Following in Ed’s footsteps, here are my top 10 albums of the last decade. Have included a Spotify playlist of these 10 tracks at the bottom of the post.
10. ‘Contra’ by Vampire Weekend (2010)
Top Track: ‘Cousins’
Kicking off the decade in style – ‘Contra‘ was released in the second week of 2010. The difficult second album follow up to their self titled (one of the best albums ever) debut; ‘Contra‘ certainly had no difficulty enhancing my love for these NYC beauties.
A tough decision had to be made between Contra or third album ‘Modern Vampires of the City‘ (2013); ‘Contra‘ pipped by a pinch.
Speaking to NME magazine on the album title and last track ‘I Think You’re A Contra‘, lead singer – Ezra Koenig said “It’s a conversation between two people and the way they’re using the ‘contra’ to say, ‘You’re the opposite of me’.”
9. ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’ by Frightened Rabbit (2010)
Top Track: ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’
My Brother Olly introduced me to FR many years ago and they have since been one of my favourite bands. I hold a connection with their music like only a few other artists ever have.
Scott Hutchison’s death in May 2018 was hard to take for me and my siblings. Scott’s music has been a big influence on Olly to the extent that his second album with band ‘Van Susans‘ was titled after a lyric from track ‘Things‘ on this album.
Frightened Rabbit released five studio albums spanning just nine years. I urge you to listen to them all.
8. ‘Square Moon’ by The Crimea (2013)
Top Track: ‘Petals Open When Reached By Sunlight’
Quoted as “the most underrated band in the world ever” by me, The Crimea bowed out in 2013 with this hauntingly beautiful album. ‘Square Moon‘ is a 22 track masterpiece that needs to be listened to in full.
I regret not buying this on vinyl the last time I saw them at Union Chapel.
The Crimea were included on John Peel‘s Festive Fifty and all eleven of the initial album demos were played on his show.
Come find me Davey MacManus.
7. ‘The People’s Key’ by Bright Eyes (2011)
Top Track: ‘Jejune Stars’
After picking up singles ‘Gold Mind Gutted‘ and ‘Easy / Lucky / Free‘ on vinyl at a Virgin Megastores at the age of 17, Bright Eyes set me on a musical journey that I am still on today. Lead singer Conor Oberst is by far my biggest musical influence and my G.O.A.T.
Spoiler alert: Conor appears again on this list.
My forever angsty teenage inner self would put any Bright Eyes album on this list – The People’s Key was (sadly) the only album out last decade.
Bright Eyes have announced a world tour and new album for 2020. See you at Hammersmith (a.k.a Eventim) Apollo on 1st September.
6. ‘Undress’ by The Felice Brothers (2019)
Top Track: ‘Salvation Army Girl’
Noted as Conor Oberst‘s favourite band – I’ll admit that it took me a while to get into The Felice Brothers; their song ‘Frankie’s Gun‘ however would top my ‘best lyrics ever’ list.
“Got me off a bender after long legged Brenda died” is lyrical genius.
A late entry in the decade, I’m still digesting this album but I knew it was going to be a favourite of mine on the first listen.
5. ‘Pity Party’ by Liz Lawrence (2019)
Top Track: ‘Navigator’
Another late entry to the decade. I discovered Liz Lawrence on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and ‘Navigator‘ remains my favourite find from that weekly playlist.
‘Pity Party’ is Liz’s first solo album since debut ‘Bedroom Hero’ way back in 2011.
Liz Lawrence has recently been touring with Bombay Bicycle Club.
4. ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ by IDLES (2018)
Top Track: ‘Danny Nedelko’
IDLES have been a breath of fresh air since releasing ‘Brutalism‘ in 2017. Another discovery of my Brother, we could be found in the numerous mosh-pits at their Park Stage gig at Glastonbury last year (my favourite set of the whole festival). We even made a cameo appearance on the BBC iPlayer footage of the show.
Both ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance‘ and ‘Brutalism‘ would have made this list, but my self-imposted ‘one album per artist’ rule applies here.
Watching that video back gave chills, especially when Joe Talbot’s wife comes out at the end. IDLES top my imaginery list of ‘Best people that I think are really great and actually give a shit about stuff’.
3. ‘C’est La Vie’ by Phosphorescent (2018)
Top Track: ‘C’est La Vie No.2’
Track 2 – C’est La Vie No.2 would be a contender for ‘Track of the decade’ (maybe coming soon). Only a few times a year do I listen to a track that immedialty hits me with its power. This whole album hit me.
I was a dabbler of Matthew Houck‘s work as Phosphorescent since ‘Joe Tex, These Taming Blues‘ stole my heart in 2005, but never really jumped fully in. I am pleased to say, I am now fully submerged.
2. ‘Strange Desire’ by Bleachers (2015)
Top Track: ‘I Wanna Get Better’
Debut single ‘I Wanna Get Better‘ was my anthem of the Summer in 2014; I had it on repeat for months. ‘Strange Desire‘ crossed the boundaries between teenage nostalgia and modern indie pop.
You may recognise Jack Antonoff from the band fun; his solo project continues to be on my heavy rotation. Follow up album ‘Gone Now‘ is equally as good as the first, but ‘Strange Desire‘ just holds a bigger place in my heart.
Rumours of the third album are about…. @ me Jack.
1. ‘Salutations’ by Conor Oberst (2017)
Top Track: ‘Barbary Coast’
2017 was a pretty shit year for me and ‘Salutations‘ was the ONLY album I could listen to. I’m not joking – I had that CD in my car on repeat for a solid six months. I listened to it at least once a day. I kept having to buy new copies because I was giving them away to friends and family.
‘Salutations‘ was the second of a sort-of double album release. ‘Ruminations‘ was basically the raw version of ‘Salutations‘ which featured most of the same songs. Both amazing in their own right; ‘Salutations‘ just got me more!
Special mention to ‘Better Oblivion Community Centre‘ – I just couldn’t put a third Conor Oberst album in this list.