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Best Albums Of The 2010s

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Last Updated: 15 October 2020

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We blew music up in 2010. Part of that was structuraliTunes begat TIDAL and Spotify, Apple Music and Vine and TikTok, All of which offer new ways for us to consume the best albums and songs out there, but also put emphasis on certain artists and genres over others, by very nature of curation. Some artists turn their noses up at this New World order and do things their way, dropping albums in the middle of night, on HBO, on Saturday afternoon in summertime. Others play into formula, using what theyd been given to game system and get their art heard as widely as possible. No matter how you look at it, though, certain artists spend decades releasing some of the best albums around, ones not only of higher quality but also bodies of work that fundamentally change music's very DNA, way we consume it, and the way other musicians make it. Here, according to GQ contributors past and present, are thirteen albums that get us to where music exists at this very moment. The music was her most exhilarating everbold, ambitious, and complex. It was exceptional. Because She Was Beyonce. Caity Weaver, though only a year old, El Mal Querer has already solidified Rosalias place as creator behind some of the decade's most urgent, forward - thinking music. In a time when listeners crave more tangible connections to our cultures and our pasts, Rosalia reaches backwards in time and modernizes her country's traditional art. In Spanish, singers take on flamenco, familiar crooning pleas of romance and folk melodies are still there, but they entwine with heavy beats, synthesize vocals, and sharp kicking clatters. Rosalias vision, buoy by El Guinchos next - level production, seamlessly brings local folkloric music tradition to the global stage. Only three years into her professional career, Rosalia shows us what it means to synthesize the beauty of new and old to deliver a truly distinct pop masterpiece. Camila Perez expanding his sonic palette To draw on elements of dance and R & B, Parker concocted an immersive disco trip. The Songs on Currents are as heady as his earlier work, except they are also designed to get bodies moving. And that they have: Tame Impala boasts nine - figure streaming stats and graduated to the headlining Coachella slot earlier this year. Parker himself, meanwhile, has become an in - demand collaborator, answering calls from Travis Scott, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, and SZA in the last few years alone. Currents matter because of how it reflects listening habits in the Spotify era, and the path forward that It light For rock music, drifting back and forth between styles, paying little mind to outdated notions of genre or instrumentation. Its success demonstrates just how far open - eared music can reach. In a 2015 interview, Parker mentioned that he had previously stopped himself from pursuing certain kinds of inspiration because he imagined indie - music snobs would turn their nose up at it. That is no longer an issue for him.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Breaking down conventions

Sunbather ranks among decades greatest self - fulfilling prophecies: album about wanting to make great art so badly that it propels its creators to make great art about that very impulse. At its opening notes, album feels on verge of breaking apart under the weight of its own ambition, and every aspect of its composition serves to amplify this effect. From the imposing length of its four main tracks, To Way Kerry McCoys chord progressions strain agonizingly skyward with each iteration, To George Clarkes impassioned vocals, music here feels drenched in the type of grand yearning that one would expect to come from famously dire circumstances it was written under. Sunbathers wear the all - consuming nature of their production on its surface. It is the sound of young, desperate people engaged in a last - ditch attempt to leave something of lasting value in this world. Thankfully, they succeed wildly at it. So wildly that Sunbather has long - outlive furor about bands metal bona fides that meet its release. It now stands as the exact kind of totemic artifact it so self - consciously longs to become, moment that canonizes Deafheaven as one of 2010's definitive rock acts. Few other artists can boast deft aesthetic synthesis or endurance - pushing performances band become famous for. Nor, in George Clarke, one of the era's most exceptional New lyricists. Throughout Sunbather, Clarkes wail conceals intricate poetic tapestry, broadening albums themes of desire to incorporate matters of class, poverty, trauma, family, addiction, isolation, and way these cycles serve to trap people within themselves. It is a remarkable feat of construction, matched by bands ' uncanny dynamic abilities, and its cumulative impact is overwhelming to behold. Sunbather is, at its core, act of pure romanticism, so awash in the ferocity of its own feeling that it succeeds in transforming that force into something far greater than itself even as its sonics threaten to overwhelm it. Deafheaven improbably creates the type of generational lightning - in - abottle record that one dreams either to make or to discover, and it is as rewarding to parse and revisit as it was to fall in love with for the first time. There is little else this decade that rivals its intensity, work whose longing burns so bright that listening to it feels like staring into the sun.


