Lana was the first contemporary sad girl who sang. I was convinced my music was a gift from God. With ‘Channel Orange’, Frank Ocean announced himself as a generational talent. It bottles the comforting yet ultimately empty glow of nostalgia, but also a sense of dread about the future that now feels more than a little prophetic. Before he went all-out gospel with ‘Jesus Is King’, Kanye combined elements of praise music – a soaring choir here, a religious lyric there – with filthy dispatches from the front line of celebrity. They stole from hip hop, glam, Motown, rock’n’roll, R&B and even doo-wop with equal ease and evident delight. Features Best Albums Of The 2010s: 30 Classics That Defined The Decade. Helmed by Annie Clark under the guise of a dystopian overlord, this record is fascinated by and frightened of the modern world in equal measures. There’s nothing as exciting as a surprise that pays off. Buy Classic Album Covers of the 60's: Over 200 of the Best Covers of the Decade New Ed by Thorgerson, Storm (ISBN: 9781843402503) from Amazon's Book Store. JB. Goosebump moment: When ‘Lisbon, OH’ seamlessly transitions into the stunning vocoder ballad ‘Beth/Rest’. Goosebump moment: That drop three minutes and six seconds into ‘Dance Yrself Clean’. At the beginning of the 2010s many predicted the slow death of the album -- but at the decade's end, the format seems forever changed, but still absolutely vital. Goosebump moment: Lead single ‘Unsainted’ sounded exactly as you’d hope Slipknot would sound in 2019. With the help of Queens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme and Dean Fertita as well as Arctic Monkeys‘ drummer Matt Helders, he found it somewhere out in the Joshua Tree desert. Nick Cave – ‘Push The Sky Away’ (2013). SM. In the summer of 2012, as the end of Barack Obama’s first term as the President of the United States of America came to a close, Christopher Breaux held a listening party for his debut studio album, ‘channel ORANGE’. The best album covers of the 2010s accomplish the same aesthetic magic as classics like Joni Mitchell's Blue and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Later on ‘Bound 2’, the most brilliantly unsentimental love song of all time, he constructs this zinger: “So hey, maybe we can make it to Christmas/She asked me what I wished for on the wishlist/Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches?”. As ever with Ariel, it was a bit more experimental than that. Like this? ‘Green Light’ 2. Then album six dropped, a record that was an aural assault equal to anything they’ve ever done, as well as containing some of the bands most innovative moments. RD, There’s a very obvious thing about debut albums and that’s that you only get one crack at your first mission statement. ‘Pilot Jones’. ‘I’m In It’, 7. ‘Somebody Else’. The Horrors – ‘Skying’ Artwork: Neil Krug One of the most beautiful album covers of the decade, it’s Neil Krug’s 70s, woozy, sun-kissed ocean scene. O ver the course of the last decade, radical shifts in how listeners consume music might have predicted the death of the album. If you’re Kendrick Lamar, you don’t even try. Key track: ‘Freaking Out The Neighborhood’, Goosebump moment: Mac’s voice cracking as he sings fan-favourite album closer ‘Still Together’. Dark Paradise 8. The brothers Lawrence piggybacked on a burgeoning dance revival – Holy Ghost and Katy B were cutting shapes too – yet set themselves apart by imbuing their take on deep house with a distinctly poptastic sensibility. The euphoric ‘On Hold’ – built around a stuttering Hall & Oates sample – has Jamie xx’s dancefloor credentials written all over it, and ‘Say Something Loving’ is Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s shimmering power ballad moment. 6. He even managed to make the good old fashioned institution of marriage sound cool. An existential crisis haunted by the ticking clock of mortality, it was the sound of indie-pop’s smart alec’s facing the sobering realisation they didn’t know it all. ‘Money Trees’. Key track: ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, Goosebump moment: “I’m a real boy, boy, and I cry, ”stutters Joe on ‘Samaritans’. Its fireworks sound dangerous. Here, the ego was out of control. EH, So distinctive in sound that it inspired a stoner parody, alt-J’s debut tapped into a largely unexplored musical genre: sexy geometry. Someone who owned their feelings and increased the volume, rather than blocking them out with a catchy hook. John Mayer backs away from the spotlight entirely, his guitar solos on ‘Pyramids’ and ‘White’ his only prominent contribution and he brings Andre 3000 out of semi-retirement to deliver a stand-out verse on ‘Pink Matter’. Video Games 5. Recorded in a live, loose way with her core collaborators in a Dorset village church, ‘Let England Shake’ is haunted by voices that seem to float out of the past. ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’. And then, of course, there was ‘Get Lucky’… still the sound of the summer. Casting influences that span generations and genres, the best 70s album covers not only define a decade in which notions of what was possible – or even permissible – were being challenged, they have transcended the music within, becoming works of art in their own right. Touching on both pain and healing, there’s an intense warmth to the soundscape of ‘A Seat At The Table’. It’s perfect for me” – Matty Healy, NME cover feature, November 25, 2016. Why not a war songwriter? In their own words: “I think the very notion of the suburbs in the old-fashioned sense – that homogenised sprawl of corporate housing and malls – is like a metaphor for something much bigger.” – Win Butler, The Guardian, November 2010. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem any more.” That’s something of an untruth – he takes swipes at Trump and Fox News and shares plenty of profound reflections on race relations – but it’s true that ‘DAMN.’, trading on a ‘70s soul sound, is Kendrick’s pop record. RB, Written in the wake of knee-surgery-gone-wrong, and with depression brought on by the immobility subsequently engulfing him, QOTSA’s sixth album is a voyage into the shadows of a man’s heart. Condo also painted a fancy Hermes Birkin handbag that West later gave as a present to Kim Kardashian. CK. Deep Blue 13. This disparate collection of pilfered genres and stolen sounds came together seamlessly with Turner’s too-clever-by-half lyrics about love, lust and the grey area in-between. RD, Rihanna’s eighth studio album eschewed the big pop bangers that her peers – and Rihanna to be fair – usually relied on and instead opted for a more forward-thinking, experimental approach. Forget wallowing in misery – the New Yorkers built a record filled with messages of resilience, hope, and defiance, delivered through glam-rock stomps (‘Crisis Fest’) and swooning dream-pop (‘Only A Moment’). It’s testament to how successfully the sisters lived up to the promise of their raucous live shows and early ‘Fleetwood Mac meets Destiny’s Child’ billing with this debut that by the end of the year nobody was mispronouncing their name. A full decade on, ‘The Suburbs’ endures because it manages to look forwards, backwards, inwards and outwards all at once. Battles – ‘Gloss Drop’ (2011). Arctic Monkeys – ‘AM’ ‘Hard Feelings / Loveless’. Goosebump moment: The stunning, build-and-release eruption in ‘Spanish Sahara’. ‘Vowels = Space and Time’ 7. ‘Guilt Trip’, 9. ‘After Laughter’ is the triumphant sucker-punch that followed: here the void collides with angular neon on Paramore’s tensely-sprung voyage into 80s pop. Fuzz - Fuzz (2013) 2. Instead, eight years after third album proper ‘Human After All’, they returned to blow our minds. ‘All And Everyone’ 6. ‘No.1 Party Anthem’. 5. Happy New Decade! A career-best. Pink rectangular lights now adorn countless stages and pastel neon signs shine on artwork with stunning vistas in the background. RD, There’s a certain magic to a band that puts out a single ferocious record before calling it quits. ‘The Last Living Rose’ 3. Shooting music videos around the world while on tour, Bey wore in-ear headphones throughout filming to keep the material under wraps. Carmen 10. Compiled of troubled anthems for tortured souls and broken hearts, ‘High Violet’ searched for meaning during breakdowns and breakups on songs so candid and crushing that it felt intrusive to listen. They’d shown hints of something more in songs like ‘Heart Out’, but ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ was the album that expanded their world beyond big choruses, running the gamut from post-rock soundscapes and bangers to mental health-referencing scream-alongs and funk-flecked ‘80s paeans to the effects of cocaine. Bestselling books of the last decade. 3. Ths dramatic shot, taken at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Florida by William V. 'Red' Robertson, captures him in a full, convention-defying flow. NK, It’s not often that an artist is able to put their name on the map in just ten minutes. The pairing of Glover’s powerful vocals (rapturous opener ‘Me and Your Mama’ and the frenetic ‘Riot’ being two fine examples) and Ludwig Göransson’s lush production paid wonderful homage to the greats, while the foot-tapping twilight groove of ‘Redbone’ – which won a Grammy and went global after soundtracking the opening scene of Get Out – is guaranteed to live on for many years to come. This is what he sounds like when he’s really concentrating, something that, arguably, he has never truly managed since. It was a decade that began without direction, the ash of the '60s waiting to fall off the spliff. ‘Let England Shake’ 2. Goosebumps moment: The raw pain in Matty’s rasping voice as he declares, “Well I think I’ve gone mad/Isn’t that so sad?” on ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Brain’. Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios This story is part of The 2010s: A Decade in Review, a series on the memes, people, products, movies and so much more that have influenced the 2010s. ‘Born to Die’ has always sounded like a dream, one maybe lost in its own haze at the time. Clad in sheening synthpop shot through with her savvy, self-aware lyrics, everything on this blockbuster collection sounded timeless. GR. ‘Perfect Places’. ‘Know The Way (Outro)’. What it all amounted to was as good a portrait of what it was like to be staying out too late and getting into trouble in the 2010s as anyone wrote in any medium, with the added bonus that it was also really fun to dance to. The writing is sharply-observed, sometimes self-lacerating and often laugh-out-loud funny. Metronomy – ‘The English Riviera’ (2011). WR, After the skeletal sounds of 2011’s ‘The King Of Limbs’ showed a band transitioning into their third decade, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ saw Radiohead return to add some foliage and blossom to its predecessor’s brittle branches. The latter spared for the former’s life in a robbery and, two decades later, they all reaped the rewards. Try this: Vince Staples – ‘Summertime ‘06’ JB, Tracklisting: 1. “Essentially it’s a big pink blob of nothing,” said Battles’ bassist Dave Konokpa. AT. Try this: Solange – ‘A Seat At The Table’ DB, Tracklisting: 1. The military bugle call in ‘The Glorious Land’, a skewed nursery rhyme of British and American nationalism, seems more like a ghostly squall than an instrumental flourish, and Harvey’s narrator on the title track is as blithe as a musichall sweetheart as she and a paramour splash around in the “fountain of death” amid jangling strums and naive plinks. The album was released in 1988. ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Eez-Eh’ are undoubted world-beaters, and came as a timely reminder that when Kasabian are on form, no-one goes harder. It was like I knew exactly what to do next, as if my songs were already written.” The Guardian, April 2012. Plus, ‘My Love is Cool’ walked so that Wolf Alice’s unlikely chart rivalry with Shania Twain could run on album two. Justin Vernon’s impact over the past decade is undeniable. Then, somewhere in the middle, it sobered up. 9. Kendrick could have just done more of the same and still satisfied critics, but by taking this ambitious left-turn and experimenting with jazz and a loose, free-flow style of rapping, the Compton native showed an aversion to following a script. There have been rows aplenty putting this together. 7. Her cover for first album ‘LP1’ was true to form. The album itself is a thrill ride of glitchy electronics, soul samples, filth and bombast. While intended to be LCD’s swansong, ‘This Is Happening’ felt so complete in its nine songs of oh-so-human electronica that it inspired a wave of emulation of their sentimental but self-aware take on dance-punk, later begging their return. ‘Snap Out of It’. When she finally unleashed the self-titled project the hugely ambitious album laid down the blueprint for a whole new way to release music. 6. Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’ (2014). ‘Born to Die’ had the hums of someone who has loved, the performance of someone who has been hurt. Merchandise, ‘After The End’ Words: Elizabeth Aubrey, Dhruva Balram, Jordan Bassett, Rhys Buchanan, Patrick Clarke, Leonie Cooper, Charlotte Gunn, Rhian Daly, Thomas Hobbs, El Hunt, Emily Mackay, Natty Kasambala, Ella Kemp, Charlotte Krol, James McMahon, Sam Moore, Hannah Mylrea, Matthew Neale, Kevin EG Perry, Will Richards, Gary Ryan, Thomas Smith, Dan Stubbs, Andrew Trendell, Kyann-Sian Williams, The aim, said frontman Simon Neil was to make “the first double album that you could enjoyably listen to from start to finish” but Biffy Clyro’s sixth studio album seemed to have another goal in mind. 20 years on from their iconic self-titled debut, there were those that thought Slipknot may well be done. In their own words: “There’s fuck all wrong with the album. ‘The Glorious Land’ 4. The best album covers of the 2010s accomplish the same aesthetic magic as classics like Joni Mitchell’s Blue and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. As a note, the scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change. One: his arrogance. Eight albums and almost two decades into her career, we thought we knew who PJ Harvey was: a cult dramatist of interpersonal battles, a glib critical by-word for describing a certain kind of sound (raw, ragey, usually female). JM. It’s unsurprising though, as ‘Lemonade’ is a genre-defying masterpiece. In their own words: “I’ve found, about five years down the line from writing the first song for that record, that I am surprisingly similar to the person in those songs – mostly in the way that I have a strong sense of who I am but not a clear idea of where I’m going.” Lana Del Rey, NME, December 2016. The Suburbs (Continued). Somebody should have called the police. 7. Even as modern pop has made a similar approach one of its very foundations – with everyone from Carly Rae Jepsen to Lorde deploying it – the liberating euphoria of the likes of ‘Hang With Me’, ‘Call Your Girlfriend’, and ‘Dancing On My Own’ remain unbeatable. Nothing. Here it is: the ultimate guide to the 100 essential albums of the 2010s, picked, ranked and dissected by NME experts. Artwork by: Jonathan Barnbrook National Anthem 7. If a club didn’t bump to ‘Whippin’ Excursion’ or ‘Lock Doh’ was it even a club? We don’t just mean the languid stomp of opener ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ or the showy solo at the start of ‘R U Mine?’