Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Best of the Decade 2010-19: My Favorite Rock Albums

For me, the album has always been the definitive statement of musical artistry.

Sure, they are comprised of songs, and great songs are what get your blood pumping, but the truly special artists are those who can fill an album of 12 or so stellar songs, with little or no filler.

Theoretically for album after album.

But it can be fairly argued that, in this age of streaming music, the importance of albums have lessened (even though they are still the way new music is packaged).

Along with this, the type of popular music I most love--guitar-driven rock--is no longer predominant.

This bothers me because I haven't been able to find nearly as much new music I love as in decades past.

I will never knock the talents of contemporary mainstream favorites such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Twenty One Pilots, Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper and others, and I've listened to many of them.

But even though act such as the above have shown staying power, which I find crucial to musical fandom--the ability to follow a cherished act over time--there are few beyond the rock realm that have consistently moved me, or prompted me to revisit them.

Hence, while I think the term "rock music" can be construed rather broadly, I think it only fair to include it in this category title. Artistically, there were probably better albums produced than the ones listed below, but these were my favorites.

However, as readers of this blog should know, I do also love Broadway musicals, and recently chronicled my favorites of this decade.

And cast recordings of the finest new musicals--several fused with rock, hip-hop and other contemporary sounds, as noted in this post--make for some of my favorite albums of any type this decade.

So as a Special Commendation before my main list, I will cite the Original Broadway Cast Recordings of:

Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Matilda, The Book of Mormon and Moulin Rouge (which incorporates pop/rock songs new & old) as among my favorite new albums released between 2010-19. And this doesn't even include all the pre-existing brilliance found on Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

But disclaimers done, to my ears these were...

The Best Rock Albums of the Decade

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
2. David Bowie - The Next Day 
3. Adele - 21 
4. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars 
5. The Struts - Everybody Wants
6. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse 
7. Blur - The Magic Whip 
8. Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin 
9. David Bowie - Blackstar 
10. Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound 
11. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order by artist)

Ash - Islands

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
Elvis Costello & the Imposters - Look Now
Dinosaur Jr. - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Gang of Youths - Go Farther in Lightness
The Hives - Lex Hives
Interpol - El Pintor
Tommy Keene - Laugh in the Dark
LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
Johnny Marr - The Messenger
Maximo Park - The National Health
Bob Mould - Patch the Sky
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
Robert Plant - Carry Fire
Len Price 3 - Pictures
The Struts - Young and Dangerous
Superchunk - What a Time to Be Alive
Taylor Swift - Red
Paul Weller - Wake Up the Nation
Wild Flag - self-titled

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