Messed!Up

Best of the 2010s: 1-10

J.N. December 9, 2019

We’re done to the top ten records of the decade, those albums that have haunted us since their release days. We debated and debated. And in the end, this is where we’re at. You’ll have your thoughts – you always do – but for us, these are our absolute favourite albums of the ’10s and we truly believe every album in our Top 10 is a work of art.


When first single “Myth” was released, it initially felt almost like a caricature of themselves. The dragging intro, Victoria Legrand´s vocals dark and reverb-y, and, well, very dream poppy. It sounds like a dream. And it’s pop. You know. But something happens after that. It grows even further, and the melodies comes out in such an impressive way. The whole album is like this, every single song grows into something epic. For example, “Lazuli” is a great song, but it’s after almost three minutes that something else happens. The song shifts into a repeating of the line “Like no other you can’t be replaced”, and builds around that. Every single song is just so damn good and well-crafted. My favourite on the album is “New Year”, and the video to “Wishes”, starring Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) is amazing. If you have not gotten into Beach House before, I think this record is the best entry point (M).

*****

You can’t deny Kanye West’s genius with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Four bars of a single E note on a piano to open the impeccably structured “Runaway” may sound simple but nothing Kanye does is. Every note, every chord, every progression, every texture, every delay, every word, every feature artist and every effect is purposeful down to the most minor detail. The light and shade dynamic, while questionable at the time in terms of balance, has only proved West’s envelope-pushing creative mastery and innovation within the music landscape. The album instantaneously felt like a classic and has only further grown into itself as the decade passes (T).

*****

Even though I’m rather a “lyrics girl”, this album fascinates me by the incredible arrangements that casually refuse to be reduced to just one musical style. E.g., the title song “Blackbird” keeps building up over almost 10 minutes and expands in every thinkable direction of the theme. Plus: the artwork is simply beautiful! (Sis)

*****

There’s super great bands and then there’s Daft Punk. No other band have continuously evolved their sound as Bangalter/Homem-Christo and “Random Access Memory” is a dazzling album, steeped in soul and brimming with an uncommon musicality, all rhythmic urgency and compelling melodies. It is, in short, a mind-blower, something that no onther band or artist will ever get close to copy (E).

 *****

Probably the world’s best popsmith right now. Lorde captures emotions like none other. There are no gimmicks. There’s nothing screaming for acceptance. Melodrama is a raw, real album under its sparkly clean production. One written for the masses but able to resonate with each individual listener. “Melodrama” overwhelms me. It reaches me at that weird and fragile center. And this is just the beginning (DJ).

 *****

In Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album, “To Pimp A Butterfly”, the Compton rapper changes the hip hop landscape for generations to come. The groundbreaking album was released three years after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, and just over a year after Michael Brown and Eric Garner were murdered, shaping the context for the politically driven album that touches on black culture whilst offering enlightenment, hope and prayers. This album presents layers of creativity from the fusing of genres, complex mixing and sharp lyricism, and cements Lamar as a stand out artist in the 21st Century. The anthemic “King Kunta”, “Alright” and “Hood Politics” sit in this 16 track piece (T).

 *****

Simply a masterpiece. A perfect album. Innovative, showing off Grimes’ genius in every detail from start to finish. “Art Angels” is the maximalist brainchild of a prodigious talent. It’s hugely entertaining. It’s delightfully bizarre. It’s refreshingly caustic. It’s slick and gritty, fun and funny, and horrifying and grotesque all at once. It will also make you shake your ass like nothing else. By far this is the best album that Grimes has created in her career (DJ). 

  *****

“Bloodbuzz Ohio” was the first song I ever heard of The National, and I instantly fell in love. This album is my soundtrack for the dark months of the year. Matt Berninger’s voice is like a warm blanket, and I love to pull it over my head and get carried away in the melancholy of the sound (Sis).

  *****

Jack Tatum’s project Wild Nothing made quite a leap in the early 2010. The first EP “Golden Haze” was great, with songs like “Vultures Like Lovers” and “Golden Haze”. It was very much a child of its time, in the outskirts of chillwave-terrain, and very much in the center of the dream pop scene. Debut album “Gemini” was in the same realm; bedroom production, lots of reverb, although cleaner and melodies in the center. It contains a bunch of great songs, but especially “Drifter”, basically a postcard from 2010, and “Chinatown” is almost classics in the indie scene. But “Nocturne” took the sound and made it more full-fledged. It is still recognizable, but the sound is fuller, the songs more realized, and produced. It’s one of those records what I’ve listened the most in recent years, like twice a month at least, but would struggle to say which songs I like the most. It’s almost impossible to take it apart, it’s such a complex album. “Gemini” had a few bangers that could even work on (hardcore indie) dancefloors, that is not the case here, but that was never the intention. It’s just one of the best albums of the decade. You know (M).

  *****

As with most bands making a stunning album debut, nobody expect a second album to be a massive step forward from their debut. However, Aussie three-piece DMA’s has an undeniable ability to write straight out pop bangers, channeling the best of the 90’s Manchester scene. “For Now” is a true masterpiece, the perfect representation of the Britpop scene in the 2010s. In the current cultural climate, we need more of this. Just listen to “Dawning”, “Warsaw”, “Do I Need You Know?” and “Break Me” – masterpieces!

 


Best of the Decade: Playlist 1-10

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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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