It’s the start of a new year, and not only that, but a new decade! Wow, happy new year to everyone!
To wrap up 2019 and the last decade, we are currently in the midst of everyone’s “Best of” lists so why not add to that and share my Top 10 Albums of the Last Decade. I actually posted this on my Instagram story a week ago asking if you guys wanted to see my top albums of 2019 OR the past decade and the majority of you voted for the decade so here we are.
It actually took me a while to narrow this list down to only 10 albums because 10 years is a long ass time with a lot of amazing, kick ass music. In the end, this list encompasses a variety of albums throughout the last decade that either introduced me to some of my favourite artists to this day, albums that I couldn’t wait to receive on vinyl when I got my first record player for Christmas a few years ago, or albums that I listened to on repeat from front-to-back at a certain point in time, therefore ingraining a special moment of time in my life. I hope you guys enjoy my list, and I would love to hear what some of your top albums of the decade/2019 were as well!
10. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso (2014)
Kicking off this list is Sylvan Esso’s self-titled debut album which came out in 2014. The duo which is comprised of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn fuses folk and electronic music into a super unique sound, incorporating looped vocals and sound effects into a somewhat mellow, yet still dance-able album. This album was my first introduction to the band, and I fell in love with it, especially their song “Coffee”, which to this day, still remains one of my favourite songs ever. Following the release of this album, I went on to see Sylvan Esso live a few times, and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it. Meath is not afraid to do her thing on stage, often times wearing the most insane platform shoes I’ve ever seen and somehow managing to still stay upright while singing and dancing across the stage.
9. LANY – LANY (2017)
This list somehow just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t include LANY on here. Not surprisingly, LANY is actually my band of the decade according to my Spotify Wrapped results. I’ve talked about PJK and co. multiple times on my blog, so you guys already know my love for this band. Their self-titled debut album is a great introduction to their synth-driven sound paired with simple and millennial-friendly lyrics. Their song ILYSB was their first big hit, and other songs from this album including Super Far and The Breakup soon followed suit. You can read a more in-depth review of this album on this previous blog post of mine.
8. Tame Impala – Currents (2015)
Tame Impala previously released two albums prior to the release of Currents. Of course I had heard songs like Elephant and Feels Like We Only Go Backwards on the local Indie radio station. However, it wasn’t until Currents that I really gave Tame Impala my full and undivided attention. This album is amazing from front to back. Not a single song that I ever skip when listening to it, that’s how you know it’s a great album. It’s also amazing to me how big they have gotten since the release of this album, especially since they haven’t released any other album afterwards. From headlining major festivals like Coachella to multiple sold-out stadium shows, Kevin Parker has done really well for himself. I suppose I should also point-out that their single Patience which was released in 2019 is apparently my most played song of the year! So stoked to hear more new music from them as they FINALLY have a new album releasing later this year. Keep your ears peeled!
7. Clairo – Immunity (2019)
Hands down my favourite album of 2019 is Clairo’s debut album, Immunity. I loved it so much that even though it’s only been out for less than a year, I’m still confident enough to put it on my list of top albums of the decade. If you’ve read any of my recent blog posts, then you probably already know how obsessed I’ve been with Clairo’s music lately. It’s so refreshing to see an artist like her in this day and age, who couldn’t care less what others think of her, and is just truly her authentic self making the music that she wants to make. Immunity is such a solid debut and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her!
6. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding (2017)
My favourite album from 2017 makes it as #6 on this list. Since putting this on my list two years ago, it’s stayed in my library of albums on constant rotation, especially during the Fall/Winter months. If you’re into some good ole rock music, this album should be at the top of your list. I’ve talked about A Deeper Understanding in more detail on my post from 2017, but this album is literally fine-tuned to perfection. Not surprised then that this album also won the Grammy for Best Rock Album of the year at the 60th Grammy Awards. My only wish now is to see the band at a show and see how their music translates in a live setting. I’ve heard only great things. Hopefully 2020 will bring about new music and new tour dates from The War on Drugs.
