Evie Nagy
Jersey City, NJ

Now that we all agree that it’s impossible to sell out, can we please retire the phrase “selling out”?

Andy Wang
Brooklyn, NY

Superchunk, who're on the coolest label ever
Jason Arthurs
Superchunk, who're on the coolest label ever

Details

Pazz and Jop 2010
Rise of the Douchebags
Kanye West and James Murphy turn their private flaws into public triumphs
By Zach Baron

Never Forget
Cee Lo Green sums up 2010 in two little words
By Rob Harvilla

Little Pink Polos for You and Me
Wallowing and/or reveling in social anxiety with Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend
By Eric Harvey

The Wayward Crucifixion of M.I.A.
On the dodgy, opportunistic, truffle-fry-fueled campaign against both Maya and Maya
By Charles Aaron

Leave Chillwave Alone
In defense of the nostalgia-steeped genre Ariel Pink both invented and abandoned
By Simon Reynolds

Attack of the Singing Rappers
On Drake, Nicki Minaj, B.o.B., and the art of the debut-as-pop-crossover
By Clover Hope

The Great Gay-Pander-Off of 2010
Katy, Nicki, Ke$ha, P!nk, and Gaga taste the rainbow
By Rich Juzwiak

The Internet-Rap Atomization
Odd Future, Lil B, Wiz Khalifa, et al. build tiny kingdoms, and rule them
By Tom Breihan

Justin Bieber, Twitter Casanova
The Most Popular Boy in the World rules the only voting bloc that matters: pre-teen girls
By Camille Dodero

The Top Ten
From Kanye West to The Suburbs

Stuff We Like
Rick Ross Lies, the Rolling Stones Plunder, And Taylor Swift Triumphs

Related Stories

More About

I bought one CD this year. One. Approximately 17 kajillion fewer than my average per annum from 1987 to 2002. But I ended up listening to approximately 17 kajillion records.

Michael Robbins
Chicago, IL

Probably nothing I’ve done online has elicited quite the response of an early-2009 piece in which I posited that Lady Gaga was an alien from another planet, created in a secret lab underwritten by record-company executives eager for one last mega-pay-day. “Lady Gaga is NOT an alien! She went to high school in New York!”—or words to that effect—was one of my favorite responses.

George Varga
San Diego, CA

As much as the record business has changed in the last two decades, I am struck by the familiarity of the labels represented on my list: Reprise, Mercury, Columbia, Def Jam, Sub Pop, Jive, Smithsonian Folkways. This could be my ballot from 1982! And while it’s never been all that much of a priority for me to worry about the plight of record labels in the age of the free download, I have to say, I am glad we are all still here, and doing good work.

Rick Mitchell
Houston, TX

I’d like to offer my peers a deal: If you listen to Rotting Christ’s AEALO or Decrepit Birth’s Polarity (#7 and #9 on my year-end Top 10 for MSN Music), and find something thoughtful to say about either one, I’ll try and do the same for Kanye West or Arcade Fire. If you listen to Ayumi Hamasaki’s Rock ’n’ Roll Circus, I’ll try my damnedest to make it through a whole Robyn song.

Phil Freeman
Elizabeth, NJ

I spent most of 2010 in an essentially windowless apartment in Queens, mostly alone except for two rabbits. It was a rough year, but one that subtly changed the way I interact with music, that made certain songs sound like salves. How did Mavis Staples know to reassure me that I was not alone? How did Gil Scott-Heron know that New York was killing me, and that I was longing for my hometown right outside of Jackson, Tennessee? Walking around crowded sidewalks and riding overflowing subway cars, I sensed that these artists were talking directly to me—a feeling I remember from adolescence but is so rare in adulthood, when my engagement with music is almost entirely professional, that it surprised and sustained me.

Stephen Deusner
Chicago, IL

Last year, Chuck Eddy wrote an essay called “The Year of Too Much Consensus.” With how Kanye West and The Social Network reigned supreme this year, I think he’d be pretty frightened about 2010.

Joey Daniewicz
Morris, MN

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