this case Illmatic. Every time the rapper releases a new album people start comparing it to Illmatic, and in many people's opinion the new album will always lose. It's hard not to compare his albums to his early discography of course... My opinion is that Life Is Good is his best album since It Was Written, his second album.

It's honest, mature for the most part, and it feels like Nas is heading in the right direction overall. Nas himself has said that the album focuses on his divorce with his (ex) wife Kelis, and that Marvin Ga'ye's Here, My Dear was a big inspiration for him.

The album starts with the song "No Introduction", an introduction to the album which sets a dark tone with lyrics looking back on Nas' early life. The album lets up a few times on its way to the finale, "Bye Baby", but manages to stay on track for the most part. Some songs, like "Summer On Smash" (the worst song on the album), feel a little misplaced mixed together with personal songs like "Daugthers".

And it's the personal songs that are the best. "Cherry Wine" (featuring the late Amy Winehouse), "Stay" and "Bye Baby" are some of the highlights on this album. It's well-formed, personal, and a very good album despite some let-down tracks. And I wish Nas would've left Rick Ross off the good song "Accident Murderers", he makes me not want to listen to the song.

Rating: 3˝ mics out of 5

Best song: "Cherry Wine"
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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#9: Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill (2012)



Released: October, 2012
Genre: Rock, folk rock, hard rock
Length: 88 minutes

Neil Young is one of few rock artists (including bands) that have been going strong since the 70's and still manages to make a record nowadays that sounds great. When the Stones were releasing mediocre "Start Me Up"-songs, Young released a fresh sounding Harvest Moon for example. When Americana was released earlier in 2012, Neil Young sounded a bit tired and uninspired. He shocked most of us with his next release together with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill.

His longest studio effort to date, clocking in at around 88 minutes with just 8 songs (two clocking in at 16+ minutes, and one 27 minute monster), is no masterpiece. But it's a sign. It's a sign that Neil still has inspiration. And it is a great record. I played it a lot when it came out but grew a little tired of it after a while, but when I really dug it when it came out. And when I listen to it now, it still sounds fresh. The two 16+ minute songs, "Ramada Inn" and "Walk Like a Giant" are the highlights on this record in my opinion. Long jams with bone crushing guitars!

Rating: 4 screeching guitars out of 5

Best song: "Walk Like a Giant"
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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#8: Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough? (2012)



Released: July, 2012
Genre: Alternative, folk, soul
Length: 45 minutes

One of the hardest things I know when it comes to finding new music I like is finding new artists releasing new music that I really like. Is Your Love Big Enough? is the debut album from Lianne La Havas. It's not common these days to hit just right with the first album, but Lianne comes close. The first time I heard this record I fell in love with it and listened to it four times in a row at least.

Calcifying this album as one genre is very hard, but the closest I can say is some kind of modern alternative folk-soul-pop fusion. But then again, who needs genre tags?

The album has plenty of fun songs that make you happy, combined with more downbeat songs where Lianne really shows you how much emotion she can put in her voice. The first time I heard "Gone", I just stopped what I was doing, zoned out and just listened to what this 22 (at the time) woman was singing. I can't say that this type of music is my favorite exactly, but what Lianne does is different in a way and it feels personal and... well, real.

Some songs on the album tend to sound the same way and when you listen you might have a hard time saying exactly which song is which. But when the highlights come, they explode. It makes me so happy knowing there still is young talent in the music business that can land a record deal and get a lot of attention. La Havas was for example nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2012 poll and should have at least have been one of the top five in my opinion.

If you haven't heard Lianne La Havas yet, do it now! Need I say that I can't wait until the next album?

Oh, and not only is she in my top ten list, she is also the most beautiful person on my list!

Rating: 4 second hand guitars out of 5

Best song: "Lost & Found"
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cool thread man.

http://rateyourmusic.com/list/TomCla...er_we_call_it_
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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#7: Laura Mvula - Sing to the Moon (2013)



Released: March, 2013
Genre: Soul, neo-soul
Length: 50 minutes

After listening to the Lianne La Havas a lot recently I might want to change places with this and that album, but I'll keep it at number eight anyway. I discovered Laura Mvula due to the fact that I'm going to see Prince in Stockholm in August, and since I have a day pass to the festival I wanted to check out which other artists were playing. This is where Mvula comes in as I realized that she had just released her debut album two weeks earlier.

The album was pleasing immediately and I think she might be my favorite 'new' artist of 2013 (artist releasing debut album). The album has its own sound with influences from neo soul and Erykah Badu in particular.

The songs range from 'OK' to very good, so there aren't any bad songs on here. What I like most though is Mvula's voice and the production of the album. Just like her voice, the songs have vary in dynamics and there are quiet and loud moments, something not all that common in today's 'loudness war'. Sure, the album might get a little same-same somewhere in the middle, but stripped down songs like "Father Father" help the album in variety. I must say - I'm even more excited to see how she does live tough!

Rating: 4 British soul wails out of 5

Best song: "Like the Morning Dew"
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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#6: The Roots - How I Got Over (2010)



Released: June, 2010
Genre: Hip hop
Length: 42 minutes

2010 marked the return of The Roots in a way for me. First things first, The Roots have never released a bad record. But when How I Got Over was released in 2010 it was the first time I felt that great feeling inside while listening to it. It was as though they had reinvented themselves in a way for me. They were playing as a band and showed that they are more than just a hip hop group. Indie rock, gospel, soul, funk and neo soul are all influences in this great mix.

Black Thought's lyrics are pretty straight forward with social and existential themes that he raps over overall great music. The first half of the album is my favorite with the songs with Dice Raw (who is great!) being the most prominent for me.

The album is dark during the first half with more light being shown on the second half. Overall it's a really good and even album with no downers. On the other hand there aren't really any songs that make me go 'wow!'. There are some really good songs on this album though!

Rating: 4 Black Thought spitting lyrics out of 5

Best song: "Now Or Never"
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think I'm going to check out a couple of the albums you reviewed that I haven't heard yet. I really enjoyed Niel Young's latest album and actually think it one of his best in years, so good one there.

I have to say, though, as far as the Nas and Roots albums...those are two of my least favorite by them. Life is Good just never succeeded in catching my attention and while I really liked How I Got Over's first half (third?), it really went downhill after that. I will still agree it wasn't bad per se...because I also agree the Roots have never released a bad album.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think I'm going to check out a couple of the albums you reviewed that I haven't heard yet. I really enjoyed Niel Young's latest album and actually think it one of his best in years, so good one there.

I have to say, though, as far as the Nas and Roots albums...those are two of my least favorite by them. Life is Good just never succeeded in catching my attention and while I really liked How I Got Over's first half (third?), it really went downhill after that. I will still agree it wasn't bad per se...because I also agree the Roots have never released a bad album.
I can understand that you don't like the Nas album that much, but why don't you like "How I Got Over"? What do you think of "Undun"?
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