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The ADM Top 10 of 2010

The ADM Top 10 of 2010

Now everyone's had their fun with the Best of 2010 roundups, it's time to get to the cold hard facts of what really were the most critically-acclaimed albums over the past 12 months.

The Any Decent Music top 10 of 2010 is the most reliable guide to what earned the most extensive overall praise from reviewers. It's not skewed by idiosyncratic judgments or personal prejudice or peer pressure - it's the widest survey of worldwide critical opinion around, and you can't argue with mathematics.

With one exception, each of the albums in our top 10 were reviewed by around 40 of our sources from the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and the formula we apply to arrive at the ADM rating takes the number of reviews into account. (We exclude any albums with fewer than 10 reviews.)

We've listed them here with an extract from one selected review which best sums up the general reaction to the album.

The obvious variance from all the end-of-year favourites is the presence of Anais Mitchell at the very top. Puzzlingly, the Canadian singer-songwriter's "folk opera" Hadestown has barely featured in any Best Of 2010 roundups, despite a smattering of 10/10 and 9/10 reviews on its release in April. It received the fewest reviews of the top 10, but, at the same time, it was championed by a disparate collection of critics, from The Sunday Times, through NME, and The Line Of Best Fit.

That aside, there is no question that this has been Kanye West's year. 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' has attracted acclaim from all corners much in the way that Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' dominated in 2009, with more 10/10 reviews than any other album in our all-time chart. We can only surmise that its comparatively modest showing in our survey of the Best Of 2010 roundups is down to the fact that it was released at the end of November, too soon to be more widely appreciated.

When we compiled our 2010 half-year report, it looked highly likely that Joanna Newsom would complete a US female folk artist one-two alongside Mitchell at the top, but that was before the emergence of Janelle Monae, and the delivery of what many regard as a classic album from Arcade Fire.

If any eyebrows are raised at the appearance of Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate, they shouldn't be. Their ranking is based on more than 20 reviews from a wide range of sources (albeit predominantly from the UK), with attention from publications more open to world music being matched by high praise from the likes of Pitchfork and Pop Matters.

The main distinguishable theme in comparing our numerical chart to the end-of-year favourites is the lack of indie rock dominance. Why so? You tell us....

 

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8.85

Anais Mitchell

Hadestown

That it works so brilliantly well, that in under an hour it creates a world you'll want to return to time and time again, that it is a glittering model of the form - of collaboration itself - is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Drowned In Sound

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8.79

Kanye West

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

One of pop's gaudiest, most grandiose efforts of recent years, a no-holds-barred musical extravaganza.

The Independent

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8.58

Arcade Fire

The Suburbs

The Suburbs is their most thrillingly engrossing chapter yet...You could call it their OK Computer. But it's arguably better than that.

BBC

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8.51

Janelle Monáe

The ArchAndroid

The biggest question of all after this supernova, jawdropping experience is where the hell Monae goes from here. You certainly won't be alone in wanting to hitch a ride in her spaceship to get a taste of what comes next.

The Iish Times

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8.49

Joanna Newsom

Have One On Me

Have One On Me is winding, long-winded, densely poetic, and often challenging; but never tedious or self-indulgent. Remarkably, there's not a second of filler across its 125 minutes

music OMH

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8.32

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate

Ali And Toumani

There is a sense of both immense space and telepathic closeness on this beautiful album, with the superb recording putting the listener right in the middle of the action.

Daily Telegraph

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8.28

Flying Lotus

Cosmogramma

Reaches into the past in order to create something clearly of the future - a hybridized work that challenges others to follow its dazzling blueprint.

A.V. Club

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8.25

The National

High Violet

Let the scribes struggle to find appropriate superlatives that won't ever come close to capturing the solemn grandeur contained within these songs.

The Line Of Best Fit

 

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8.15

Sleigh Bells

Treats

Sleigh Bells are right here, right now, and every song sounds like an invitation to the coolest, loosest party in town. Some things don't last, but that makes their moment all the more precious.

Faster Louder

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8.12

Robyn

Body Talk

Robyn has proved that there's real emotion to be found among the ones and zeros of electronic music, and Pt 3. is the culmination of that outlook: euphoric, personal, and inspirational to the last beat.

AV Club

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And the next 10

  1. 8.12  Caribou Swim
  2. 8.11 Grinderman Grinderman 2
  3. 8.11 Four Tet There Is Love In You
  4. 8.11 Deerhunter Halcyon Digest
  5. 8.07  Paul Weller My Beautiful ... Fantasy
  6. 8.06  The Phantom Band The Wants
  7. 8.03  These New Puritans Hidden
  8. 8.03  Laura Marling I Speak Because I Can
  9. 8.01  Gorillaz Plastic Beach
  10. 7.97  Swans My Father Will Guide Me ...
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