It wasn’t easy whittling down my top 5 records of the year by any stretch of the imagination. With pragmatic approaches failing me, I took a more scientific approach; I had to listen to tracks again, check my iTunes ‘played’ counter and make mental for and against lists for each and every record in the running.
Honourable mentions to Lucy Rose, The Maccabees, Death Grips, Little Comets and Alt-J who were all in with a shout, and have all released albums this year well worth listening to, but fell at the final hurdle.
Granted, I’m taking this list a tad more seriously than the artists involved probably will, but as The Libertines once sang: “If you’ve lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won’t be long”.
5) Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Halcyon evolves Ellie Goulding’s sound more than was expected. Still delivering original pop music of the highest order, she has built on her electronic roots and seems to have cast her guitar to one side. Expect production with an appreciation of space, catchy lyricism and flawless vocals.
Listen to: Only You, Figure 8, I Know You Care
4) Jack White - Blunderbuss
Blunderbuss was always going to be destined for greatness; the genius behind The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather was never going to disappoint, was he? Expect guitar riffs and musicianship of the highest quality and an almost certain appearance at next years Glastonbury Festival.
Listen to: Love Interruption, Sixteen Saltines, Blunderbuss
3) The xx - Coexist
The xx have managed to evolve without venturing too far away from the blueprint than saw their debut album do so well. Expect a bigger influence in sound from Jamie Smith and their trademark appreciation of minimalism, silence and space.
Listen to: Angels, Chained, Missing
2) Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
Pop music has been lacking a good character in recent times. Lady Gaga has become a self parody and the quality of her music is well below par. With Lana Del Rey then, we have the full package; she has the much fabled ‘X-Factor’ if you will. Expect quality hip-hop production and perfectly stylised vocals.
Listen to: Video Games, Off To The Races, Diet Mountain Dew
1) Tame Impala - Lonerism
Their debut Innerspeaker was one of my favourite records of 2010 and their follow up effort is no different. By writing, recording and producing the majority of both albums, Kevin Parker is beginning to make a bit of a name for himself, and quite rightly so. Expect driving psychedelic rock, progressive songwriting and festival spotlight stealing sets throughout the summer.
Listen to: the whole record, in the order they intended it to be heard and preferably on vinyl
Follow Raj Bains on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BainsXIII