24. Beach House Teen Dream

In Dream Is Over, PUP frontman Stefan Babcock is desperate. After years of playing in bands, his vocal chords were so damaged to the point that his doctor told him it was unlikely that he would be able to continue his music career, allegedly telling him " Dream Is Over. Every song on the album is soaked in frustration, anger, and sadness, and yet PUP prevails theyre making it through. On If this Tour Doesnt Kill You, I Will, grueling experience of touring has started to get to the band. Pup is, at its heart, live band; theyve played upwards of 550 shows in the last 5 years. Somehow, 've been at none of them, but energy is palpable. Just listen to the transition between If this Tour Doesnt Kill You, I Will and DVP even on the shittiest earbuds it hits you like a truck. Sleep in the Heat, probably PUPs ' best song, is about the death of Babcock's pet chameleon. It feels like a punch in the gut after all the other trauma on the album. First he injured his vocal chords, then he had a relentless touring schedule that turned him against his bandmates, and now his fucking chameleon, who is his sole companion in this horrible world, is dying? And nothing I say will make it okay / You just sleep in the heat and repeat / Youre wasting away / and nothing I do is gonna save you / I am trying my best, but you ca even / Look at me or talk to me or tell me what happening to You, he sing. Dream Is Over is really just a series of tragedies and frustrations. Its perfect soundtrack if youre feeling depress, hopeless, frustrate, or defeat. There is no happy note to end here, and sometimes that just is how it is, but maybe a PUP can help you get through it.


34. Taylor Swift 1989

Ask almost any Swiftie in the world what the best Taylor album is and the response will be swift. Red is my fan - favorite pinnacle, album that has everything; we were in a state of grace back then, even if we knew trouble was about to come in. The last few albums of Taylor's career have cemented her role as pop star, and bring drama, danger, and wisdom that success on that level necessarily entail. But darling, well always have a scarf in All Too Well, Well always revere Holy Ground, Well always be 22 and well always know what color love him was.

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27: Grimes: Visions (2012)

Being awake from stasis aboard Space station with an AI that will stop at nothing until every crew member is dead. By time AI has been disable, youre lone survivor floating untethered in space as stars, debris and distant planets drift by. ~No album makes me feel like this one does. My Warm Visions description pretty much sums it all up. It sounds like it has been beamed in from another dimension. From Quarantine's opening, eerie ambiance is located within listeners ' headspace, like some kind of Alien white noise and churning of foreign space craft, setting the stage for the rest of the album events. Odd electronic sounds show up and then disappear, never to be heard from again. Harsh grinding can slowly rise up in the mix without the listener noticing until you find your blood pressure has risen considerably. Strange bubbles churn in cryogenic freezing tanks. Hack VR assistants endlessly loop in glitchy broken cycles. Songs just morph and twist and convulse into various shapes and sizes, always keeping the listener guessing. Laurel Halo's vocals are also at play here, rare Thing in her discography until her 2017 record Dust. They slice to the forefront of these tracks, almost purposefully clashing against psychedelic, heavily electronic instrumentals. Nearly every vocal passage on this record sounds like a distress signal sent from another star system, begging you to figure out where it is coming from. Even on tracks like Years, tracks that start off placid enough, instantly become unsettling once Halos's obtuse voice comes in. Then seemingly benign, hazy synths from the start take on new, sinister growl, simply due to the addition of her vocals. The Nauseating anti - gravity wash cycle of Wow, comprises of layers of computer - altered voice, fees into Carcass, red - alert rumble that features heavily manipulate, shrill deliveries from Halo. Terrifying and mind - destroying. Science fiction films always come to mind while listening: to Magnetic Rise, Alien, Event Horizon, Thing, 2001: Space Odyssey. There creature loose and it masquerading as one of our own. Things that supposed to be protecting have gone too far. A Crippling sense of unease stemming from isolation. This is not to say that the album is outright frightening or like a horror movie, it just fees on anxiety through uncanny vocal touches, dissonant synth passages, throbbing acid techno sequences and disorienting production techniques. Only the finale, Light + Space can offer some form of release. It immediately reminds me of the final act of any movie list above: floating adrift in Space, so relieved to be exorcise from evil that has been plaguing you that the reality of starving or suffocating alone in Space has not set in yet. This has been a record that has stuck with me consistently since its release in 2012. Something keeps bringing me back to this decrepit Space station. It truly sounds like nothing else.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

15: Tame Impala: Lonerism (2012)

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside normal distribution. This figure is provided as trimmed mean. High standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate gaming is occurring. Consider the simplified example * of an item receiving ratings of 100 50, & 0. Means the average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. Second, average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around particular rating. This album is rat in the Top 1% of all albums on besteveralbums. Com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 85. 0 / 100, means an average of 83. 9 / 100, and trim mean of 85. 1 / 100. The standard deviation for this album is 14. 8 related links: Top Albums of 2010s Top Albums of 2012 Please log in or register if you want to be able to leave rating

