I realized the error after I had already started writing my posts, so rather than discard my thoughts on the unlucky album now in the 21st slot, I’m presenting them today in place of my usual Random Weekend post.
The Voyager – Jenny Lewis (2014)
Whether it’s because my own tastes have shifted, or because the cultural landscape has become more inclusive, my list of favorite 2010s albums is dominated by women. Thirteen of the top 20 and seven of the top 10 titles are by female artists.
Jenny Lewis emerged as a favorite in this decade, after being on my radar tangentially in the prior one. The sound and perspective of her 2014 album The Voyager feel completely fresh, even as the record hearkens back to folk rock and pop sounds of the 70s.
Speak Now – Taylor Swift (2010)
On past lists like this, I’ve had single artists dominate with multiple appearances. I realize that can be a little boring for the reader, and it ends up pushing out acts deserving of a mention.
So this time around I am limiting myself to just one title per artist, though I will list other albums of theirs that might have otherwise made the cut.
Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves (2018)
It has been an excellent decade for women in country music, even if country radio continues to stubbornly ignore their music. Five of my top 20 albums are by women who are either country (or at least country-adjacent) artists.
One of the most critically-acclaimed of those records is Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, the Texan singer-songwriter’s third and best album.
Anti – Rihanna (2016)
After four straight years of new album releases, Rihanna went silent in 2012 before emerging four years later with one of her best albums, Anti.
While I’m a Rihanna stan going back a ways, and still consider Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R her crowning achievements, it’s hard to deny the groundbreaking qualities of this album.
Today is the second day of the final month of the decade. How fast the 2010s flew by! I clearly remember compiling my ‘Best of the 00s’ album list, which went live on New Year’s Day 2010.
Looking back on that list now, I see a lot of the same artists who will appear on this one. Makes sense. I also see some albums I haven’t revisited as often as their rankings suggest, and some that would be much higher or lower if I were to revisit that decade’s music today. For one example, I now consider Josh Rouse’s Nashville one of my favorite albums of all-time, yet it came it at #8 on that list.
Tomorrow I will start a countdown of my favorite albums of the decade. If this were 20 years ago — 1999 instead of 2019 — that list would include Lauryn Hill’s ’97 classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill somewhere near the top.
This blend of hip hop, soul and R&B sounds as bold and vital today as it did when it made such a splash 22 years ago. It is even more special for remaining the only solo studio recording Hill ever released (her one follow-up record was a live recording of an MTV Unplugged appearance).