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Ten Best Albums of the Decade

Ten Best Albums of the Decade

The Paradise Found Blog is back to look back at my favorite releases of the past decade, presented here in alphabetical order:

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010) -- Arcade Fire’s third release deservedly elevated them from indie darlings to arena rock stars. “We Used to Wait” mourned the passing of the written word and foretold the increasing isolation of the digital age. (Key track: “We Used to Wait”)

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018) – Barnett’s second full-length album might have been a little too commercial for her longtime fans, but it packed a powerful punch with its infectious melodies and #MeToo lyrics. If you think rock is dead, you haven’t heard this record. (Key track: “Nameless Faceless”)

David Bowie – Blackstar (2016) – In a decade with stirring ruminations on death and dying from Leonard Cohen and John Prine, Bowie bested them all with a moving examination of the transition from this world to the next. Fittingly, he died two days after its release. (Key track: “Lazarus”)

Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019) – A true star for the next decade and the first artist born this century to top the charts, Eilish blazed trails on SoundCloud before delivering a debut that combined the best of pop, alt, and hip-hop. In the process, she transcended her YA sweet spot and expanded her following to include music lovers of all ages. (Key track: “Ilomilo”)

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (2015) – Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) may have made the best statement on life in the Trump era with 2017’s Pure Comedy, but I Love You, Honeybear condensed his sardonic lyrics and Nilsson-like folk-pop to his most powerful effect. Why move to LA to look for love and fame when you can just listen to Father John Misty? (Key track: “Holy Shit”)

Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator (2017) – Alynda Segarra, leader of Hurray for the Riff Raff, knew she was making a statement with this release; the record even comes with a faux playbill. The Navigator spoke to the plight of the immigrant, and in “Pa’lante” delivered an anthem for people of all colors. (Key track: “Pa’lante”)

Jim James – Eternally Even (2016) – In which the southern rock hero moves to LA, dives into ‘70s soul and creates music unlike anything he or his band, My Morning Jacket, had done previously. This record is the most political and spiritual thing James has ever produced, but it wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t also feature grooves and emotion that spill off the record. (Key track: “Here in Spirit”)

LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening (2010) – James Murphy’s second full-length release somehow improved upon Sound of Silver, his breathtaking debut. Call it rock for EDM fans or techno for rock fans; This is Happening took the best of Bowie/Eno, the Talking Heads and Daft Punk and created a truly unique mix all its own. (Key track: “Home”)

Tame Impala – Currents (2015) – The third studio release from Kevin Parker’s Australian collective may have been too synth-oriented for guitar-rock devotees, but its pop sensibility took the world by storm. Everyone from Rihanna to Kacey Musgraves referenced it directly, and the long-awaited follow-up's delay is no doubt due to the perfectionist Parker’s challenge to come up with a suitable encore. (Key track: “Let It Happen”)

Jack White – Blunderbuss (2012) – Jack White made some of the best music in the aughts as leader of The White Stripes. His first solo release saw him branch out into more Americana sounds with impressive results. Never boring, White combined hard rockers with country ballads for an unforgettable mix. (Key track: “Freedom at 21”)

And the next ten: Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (2015), Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away (2013), Feist – Metals (2011), John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (2013), Jenny Lewis – On The Line (2019), Aimee Mann – Mental Illness (2017), Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (2018), U2 – Songs of Innocence (2014), Vampire Weekend – Contra (2010).

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