Messed!Up

Best of the 2010s: 21-30

J.N. December 3, 2019

The closer to the top positions we get the more fights we’ve had when listening through heaps of albums from the last ten years. DJ Återbruk threatened the editor to let his kids use the editor’s vinyl collection as bum sliders and Ms Tammy found drunken kangaroo in her closet at bedtime, signed Ms Sis. Just keep it in mind when you listen to places 21 to 30.

The list is based on what has been on high rotation in the players of Ms Tammy (T), DJ Återbruk (DJ), Ms Sis (Sis), Mr Mango (M) and the editor (E).


This album always reminds me of my first years in Hamburg, it was an inherent part of my first shared flat. I love KMF’s humor, the irony and the energy that’s actually quite unusual for the rather calm ”Bergen Sound”. Taking their band photo was one of my highlights in our almost 2 years of M!UM (Sis).

*****

I would think that more people will have Sharon van Etten’s 2019 release “Remind Me Tomorrow” on their lists over the best records of the decade, and it makes sense. But to me, the 2014 release is even better. The opening tracks of both records starts with the same note, but I just love the direction it takes on “Afraid of nothing”. The vocals are mixed in the front of the mix, and the song just builds and builds to a great crescendo. “Your Love is Killing Me” is another favourite, with heavy pounding drums and a large production, and Van Etten uses her voice to the maximum. “Tarifa” is another great song. I can go on and on, but I won’t (M).

*****

As a formidable and intriguing cross between the extra-terrestrial and the instrumental, Nordic Giants have for years been consistently pushing the boundaries of what constitutes “normal” music. Sonically it’s like recent escapees from Sigur Rós’s culture bunker, where the only visitor was Björk who brought them sustenance and a burst of song, and left mixtapes featuring Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. It’s cinematic, evocative and forever in motion as tempos, resonance and tone all are constantly tampered with – and it’s fantastic (E).

*****

To quote Morrissey: “How can someone / so young / sing words so sad?”. “Pure Heroine” is a collection of throbbing, moody, menacingly anesthetized pop that feels surprisingly real and fully formed, punching through sparse, cushily booming post-hip-hop tracks (DJ).

*****

On Modern Vampires of the City, Ezra Koenig drops the formula and ideals that he adopted on their seminal self-titled debut and follow-up sophomore, “Contra”, in place focusing his philosophical gaze. He shreds light on God, relationships and existence as they bounce across states in the discovery. What makes “Modern Vampires of the City” a defining album for Vampire Weekend is in Koenig’s ability to story tell and within their boundary pushing instrumentation. The hooks, the swirls, the angelic harmonies and the fluidity of their sound is deeply infectious (T).

*****

That voice, so much pain, compiled into one box of jewels. Whether or not stadium pop is to everyone’s taste, this is it in its smartest and most human form. In sound, composition and performance, Sia captures the melodrama of teen life, with all the lunatic exaggeration it deserves. Just consider it a solid project from an artist who, after creating albums since the late-90s, is finally getting her recognition in front, instead of behind the curtain. Fortunately, these successes do not overwhelm 1000 Forms Of Fear, with tracks such as ‘Big Girls Cry’ and ‘Fire Meet Gasoline’ more than matching the output of her past clients in terms of captivating, powerful pop (DJ).

*****

Another coming of age memoir to make the list, but Arcade Fire don’t sugarcoat the messy, at times chaotic, transition period of leaving home in their third studio album, “The Suburbs”. Seamlessly, Arcade Fire have structured their tracks in such way that they not only take you on a journey contextually but they lend into each other. Naturally, that is the case with the multiple two part song arrangements, but the album is almost cinematic in song transition. The cinematography doesn’t end there; sonically front-man, Win Bulter, and gang paint the landscapes of dense suburban claustrophobia and vast urban sprawl through layered electronic heights, anxious bass lines, erratic keys, raw riffs and dragging drums particularly notable on the title track, “Ready To Start”, “Modern Man”, “City With No Children”, “We Used To Wait” and the masterpiece that is “Sprawl II”. The Suburbs ebbs and flows in an appeasing string of consciousness (T).

*****

Another one that made me fall in love with the very first line I heard. Josh McKenzie carries his heart in his voice and fits the somehow melancholic, yet highly energetic and raw punk rock songwriting perfectly. A sublime debut! (Sis)

*****

At the Roskilde Festival 2005 I discovered an amazing instrumental shoegaze act that just released “Before The Dawn Heals Us”. Fast forward six years and a completely new electronic shoegaze sound took M83 to unprecedented heights with gigantic synths and stadium-size drums. An album with music so colorful and sharp, with tales of dreamscape and adventures beyond your imagination, and the supermegahit “Midnight City” (but don’t forget songs like “Wait” and “Steve McQueen”) (E).

*****

One of the best records of 2018, hands down. Such a progress, from the bedroom project of Sophie Allison, to a fuller production, but the main thing is of course the songs. The production is still sparse and heavy on the guitars, but the melodies, the lyrics, the emotions. She’s just brilliant. The hit “Your Dog” is basically a song without a chorus, the song just meanders forward. Good damn, it´s just soooooooo good (M).

 


Best of the Decade: Playlist 21-30

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About The Author

Music researcher with an unhealthy passion for music and music festivals. Former studio owner, semi-functional drummer and with a fairly good collection of old analogue synthesizers from the 70's. Indie rock, post rock, electronic/industrial and drum & bass (kind of a mix, yeah?) are usual stuff in my playlists but everything that sounds good will fit in.

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