Best of the 2010s: 11-20

J.N. December 4, 2019

One of the roughest moments we’ve had at the magazine was when we decided for places 11-20. Mr Mango resigned but returned 20 minutes later when he realized that he wouldn’t get any free coffee if he left Messed!Up and just dealt with the fact that his albums can’t end up as the 20 first. Most of us had sleeping disorders, but in the end we made it!

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).

Solen is a Swedish band from Gävle. They moved along unsigned for quite a while and got called the best unsigned Swedish band, but that couldn’t go on for long. They got a deal and released a nice debut album, but things really started to happen with second release “Till dom som bryr sig”. Many similarities with early Kent-releases, which was reasonable, but they still did their own thing. And after a hiatus, the released the heavier first single “Miljonär” and totally floored indie Sweden. Heavy, distorted guitars, the earnest and fragile vocals of Erik Hillborg and the groove from kompgruppen. Damn! But second single “Olof, kära Olof” is still another level. It´s one of the best songs of the decade, hands down. And it goes on like that, song after song. The best Swedish record of the decade (M).


I’ve listened a lot more to his first two albums, but on this one he bravely explores new territory while never compromising with his unique visions. Too Bright boasts harder-hitting lyrics, more sophisticated arrangements, and his best-fitting production yet. The material more than matches the ambition on these 11 bewitching songs (DJ).


Alex Turner infamously rambled in his acceptance speech for the 2014 Brit Awards for Best Album, “yeah, that rock ‘n’ roll, it seems like it’s faded away sometimes, but it will never die”, and to be fair the band sure as hell proved that with 2014’s, “AM”. A back to basics approach saw the Sheffield four-piece embody rock ‘n’ roll, leather-clad personas and bring the genre back to the forefront of modern day music as they embraced hip hop foundations, teased from their love of Mike Skinner of The Streets, layered with polished beats and swings. Matt Helder’s gut-punching drumming serves as the grounds for AM’s intensity, elevating each and every track to godly heights, as the bass line heartbeat, soaring guitar solos and Turner’s deliciously smooth vocals make for a full body listening experience. From “Do I Wanna Know?” all the way through to “I Wanna Be Yours”, there are no weak tracks on this work of art (T).


The debut album of this kick ass duo is everything: loud, bold, punky, rough, and an amazing piece of DIY music. Even the presence of one song in German, “Walnuss”, wouldn’t convince you that In My Head was anything other than something unearthed from some US liberal arts college after sitting in a record shop rack since the early 90s. Gurr’s sound is bright and shiny: not the polished metallic sheen of state-of-the-art studios but the tinny reflectiveness of the foil wrapper around a tube of Rolos. Don’t miss one of their rowdy live shows! (Sis)


I’ve rarely followed a band from the start and still continue listen to them. Most bands evolve in a direction that will make me lose interest, but not Blood Red Shoes; all their albums have ended up on my Top10 list they year of its release. Their fourth, self-titled, album is also their best by far. It’s unabashed, unrepentant, contemplative when it needs to be, volcanically in-your-face (“An Animal”, “The Perfect Mess”, “Speech Coma”) the rest of the time. A blueprint for how modern two-piece indie rock should sound like (E).


A modern classic, neatly packaged into 46 mins 39 secs. Ten Love Songs is an enormously creative, endlessly surprising album. It is a worthless task to try and work out exactly what exactly it is Sundfør practices, beyond an extreme form of uncompromising pop. And then there’s everything else – the disquieting atmosphere, her voice, the sinuous, haunting melodies it carries (DJ).


“One cover song? Hold my beer…”. Adams did not just cover the entire, most successful album of Taylor Swift (12,1 million sold copies) – he scrubs off the glossy sugar coat of those overproduced pop songs and shows in his very own style that these are actually some damn good songs! (Sis)


On releases prior to “So Long, See You Tomorrow” Bombay Bicycle Club established themselves as an indie act to pay close attention to. The London act’s previous records had several great songs, like “Shuffle”, and “Always Like This”. But, the albums as whole were not my favorites. But SL,SYT is just that, a full album. From opener “Opener” via “It’s Alright Now” to one of my favorite songs of the decade “Home By Now”, it´s so well crafted. They have always borrowed influences from various genres and eras, but one might argue that it´s even more obvious at this record. The rhythms, sounds, mixing. It´s not your average indie rock record in no way, it´s so much more (M).


It is appalling the amount of people who don’t know Car Seat Headrest. “Teens of Denial” is the most underrated album of the last decade by far. This coming of age album depicts the teenage experience to a tee with its realistic, defiant and empowering chants – “I’ve got a right to be depressed” is the line we never knew we needed, and gosh does it hit hard. Opening track “Fill In The Blank” has a timeless energy and message that continues throughout the relatable 12 track mix tape of indie bangers. “Teens of Denial” is essential a reality check wrapped up in a brilliantly delivered quirk-fest, discussing implications of drink driving, drug abuse, mental illness and the struggles of adolescent life (T).


2019’s saddest moment was announced a month ago: The Pains have decided to split up and do something else in their lives. But they had time to make the best indie pop album of the 2010s! This 10-track set barely has a weak moment and actually ends too soon. More than anything, “Belong” shows ambition, with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart clearly aimed for something bigger and would have deserved it. “My Terrible Friend” and “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now” is indie pop classics by now (E).


Best of the Decade: Playlist 11-20

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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.