3: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (4AD)
The conditions that Justin Vernon’s debut album was recorded in have been mentioned almost as much, if not more, than the music itself.
With good reason too. This record perfectly encapsulated the atmosphere of living a solitary existence in a log cabin, completely broken-hearted. It may last just over 30 minutes, but it’s a brooding, beautiful masterpiece.
2: TV On The Radio – Dear Science (4AD)
If 2006’s Return To Cookie Mountain laid down a marker of a band at the height of their powers, their third album Dear Science confirmed it.
Tunde Adebimpe and Dave Sitek’s troupe remained rooted in the experimental, but TV On The Radio remembered that tunes are important too and, with as rich a creative palette as could be, they made a near-prefect record.
1: Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction)
The reaction to Elbow winning the Mercury Prize this year shows how Elbow have been taken to the British public’s hearts.
Down to earth, funny and possessed of a peculiar Northern strain of vulnerability, The Seldom Seen Kid cemented Guy Garvey’s reputation as one of the finest lyricists around. And the music put to those words was heartbreakingly good. For once, nice guys did come first.
musicOMH got in touch with Elbow to tell them they’d scaled the dizzy heights of our Top 50. Bassist Pete Turner said: “It’s absolutely awesome, this! I’m delighted you’ve voted us as Number 1. It’s really good to be getting these accolades at the end of the year, it’s been a blow-out!”
Why did he think it was The Seldom Seen Kid that made such an impact, rather than the band’s previous albums?
“I don’t know to be honest, but I’m really glad it was this album. This one is a special one, as it’s the first one to feature the five of us all the way through. I’m proud of all the others, but this one for many reasons is our favourite. It’s a picture of the last two years, which for me was actually quite a tough period. I’ve never struggled as much as I did when we were finishing the album; I remember us pushing it through but being so proud once it was available for people to buy”.
When we told him TV On The Radio’s Dear Science was the runner-up, he said: “That’s our ‘before we go on stage’ music. I’ve missed them before but I think it’s an absolutely incredible album. I would have put that one ahead of ours to be honest!”