Gregg’s 2010 Album of the Year

As of a few weeks ago, I had no intention of writing this article, simply because I had no material worthy of this honor.  The top 40 on the radio usually consists of “in the moment” tunes that may be decent, but come from albums that lack a solid performance from the first track to the last.  From where I stood, it was an anemic year for music.  Linkin Park brought us something new, but not necessarily something exciting.  The Black Eyed Peas’ latest work didn’t exactly send people to the moon either.  Another example is the band Daughtry, of whom I’m a fan.  Their collaboration with Carlos Santana covering Def Lepperd’s “Photograph” was uninspiring to say the least.  What’s that mean when even bands you like aren’t measuring up?  It means quality is going to hit you when you least expect it. 

If, 365 days ago, you would have said that my pick for the best album of 2010 was a film soundtrack, I would have thought you to be slightly off your rocker.  So the shoe is on the other foot.  Daft Punk’s scoring of Disney’s Tron: Legacy came out on top this year.  The movie achieved a tepid status with me, but the music hit a much higher note.  I recall in July at this year’s Comic-Con when director Joe Kosinski fielded a few questions of what it was like to have the kings of techno handle the complete soundtrack for his movie.  Though his exact words escape me, his expression stated it was a no-brainer to bring those guys on board.  It was a calculated risk bringing a pop culture duo or group aboard to compose the full Tron: Legacy soundtrack.  Sure, Daft Punk is proven, but what was their exposure to putting together all the music for a feature film? 

When that opening scene started, a smile fell upon my face as the sounds of a keyboard synthesizer graced the cinema speakers.  It was a sound I grew up listening to and was one I immediately associated with the original Tron.  From there, the soundtrack blossomed into one that wasn’t merely limited to techno club rhythms, but that of a full symphonic delivery with a synthetic string and brass section as the percussion erupted into a plethora of bass.  There is not one mundane or filler piece of music on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack.  This is one bragging right that not too many albums can claim these days.

I bought a Daft Punk album back in the 1990’s (Homework), which I still have today.  I enjoyed it then and now, though it didn’t convey anything even close to the range of mood and emotion that was put forth on this Hollywood album.  My personal favorite track of the bunch is #8, “The Game Has Changed.”  There’s such a sense of urgency and challenge threading the tune’s notes, that my ears can’t help but get sucked in to the picture it paints and the emotion it instills.  One of the more publicized tracks is “Derezzed.”  The fatally labeled piece sounds more like Daft Punk’s older work, firing off rapid, repetitious beats that fulfill a hectic pace and taunting flow. 

Other tracks deliver a hypnotic sound, capable of drawing in the listener, just like any of the other numbers on the album that total between 22 and 24.  The number varies because it depends on where you buy it.  If you buy the physical CD, there are 22 tracks.  If you get it from Amazon purely as a download, there are 23 tracks, the last of which, “Sea of Simulation,” is an Amazon exclusive.  And finally, if you get it from iTunes, you’ll pay $2 more than on Amazon, but you get 24 tracks.  Is the $2 worth it?  I’ll leave that up for you to decide.  If you already have an iPhone or iPod, you’re paying more for the iTunes convenience than you are the extra track. 

Regardless of what format you buy this on, you can’t go wrong…that is of course you despise techno, but I think if you made it this far in the article, there has to be some attraction to the synth-music genre.  Daft Punk did a phenomenal job putting this album together, morphing it to fit the mood on screen and building it to what has also become a great stand-alone album.  Congrats!


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4 Responses to “Gregg’s 2010 Album of the Year”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Nice choice Gregg, certainly a solid soundtrack that I’ll be continuing to listen to. And yeah, “The Game Has Changed” is basically in my mind when I walk around and enter rooms.

    Good year for music all around in my opinion. I’m an alternative rock guy myself, and while I wont be writing an Album of the year article, I can say that my choice would probably by Vampire Weekend’s “Contra”. I’ve listened to that album more than any other this year and love every track, so that’s what would get my vote.

  2. Gregg Senko

    Thanks, Aaron. I will look into Contra, see if I can find a few clips of their work.

  3. Brian White

    Tough one…I would have never been able to call a soundtrack my album of the year. My top 2 were Rob Zombie and Shakira, but if Megadeth would have put an album out this year…you better believe it be #1. I would call this Tron CD my favorite soundtrack of the year followed closely by Resident Evil Afterlife and Inception.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    I liked the scores for Sherlock Holmes and Inception. I haven’t heard the Tron soundtrack yet.