Reviews in 200 Words

Top Ten Albums of 2010: #6

In Top Ten Albums of the Year: #6 on December 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

#6 Album of the year: 
Jay Cullis:
Sharon Van Etten, “epic”

Singer-songwriter has to be the hardest job in music. You can’t hide behind production, auto-tune or gimmicks. It’s a voice, an instrument, and the words.
Sharon Van Etten’s got a band, but it’s her show. And what a show it is. Heartbroken and timid one minute, ferocious the next. Van Etten doesn’t so much sing her songs – she wrings them out of a broken past she’d probably rather forget. It’s not all dour, but it’s damn serious.
Key Tracks: “A Crime,” “One Day”


Micah Ling:
Jay-Z, “The Hits Collection, Vol. One”
I know: a hits collection in a best-of? But, yes. Hear these songs again. Read the book. This is it. The song titles alone tell a story, and these songs are full of stories. It’s easy to dismiss rap, or hip-hop, the way it was once easy to dismiss rock-n-roll, or poetry. Jay-Z has seen it all; he’s come from the bottom and he’s still achieving the top. If “99 Problems” isn’t a perfect catalog of all that’s wrong with America–in terms of race, and class–then there’s nothing that can capture it. Jay-Z wins, for sure—he’s done so much.

Key Tracks: “99 Problems,” “Run This Town,” “Empire State of Mind”


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