New Music Mix: Best of the Best for 2010

To end the year right, we over
at AfterElton.com felt the need to recap some of the highlights in music this past
year, the best of the best, so to speak. 2010 has been quite the year in music,
for both gay male musicians, as well as for exciting new talent. Artists like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West released some of their best
work to date. Newcomers like Florence +
the Machine
and Janelle Monaé
rose to international fame. Michael
Jackson
got in on the action with his first (of many, I presume) posthumous
albums and Ricky Martin finally came
out!

Let’s dive in on a recap of the
highlights of 2010, with 10 Gay Male Artists who truly shined in 2010, a list of
Top 40 songs every gay man needs to have on his iPod, and the Top 10 Albums of
this excellent year in music history
.

10 Gay Male Artists Who Shined in 2010

2010 has been quite the year
for gay male artists, many of which took this year to officially declare themselves
as openly gay men.

Some of these men sparked a tad
bit of controversy in the media; an environment that seems it’s not yet quite
sure how to handle the overabundance of openly gay public figures, while others
took 2010 as the year to release some of their finest work to date.

Here
we take a look at ten openly gay male artists who excelled in 2010.

1.
J
ónsi

Go is the debut studio
album by Jónsi, the
Icelandic frontman for the band Sigur
Rós. 2010 found Jónsi embarking on a worldwide tour of his critically
acclaimed project, which was produced in part by his boyfriend Alex Somers. Go received mostly positive reviews across the board from critics
and rose to number twenty-three on the Billboard 200 Chart in the US. His lead
single “Go Do” features Jónsi’s
falsetto styling with fluttering flutes and soaring electronics, accompanied by
a video that MTV describes as having a “natural weirdness.”

2. Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend)

Openly gay producer,
multi-instrumentalist and New York based indie rock band Vampire Weekend member Rostam
Batmanglij
had much to celebrate this year. In February Batmanglij publicly
came out to OUT Magazine as his band’s sophomore album Contra became their first album to reach number one on the
Billboard 200. The album spawned the hits “Horchata,” “Cousins,” and the aptly
titled “I Think UR a Contra.” In a year of highlights for this relatively new
indie group, they found themselves in a $2 million lawsuit brought on by the
girl pictured on the front cover of their album (apparently they used the photo
without her permission).

3.
Adam
Lambert

2010 was certainly a
remarkable year for American Idol runner-up
Adam Lambert
. His 2009-released debut album For Your Entertainment continued its reign in the pop music arena
with hits “If I Had You” and “Whataya Want From Me” ruling the radio airwave;
the latter garnering the new artist a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal
Performance. 2010 sparked the first official solo concert for Lambert titled
Glam Nation. In the fall Lambert took his tour international and sparked
controversy in Malaysia, due to their anti-homosexuality stance. Lambert
continued his fight for equality as one of only a few openly gay male artists
to launch their career on a major music label. In December Lambert released an
acoustic EP titled Acoustic Live!,
recorded during the artist’s international travels.

4.
Elton John

In June 2010 Sir Elton John performed at the fourth
wedding of the conservative commentator Rush
Limbaugh
for a reported $1 million, sparking considerable controversy due
to Limbaugh’s opposition to gay marriage. John claims his appearance at
Limbaugh’s wedding is a step in the right direction towards getting Limbaugh on
the side of equality. John again sparked controversy when he defied an artist boycott
in Arizona over the state’s immigration law. In response John stated: “We are
all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists
won’t come here. They are f*ckwits! Let’s face it: I still play in California,
and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what’s the f*ck with
these people?” On October 25th, 2010 with American musician and
songwriter Leon Russell, John
released his thirtieth studio album, The
Union
, which debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200, John’s highest
charting studio album since his 1976 album Blue
Moves.
The track “If It Wasn’t for Bad” was nominated for a Grammy for Best
Pop Collaboration With Vocals.

5.
Kele Okereke

2010 marked two landmark
events for indie rock band Bloc Party
lead singer Kele Okereke: he
released his debut solo album The Boxer produced
by XXXChange, and after years of dodging the question, Okereke finally publicly
came out in the March issue of Butt magazine, followed closely by a cover story
to the June issue of Attitude magazine. Okereke was named the Sexiest Out Gay
Male Artist by music website LP33. His debut album took a shift towards a more
mainstream club sound, perhaps influenced by his coming out. The album received
considerable favorable reviews from critics. His first single was the club
friendly “Tenderoni,” followed by “Everything You Wanted” and “On the Lam.”

6.
Boy George

After being released
early from prison for the crime of imprisoning a male escort, which
subsequently kept him from participating in the final season of the UK’s
Celebrity Big Brother, Boy George
needed a break. And 2010 was just that for the former Culture Club member. On October 28, George finally released his
first studio album in eight years, the long-awaited Ordinary Alien, produced by longtime dance partner Kinky Rowland. The lead single “Amazing
Grace” features Portuguese pop star Ana
Lains
and is easily one of the best dance songs of the year. Another
victory for George occurred when the BBC’s Radio 1 lifted a longtime ban from
playing his music. His song “Somebody To
Love Me,” off Mark Ronson’s Record Collection, was met with critical
acclaim.

7.
Scissor Sisters

2010 marked the release
of the third studio album, Night Work, by
American rock band Scissor Sisters,
consisting of openly gay members Jake
Shears
, Babydaddy and Del Marquis. The album spawned three
hit singles for the group: “Fire With Fire,” “Invisible Light” and “Any Which
Way.” Produced by Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers, Kylie Minogue)
Night Work debuted at number eighteen
on the Billboard 200 and number two on the UK Albums Chart. The group embarked
on a worldwide tour called The Night Work Tour, and lucky viewers at
Glastonbury got to catch a duet with Kylie Minogue on the track “Any Which
Way.”

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