Best Music Of 2010: The Complete List

Use the list below to browse NPR's Best Music of 2010 recommendations. Each critic's list is presented separately. Click on the article names to read our critics' comments about the albums. You can also download the full list as a .pdf file (Windows: Right-Click and "Save Link As"; Mac: Control-Click and "Save Link As").


NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2010

Recommended by NPR Music Staff

Thomas Ades, Tevot

Agalloch, Marrow Of The Spirit

Aloe Blacc, Good Things

Khaira Arby, Timbuktu Tarab

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh

Big Boi, Sir Lucious Leftfoot...The Son Of Chico Dusty

The Black Keys, Brothers

Brooklyn Rider, Dominant Curve

Buke & Gass, Riposte

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Genuine Negro Jig

Regina Carter, Reverse Thread

Chancha Via Circuito, Rio Arriba

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

Issac Delgado, Love

Joyce DiDonato, Rossini: Colbran, The Muse

Flying Lotus, Cosmogramma

Four Tet, There Is Love In You

Vittorio Grigolo, The Italian Tenor

Gyptian, Hold You

Hilary Hahn, Higdon & Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos

Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings

Rita Indiana, El Juidero

Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song

Jonsi, Go

Seu Jorge And Almaz, Seu Jorge And Almaz

King Sunny Ade, Baba Mo Tunde

Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs, God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise

LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening

Lower Dens, Twin Hand Movement

Alexander Melnikov, Shostakovich

Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid

Jason Moran, Ten

Carla Morrison, Mientras Tu Dormias

The National, High Violet

Owen Pallett, Heartland

Sondra Radvanovsky, Verdi Arias

Josh Ritter, So Runs The World Away

Robyn, Body Talk

Kermit Ruffins, Happy Talk

Christian Scott, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

Gil Scott-Heron, I'm New Here

Sleigh Bells, Treats

Esperanza Spalding, Chamber Music Society

Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone

Sufjan Stevens, The Age Of Adz

The Tallest Man On Earth, The Wild Hunt

Titus Andronicus, The Monitor

Sharon Van Etten, Epic

Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


Top 10 Jazz Albums Of 2010
Recommended By Patrick Jarenwattananon, A Blog Supreme

1. Jason Moran, Ten

2. Guillermo Klein, Domador De Huellas

3. Steve Coleman And Five Elements, Harvesting Semblances And Affinities

4. Bill Carrothers, Joy Spring

5. Maurice Brown, The Cycle Of Love

6. Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings

7. Geri Allen, Flying Toward The Sound

8. Fight The Big Bull Feat. Steven Bernstein, All Is Gladness In The Kingdom

9. Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, Deluxe

10. Mike Reed's People, Places And Things, Stories And Negotiations


Top 10 Latin Alternative Albums Of 2010

Recommended By Jasmine Garsd, Alt.Latino

1. Seu Jorge And Almaz, Seu Jorge And Almaz

2. Carla Morrison, Mientras Tu Dormias

3. Rita Indiana, El Juidero

4. Calle 13, Entren Los Que Quieran

5. Alex Cuba, Alex Cuba

6. Chancha Via Circuito, Rio Arriba

7. Javiera Mena, Mena

8. Maneja Beto, Escante Calling

9. Mala Rodriguez, Dirty Bailarina

10. Alex Anwandter, Odisea


Top Ten Classical Albums Of 2010

Recommended By Tom Huizenga, Deceptive Cadence

1. Shostakovich: The Preludes And Fugues, Op. 87

2. Sondra Radvanovsky: Verdi Arias

3. Thomas Ades: Tevot, Etc.

4. Vittorio Grigolo: The Italian Tenor

5. Baltic Runes: Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

6. Victoire: Cathedral City

7. Joyce DiDonato: Colbran, The Muse

8. Danny Driver: C.P.E. Bach: Keyboard Sonatas

9. Valentin Silvestrov: Sacred Works

10. Steve Reich: Double Sextet, 2x5


Five Artists You Should Have Known In 2010

Recommended By Kevin Cole, KEXP

Breathe Owl Breathe, Magic Central

Tame Impala, Innerspeaker

Macklemore x Ryan Lewis, The Vs.

