What a banging few years for music, hey? And yeah look, some of you will not like this list. Some of you will hate the following albums with a passion. Maybe some of you might actually nod your head with a vague sense of satisfaction? Maybe like 3 of you will actually agree with the majority of these choices?
And that’s the beauty of music, ain’t it? Different interpretations for different people, and that’s just something special. But let’s end the preverbal pleasantries and get into the hard decisions. PLUG IN.
#5 Flume, “Flume”
I’m not sure that an Australian debut album has ever shot someone to the top so quickly. Blending electro-synths with now trademark drops, this record was an unexpected blow-up. Whether it was the fan-fave Holdin On, the summer melter Sleepless or the hype builder On Top, the album was the rise to stardom for the Manly boii.
And even though his follow up record Skin was crisper production, the rawness of his debut not only put him on the map, but also no doubt inspired tonnes of artists around the country to pick up a synth.
#4 Lorde, “Melodrama”
A relatively late on in the decade itself, but Lorde’s 2017 follow up album was FIRE. In all the best ways. And it’s crazy, because on this album it felt like Lorde had really matured from 2013’s Pure Heroin – despite the fact she was only 20 (?!) at the time of release. Homemade Dynamite was the big banger, with Green Light and Supercut (what a tuuuune) proving she’s so versatile.
I love that album is so honest (“In my head I do everything right” on Supercut), and it’s almost like she effortlessly put together this low-key masterpiece. Yet despite all the feels we get on this album, it still feels like a fun pop album.
#3 Tame Impala, “Currents”
When you start an album with an 8-minute burner, you know something special is on ya doorstep. Let It Happen was a perfect summary of this record too, a mix of melodies, instruments and feelings. It joined the slowed-down festival favourite, The Less I Know The Better, Cause I’m A Man, and Eventually in the 2015 Hottest 100 – confirmation that this record will go down in history as one of the best by an Aussie act.
It was a collection of tunes that also really cemented Tame Impala as a global powerhouse, with various major festival headliner spots internationally. And equally highlighting the god-like Kevin Parker as a visionary.
#2 Beyoncé, “Lemonade”
A diverse machine, while it might not have the big ‘singles’ of previous albums, this was truly the album that put Beyoncé on god level (if she wasn’t there already). I mean let’s be real, she was probably on the the top tier pre this decade, but Lemonade showed us a completely different side. Whether it was dealing with a cheating Jay Z, with her childhood, or with her African-American heritage – there was plenty to take in.
She went down the rock route, stripped back a few songs and spoke to your damn heart. You can just feel the pain, hurt, joy and love in that stunning voice, and that’s freaking special.
#1 Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp A Butterfly”
Praise be, King Kenny. It’s normally pretty special when you release an album that people will remember for decades to come, let alone when you have THREE over the course of ten years (four if you include the Black Panther soundtrack). But on To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick shone like never before. A modern poet, the Tupac of a generation, TPAB filled funky production with important messages and themes. The Compton lyricist’s third studio album dealt with everything from police brutality, to African-American status, to dealing with fame, relationships and making art in a genre that highlights crime.
Hate me but King Kunta was ROBBED for the 2016 Hottest 100 crown (yes I’m salty af), and that’s just the start. Alright became a classic sing-along, The Blacker The Berry cut deep and i dealt with self-indulgence and ego. A masterpiece by the man who destroyed the 2010s.
Honourable Mentions: Channel Orange x Frank Ocean, AM x Arctic Monkeys, Go Farther In Lightness x Gang Of Youths, Because The Internet x Childish Gambino, Settle x Disclosure, Atlas x RÜFÜS DU SOL, Take Care x Drake, Red x Taylor Swift, Acid Rap x Chance The Rapper, Bon Iver x Bon Iver, Random Access Memories x Daft Punk, good kid, m.A.A.d City x Kendrick Lamar, Watch The Throne x Jay-Z & Kanye West, Gang Signs & Prayers x Stormzy