5. KANYE WEST, “MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY”
I tried hard to not include this album on my list because it ranked top five on everyone else’s, but Kanye West‘s fifth studio album is really too great to deny. The lyrics are never lazy, but instead powerful, clever (“Too many Urkels on your team/That’s why you Winslow) and sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious. West collaborates with predictable colleagues like Kid Cudi, Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, but an uncanny collaboration with Bon Iver proves itself to be a perfect closing track in “Lost in the World.” Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Cudi and Elton John are jam packed into “All of the Lights,” a drum-heavy, inevitable hit. It honestly might be one of my favorite songs ever written.
Favorite: All of the Lights
4. MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS, “THE FAMILY JEWELS”
Check out my full review here!
3. YEASAYER, “ODD BLOOD”
I heard “One,” a tropical-sounding, electropop jam, at a house party, and immediately demanded to know whose iPod was playing, who the band was and where I could hear more. Upon receiving Odd Blood, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all ten tracks are equally impressive. Yeasayer have figured out the formula of how to write absolutely incredible music with fantastic lyrics, incorporate just enough pop melodies to keep it catchy (at least on some tracks) all the while still maintaining their indie cred. The music on every single track is bold and profound. Sometimes it sounds like you’re on an African safari. Sometimes you feel like you’re at a rave. Sometimes you don’t even know, you just know that it doesn’t sound like anything of this planet. A slower track, “I Remember,” is hypnotizing and soothing; one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounds exactly what being in love feels like.
Favorite: I Remember
2. KID CUDI, “MAN ON THE MOON II: THE LEGEND OF MR. RAGER”
Creating anything original nowadays is nearly impossible, not because everyone is musically inept, but because after years of music, it’s hard to find something that hasn’t already been done or doesn’t remind you of something else. Kid Cudi’s vibe, sound, and lyrical content is pretty much the most original stuff out there right now, period. The songwriting is brilliant, imaginative and relatable- even through all of the success Cudi has had since his debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day, he doesn’t alienate his fans by writing songs about all of the money and girls he gets now that he’s famous. On this record, you’re with him through his highs (“Mr. Rager” and “Ashin’ Kutcher”) and you’re provided a glimpse of his lows (“Don’t Play This Song”). Songs like “Trapped in my Mind” and “The Mood” give me this gut feeling that Cudi is still playing it safe when it comes to how creative he is willing to get with production and genre bending.
Favorite: Ashin’ Kusher
1. RATATAT, “LP4″
Click here for my full review!