Albums of The Decade (2010s)
As the 2010s come to a close, I bring together the decade’s best albums (In my opinion). As much as I have attempted to remain objective some residue of bias will still be evident. My music taste leans more toward indie and electronic, therefore, the list is rather limited to these areas. If your favourite isn’t here, sorry, but recommend it in the comments and I’ll give it a listen. I have also linked a Spotify playlist at the end with all the 'key songs' mentioned below.
After much deliberation, these are my favourite albums of the decade:
40 | Future Perfect, Present Tense - Ten Fé
(Some Kinda Love, 2019)
Key Song: “Won’t Happen”
39 | SEMICIRCLE - The Go! Team
(Memphis Industries, 2018)
Key Song: “All the Way Live”
38 | The Balcony - Catfish and The Bottlemen
(Island Records, 2014)
Key Song: “Pacifier”
37 | Is This The Life We Really Want? - Roger Waters
Key Song: “Picture That”
36 | Pharmacy - Galantis
(Big Beat Records, 2015)
Key Song: “You’
35 | Cigarettes After Sex - Cigarettes After Sex
Key Song: “John Wayne”
34 | Royal Blood - Royal Blood
(Imperial Galactic Limited, 2014)
Key Song: “Loose Change”
33 | Gossamer - Passion Pit
Key Song: “It’s Not My Fault I’m Happy”
32 | After Laughter - Paramore
(Fuelled by Ramen, 2017)
Key Song: “Fake Happy”
31 | Music for the Motion Picture Victoria - Nils Frahm
(Erased Tapes Records, 2015)
Key Song: “Them”
30 | The Fernweh - The Fernweh
(Skeleton Key, 2018)
|("Next Time Around" single artwork)|
The Fernweh present a blend of 60s psychedelia and folk, bringing a fresh sound to contemporary indie-folk.
Key Song: “Next Time Around”
29 | Islands - Bear’s Den
(Communion Records LLC, 2014)
Indie folk drizzled in sweet smooth honey-like harmonies and instrumentation.
Key Song: “Above The Clouds Of Pompeii”
28 | Migration - Bonobo
(Nija Tuna, 2017)
Lush atmospheric electronic textures create a unique layered sonic experience.
Key Song: “Break Apart”
27 | Soundtrack To A Death - Mura Masa
(Polydor Records, 2014)
Mura Masa is one of the freshest contemporary electronic producers, creating a distinctive genre of his own.
Key Song: “Lotus Eater”
26 | Prototype - Reginald Chapman
(Fresh Selects, 2018)
Bringing fresh jazz tones on his trombone, Chapman’s radical improvisations speak truth in a time when so much else seems fake.
Key Song: “Hoodie”
25 | The Golden Age - Woodkid
(Island Records, 2013)
If dance music was produced by Hans Zimmer you have but an impression of Woodkid’s The Golden Age.
Key Song: “Run Boy Run”
24 | True Colors - Zedd
Out of Zedd’s two full-length LP’s True Colors just beats Clarity (2014) simply for it cohesiveness as a whole.
Key Song: “Papercut”
23 | What Is Life - Bloom
From Brighton, Bloom, dispense an abundance of harmony and wizard pop experimentations.
Key Song: “Try”
22 | True - Avicii
(Universal Music, 2013)
Avicii’s magnum opus, a juggernaut in electronic dance music.
Key Song: “Dear Boy”
21 | Columbia - The Blinders
(Modern Sky Records, 2018)
The Blinder’s channel George Orwell in their debut criticising modernity and its many pitfalls.
Key Song: “Hate Song”
20 | The Loved Ones - Flyte
(Island Records, 2017)
Wearing their 60s (particularly The Beatles) influences on their sleeves Flyte present a well-established set of songs, which is undoubtedly underrated.
Key Song: “Victoria Falls”
19 | Bad Blood - Bastille
(Virgin EMI, 2013)
Led by the single “Pompeii” Bastille’s anthemic sounding debut is an album of youthful defiance.
