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The Best Albums of 2010: Editor's Picks

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 11:31 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Welcome to the first part in a series of blog entries (running until Christmas Eve) presenting some of the best albums of 2010, from a host of writers and presenters involved with the BBC's Album Reviews service. In the coming days you'll find top fives from the likes of Gideon Coe, Bob Harris, Mike Harding and Steve Lamacq, as well as many from a selection of our great critics. But since it's muggins who commissions all of this coverage, I thought we'd kick off with my own top five. Anyone saying 2010 has been a bad year for music is clearly spouting pure poppycock, as cutting a list of 50-plus albums down to five was, to say the least, tough (but lots of fun). Enjoy...

Drake - Thank Me Later
Drake's debut is an album you either get to the extent where its content infects many a moment of your waking hours, or dismiss as a lightweight collection compared to his harder-hitting mixtapes. But to overlook this superbly articulate and brilliantly produced set is to pass on a record that takes male rapper braggadocio and pulps it, presenting instead a new talent with a wonderfully realised tender side. And he can actually sing, too.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

Deftones - Diamond Eyes
That Deftones' comeback after so much misfortune over the past few years was certain to be the subject of much scrutiny was never in doubt, but few expected such a fantastic summarisation of everything the Californian outfit have stood for to date. Diamond Eyes squirms and screams, wriggles with alluring discomfort and rocks harder than anything by its makers' peers. It is, simply, the best return of 2010, and proof that great art can emerge from the darkest places.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

The Roots - How I Got Over
The Philadelphia crew proved with their ninth studio album - one of two released in 2010 (Wake Up!, with John Legend, is the other) - that they're head-and-shoulders the most lyrically engaging outfit in their field. But dissections of modern society's various ills, and adventures in existentialism, would count for nothing if the music didn't hit the sweetest of spots - and How I Got Over's mix of jazz, blues, hip hop and soul is an intoxicating brew indeed.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
With a new OutKast album hardly hurrying its way into the release schedules, it fell to one-half of the Atlanta rap duo to deliver the goods, and Big Boi did so in spectacular fashion. A long-player every bit as colourful, playful and (frankly) brilliant as anything the rapper's released alongside Andre 3000, Sir Lucious... is the hip hop record of the year for those who like their beats hefty, their themes relatively relaxed and their sax fat.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
A latecomer, but what a latecomer. Kanye's latest has been much-hyped, courtesy of its $3 million budget and plethora of high-profile guest turns, but the man's delivered a grand vision that occupies a singular space on the rap scene. It's not the perfect-marks classic some corners of the press have painted it to be - Kanye's too average a rapper for that to be the case - but it does sound like nothing else released in 2010. Its production is from Venus, its verses from Mars, but somehow the two elements gel fantastically.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews


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