Writer Best of 2010: UncleFunkle

Flying Lotus

Back by popular demand, we bring back the Reader Top 5ives of the best releases of the year. The concept is simple. Our writers and readers pick out the best 5 songs that they think are their favorite of 2010. If you want to contribute, just fill out the form.

Name: UncleFunkle
Location: Washington, DC
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“F*ck You” by Cee-Lo Green

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Cee-Lo stepped out of the shadow of his own success as part of Gnarls Barkley to emerge victorious as his own entity.  Cee-Lo is no stranger to solo success, but never has any of his prior work had such immediate urgency (when one of your songs gets performed on Glee, you know you’ve got something special).  The 2010 Grammy’s have acknowledged this fact by nominating this song for Record of the Year and Song of the Year!!!  This was THE feel-good song of the year, even though the title would suggest otherwise.  Never has a song about bitterness and jealousy sounded so sweet.

The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae

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Those not in the know would be prone to think that this multi-talented young lady came out of nowhere.  Luckily for us, we were hip to Janelle way before this gem of an album dropped.  She’d been teasing us with EP’s and guest appearances here and there, only hinting at the megawatt talent that was brewing beneath the surface.  She bared her heart, soul, and her many personalities with this jaw-dropping epic of an album.  By the time you finished listening to her dizzying mastery of multiple genres, you were left speechless, and your faith in music and talent had been thoroughly restored.

Chamber Music Society by Esperanza Spalding
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Even though it came as a total surprise, no one is more deserving of a nod for 2010’s Best New Artist Grammy than Esperanza.  Even though we were grooving to her previous album, Esperanza, a few years prior, Chamber Music Society proved to be a mesmerizing masterwork of the highest order.  Not yet 30 years old, she handles the acoustic double bass like she’s been playing it for decades and scats like she’s been boning up on her Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter.  She decided to pick a handful of her colleagues and have a good old fashioned chamber jam.  So with just her bass, a piano here, a violin there, and spare yet effective percussion, she has created a work of virtuosic proportions.

Quadron – Self-Titled
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Wow.  This is one of those albums that sneaks up on you and totally takes you off guard.  The dynamic Danish duo of producer Robin Hannibal (of Owusu and Hannibal) and vocalist Coco O. have created a quiet and quite magical collaboration.  Every song is an excercise in soulful, yet beautifully restrained, sensuality.  Coco’s voice reminds me of curling incense smoke, slowly infusing itself into everything it comes in contact with.  The lyrics, heartfelt delivery, and minimalist chic beats give the whole project a gravitas that demands repeated listening.

Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus
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So THIS is what having A.D.D. sounds like!  This album is all over the place, and this is exactly what makes it so irresistable.  How did Flying Lotus manage to bring together so many seemingly disparate pieces into one cohesive unit?  Simple:  he’s a friggin’ genius!  He happens to be Alice Coltrane’s nephew, and her jazzy influence can be heard throughout (especially the free-flowing experimentation and use of the harp).  This is the soundtrack to the spiritual journey through Flying Lotus’ mind.  I like to imagine that this is what aliens would have blasting out of their UFOs.