Key Song: “Flaws”
18 | Cool Like You - Blossoms
(Virgin EMI, 2018)
An album about Stockport. By a band from Stockport. Stockport.
Key Song: “There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)”
17 | Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Hans Zimmer
The perfect accompaniment to Christopher Nolan film of the same name, Hans Zimmer’s expression of paternal emotion is undefeated in cinematic soundscaping.
Key Song: “Stay”
16 | Babel - Mumford & Sons
(Island Records, 2012)
Babel continues where Sigh No More (2009) left off. Refining the instrumentation and writing to create a more cohesive output of songs.
Key Song: “Lover Of The Light”
15 | Home - Rudimental
(Asylum Records, 2013)
Rudimental reached a peak on their debut that they have failed to come close to again with following releases. The album boasts an incredible amount of features (every track, in fact, includes a feature) including John Newman, Alex Clare, Foxes, Becky Hill, Emeli Sandé, MNEK, Ella Eyre and Sinead Harnett. It stands as an artefact of contemporaneous popular music and the genres that encompasses.
Key Song: “Not Giving In“
14 | Hurry Up We’re Dreaming - M83
The soundtrack without a film. M83 create a cinematographic world through music with a narrative cohesively entrenched through the album. Conjuring up images of a neon city at night there is a sense of innocence and growth to the album, explored thoroughly through musical themes.
Key Song: “Raconte-Moi une Histoire”
13 | If You Wait - London Grammar
(Ministry of Sound, 2013)
If You Wait is one of the most atmospheric experiences on this list. Every ounce of sound is drenched in reverb illuding to lonely nights. The music somehow consumes the space you inhabit while listening focus your senses on the astonishing voice of Hannah Reid. As well as the crystalline vocals the production on this album gleams with elegance.
Key Song: “Strong”
12 | 18 Months - Calvin Harris
The first album to ever score nine top ten singles, 18 Months is what every EDM before and since has strived to be. For this reason alone the album stands among the best, however, the crystal and precise production solidify its ranking. Not a note is placed without purpose, everything that can be done to make a number one single has been done here. That perhaps is its only weakness this not an album so much as it is a compilation.
Key Song: “Thinking About You”
11 | Settle - Disclosure
(Island Records, 2013)
Brothers Howard and Guy redefined deep house music with their seminal debut. They blend bouncing bass lines with crisp, sharp drums to create catchy house tracks oven ready for the club and festival scenes. The only thing wrong with the album is the exclusion of the single “Flow”, which is ‘clearly the best dance track ever made’ if it were include the album may have even made the number one spot.
Key Song: “When The Fire Starts To Burn”
10 | > album title goes here < - deadmau5
Progressive house giant Joel Zimmerman continued his great form with the release of > album title goes here <. With impressive features from Wolfgang Gartner, Gerard Way and Cypress Hill present some of deadmau5’s finest collaboration work. Known primarily for his progressive and electro house here he effortlessly blends into Trip-Hop (“Failbait”), Glitch (“Superliminal”) and Ambient (“Telemiscommunications”). An expert example in dance production.
P.s. while(1<2) deserves an honourable mention. As a cohesive album, it may knock > album title goes here < off the number 10 spot. However, for the sheer number of great individual songs on the latter make it the superlative deadmau5 album of the 10s.
Key Song: “There Might Be Coffee”
Eargasm Moment: Layers of synth collide on “The Veldt” to create a symphony of sound unparalleled.
9 | In Stillness - Etherwood
(Med School, 2018)
In Stillness pushes us to observe the nature that surrounds us bringing the listener to realisation that we too are that nature. Etherwood has created an album that has the ability to portray a person’s emotional isolation as well as expressing an individual’s ecstasy. It ultimately echoes the euphoria and loneliness of the environment it was inspired by.
Key Song: “In Stillness”
Eargasm Moment: “Fire Lit Sky” not only acts a five-minute-long interlude but also shifts the listener into a state of euphoria transporting them to a natural condition of tranquillity.
