Albums of the Years

I used to be pretty good at rounding up my favourite music of the year every December, even if I hadn’t tracked it consistently throughout the year. But after 2013 I fell behind, and the prospect of catching up on what I’d missed grew more and more daunting, to the point where this year I haven’t posted about music at all.

So, what better way to atone than with a giant 8 x 11 matrix of my favourite albums of the 2010s.

Goldfrapp, Head First, 2010 The Divine Comedy, Bang Goes the Knighthood, 2010 Arcade Fire, The Suburbs, 2010
Röyksopp, Senior, 2010
Manic Street Preachers, Postcards From a Young Man, 2010 Robyn, Body Talk, 2010 Midnight Juggernauts, The Crystal Axis, 2010 Radiohead, The King of Limbs, 2011
Elbow, Build a Rocket Boys!, 2011
Bon Iver, Bon Iver, 2011 Uniform Motion, One Frame Per Second, 2011 The Black Keys, El Camino, 2011 The Chap, We Are Nobody, 2012 Spiritualized, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, 2012 Flashman, To the Victor—the Spoils!, 2011 The Proclaimers, Like Comedy, 2012
Isles of Wonder: Music For the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games Muse, The 2nd Law, 2012 David Bowie, The Next Day, 2013 Suede, Bloodsports, 2013 Frank Eddie, Let’s Be Frank, 2012 Daft Punk, Random Access Memories, 2013 The Duckworth Lewis Method, Sticky Wickets, 2013 Rudimental, Home, 2013
Arcade Fire, Reflektor, 2013
The National, Trouble Will Find Me, 2013 Neil Finn, Dizzy Heights, 2014 Mike Oldfield, Man on the Rocks, 2014
Elbow, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, 2014
James, La Petite Mort, 2014 Beck, Morning Phase, 2014
Manic Street Preachers, Futurology, 2014
Bebel Gilberto, Tudo, 2014 U2, Songs of Innocence, 2014 Britney Spears, Britney Jean, 2013 Spoon, They Want My Soul, 2014 Röyksopp, The Inevitable End, 2014 Interpol, El Pintor, 2014 Taylor Swift, 1989, 2014
Sia, 1000 Forms of Fear, 2014
Shakira, Shakira, 2014 Public Service Broadcasting, Inform—Educate—Entertain, 2013 Public Service Broadcasting, The Race for Space, 2015 Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell, 2015
Blur, The Magic Whip, 2015
Ash, Kablammo!, 2015
Muse, Drones, 2015 Morten Harket, Brother, 2014
Katy Perry, Prism, 2013 a-ha, Cast in Steel, 2015 Grimes, Art Angels, 2015
Susanne Sundfør, Ten Love Songs, 2015
Suede, Night Thoughts, 2016 David Bowie, Blackstar, 2016
Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool, 2016
Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording, 2015
The Divine Comedy, Foreverland, 2016 Wolf Alice, My Love Is Cool, 2015
Sunscreem, Sweet Life, 2016
Mike Oldfield, Return to Ommadawn, 2017
Spoon, Hot Thoughts, 2017 The New Pornographers, Whiteout Conditions, 2017
Goldfrapp, Silver Eye, 2017 Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want?, 2017
Arcade Fire, Everything Now, 2017 Susanne Sundfør, Music for People in Trouble, 2017
Beck, Colors, 2017
Taylor Swift, Reputation, 2017
U2, Songs of Experience, 2017 Paramore, After Laughter, 2017 Wolf Alice, Visions of a Life, 2017
Franz Ferdinand, Always Ascending, 2018
George Ezra, Staying at Tamara’s, 2018 Ash, Islands, 2018 Suede, The Blue Hour, 2018
Jon Hopkins, Singularity, 2018 Jon Hopkins, Immunity, 2013 Muse, Simulation Theory, 2018 Mitski, Be the Cowboy, 2018 Andrew W.K., You’re Not Alone, 2018
LSD, Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present... LSD, 2019
The Divine Comedy, Office Politics, 2019
Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, 2019
Pixies, Beneath the Eyrie, 2019
Keane, Cause and Effect, 2019
Elbow, Giants of All Sizes, 2019
Underground Lovers, A Left Turn, 2019 Fat White Family, Serfs Up!, 2019

Strictly speaking, this isn’t all of my favourite finds, as I discovered plenty of albums from the previous ten to fifty years that kept my attention during the decade; Before the Dawn Heals Us by M83 (2005), In the Zone by Britney Spears (2003), the 2006 remaster of Split Enz’s Frenzy (1979) and a bunch of old Bowie albums would all have featured here if I’d broadened the timeframe. But I have to draw the line somewhere, and that line is Stuff Released Since 1/1/10. This matrix also shows which albums I came to late, because it’s ordered by when I added them to my iTunes library. The different background colours for each year of release should help. (One I haven’t included is John Grant’s Queen of Denmark from 2010, which I only discovered a few days ago. It’s great, but I need another few listens before declaring it best-of-decade-worthy.)

I’ve starred the albums that I loved the most, the ones that dominated my listening for weeks on end; and I’ve double-starred my top five. The best year of the decade for music, for me, was 2015, with a string of amazing albums, especially once I belatedly discovered Wolf Alice and Hamilton the following year (the latter was the soundtrack of the US presidential race for me; I could hardly bear to listen to it after Trump won). 2014 and 2017 were also strong. Album of the decade? Probably Art Angels by Grimes. I wish she’d hurry up with the new one, we haven’t got all decade.

7 December 2019 · Music