Hip-Hop
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Settle down, Swift lovers – she’s on this list, too. Hate or love him, this is an album you won’t be able to resist and if you can, go get your ears checked. With enough featuring artists to start an army it fights everything wrong with music. The Billboard 200 Chart, Rolling Stones 30 Best Albums, Pitchfork.com’s The Top 50 Albums and Spin’s Best 40 Albums all gave Fantasy their #1 spot.

Rap
Eminem – Recovery

This new Eminem release has been a staple for radio stations and dorm rooms since its release in June. Offensive, hair-raising, angry and catchy, it received #9 in Rolling Stones Top 30 Albums of 2010, peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 Chart, and is #38 of Spin’s Best 40 Albums of 2010.

Indie
Arcade Fire – Suburbs

A Canadian band and one to be proud of—you know, unlike Nickelcrap. With more meaning than definition and a sound that changes every song, it peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 Chart. It’s #4 on Rolling Stones 30 Best Albums and #3 of Spin’s Best 40 Albums.

Metal
Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare

Avenged Sevenfold forges their metal with moshing guitar riffs, headbanging drums and a voice that will take you to hell and back, but can still show you a softer side. Nightmare is #1 on Revolver’s Top 20 Albums of 2010.

Rock
Black Keys – Brothers

If you’ve never heard of the Black Keys, you don’t know what you’re missing. This American band is one of the best to (finally) hit it big this year and has a unique sound that merges rock and blues for a raw sound that is far from cheap. This album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 Chart, Given #2 of Rolling Stones 30 Best Albums of 2010 and #13 of Clash’s Top 40 Albums of the Year.

Pop
Taylor Swift – Speak Now

In this album, audiences are shown a more grown up and mature Taylor as she sings about life and love. This is obviously something that resonates with her audience because she sold over a million in the first week. It spent 9 weeks on the Billboard Chart at #1 and is #5 out of 10 on Popmatters.com’s The Best Country Music of 2010.

R&B
Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

Spine-tingling lyrics and vocals accompany the unique mix of rhythm and blues with synths. If you love bass, crank the subwoofer and get a taste of something unlike anything you’ve heard. It’s #6 on Spin’s Best 40 Albums of 2010 and #12 of Pitchfork.com’s The Top 50 Albums of 2010.

Country
Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song

No need to pack for that trip to the South because Jamey Johnson, with his pure country sound, will take you there himself. Songs for the average Joe (and if you play ‘em backward, they may even sound positive). Peaking at #4 on the Billboard 200 Chart, #5 of Rolling Stones’ 30 Best Albums of 2010, and #1 of Popmatters.com’s The Best Country Music of 2010.

Punk
My Chemical Romance – Danger Days

Just as Coke went from glass bottles to aluminum, MCR has a new shape, look and feel but inside, still has that same great taste. More punk + synths = a redefined MCR. Peaking at #8 on the Billboard 200 Chart, placing #28 of Rolling Stones’ 30 Best Albums of 2010 and #8 of AP’s 10 Essential Albums of 2010.

Alternative
Sleigh Bells – Treats

A sound that will have you checking your headphones, Sleigh Bells is the definition of distortion done well, distorting vocals, guitar riffs and dance beats. This hardcore dance album is one to give an experimental listening to. #2 in AP’s 10 Essential Albums of 2010, 1 out of 50 albums of 2010 by Pitchfork.com, #29 of Spin’s Best 40 Albums of 2010.