Posts Tagged ‘lists’

my favourite 10 albums of 2010

I’m sure you all figured it was coming – my countdown of which albums I liked most from 2010! (I can hear you all cheering in the background!)

I started with a list of 13 and I really thought it was going to be quite difficult to narrow it down to only 10 albums. Then, when I started doing some research, I found out that my numbers 9 and 10 were actually released in 2009! Now with a list of only 11 it was easy peasy pie.

Please find below, in reverse order, the list of my favourite albums from 2010. Everyone should listen to them immediately.

10. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
9. The Rifles – The Great Escape
8. The Boy Who Trapped the Sun – Fireplace
7. The Courteeners – Falcon
6. Tired Pony – The Place We Ran From
5. General Fiasco – Buildings
4. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
3. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
2. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
1. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Other albums I listened to far too often in 2010 that were released in previous years (but that I only discovered in 2010) include:

The Gaslight Anthem – Sink or Swim & The ’59 Sound
Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
The XX – XX
Band of Skulls – Baby, Darling, Doll Face, Honey

Opinions, please, but only if you agree with me! 🙂


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s’s top 20

I wasn’t the only one interested in making a list of their top albums of the last decade.  My lovely husband made his own list of his favourite 20.  It did not take him as long as it took me.  In fact, I think he wrote this list while I was off making a cup of tea.

However, he did manage to think of albums that I missed and I am kicking myself for it.  For instance, Scott Matthews would have been in my top ten if I had remembered.

Without further ado:

The Top 20

  1. Arctic  Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  2. Damien Rice – O
  3. Bernard Butler – People Move On
  4. Scott Matthews – Passing Stranger
  5. The Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out
  6. Razorlight – Up All Night
  7. The Spinto Band – Nice & Nicely Done
  8. Coldplay – Parachutes
  9. Arcade Fire – Funeral
  10. Kings of Leon – Only By the Night
  11. Aqualung – Aqualung
  12. Snow Patrol – Final Straw
  13. Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions
  14. The Killers – Hot Fuss
  15. Jet – Get Born
  16. Turn Brakes – The Optimist LP
  17. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
  18. The Editors – Back Room
  19. The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers
  20. Cooper Temple Clause – See This Through and Leave

I’m also fairly certain that you can now further understand why we make such a great couple.  It’s a great list, if I do say so myself.

So there you have it, our top albums of the decade.  I am still working on the top 10 songs and I promise I will get it posted eventually.  Although I can’t promise there will only be 10 songs.  More like 100.  Anyway….



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When I sat down to compile my list of my Top Ten Albums of the Decade for 2000-2009 I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  It was always going to be difficult, but I didn’t think it would feel so much like killing off my dearest friends.

I decided a brackets chart (think sports play-offs) was the best way to fairly come up with a Number 1.  I began with a list of 64 albums and pulled them from a hat (not even a joke) to randomly fill out the first row of “challenges”.  This first elimination round was the easiest although I did feel bad for some albums; for instance, Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle (2006) which in and of itself is a great album, but really stood no chance up against Idlewild’s The Remote Part (2002).

I tried to divide my decisions equally between My Favourites and The Best, which is trickier than it may sound.  This is where my guilty pleasures fell to the wayside often to be trumped by greater, but perhaps less listened-to albums. I’m sorry Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! (2005).

I suppose this is the time for “without further ado”, so here you go:

My Top Ten Albums of the Decade

10. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004)

9.   Our Lady Peace – Spiritual Machines (2001)

8.   Snow Patrol – Final Straw (2003)

7.   Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)

6.   Kings of Leon – Only By the Night (2008)

5.   Idlewild – The Remote Part (2002)

4.   The Libertines – Up the Bracket (2002)

3.   The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004)

2.   Razorlight – Up All Night (2004)

1.   Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

And because I always like to know who the runners-up were:

11. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)

12. Muse – Absolution (2003)

The Arctic Monkeys steal the show with their brilliant debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006). Not every track is a stunner, “Riot Van” and “Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…” aren’t very good at all, actually, but even including those two tracks this album is, by far and away, the best that modern (Indie) music can ever hope to be.  In my opinion.  It gets underneath the skin of the noughties youth culture and pushes the most sordid moments into glaring light.  Alex Turner’s lyrics are so brutal and honest they will forever stand as an almost photographic view of the UK at the beginning of this century.  The crowning glory of this album is, of course, their first single; “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” which will undoubtedly pack the floor with dancers on the quietest nights in the loneliest clubs 10 years from now. Don’t believe the hype, indeed.

For those of you interested in the rest of my choices the full brackets chart (from 32 onwards) can be found here: The Great Album Debate.

In the end I was doing a track-by-track comparison.  The Libertines would have ranked higher if it weren’t for “Radio America” which is one of the worst songs ever written.  The Killers are let down by “Andy, You’re A Star” and the fact that “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” was only an album track in the UK and not the USA. I nearly broke all the rules and rocketed Idlewild to the top position simply because someone once asked me whether I was a builder, but I had to play by the rules.

