Editor's Pick: The renewed, and continuing, interest of local indie-rockers and hipsters (and people who are a long way from neither) in traditional honky-tonk as played by Robert Ellis & the Boys and as documented by a certain Lonesome Onry and Mean and myself this summer. Encouraging, refreshing and amusing.
Marc Brubaker: This one goes to Cee-Lo Green's cover of Band of Horses "No One's Gonna Love You." Not only is it kick-ass - thanks to Green's exquisite, goosebump-inducing pipes, but also it was completely out of left field. Was anybody expecting this? Hardly.
John Seaborn Gray: Janelle Monae. She came out of nowhere and charmed the pants off of everybody. She's funky, fun, sincere, and God almighty can she ever sing. She's like all the best elements of David Bowie and Parliament rolled into one. I'm not gonna lie, I think I might be in love with her.
Craig Hlavaty: Die Antwoord. I did not see something that cool coming this year, aside from Gaga and the other stuff we have been talking about all year.
Jef With One F: I am not surprised by the scandal of the KTRU sale to the University of Houston. What I am continuously surprised is that in following the story as closely as I have, I have not once seen any indication that the staff of KTRU is taking any measures to ensure an online existence as relevant as their current on air existence is. You can listen online? What else? Why aren't you guys Skyping live from the studio, especially for interviews? Why aren't you releasing specialty shows as podcasts or vidcasts?
The Mongols are knocking at the wall, guys. Preparing for the worst might make a little sense here. Even if the FCC cockblocks the Bach, you'd end up with avenues into what is obviously the way future fans will listen to music. I'm not saying the loss of the transmitter wouldn't be a tragedy.
I'm saying that respect for tradition is no reason not to progress. The vast, wild frontier of the Internet is waiting, and the finest minds of Rice are apparently convinced that if they sail into the wifi ocean too far they'll tumble off the side.
Matthew Keever: George W. Bush mentioning Kanye in his new book, Decision Points. It wasn't music, per se, but it was related to music, which makes it pertinent to this list. Even more surprising was Kanye's eventual apology, even if it was begrudgingly delivered.
Shea Serrano: Houston-related: Preemo. That one's not even close. All of the other things that happened could've been, at the very least, at least guessed at. But nobody saw him coming. Nobody. People probably still don't see him now. That's what happens when you weigh 140 pounds and occasionally wear a mustache that makes you look like a skinny Luigi, I suppose.
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Non-Houston Related: Nicki Minaj. She somehow became the second most interesting person of 2010. And she hasn't even gotten naked yet.
Brittanie Shey: Amy Winehouse didn't die.
William Michael Smith: The success of the Crazy Heart soundtrack. While it was a mildly interesting movie if you could convince yourself to look past the too-neat New Age Oprah-approved ending, the soundtrack, with Jeff Bridges doing his best Waylon/Kristofferson imitation, was pretty ho-hum song-wise. Yet there it sits at No. 1 for 2010 on the Americana Music Association chart.
Proving once again... it's not all about the music.