8 | Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
Like The Rising (2002) was Springsteen’s reply to 9/11, Wrecking Ball was his reply to the financial crash in 2008. As is standard for Springsteen he masterfully he writes with a poetic simplicity that reaches one’s innermost self, helping a world come to terms and repair from the greatest modern atrocity for which the individuals at fault have still not been held accountable. This is Springsteen modern masterpiece.
Key Song: “Death To My Hometown”
Eargasm Moment: The shotgun blast during “Death To My Hometown” symbolically expressing Springsteen’s message.
7 | Ghost Stories - Coldplay
Through extreme personal trauma comes Coldplay’s answer to a love lost and found. The extremely intimate LP contrasting completely to the group’s previous effort, Mylo Xyloto (2011), which was overloaded ecstasy and colour, the pain is obvious to the listener. The band support Chris Martin with beautiful sentiment throughout the album. Even with the electronic reverberations spread throughout the release the album still remains to feel organic. A Tangled Up In Blue (Bob Dylan, 1974) for the contemporary age, Ghost Stories is the perfect album for exploring the personal facets of loss and grieve.
Key Song: “Always In My Head”
Eargasm Moment: Chris sings ‘maybe one-day l come fly with you’ before we are taken away by dreamy synths to our futures being told to ‘never let go’. The perfect remedy for love lost.
6 | Love Me / Love Me Not - HONNE
(Atlantic Records, 2018)
Blending synthpop with contemporary R&B Honne created as The Telegraph described "futuristic soul destined to re-invent babymaking music". Building upon the sonic qualities of their debut Honne has honed their talents with a collection of songs that catch the ear so irresistibly it’s hard to stop listening. Formatted immaculately into two halves the album reads like it knows the listener’s life.
Key Song: “Location Unknown”
Eargasm Moment: The pure innocent pleasures and metaphor of “306”.
5 | Joy As An Act of Resistance - IDLES
Idles bring back Punk Rock with a bite in their sophomore effort. Changing the perception of the genre by making it vulnerable but yet still enabling it to pack a punch against the evils of society. Intensely personal the record gets down and dirty with heavy subjects while not forcing the viewer to agree with it. Creating room for debate rather than an echo chamber.
Key Song: “Danny Nedelko”
Eargasm Moment: As the band stop and Joe Talbot yells 184.108.40.206… to start the coda of “Colossus”.
4 | Money Sucks, Friends Rule - Dillon Francis
(Mad Decent, 2014)
Dillon Francis was one of the pioneers in moombahton and its adoption into mainstream EDM culture. The album features among many other great artists Major Lazer and Brendon Urie. With hard-hitting club bangers and humour filled samples, the album is a great introduction into heavier dance music.
Key Song: “I Can’t Take It”
3 | Strangers - RAC
(Interscope Records, 2014)
Perhaps the best-mixed album I have ever heard Strangers will be the soundtrack to many more summers to come. Each song conjures up images of summer BBQs, pool parties, cold beer and sandy beaches. A masterclass in electronic music production.
Key Song: “Let Go”
Eargasm Moment: The mixing throughout the entire album.
2 | I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it - The 1975
(Dirty Hit, 2016)
Genre-bending, self-referential, drugs, energetic, peaceful are all ways to describe The 1975’s sophomore effort, however, it is probably best described as being so beautiful yet so unaware of it. Healy and the gang have evolved immeasurably since their debut exemplified neatly in the opening track (a reworking of the opening from the debut) which this time around is more dramatic and accompanied by gleaming synths. This is true for much of the album, however, it is more than that, the album shows us Healy at the height of his poetic wonder.
Key Song: “A Change of Heart”
Eargasm Moment: As we come to the emotional climax of the album Healy cannot hold back any longer and gives out in the final heartbreaking utterances of “Nana”.
1 | Worlds - Porter Robinson
(Virgin EMI, 2014)
A review would be utterly futile to describe the pure sublimity Robinson has created in these songs. I urge you to just listen to the album and allow it to take you on its journey.