Hercules and Love Affair's debut easily lived up to the massive advance buzz.
1 HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR
The debut album from this Andy Butler project brought a much-needed sense of subtlety, beauty and songwriting back to dance music.
2 FUCKED UP
The Chemistry Of Common Life (Matador)
The Toronto hardcore heroes managed to live up to the extraordinary hype and hope placed on their shoulders, and reminded the world that punk isn't dead after all.
3 JAMIE LIDELL
He left most of his techno roots at home for this reimagining of Motown soul, and it turns out we don't miss the bleeps and bloops much at all.
4 KANYE WEST
808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella)
Whether you love or hate Kanye's cathartic and deeply personal album, you can't deny that he took some major risks and came out with an album that will either make or break his career.
5 LIL WAYNE
Tha Carter III (Cash Money)
You might not completely buy his claims to be the best rapper alive, but you can't deny that he's a unique voice and mind in pop music today, and his influence on contemporary hip-hop is immeasurable.
6 MORGAN GEIST
Double Night Time (Environ)
The critically respected producer and DJ tried his hand at pop music this year, borrowing Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan for vocal duties and coming out with a richly intimate album that just kept creeping back into my CD player.
7 CARL CRAIG
This two-disc career retrospective DJ mix firmly established the Detroit legend as one of the most influential and original minds in dance music, whether it be futuristic jazz or streamlined techno.
8 LOS CAMPESINOS!
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Arts & Crafts)
The hotly hyped UK indie outfit did the impossible by following up an extremely strong debut with an even better sophomore effort not even a year later.
Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams (Geffen)
Beyoncé's double album was a bit of a snoozer, but her little sister Solange stepped up her game with a surprisingly strong and original soul album.
Where You Go I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound)
This cosmic disco epic was the exact opposite of the bite-sized instant-gratification electro that dominated clubs, stretching three tracks into a grandiose but rewarding full-length.