Best Albums of the 2010s – #1
The Weight of These Wings – Miranda Lambert (2016)
It should come as no surprise that the greatest album by my favorite artist would end up as my #1 album of the decade.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the makeup and order of this list, but Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings was cemented in place before I even began.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #2
Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey (2019)
Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell is the newest album on this list, having come out only a few months ago. I suppose that opens it up to potential recency bias, but its greatness is so undeniable I couldn’t stop myself from placing it this high.
Del Rey truly belongs to the past decade. Her hard-to-find self-titled debut dropped in 2010, and she’s released five brilliant albums about every other year since then, culminating in her finest work to date with Rockwell.
Merry Christmas, everyone! My best to you and yours this holiday season.
Now, back to the music.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #3
See You On the Moon – Tift Merritt (2010)
Yesterday I mentioned the “best of the 2010s so far” list I compiled five years ago. On that lineup, Tift Merritt’s 2010 See You On the Moon showed up at #9.
It’s a great illustration of how time can enhance (or diminish) the power of a piece of work that the same album now sits at #3.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #4
Port of Morrow – The Shins (2012)
When I listed my top albums of the decade so far back at the end of 2014, The Shins’ Port of Morrow claimed the top spot. Five years later, it’s lost none of its lustre.
Frontman James Mercer parted ways with his band’s original lineup prior to writing and recording this album, and kept the Shins name despite tackling the project as essentially a one-man band.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #5
Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend (2013)
Here we go. This week I will reveal my five favorite albums of the last decade. Three of these appeared on my list of “best albums of the decade so far” back in 2014, though in slightly different order. The other two were released during the past five years.
At #5 is the third album by Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City. This was the band’s final album with multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij in the lineup, and it remains their best work to date.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #6
Lemonade – Beyoncé (2016)
Beyoncé’s Lemonade is more than a great collection of songs (though it is that). It is a personal and political statement, at once deeply confessional and universally deep. It is also a “visual album” that links its tracks with spoken-word poetry and mesmerizing visuals.
It’s a project only an artist with the confidence and swagger of Beyoncé could pull off. And pull it off she does, beautifully.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #7
The idler Wheel… – Fiona Apple (2012)
I’ve noted that several artists on this list have had a lean decade, production-wise. Fiona Apple takes first prize in that regard, releasing only one album over the last ten years, 2012’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do.
Most people just call it The Idler Wheel.