9. Adele – 21
Oh, like you’ve never been a heartbroken 17-year-old girl driving around empty streets with your girlfriends on a desolate Friday night, wailing along to the radio and feeling like the only way to fight the pain is to keep on singing. I’m so sure.
8. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?
Here we go! Yes! That’s what we needed! A good old injection of big, bouncy garage rock. I don’t know what happened to buzz this year. I swear, these dudes were all poised to be a big deal, and then their record came out and no one cared because everyone was more concerned with what Tyler, the Creator was spray-painting on the bottom of his skateboard or whatever. Well, I remembered, Vaccines. You are a big deal in my ears. Is that a gross thing to say? I hope so!
7. Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings
True story: this record came up on shuffle the other day when I was running and I had to stop to look at my iPod because I thought it had gotten stuck on some kind of sped-up Alvin & the Chipmunks setting. But no! That’s just the way the guy’s voice sounds! The best thing about this album is that I can think it’s stuck on the Chipmunks setting and I will still listen to it all the way through, because every song is a poppity punkity delight that if you were walking down the street and heard them playing from someone’s window you’d stick around until the record was finished in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the person who was listening to it, even if you were on the way to a job interview and your feet hurt. Bonus points for the best video of the year.
6. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
I used to live in New York. Then I got tired of being uncomfortable all the time and left. But the minute I heard this Joy Formidable record, all I wanted to do was go back to the city and come home on the subway at 2 AM after a night of drinking with my friends and sit in a semi-empty car with this record turned up so loud I would do permanent damage to my ears, buzzed and happy and on my way back to my shitty apartment where I would eat a microwave burrito and pass out while watching an episode of Mr. Show. Or maybe I’d just keep listening and stay on the train way past my stop and deal with it later, BECAUSE ROCK N’ ROLL.