The Capstan Shafts, Revelation Skirts

The Head And The Heart, The Head And The Heart


Download The Best World Cafe Sessions Of 2010

Recommended By David Dye, WXPN

Beach House

Phosphorescent

Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs

Villagers

Minus The Bear


Best Cover Songs Of 2010

Recommended By Michael Katzif, NPR Music

Damien Jurado & Richard Swift, "Be Not Fearful" from Other People's Songs

Cee Lo, "No One's Gonna Love You" from The Lady Killer

Warpaint, "Ashes To Ashes" from We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie

Centenaire, "Sea Of Teeth" from I Wish I Had A Horse's Head

Peter Gabriel, "Flume" / Bon Iver, "Come Talk To Me" from Scratch My Back


5 Artists Who Transcended Jazz Standards In 2010

Recommended By Shaunna Morrison Machosky, WDUQ

Pat Metheny, Orchestrion

Brad Mehldau, Highway Rider

Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, Natural Selection

Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Portrait In Seven Shades

Stacey Kent, Raconte-Moi...


Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2010

1. Jonsi, Go

2. The National, High Violet

3. Horse Feathers, Thistled Spring

4. Jeremy Messersmith, The Reluctant Graveyard

5. Sharon Van Etten, Epic

6. Eau Claire Memorial Jazz I Featuring Justin Vernon, A Decade With Duke

7. Titus Andronicus, The Monitor

8. Stars, The Five Ghosts

9. Regina Carter, Reverse Thread

10. The Heligoats, Goodness Gracious


Robin Hilton's Top 10 Albums Of 2010

1. Lower Dens, Twin Hand Movement

2. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

3. Sufjan Stevens, The Age Of ADZ

4. Sharon Van Etten, Epic

5. Jonsi, Go

6. Sleigh Bells, Treats

7. The Tallest Man On Earth, The Wild Hunt

8. Sea Of Bees, Songs For The Ravens

9. Broken Bells, Broken Bells

10. Candy Claws, Hidden Lands


Bob Boilen's Top 10 (Really 9) Albums Of 2010

1. Sufjan Stevens, The Age Of ADZ

2. Jonsi, Go

3. Lost In The Trees, All Alone In An Empty House

4. Buke & Gass, Riposte

5. Surfer Blood, Astro Coast

6. The Tallest Man On Earth, The Wild Hunt

7. Sleigh Bells, Treats

8. The Red River, Little Songs About The Big Picture

9. Josh Ritter, So Runs The World Away


5 Best J.S. Bach Releases Of 2010

Recommended By Brian McCreath, WGBH

Andreas Staier: Goldberg Variations

John Eliot Gardiner: Cantatas, Vol. 2

Isabelle Faust: Sonatas And Partitas

Jonathan Plowright: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 9: British Bach Transcriptions

Simon Preston: The Organ Works


Carrie Brownstein's Top 10 (Plus One) For 2010

Royal Baths, Litanies

Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Best Coast, Crazy For You

Joanna Newsom. Have One on Me

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

Grass Widow, Past Time

Surfer Blood, Astro Coast

Ty Segall, Melted

Secret Cities, Pink Graffiti

Rihanna, Loud

T.I., No Mercy


The 5 Best Genre-Defying Albums Of 2010

Recommended by John Schaefer, WNYC

Clogs, Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton

The Young Scamels, Tempest

Laurie Anderson, Homeland

Sarah Kirkland Snider, Penelope

David Karsten Daniels & Fight The Big Bull, I Mean To Live Here Still


KCRW's Best L.A. Bands Of 2010

Recommended by Jason Bentley, KCRW

Best Coast

Flying Lotus

Autolux

Fitz & The Tantrums

Ozomatli


5 New African Bands That Ruled In 2010

Recommended by Jon Kertzer, KEXP

SMOD

Nneka

Burkina Electric

Razia

Tamikrest


The Best Album Covers Of 2010

Recommended by Michael Katzif, NPR Music

Broken Bells, Broken Bells

S. Carey, All We Grow

Philip Selway, Familial

Suuns, Zeroes QC

Owen Pallett, Heartland

Lower Dens, Twin Hand Movement

Agalloch, Marrow Of The Spirit

Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The Besnard Lakes, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

