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The VICE Albums of the Year 2010

It's the big list to end all big lists.

As the 2010 slams the brakes on, editors the breadth of the land put their feet up on the desk and just serve you some reconstituted yesterdays: top-10-20-30-50-100 countdowns of stuff that happened over the past twelve months. But as you grind your way through one end of year music supplement banging on about Hurts and Marina and the Diamonds after another, your eyes go oblong and there’s a sense of intense, giddying deja vu.  Haven’t we seen it all before? In every other magazine/paper/webzine/cereal box? Like, every year? Forever?


Slice through the crap: this is The Only Top 50 Albums Of The Year Countdown You’ll Ever Need. HERE’S THE BIG LIST (2010 edit). 50. Something described as ‘witch house’ that six months ago would’ve been described by the same people as ‘post-dubstep’.

49. Whatever Nick Cave’s latest practical joke is.

48 – 33. Solo records of everyone who had a guest spot on the Mark Ronson album.

33. The record that was subbed-in at the last minute to replace the Mumford & Sons one, when someone realised that the Mumford & Sons one was in fact released in 2009.

32. People voting for Delorean who meant to vote for Caribou.

31. People voting for Caribou who meant to vote for Delorean.

30. A record with a title that inspires every reviewer in the land into full Ronseal mode: “It does exactly what it says on the tin…”

29. A group who two years ago would’ve been described as ‘afrobeat’, but despite being completely unchanged, now get tarred with ‘lo-fi’.

28 – 25. Collectively-reviewed albums by three grungey lady-bands, which gives editors a chance to wax groovy about ‘the year of women in rock’/ ‘the return of grunge’ (DELETE AS APPROPRIATE).

24. Previously tabloid-notorious caner who has been rehabilitated and is now ‘proving his critics wrong’ – in other words ‘proving that his PR man was right’.

23. Band so enigmatic they’ve only released three albums in 15 years, leading everyone to review their newies as though they were holy writ etched in the vellum of Jesus. Despite the fact that a) they are unlisteneable, and b) in point of fact, the lead singer runs a garage in Aylesbury… if anyone had ever bothered to ask him.


22. An old-timer whose interview time is prized so highly that whatever turgid bilge they crank out gets fat commendations as part of the logrolling process with their publicist.

21. Tasteful, crowd-pleasing album that every politician in the country told eager local reporters they had listened to this May, as a signal of their ‘real people’ qualities.

20. The record that everyone in January was hailing as a ‘future classic’, mainly because there’s generally no new albums to talk about in January but still aaacres of pages to fill.

19. Album of trite sub-Oasis singalong by a band who have cannily avoided being labelled as ‘lumpen lad rock’ simply by being from Portland, Oregon instead of Manchester, England.

18. Ol’ Ledge-Fest: Slot reserved for Paul Weller or Neil Young. Strictly rotational. Box-out: 900 word think-piece by Allan Jones.

17. Ol’ Pointy-Head: slot reserved for either Brian Eno or David Byrne – strictly rotational. Box-out: 1,000 word think-piece by Keith Cameron.

16. Band of no-hopers only signed by their major record label so the chairman could tell shareholders they were ‘our answer to Mumford & Sons’.

15. A woman.

14. Band whose increasing pomposity is being described as ‘life-affirming’ and ‘courageous, grandiose’, who haven’t yet worked out that these are exactly the same traits that the exact same people will call ‘pretentious’, ‘overblown’ when the tide turns against them a couple of years from now.


13. Magnetic Man.

12. The album whose subtle sonic qualities and highbrow aesthetic delicacies are brought into their best critical light while one is being given a blowjob by its desperate, sobbing PR officer.

11. ‘Brutally lo-fi’ record made on a £400,000 budget.

10. The latest act more famous for ‘being big on Twitter’ than selling records.

9. A rapper moving hip-hop into ‘uncharted territories’. i.e.: Has the same neon cyberdog aesthetic as a Joel Schumacher Batman film.

8 – 2: Records that were OK: no one was mad about them, but no one disliked them much either, so they swum through the middle course, whereas intense records that some people were truly passionate about but others really hated all ultimately failed to make the cut.

1: Kings Of Leon (Q), Muse (NME), Sven Vath (Mixmag), Bob Dylan (Uncut), Bob Dylan (Mojo), Bob Dylan (Classic Rock), Bob Dylan (Home & Garden), some bloke shouting randomly over distorted tape loops of concrete being laid (The Wire).