First, a note about the process. I hate the construct of a "Top 10" or "10 Best". This process is subjective by nature, and the idea that my selections are THE best is kind of ridiculous. The only thing I can honestly say about these albums is that they are/were my favorite of the past year.
Now, I typically listen to a band's album the most before I see that band in concert, which happened a lot this year. There are three bands in my 10 favorites that I did not see this year. Aside from them, I tried to pick albums that I kept coming back to long after I'd seen their show. I decided that was the true measure of how much I liked an album. So with that said here we go.
10th Favorite Album of the Year:
The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
I loved Funeral. I did not much care for Neon Bible. And I have a bit of an aversion to bands with huge popularity. So I was not expecting this album to be one of my 10 favorites. But I couldn't help it. I just really enjoy listening to it. I wouldn't call it a return to their Funeral sound, but they found a way to be more engaging, more melodic, and I really like the diversity of sounds on this album, from the rollicking piano in the opening title track to the driving guitar riff on City With No Children. Ready to Start and Sprawl II are real anthems. And if you haven't experienced it yet, download Google Chrome and watch the HTML 5 video for We Used to Wait.
This was an album that I wasn't expecting to like. I almost didn't want to like it. But I can't help it. I have a feeling I'm going to be listening to this one a lot over the next few years.