Mandatory Top 10 of the 2010s: The Most Rocking Music Albums of the Decade
When it comes to rocking music, the 2010s have seen highs and lows. A few months before the decade’s dawn, Kanye West snatched the mic from Taylor Swift. West recently hit rock bottom by kickstarting what’s sure to be the religious equivalent of the Fyre Festival. He wasn’t the only musician the years took down a notch. Showy vocalists like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera lost out to more low-key singers. And, of course, musical greats like Prince and David Bowie shoved off this mortal coil.
But enough lows, let’s get high. Though Bowie passed, he left the album Blackstar as a parting rock gift. Groups like The Black Keys and Vampire Weekend continued turning out rock anthems. New acts like Girlpool and Kevin Abstract wowed audiences while smashing stereotypes. On this list, we’re counting off the top 10 most rocking albums of the last decade.
Cover Photo: Ryan McVay (Getty Images)
10. 'Blackstar' by David Bowie
David Bowie’s career has spanned decades, and Blackstar is his swan song, released just before his death in 2016. Full of dense references to music and culture, our favorite gem is the inclusion of Nadsat, a fictional language in the book A Clockwork Orange.
9. 'The OOZ' by King Krule
Though the story behind the album’s name is absolutely filthy, the sentiment behind its songs is big empathy. This ginger Brit seems set for a long and productive career, which makes the previous entry on the list sting a little less.
8. 'American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story' by Kevin Abstract
This album is an ode to awkward high school years. Always blurring genres, Abstract transcends his previous work, digging deeper as a musician and artist.
7. 'Salad Days' by Mac DeMarco
Mac DeMarco recorded his second album, Salad Days, in his Brooklyn apartment. In keeping with this, the lyrics and tone are more personal, while maintaining their psychedelic rock drive.
6. '7' by Beach House
Melodic, foreboding, and driving are all words that describe this album. Though the album's title isn’t the most creative, the band brought plenty of art to songs like “Dark Spring” and “Drunk in LA.”
5. 'Girlpool' by Girlpool
Though we loved Girlpool’s second album, Before The World Was Big, we went with their self-titled debut. Just listen to the song “American Beauty” to find out why this album made the cut.
4. 'Random Access Memories' by Daft Punk
Daft Punk’s fourth album, Random Access Memories, was popular with critics and fans. The song “Get Lucky” in particular made this cybernetic duo into a global funk sensation.
3. 'Babel' by Mumford & Sons
Like a wolf howling at a full moon, this album stirs our hearts. It’s an instant classic of Americana folk-rock circa 2012.
2. 'Modern Vampires of the City' by Vampire Weekend
On this album, Ezra Koenig and his cronies lower their listless gazes from mansard roofs to more earthly qualms. The driving beats, poetic lyrics, and world music influence are a true return to form.
1. 'Brothers' by The Black Keys
The Keys came screaming into decade with this album at No. 1. Every song from the rip-roaring beat of “Everlasting Light” to the sad twang of “Never Gonna Give You Up” still get us tapping our feet after all these years.