It was a great decade for music and I am very glad that it was also MY decade for music.  If I had been born any earlier or any later then I may have missed it.  Even one year could have thrown this list in a completely different direction.

I am also going to list my top ten tracks of the decade but I think that might be an even harder decision because even the thought of where to start makes my brain hurt.  Wish me luck.

So, what about you?  What were your Top Tens of the decade?  Do you agree or disagree with my choices?

Also, although I am loathe to admit it, I may have forgotten something.  I took great pains to avoid this sad outcome, but if you think I have failed to include something in my Big Album List please, PLEASE let me know.  I can’t imagine I’ve forgotten something that would make it into the top ten, but you never know.  I’m not perfect.

I’m off to play “Red Light Indicates Doors are Secured” at top volume. I suggest you do the same.



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2010 books

My Book-A-Week regime for 2009 has turned out rather well, acutally. I’ve managed to read 49 books so far and it’s only mid-November.

I’ll probably post a summary of the books I’d recommend out of the ones I’ve read this year nearer to January, but with Christmas fast approaching I’m thinking more about what I’d like to read in the future.

So, here we go, the top-ten books I’d like to read in 2010. (In no particular order!)

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writer’s Homes in New England by Brock Clarke

The Diving Bell & the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (which has been on my list since 2007)

Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

Singer by Ira Sher

Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Hopefully at the end of 2010 these will make my list of recommendations!  Fingers crossed I actually get them read over the next year or so, some of them aren’t easy to find.  Especially considering our library in Kilmarnock leaves much to be desired.



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happy 11th november!

I meant to post this on the anniversary of our wedding, but with the whole Windows 7 fiasco (don’t ask!!!!!) we don’t have internet.  So, I decided to wait until our Four-Years-Together-iversary.

I don’t really have that much to say.  The wedding was amazing.  The past year has been extremely difficult (the Life part, not the Married part) but we’ve enjoyed it regardless.

I’ve been listening to our Wedding Mix CD a lot over the past few weeks because it just never gets old.  Would you like the tracklist?  Yes, yes you would.  Even if you don’t know it.

The Feature Songs:
Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla (instrumental) (walking down the ‘aisle’)
Scot Matthews – Elusive (signing the register)
Oasis – The Master Plan (instrumental) (walking out)
Garth Brooks – To Make You Feel My Love (first dance)
Aqualung – Brighter than Sunshine (second dance)

And as the multitudes were waiting and drinking (apparently their body weight) in champagne…

Elbow – On a Day Like This
The Maccabees – Toothpaste Kisses
Matchbox 20 – Time After Time (live)
The Magic Numbers – I See You
Gene – Speak To Me Someone
Laura Marling – Ghosts
Bright Eyes – The First Day of My Life
Damien Rice – Cannonball
Del Amitri – Tell Her This
Elecrasy – Morning Afterglow
Foo Fighters – Walking After You (acoustic)
(plus the 5 songs listed above)

So, yeah, we’re amazing at playlists.  Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

And to my lovely husband, thanks for making the past four years better than I ever could have imagined!



p.s. I would like to apologize to Snow Patrol’s “An Olive Grove Facing the Sea” because, although you remain my favourite song in the entire world, ever (seriously), you didn’t make the cut on the day.

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a book a week…

At the beginning of every year I resolved to finally, finally read one book a week for the duration of the year.  I have yet to stick to my goal.  This year is the closest I have gotten since I started counting.  With 10% of the year (and 16 days off work) left I have read 30 books.  Which is only 58% of the total, but 10 of those were over 400 pages (one @ 584 and one @ 768) and the 30 books add up to a total of 10,525 pages – so I think I have done pretty well. 

Among them: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, A Quiet Belief in Angels by R. J. Ellory,  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (finally), The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and lastly The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which I finished today. 

The Secret Life of Bees is one which I have been wanting to read for a few years now and I am wondering if I would have read it differently a few years ago.  Even a few months ago.  Read it for yourself and see if you know what I am talking about.

The Time Traveller’s Wife gets 6 Stars out of 5 in my book.  I couldn’t read it fast enough.  I wish I had stopped halfway through, though, because the ending hit me hard.  “Had we but world enough, and time,” Marvell.

The list of books I want to read does not think to stop growing to let me catch up.  It is 45 strong today, but probably 50 by tomorrow.  Kate seems to be the only one who recommends books to me these days, so I don’t know where the list comes from.  Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England,  A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Pillars of the EarthStardust.  Many, many others.   None of the Classics are included – that list is 40 strong in and of itself.  Of Human Bondage, or Their Eyes Were Watching God.  The list does not include a single novel by  Dickens and if you have to ask why you do not know me very well at all.

Next I think I will read something by Terry Pratchett even though it is not on the list.  Niffenegger’s poetry and rawness has hollowed me out and I want to cuddle up with the literary equivalent of a big mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows on top – I think Soul Music will do wonders.


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