Saturday, January 1, 2011

1 of 333: Top 3 Albums I First Listened to in 2010

Your mom likes a gimmick and I'm here to provide her with one. Not just any gimmick, but a triply nested gimmick: 333 top-3 lists. See, they're top 3 lists, and the number 333 is represented (in base 10) as 3 occurrences of the digit 3. (That the gimmick is thus triply nested might be considered a fourth occurrence of the number 3, but we must be careful with this line of reasoning since the gimmick then becomes quadruply nested leading to an unsettling paradox.)

It seems my fan blog is back in business. We'll see if he can keep up.

Top 3 Albums I First Listened to in 2010

3. La Roux (2009)
Allison picked this one out as something I'd like after she heard someone playing it at school. It's kitschy synthpop with a female lead singer, which is right up my alley, but on the first listen I actually wasn't so sure. La Roux has a much fuller sound than Freezepop, who are one of my favorite synthpop groups, but they're also much more obviously intentionally 80's-sounding (a turn-off).

Ultimately though, I was won over by the excellent hooks and the bravado and voice of singer Elly Jackson. Now it's one of my absolute favorite synthpop albums, and my third favorite album I first listened to in 2010.

2. Lateef & Z-Trip: Ahead of the Curve (2007)
I don't know how I missed Lateef the Truthspeaker for so long. I'm a casual fan of many of his associated acts (DJ Shadow, Gift of Gab, Jurassic 5), and he's one-third of an album called "Droppin' Science Fiction" released on the same label as Aesop Rock (Definitive Jux). If that didn't catch my attention, I don't know what would.

Anyway, this is ostensibly a mix album of older work though much of it is actually new. It's also really, really good. I like a full and catchy production and Z-Trip provides it--the drums are heavy and there are some amazing transitions, especially between tracks 7 and 8. There's almost a rock feel to many of the tracks. All of this is kept from feeling like a Linkin Park album by Lateef's unique soul-infused style--sometimes rapping, sometimes singing, often in between.

Also awesome is Maroons: Ambush, also featuring Lateef.

1. Marina and the Diamonds: The Family Jewels (2010)
Maybe it's just a guilty pleasure that I haven't yet recognized as such, but I truly think this is one of the best pop albums ever. It's kitschy and quirky and strong and fantastic. Despite the name, Marina and the Diamonds is a one-woman show, written and performed by Marina Diamandis. Although the rest is good, it's the vocals that truly make the album. Marina's got an eccentric oomph that I find utterly enthralling.

The style of the album ranges all over the place but the sound is almost always bold and interesting. The album is also tied together thematically, focusing mostly on commercial success--the sacrifices required to achieve it and the social impact of its glorification. It's a theme that has the potential to be trite coming from an aspiring pop star, but Marina pulls it off.

Rarely have I anticipated an album as much as Marina's next.

So there you have it. Number 1 of 333 down. I will almost certainly be more terse in the future. Feel free to unsubscribe when I resort to ranking my top-3 players on every MLB team.

1 comment:

  1. This is an awkward title, when I first read it I thought that you meant the first 3 albums that you listened to, which would have been weird. But at least you started!