My Essential Albums of the Decade – Part 1

From The Arctic Monkeys to The XX, the 2010’s had a medley of different music. I will be rating my favourite (IMO) albums of the decade.

Note that I have selected 17 favourite albums- it was simply a case that I could not make this list any shorter, without excluding some of my favourite albums of the decade. Unfortunately, the pitfalls of any such exercise does result in some exclusions, which will be revealed in the final part of this series.

For now, these are 17-11 of my ranking of the best albums of the decade.

17: Chvrches- Love Is Dead (2018)

Credit: Virgin EMI

Key songs– Miracle, Graffiti, My Enemy

The Glaswegian group’s third album is certainly their best. With it’s uplifting synth-pop songs, it is hard to imagine not blasting these songs at the nearest festival campsite. The album also is noted for including a guest appearance by The National’s frontman; Matt Bermninger, who features on ‘My Enemy’.

16: Kaiser Chiefs- Education, Education, Education & War (2014)

Credit: Fiction

Key Songs- Factory Gates, Coming Home, Ruffians On Parade

Some may be surprised to see an entry by a band who were arguably at their peak during the mid-noughties. This album comes across as being rather ambitious for the band, seemingly having a concept about a solider fighting in a war. This minimalist concept gives the album possibly more identity that any other Kaiser Chief’s album. However, it certainly does not fail to deliver in Brit-pop style ballads, with ‘Coming Home’ being a particularly strong moment’.

15: Catfish and the Bottlemen- The Balance (2019)

Credit: Island/Capitol

Key Songs- Longshot, 2all, Overlap

The Welsh indie rock band gradually became a festival staple during the 2010’s. Some critics were displeased that the band’s third album had a similar identity to the band’s first two albums. Personally, I find the band’s third album to be the most consistent in terms of the quality of song writing.

14: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds- Chasing Yesterday (2015)

CreditL: Sour Mash

Key songs- Ballad of the Mighty I, The Heat of the Moment, The Mexican

The second of NGHFB’s album releases, and currently the most well-rounded. The band’s first album was a very hit and miss affair, whilst the band’s second album (Who Built the Moon?) is more ambitious, but less accessible. This album strikes a balance between the two, with accessible songs (such as ‘The Heat of the Moment’), while also having some experimentation (‘The Mexican’).

13: Muse- The 2nd Law (2012)

Credit: Warner Bros/Helium-3

Key Songs- Madness, Supremacy, The 2nd Law: Isolated System

Muse released three albums during the 2010’s, and this album is by far the best. Whilst it may not contain the stripped-down approach of the band’s earlier albums, this album certainly still portrays the fact that Muse are still a rock band, a not an electronic group. This is the case as the guitar is still very high up in the mix, something that is definitely in decline in music today. However, on areas where the band does dip itself into electronic experimentation (such as the closing two tracks), they certainly do not feel isolated from the rest of the album.

12: Foo Fighters- Sonic Highways (2014)

Credit: Roswell/RCA

Key songs- Something Fropm Nothing, Congregation, I am a River

The 8th album by the legendary rock band. There were three albums released by Foo Fighters during the 2010’s, but this one is definitely the most compelling. It has 8 tracks, but each track is recorded in a different United States city, with different featured artists (local to each city) on each song. This makes the album a musical journey across the United States, something that makes the album pretty unique.

11: Pink Floyd- The Endless River (2014)

Credit: Parlophone/Columbia

Key songs- Louder Than Words, It’s What We Do, Autumn ’68

The legendary prog band’s swansong. This album was their first release in 20 years. It was mainly comprised of ambient instrumentals, which some found an unsatisfying ending for the band. For me, the album has a reflective identity, with it’s songs being inspired by many of the band’s earlier works. It’s definitely a musical journey, so it’s album that must be listened to all the way through.

Featured image: Asda Good Living

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