By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
By Derek Askey
Name: Nicki Escudero
Most played song on my iTunes: "Shake Tramp" by Marianas Trench
Best concert I saw in 2010: Gorillaz at Coachella
Favorite single of 2010: "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars
Favorite album of 1970: Elton John's Elton John
1. Girl Talk: All Day — I've always been a fan of Girl Talk, but All Day, with the abundance of pop music in its mixes, really blew me away. There is everything from Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus to Kesha to Willow Smith, and while I don't necessarily think they're the most talented artists out there, it was nice that the disc included relevant artists on the album.
2. Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops and Hooligans — Bruno Mars is my pick as the most impressive singer to hit the scene in 2010. He's charming, an amazing songwriter (he co-wrote Cee Lo's "Fuck You"), he can hit notes many pop singers can't, and he's on-point in concert. I love that his debut album drew from all kinds of influences — reggae, R&B, pop, and, of course, doo-wop.
3. Never Shout Never: Harmony — Never Shout Never singer-songwriter Christofer Drew freaked a lot of his fans out by announcing he's done with the indie-pop sound and is moving on to more rock melodies and a new name — Christofer Drew and the Shout. Harmony supposedly will be NSN's last album, and its songs get real personal: Drew sings about being cheated on, breaking up with someone, and approaching sell-out status.
4. My Chemical Romance: Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys — My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade is one of my favorite albums of all time, so Danger Days had the potential to be a let-down. They took their music in an even more fun direction on this album, though, adding some dancey melodies in addition to their signature sing-along choruses.
5. Marianas Trench: Masterpiece Theatre — The sophomore album by the best Canadian band you've never heard of really is a grand effort, with orchestras on several tracks and an epic seven-minute cut, "Masterpiece Theatre III," that samples lyrics from MT's previous tracks. Singer Josh Ramsay pushed himself vocally on this album, and the lyrics were very heartfelt and meaningful — not your typical pop-punk music.
6. The Pretty Reckless: The Pretty Reckless EP — Sadly, this three-song EP is the only music out right now by the Taylor Momsen-fronted The Pretty Reckless (their full-length is available in England.) It's a small but a powerful release, with each song having such a distinct style that it's making me really excited for the full-length. And you also get to listen to a 16-year-old sing about getting it on with a priest. Pretty awesome.
7. Gorillaz: Plastic Beach — Gorillaz just continue to impress with their wide variety of musical styles and A-list cameos. Snoop Dogg does the intro for this album, and there's a track about super-fast jellyfish—what more could you ask for? Gorillaz' performance at Coachella this year was also my favorite concert of the year, and their live show at Comerica Theatre was stellar, too.
8. The Spill Canvas: Formalities — The Spill Canvas singer Nick Thomas is a master at mixing emotionally charged, relationship-focused lyrics with super-catchy melodies that you just want to groove to. Formalities also has three cool acoustic jams on it, proving Thomas could definitely go the singer-songwriter route if his band ever breaks up.
9. Neon Trees, Habits — You probably first heard Neon Trees on that commercial for Las Vegas with their Julian Casablancas-like "Animal." Their debut full-length album is an '80s New Wave-inspired, upbeat disc with some dark and deep moments, too. Singer Tyler Glenn's voice has a hypnotic quality that draws you in and is so smooth.
10. Kesha, Cannibal — Kesha smartly released this EP after her debut album, Animal, blew up, and it's in the same vein melodically but goes a little deeper lyrically. She sings about her newfound fame on "Crazy Beautiful Life," and while she gets a little brash while talking about a "dude with a vag" on "Grow a Pear," at least she's attempting to have a sense of humor.