Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? Bowling With Titus Andronicus and the Joy of the Work

Welcome to Sound of the City's year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We'll be here all week!

Please, this holiday season, spare a thought for these millionaires.
King Kong, Loch Ness, Goblin, and Ghoul,

I'm a zombie with no conscience. But if this trip 'round the mulberry bush has got me thinking about anything, it's evangelizing. We all champion the artists that feel precious and reject everyone else's narrative. Rich positioned the much-hyped Robyn as the invalid child of the dance-pop elité, propped up as a paragon of fortitude and invention, before doing the deep-dig on some great dance music I'd not heard at all this year. Zach crawled into the depths of his youth to make Superchunk the cool Aunt and Uncle of the game, the kind who let you smoke and watch R-rated movies when you slept over their house. Maura made the last-minute battle cry for R. Kelly, a conflicting but righteous choice, while closing the book (for good?) on the American Idol Generation. Rob repped for Robyn in the face of dismissal, defied me (!) on Taylor Swift, found evenhanded things to say about the hegemony of Arcade Fire, but ultimately couldn't even muster a joke about the Black Eyed Peas. And then there is Zach's reminiscence on a moment we shared in my living room (you're all invited to come and see the weird mirrors some time soon) that involved Pusha T and Kanye West. During a VMA live chat with Ryan Dombal for this very blog, I wrote, quickly, after the performance, "Feels really good to see the two rappers I've been most invested in for the last 10 years closing the VMAs. Frivolous, but weirdly important."

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Nashville Scene Poll Reveals "The Mount Rushmore Of Country Music's Future"

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A tip of our metaphorical cowboy hat to our Nashville cohorts, who've unveiled their annual country critics' poll and further underscored the supremacy of Brad, Miranda, Taylor, and Jamey. "With Paisley and Lambert, Swift and Johnson completed the Mount Rushmore of country music's near future," writes poobah Geoffrey Himes. "Four relatively young singer-songwriters who are inventing new ways to mix carefree jokes and reluctant confessions, twanging guitar and banging drums. It's been a while since the prospects for hillbilly music looked so bright." Results are here.