For me, this decade didn’t just come with many personal changes and challenges, but also musical ones. The indie band-driven 2000s became indistinctly more solo-artist orientated. Never mind that ‘indie’ music nearly completely disappeared off the radar and with it, strict genre definitions. More importantly, though, this past decade has been a time for the music industry to reflect on its discriminating structures. With initiatives such as Keychange or female pressure, this is a discussion that will definitely follow us into the next decade.
The way we consume and gain information about music entirely changed within the last decade, too. In the next years, there need to be answers on if and how musicians, music journalists and other creatives within the industry can survive with their passion. Nevertheless, the soundtrack of the past years didn’t disappoint at all. Here are the ten albums that have accompanied me through the last years, in chronological order:
LCD Soundsystem – ‘This Is Happening’ (2010)
Who would’ve thought that we would get two LCD Soundsystem albums by 2017? Even though James Murphy’s band split, they pretty efficiently reunited for American Dream. I discovered the weird and wonderful world of the Brooklyn band probably through Gossip Girl, my favorite show at that time. Although it’s probably considered very trashy by a lot of people, it had a pretty great indie soundtrack. I guess that’s also the reason why listening to LCD Soundsystem, especially to Dance Yrself Clean, Home or I Can Change make me feel like I could have an overly dramatic life in a Brooklyn loft like the Humphreys, someday. Also, I Can Change is probably my favourite love (or anti-love?) song of all time and a constant remember that you shouldn’t ever have to change your personality for anyone.
Sky Ferreira – ‘Night Time, My Time’ (2013)
Most people probably knew Sky Ferreira‘s face, before she released her debut album. Night Time, My Time didn’t just feature a pretty explicit cover photo, but also very sleek produced synth-pop inspired by 80s hits, shoegaze, and grunge. Even though it is the sort of music that you could expect in the soundtrack of romantic comedies or in stores of the H&M company, Ferreira developed a unique style both as a singer and songwriter. Her appearance on DIIV’s track Blue Boredom in 2016, a feature on Charli XCX’s single Cross You Out as well as her latest solo track Downhill Lullaby prove, that there’s a new decade of Sky Ferreira waiting upon us. Including the release of Masochism, eventually.
Fat White Family – ‘Champagne Holocaust’ (2013)
When Fat White Family were squatting and jamming around Brixton’s Windmill circa in 2013, I started getting serious FOMO. I heard about them through NME’s print edition and their live shows just seemed out of this world to me. The wild, raw, rock’n’roll atmosphere of their gigs and squatting life in South London were exactly the opposite of what I experienced as a teenager in a small town in former Eastern Germany. I was longing to witness their performance live. The debut album with the quite provocative title Champagne Holocaust and the fitting cover art were just a small consolation, but enough to make me feel pretty punk as well. Eventually, when I moved to Berlin in 2016, I could finally watch their live show. It was actually the first concert I ever photographed and definitely more exciting than pretty much any show I photographed afterwards.
Wolf Alice – ‘My Love Is Cool’ (2015)
This North London band is probably the last band I really fell in love with. I’ve followed all Wolf Alice‘s prior EP releases since 2013 through my subscription to good ‘ol NME who hailed them as the hottest band around, naturally. My Love Is Cool showcases sleek, atmospheric and poetic indie rock that hugs British shoegaze. While Britpop and its offsprings are finally dead, Ellie Rowsell proves with her songwriting that indie rock can still be pretty hip and yet substantial.
Jamie XX – ‘In Colour’ (2015)
There’s always going to be music that reminds you of a certain feeling, moment or event and is thereby time-restricted. For me, that album is Jamie XX In Colour. It was released in the summer of my high school graduation, followed by an extensive stay in Brooklyn without any obligations than being young. Not having been at a very hip rave before this summer, the album distills the sound of both excess and sadness on the dancefloor and beyond. For me, this album didn’t last longer than a summer love, though. Yet, it still puts me in a time capsule straight into the summer of 2015.
