Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Han~
Oh, it’s just a compilation with a bunch of bonus tracks. Surely, it just rehashes what we’ve heard over the last 20 years? Not so fast. A number of early tracks have been remixed in a way that actually brings new character to what Shiina calls her youthful works. As for the new songs? Well, if you’re not a fan of the most recent albums, these tracks aren’t going to dissuade you.
Michael Kiwanuka, KIWANUKA
I picked up Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album from the thrift store and was immediately impressed. I sought out his second album and didn’t warm up to it as much. That planted some hesitancy on picking up this latest album, which turned out to be unfounded. This album takes Kiwanuka in a new direction.
LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
I really dig the “Drunk Girls” video, but I can’t say I remember much about This Is Happening. The band’s debut, Sound of Silver, is often touted as their best work, so I gave it a chance when I spotted it in the thrift shop. Conventional wisdom turns out to be correct.
Leila Josefowicz, Solos
I picked this album up because of the Ysaÿe Sonata No. 3 for solo violin. It’s a monstrous piece.
Yvonne Elliman, Rising Sun
Yvonne Elliman will be known as a disco singer, but after her run as Mary Magdalene in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, she tried her hand at a more conventional folk-rock sound. As with Love Me, Rising Sun demonstrates how underrated Elliman is.
Peter Moon Band, Cane Fire!
Back in college, I tried to explore Hawaiian music, but my rockist bias against the genre would be difficult to overcome. Still, I picked up Cane Fire! on the recommendation of people more versed in the genre than I was, and … I was still too much of a snob to give it fair shake. Three decades have tempered that snobbery, and it turns out Cane Fire! really stands out.
A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
2010 was a solid year in music, led by strong showings from Shiina Ringo and Cocco. So this version of the Favorite Edition list doesn’t stray much from the original.
Tokyo Jihen, Sports
Renée Fleming, Dark Hope
LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, ABBOT KINNEY
Royal Wood, The Waiting
ACO, devil’s hands
The Drums, The Drums
Oriental Love Ring, In This World
Other favorites from the year:
LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening
Sade, Soldier of Love
Friday Night Lights, Original Television Soundtrack, Vol. 2
TOUMING MAGAZINE, Our Soul Music
I was always a bit ambivalent about ranking LCD Soundsystem over Sade, so the late discovery of The Drums banished both from the Favorite 10.
I’ve been waiting for an album by Oriental Love Ring for more than 30 years, so learning it happened — albeit two years after it was released — meant something had to give. And it fell to Jónsi.
The final retroactive addition to the list is the debut album by TOUMING MAGAZINE. I try not to translate foreign language album titles, but since my traditional Chinese is non-existent, it’s safest to give a correct English title than a mangled transliterated one.
Google Translate says 我們的靈魂樂 is pronounced “Wǒmen de línghún lè”. The band says the title is Our Soul Music.