Well, the country gets a fresh start. Gyms will be packed until the two-week January expiration date of New Year’s resolutions, people will quit smoking until the next time they’re out drinking, and I will launch my inaugural top 10 Albums of 2010 list.

10. Beach House: Teen Dream

Not to be confused with the Katy Perry single, this album put the always-groovy Baltimore duo into the “serious contender” category.

9. Hot Chip: One Life Stand

I discovered this album about a month ago and listened to it pretty much non-stop for about a week. Track-for-track, it’s a pretty smooth, sometimes sensual, and very relaxing piece of work from a band I knew pretty much nothing about beforehand.

8. Black Keys: Brothers

I wish I could rank it higher since it really is an incredible album by one of the best bands out there today, but although it pushed the Akron duo toward national attention and features the debut of Auerbach rocking a Strat (and rocking it well on “Sinister Kid”), it pales in comparison to some of their earlier works. And yes, I say this fully realizing that “I like their earlier stuff” is the douchiest thing a music fan can possibly say.

7. The National: High Violet

Because Matt Berninger is the closest thing to Morrisey we could ask for.

6. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Everyone has an opinion on Kanye West, but despite what you may think of his personality off the mic, he consistently puts out some of the best hip-hop today. MBDTF is polished, dynamic, and brings together some of the best voices of modern rap in an album that was almost unanimously praised across the board. Perfect it is not (I’m convinced that Pitchfork over-values hip-hop albums to distract from the fact that it’s run by nerdy white music nerds) but it is solid and it will be recognized for a long time.

Noah’s edit: Don’t forget to check out my countdown!