Top 100 Music Albums of the 2010s by JamesMowbray (2021)

Sorry I'm inconsistent with adding notes, I'll add the rest when i get time.

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With To Pimp A Butterfly Kendrick made one of the great rap albums ranking with the top tier releases of the genre. Whilst individual songs on the album are strong individually it comes into its own when viewed as a collective work. For example to album version of 'i' has a far more bittersweet feel to it because of the previous hour of often very dark music. On top of this the jazz influence across the album makes it one of the best sounding rap albums of recent years. There's also lots of variation in the mood of the songs ranging from combative ('hood politics'), to playful ('for free'), to contemplative ('mortal man'). It is a vital album in terms of both music as a whole, and its impact on society.
Best track: Alright
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2015
Appears in:
Rank Score:
40,301
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(continued form all time chart)

'White Ferrari' continues the calmer atmosphere created by the previous tracks, drawing attention back to the now more focused and contemplative lyrics. The final verse apparently uses heavy effects but I still kind of can't believe that it's not actually Justin Vernon singing. Either way it's a brilliant way to close the track.

This segues into the wonderfully moody Seigfried, which features even more stripped back production giving further focus to the lyrics. This is the most contemplative track on the album with “Maybe I’m a fool, maybe I should move and settle, two kids and a swimming pool”. The sense of self conflict and uncertainty is also built by lines like “Been living in an idea from another man’s mind” and “I’d rather live outside, I’d rather go to jail, I’ve tried hell. What would you recommend I do”. The spoken word that enters at the end of the song seeks to resolve some of this, with the change in delivery marking a change in attitude, and the repeated lie of “I’d do anything for you” simplifies things and closes the track out.

‘Godspeed’ marks a shift from the sadder songs that preceded it. It also marks a massive growth in maturity with lines like “I let go of my claim on you, it’s a free world”. Its short length prevents it from outstaying its welcome, so it doesn’t really matter much that the track doesn’t go anywhere.

Closer ‘Futura Free’ is the only track with more focus on production than the comparatively weak lyrics. The mix of the electronic elements with the repeated piano notes gives a more upbeat atmosphere to the record. However the lyrics pick up when the electronic elements fade away giving more power to Frank’s stream of consciousness lyrics. The interview that ends the album gives a lot of extra personality and while it doesn’t end the record with a band, ‘Blonde’ is precisely the kind of album that doesn’t need to.

Overall ‘Blonde’ is a masterpiece of emotional music throughout almost all its tracks. The weaker tracks remain interesting and the strongest are completely overwhelming. Whilst the production isn’t revolutionary it fits everything that Frank is trying to get across on the record. The growth across the runtime makes for an immense experience, giving a very full picture of one of the artists we know less about on a more personal level.

Best Track: Nights
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2016
Appears in:
Rank Score:
15,188
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The highlight of Swans' incredible trilogy of massive albums trades some of the atmosphere of The Seer for heavier songs. This gives almost every track a huge amount of energy equalling that of earlier albums such as Filth, but without going for a completely brutal sound. The album also manages to perfect a balance of eerie songs such as 'some things we do' and enormously powerful songs such as the album's centrepiece 'bring the sun/ Toussaint L'Ouvateure'. With most songs going beyond ten minutes Swans give themselves the time in most songs to have them go through various phases whilst still including their very effective use of repetition.
Best track: Bring the sun/ Toussaint L'ouvateure
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2014
Appears in:
Rank Score:
7,670
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On Divers Joannna Newsom moved away from the medieval sounds of Ys whilst still maintaining her original style on the more electronic sound of this album. On the mainly downbeat selection of songs on Divers Newsom touches on subjects of war and heartbreak. This mood is kept across the album despite significant variation in some of the tracks.
Best track: Leaving the city
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2015
Appears in:
Rank Score:
2,298
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[First added to this chart: 06/16/2021]
Year of Release:
2019
Appears in:
Rank Score:
113
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Kanye West's masterpiece was a revolution in hip hop coming just after the end of the genre's worst decade. This album finally made mainstream rap relevant again and was vital in incorporating emotions into hip hop, building on Drake's So Far Gone and West's own 808s And Heartbreaks. The first few songs all cover various aspects of the drawbacks of fame and injustice in America. These are followed by a breather from the darker content with 2 fantastic posse cuts where just about every verse feels new and inventive, and after this the emotional side of the album really kicks in with songs like 'runaway' and 'blame game'. The variation and strength of the performances in this album are what makes it so widely popular both inside and outside of the hip hop community.
Best track: Gorgeous
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2010
Appears in:
Rank Score:
32,063
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7. (=)
[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2012
Appears in:
Rank Score:
3,509
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[First added to this chart: 11/25/2016]
Year of Release:
2012
Appears in:
Rank Score:
5,996
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9. (10) Up1
[First added to this chart: 01/28/2019]
Year of Release:
2018
Appears in:
Rank Score:
1,444
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[First added to this chart: 09/24/2020]
Year of Release:
2010
Appears in:
Rank Score:
7,772
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Total albums: 100. Page 1 of 10

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Top 100 Music Albums of the 2010s composition

Year Albums %


2010 5 5%
2011 6 6%
2012 7 7%
2013 5 5%
2014 7 7%
2015 10 10%
2016 16 16%
2017 10 10%
2018 19 19%
2019 15 15%
Artist Albums %


Swans 3 3%
Beach House 3 3%
Kendrick Lamar 3 3%
Frank Ocean 3 3%
Mount Eerie 2 2%
Sun Kil Moon 2 2%
Ada Rook 2 2%
Show all
Country Albums %


United States 62 62%
United Kingdom 18 18%
Canada 11 11%
Mixed Nationality 5 5%
Australia 2 2%
Norway 2 2%
Compilation? Albums %
No 99 99%
Yes 1 1%

Top 100 Music Albums of the 2010s chart changes

Biggest climbers
Climber Up 7 from 29th to 22nd
Caligula
by Lingua Ignota
Climber Up 2 from 23rd to 21st
Some Rap Songs
by Earl Sweatshirt
Climber Up 2 from 13th to 11th
Igor
by Tyler, The Creator

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From 02/14/2017 15:00
Thanks man, I'll probably do write ups for the top 50 for the moment so I don't have to end up removing albums with notes sometime later.
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From 02/11/2017 18:31
Wow, thanks for the incredibly detailed and thoughtful notes on many of the top albums on this chart! They really add a lot of personality, and they make me want to hear some of the albums I've either passed over too quickly or ignored altogether, such as Undun. I love many of the albums here, especially Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit; St. Vincent; Visions; and Lost in the Dream. Great work!
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