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9: Robyn: Body Talk

Initially late - 90s crossover success from Sweden With Show Me Love, Robyn had, until Body Talk, always been whispered about in pop circles like cult favorite, secret worth keeping private because she was ours, and some secrets are worth keeping. But some secrets are worth sharing, and Body Talk makes Robyn yours as much as she was once ours. It was an album with three parts that started the decade with a bang, indestructible, futuristic body of work that coated layers of sadness and solitude and resilience in some of the most shimmering production pop had ever see. Body Talk proves not only that Robyn had a dog in a fight, but also that she was so light years beyond that very same fight that shed won it, walked away, and moved on to something new before we had a chance to process whatd happen. She won a war no one knew needed fighting. I think well look back at 00s as pops golden age. Some of it trickled over into the early 10sKaty. Perrys ' Teenage Dream forever changed what genre could do; Tegan and Saras Heartthrob took up blueprints left for them and inspired a new generation of singers; and Robyn proved that Pitchfork and pop could coexist in beautiful harmonybut, it was hard for anyone else to measure up to even half of Body Talk s towering height. With Dancing on My Own and Call Your Girlfriend, Robyn takes bar by which we measure success and breaks it in half over her knee without breaking sweat. Time Machine and Hang With Me still, in 2019, sound fresh and innovative in their slickness and depth. You Should Know Better find Robyn trading bars and carrying her weight with Snoop Dogg without falling on her face. Most importantly, Body Talk holds a mirror up to industry and says " Show up and prove yourself or leave. It was a gauntlet without ever meaning to be so, unassuming in its perfection but intensely, necessarily challenging to those who follow suit. And though many try, no one lives up to Robyn except herself. Well, forgive the eight - year break between albums if it means a level of quality like hers.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

8: Taylor Swift: 1989 (2014)

In run - up to the release of her sixth album, Reputation, Taylor Swift was excoriated by fans and foes alike for too often playing victim. The album lyrics only serve to bolster that perception: Swift comes off like a frazzled stay - at - home mom scolding her disobedient children on Look What You make Me Do and This Is Why We Cant Have Nice Things. But it is her willingness to portray herself not as victim, but as the villain of her own story that makes Reputation such a fascinatingly thorny glimpse inside the mind of the reigning princess. Swift has proven herself capable of laughing at herself, thereby defusing criticisms often levied on her, but with reputation she create larger - than - life caricature of the petty, vindictive snake she been made out to be. By album's end, Swift assesses her crumbling empire and tattered Reputation, discovering redemption in loveonly Reputation isnt so much a rebirth as it is a retreat inward. It marks a shift from retro - mind pop - rock of 2014s 1989 toward harder, more urban aesthetic, and Swift wears stiff, clattering beats of songs like Ready for It?

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

6: Drake: Take Care (2011)

Drakes music is about nothing if not wistful recollection. So let's get in our feelings, remembering moments when Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar were young underground sensations, when Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj were on top form, when storybook romance with Rihanna seemed more likely for Aubrey than bromance with Chris Brown, when Cash Money was a unified dynasty, when blurring line between rapper and R & B singer was still genuinely radical, when Drakes albums crawl beyond 80 minutes not to pad his streaming figures but because he and Noah Shebib had too many brilliant ideas to contain.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

1: Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE (2012)

It strange for debut to also be culmination, but that is what channel ORANGE was when it came out in 2012. Shortly after moving from New Orleans to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, Frank established himself as an in - demand pop songwriter, and then as a soulful member of Odd Future. He released a shimmery mixtape, Nostalgia Ultra, that features original - besting reinterpretations of songs by Coldplay and MGMT, and that announces himself as lone entitya smooth R & B torchbearer, mysterious sex symbol, budding superstar. In short succession, there were then his two guest appearances on Watch Throne, epic 10 - minute Pyramids, that Tumblr post, and then channel ORANGE, week earlier. And with it, Frank arrived, as himself, seemingly fully in form. So much about that sequence of events is relic of a not - so - distant, yet long - bygone era. Odd Future, mixtape, Tumblr, surprise early release2012, might as well be 1912. An exception is music. Pharrell only works on two channel ORANGE songs, but the entire album adopts his skincare regimen. Unsavory things like sorrow and heartbreak are woven cleanly into a lush tapestry of smooth synthesizers, pulsing drums, airy strings, and John Mayer guitars, such that they are practically appealing. You didnt have to speak English for channel ORANGE to be your favorite album; it was flawless background music. When Franks mom first heard it, she called it the perfect summertime album.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

81 Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl, 2012)

Maybe this is Its own cliche, but look: Its all in the title on this one. It begins and ends with fireworks for a reason. This is a rock musical old - fashion, guitar / drums / shouting rock musical makes just staying alive sound like something worth celebrating, and makes managing to grow up and get better and take care of yourself sound like a triumph it is. The miracle of Japandroids on this record is that these two guysjust are drummer and guitarist, both singing on top of their lungscan make so much sound by themselves, and that they can make it sound like fun. And the closing three songs here are, I swear to God, best three - song run on rock record this century.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

79 Big Thief - U.F.O.F. (4AD, 2019)

The first of two stellar albums Big Thief released in 2019, UFOF is less immediate and rhythmic than the subsequent Two Hands. It is all ambience and texture, unfolding like a reverie, with chiming acoustic guitar arpeggios and cooing melodies so natural and easy that they sound like they sprung up from the ground or out of trees. Singer - songwriter Adrienne Lenkers songs make so much progress as they circle mesmerizingly around themselves, and best of themCattails, Century, Fromseize on sing - songy melodic motifs with repetitious snake - like structures that become almost like mantras. Lenker and Buck Meeks ' guitar work is sparkling throughout, with every pluck and strum sounding sonically optimize. This is an album that is as difficult to categorize as it is easy to listen to.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

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