Land Of Talk, Cloak And Cipher


'All Songs' Listeners Pick The Best Albums Of 2010

1. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

2. The Black Keys, Brothers

3. The National, High Violet

4. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

5. Broken Bells, Broken Bells

6. LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening

7. Vampire Weekend, Contra

8. Sufjan Stevens, The Age Of Adz

9. Beach House, Teen Dream

10. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

11. Gorillaz, Plastic Beach

12. Sleigh Bells, Treats

13. Jonsi, Go

14. Local Natives, Gorilla Manor

15. Band Of Horses, Infinite Arms

16. The Tallest Man On Earth, The Wild Hunt

17. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

18. Spoon, Transference

20. Yeasayer, Odd Blood

21. Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs, God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

22. The New Pornographers, Together

23. Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record

24. Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me

25. Cee Lo, The Ladykiller


5 Best American Contemporary Classical Albums Of 2010

Recommended by Daniel Gilliam, APM

Finisterra Piano Trio, Daron Hagen: Complete Piano Trios

Florestan Recital Project, Complete Songs Of Daniel Pinkham, Vol. 1

Sinfonia Varsovia, George Walker: Great American Orchestral Music, Vol. 2

Da Capo Chamber Players, Luminous Spirals: Chamber Music of Chinary Ung

Imani Winds, Terra Incognita


The 5 Best Side Projects Of 2010

Recommended by Rita Houston, WFUV

Fistful Of Mercy, As I Call You Down

Junip, Fields

Black Dub, Black Dub

Maximum Balloon, Maximum Balloon

She & Him, Volume Two


5 Songs The Current Couldn't Stop Playing

Recommended by Mark Wheat, The Current

Trampled By Turtles, "Wait So Long" from Palomino

Dessa, "Dixon's Girl" from A Badly Broken Code

Jeremy Messersmith, "Violet!" from The Reluctant Graveyard

Mumford & Sons, "Winter Winds" from Sigh No More

OK Go, "This Too Shall Pass" from Of the Blue Colour of the Sky


Egon's 5 Favorite Reissues Of 2010

Recommended by Egon, Funk Archaeology

Omar Khorshid, Guitar El Chark (Guitar Of The Orient)

Syl Johnson, Complete Mythology

Various Artists, The World Ends: Afro Rock And Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria

Various Artists, California Funk: Rare Funk 45s From The Golden State

Pastor T.L. Barrett And The Youth For Christ Choir, Like A Ship (Without A Sail)


5 Jazz Reissues That Put 2010 To Shame

Recommended by Nick Francis, Jazz24

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew 40th Anniversary Legacy Edition

Various Artists, CTI Records: The Cool Revolution

Tito Puente, The Complete 78s, Vols. 1 and 2

Wes Montgomery, Boss Guitar

Stan Getz and Kenny Barron, People Time: The Complete Recordings


The Top 5 Chopin And Schumann Albums of 2010

Recommended by Robin Gehl, WGUC

Kirill Gerstein: Liszt, Schumann, Knussen

Angela Hewitt, Schumann: Kinderszene/Davidsbundler Tanze/Sonata In G Minor

Rafal Blechacz and The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chopin: The Piano Concerto

Stephen Hough, Chopin: Late Masterpieces

Louis Lortie Plays Chopin, Vol. 1


Folk Alley's Best Folk Albums of 2010

Recommended by Elena See, Folk Alley

Patty Griffin, Downtown Church

Crooked Still, Some Strange Country

Natalie Merchant, Leave Your Sleep

Ellis Paul, The Day After Everything Changed

Grada, Natural Angle


Ken Tucker's Top 10 Albums of 2010

Recommended by Fresh Air's Pop Critic

1. Tracey Thorn, Love and Its Opposite

2. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

3. Hot Chip, One Life Stand

4. Peter Wolf, Midnight Serenades

5. Joanna Newsom, Have One on Me

6. Elizabeth Cook, Welder

7. Drive-By Truckers, The Big To-Do

8. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

9. Marty Stuart, Ghost Train

10. Robyn, Body Talk

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