5. The 1975 – I like it when you sleep… (2016)
Similarly to LANY, I also feel like The 1975 would be a solid choice to represent my artist of the decade. I discovered The 1975 from an old co-worker in 2012 when their song Chocolate had just come out. Since then, I’ve followed them religiously. I remember thinking to myself as I listened to their early EPs with songs like Me and fallingforyou what a unique sound they had. I honestly never heard music like theirs before. To this day, I would consider The 1975 to be one of my favourite bands, always ensuring I’m the first to buy tickets to their show anytime they come to my city and staying up late anytime they have a new release. It was so hard for me to choose which album of theirs I wanted to include on this list (because they are all seriously amazing), but in the end, I settled for their second LP, I like it when you sleep… Unlike their 2013 debut album which was more pop-rock focused, I love that with this album, the band isn’t afraid to explore new genres. Especially with tracks like Love Me which is very David Bowie-esque, Lostmyhead which somewhat reminds me of M83, as well as four ambient, instrumental tracks for your hearing pleasure. All of the songs together make up a well-rounded second album from The 1975, still with their own unique touch.
4. Glass Animals – How to be a Human Being (2016)
The second album from UK based band Glass Animals was my favourite album of 2016 and ranks high on my list of top albums of the decade. Just like the title of the album, How to be a Human Being, each song on here is inspired by a different person that the band has come across. Not necessarily a family member/friend/loved one, just normal human beings trying to navigate their way through the world. I absolutely love every song on this album as each one tells a story of a different person, but collectively, shows the eccentricities of life and humanity. If you’ve never heard any Glass Animals’ songs before, you’re in for a treat. The band has a truly unique sound, fusing together indie beats with ethnic instruments in the grooviest way. On this album, they’re also not afraid to have fun with different genres, all the while still staying true to their own sound. It’s fun, experimental, and the storytelling throughout is as raw as you can get. Definitely an album that anyone can relate to.
3. Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm (2011)
Benjamin Francis Leftwich is an artist that I’ve followed for many, many years and one that I always will come back to. His debut album titled Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm is #3 on my list. His acoustic-based laid-back music always calms and relaxes me, and that’s the reason that this is my favourite album to play when doing yoga practice. If you’re into slower paced music that still packs a punch, then this is the album for you. After hearing this album and listening to it on repeat obsessively, I waited years to finally have the chance to see BFL live. But when I finally did, it was worth the wait! I LOVED his show and how raw and authentic it was, I even named it one of my top concerts of 2017. This past year I also got to see him live again and it was just as good as the last time. I can’t wait to see him again in the coming years and I’m pretty sure that this album will forever be one of my favourites.
2. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor (2010)
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you already know that Local Natives is my all-time favourite band. And their debut album Gorilla Manor is what introduced me to them. All of my all-time favourite songs by this four-piece LA-based band comes from this album including Sun Hands, Airplanes, and World News. Earlier this year, Local Natives also released their 4th studio album titled Violet Street, which just so happens to be one of my favourite albums of 2019. At the same time, my boyfriend and I were vacationing in Los Angeles during the release of the album, and the band did a surprise last-minute show and meet and greet at the famous Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard. Of course, my boyfriend and I were there and had the chance to see them in an intimate setting and meet the guys (they were so kind and genuinely appreciated our support!), making this one of my top highlights of the year as well. The record that introduced me to my favourite indie-rock band, it’s a no-brainer that this comes in at #2 on my list.
1. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation (2011)
And at #1 we have The Year of Hibernation, the lo-fi project by Youth Lagoon aka Trevor Powers. Let me first mention how I even discovered this album back in the day. I used to be a huge Kings of Leon fan (and still am) and shortly after the release of this album, Jared Followill tweeted about how great this album was. Being a huge KOL fan, of course I took any music recommendations from the band seriously. After a Google search, I was able to find The Year of Hibernation on Youtube to stream and that was the end of it. This was the first record I even thought of getting on vinyl the moment I received my own record player. That’s how much I love it and how special it is to me. To try and describe the sound of this album, it sounds like it was written and recorded in your brother’s bedroom, but in the best possible way. Intimate and honest, with several references back to childhood, the nostalgia is more real than ever with this record. If I were to embark on a Pacific Northwest road trip, this is the album that would play in the background. However, this album is perfect for more than just those spontaneous, laidback road trips. I find myself coming back to this album time and time again. In fact, with each new year, this is always an album I like to start off with. The innocent tone is refreshing, and reminds me to look at the years ahead with open arms and wonder. Because you never know where life will take you and that’s the beauty of it.
And that’s it! The past decade was full of so much great music. These were the years that allowed me to really grow up and become the person that I am today, and so the music that went along with those defining moments will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m so excited to see what new music from my favourite artists comes out in the coming years, and of course, discovering new talent as well! Let me know in the comments what some of your favourite albums from the past decade were!