Frank Ocean – ‘Blonde’ (2016)
I don’t want to weigh in in the never-ending discussion on which is the better album here (It’s Endless anyway ;D ). For me, Blonde is a candid portrayal of the year it was released in (hence Facebook Story). It shows a more grown-up Frank Ocean, once again falling in and out of love. What makes Blonde so unique and timeless, is it’s musical DNA. You couldn’t call it by one genre, it’s a mixture of sleek R’n’B paired with soul, hip hop and even psychedelic guitar solos. This album is the prime example of how music couldn’t just be defined as a simple genre in the last years and how mixtape-like albums without a long-run promotion changed the game of the full-length. That being said: Please hurry up with that new album, @blonded !!!
Skepta – ‘Konnichiwa’ (2016)
I recall meeting Skepta and his BBK-crew during Melt Festival just a few months after the release of Konnichiwa in the crowd during a Tame Impala show. What happened afterwards, was probably the most embarrassing moment of my fangirl career. I asked them to do a photo for my ‘gram’, obviously not respecting his Instagram-prohibition set up in ‘Man’, even though I was aware of the lyrics (just not after a beer too many, probably). I still regret my reckless behavior towards the King of Grime, yet I am still thankful for meeting my ChartShow TV childhood hero in the same year that he was knighted to international recognition by both Drake and the Mercury Prize. Konnichiwa is both evidentially British and anti-authoritarian, an instant classic in the UK’s rap history.
Charli XCX – ‘Number 1 Angel ‘ (2017)
After the legendary ‘Vroom Vroom’ EP in 2016, Charli XCX set the scene on how her mainstream and radio-friendly follow-up should sound like. Yet, it was due to disagreements with the label, not an album but a mixtape. Including an epic Uffie-comeback feature on Babygirl, the collab-heavy mixtape doesn’t just show Charli as a party girl, but as pretty emotional and vulnerable. This is first-class heartbreak and falling-in-love material in PC Music manner. With the follow-up EP Pop2 and this year’s full length Charli, the British musician proved that she’s the experimental pop-star that this decade deserved. I can’t wait for how she’ll progress pop music’s sound in the next years.
SOPHIE – ‘Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides’ (2018)
Meet the artist responsible for productions by Charli XCX, Madonna, Kim Petras and more. The release of SOPHIE‘s debut album with the catchy title Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides came hand-in-hand with the outing of her appearance and voice. Though she remained a much-speculated enigma until the release of the album, the Scottish-artist shaped the sound of pop avantgarde crew PC Music like no one else. She mixes electro with pop, emotional productions with highly pitched vocals like no one else. This is music that definitely shaped the way pop music is consumed and produced in this decade, if not the century.
Mitski – ‘Be The Cowboy’ (2018)
Despite it’s rather simple arrangements, this is an album that just oozes of intense and beautifully put words. Even though you could interpret the artist’s fifth album being about love and (once again) heartbreak and rejection, it focusses more on Mitski relationship with being a musician and traveling the world. For me, this album somehow shows the importance of self-care and radical honesty, especially towards yourself. And Nobody is simply a great anthem against loneliness.
- Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – ‘I’m New Here’
- Kanye West & Jay-Z – ‘Watch The Throne’ (2011)
- SBTRKT – ‘SBTRKT’ (2011)
- Frank Ocean – ‘channel ORANGE’ (2012)
- Jai Paul – ‘Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)’ (2013)
- The Soft Moon – ‘Deeper’ (2015)
- Rihanna – ‘Anti’ (2016)
- Beyoncé – ‘Lemonade’ (2016)
- Drake – ‘Views’ (2016)
- DIIV – ‘Is The Is Are’ (2016)
- Kedr Livanskiy – ‘Ariadna’ (2017)
- Sampha – ‘Process’ (2017)
- Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ (2017)
- Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘Yawn’ (2018)
- Marie Davidson – ‘Working Class Woman’ (2018)
- James Blake – ‘Assume Form’ (2019)
- Billie Eilish – ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ (2019)
Find more personal stories about our editors’ favourite 2010 records right here.