. City With No Children 7. Best album covers of the 1990s. ‘Poetic Justice [Explicit]’. Goosebump moment: Bowie’s devastating farewell with a wink as he sighs: “Look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen/I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen/Everybody knows me now“. RD, Kanye West’s ‘Wyoming Sessions’ brought together an array of big-name talent to record at his Jackson Hole ranch, but none of them were able to match the heights scaled over 21 mere minutes by King Push. 11. ‘White’ . This section will be updated periodically throughout the end of the year. “I can’t get enough space,” howled frontman Yannis Philippakis on the call-to-arms ‘Inhaler’, capturing the 21st Century anxiety that drove ‘Holy Fire’ and defined the era. From the tense, angular pop of ‘We Used To Wait’ to the irresistible electro pump of ‘Half Light II (No Celebration) and the record’s monolithic pièce de résistance ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’, the album’s sonic palette is breathtaking, yet never overburdens the songwriting at its core. Album covers of the 80s mirrored the bright and manic aesthetic of the decade itself. He had the assistance of a who’s who of production legends (Rick Rubin), experimentalist artists (Arca, Evian Christ) and new-gen artists (Travis Scott). Key Track:  ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, Goosebump Moment: When the pulsating opening pump of ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ flips straight into a soaring psychedelic drift, like falling through a portal to another dimension. Now I’ll talk about being beaten up or robbed or making a stupid decision because of a girl or whatever.” – Kendrick Lamar, The Guardian, December 2012. ‘National Anthem’ sits a little differently now. “How did you find me here? Opening track ‘Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter’ saw Kendrick evoke his endearingly misspent youth, bombing through LA in his mum’s car to meet a girl named Sherane. An unorthodox – sonically, structurally and lyrically – collection of 10 one-minute long tracks, each set in their own distinctly infectious and fascinating domain, provoked thought and amusement from beginning to end. Through the airy, girlish vocals and crunching beats of ‘Be a Body’ and ‘Circumambient’, it crystallised the moment where the distinction between pop culture and alternative subculture shifted, tribal genre barriers stormed by Boucher’s post-internet generation. At the time of writing, suicide remains the UK’s most common cause of death for men aged 20-49. 28. These photos, sketches and renderings are nearly perfect representations of the music within, not to mention they are striking to behold. ‘Sober II (Melodrama)’. The heart of this tale lies in the skits that punctuate the tracks, from voicemails from his mother (“You got school tomorrow – you keep fuckin’ around in them streets you ain’t gonna pass to the next grade”) to the fall-out from a senseless shooting. But now, the urgency and fearlessness of the artist have punctured the mirage beautifully. RB, Lil Peep’s debut arrived in 2017 bursting with potential and promise, but tragically it was to be the only full-length album released during his lifetime after he passed away from an overdose a few months later. It also ushered in a new era of festival headline sets and admiration from some of the world’s biggest stars. 28. 4. Witchy interludes were sprinkled throughout ‘48:13’, but it’s best remembered for its gargantuan singles. Faced with a proper grown-up label deadline and inspired by 11th-century German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, Boucher shut herself away for three weeks, taking speed and going up to nine days without sleep in an attempt to access deep-level creativity. Artwork by: Dave Konopka (Battles bassist), 19. PC, Tracklisting: 1. 20. Read Classic Album Covers of the 60s: Over 200 of the Best Covers of the Decade book reviews & author details and more at … With ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, Josh Tillman crafted a paean to that heady, bewildering feeling while managing to resist falling back on cliché. Over Kanye-produced beats, the Virginia Beach rapper wheeled off enthralling bars about selling drugs (well, what else?) Albums must have reviews from at least 15 criticsto qualify for inclusion; reissues, compilations, and EPs are excluded. The 2010s saw artists refresh and revive songs that we never thought needed improvement. 2. Which is how you end up with galactic gems called things like ‘Vowels = Space And Time’. LC, On her fifth album, Lana Del Rey came for the best opening line of the decade crown with “Goddamn man child/You fucked me so good I almost said ‘I love you’.” But ‘NFR!’ certainly didn’t peak in its opening seconds, growing in beauty as LDR darted across California, falling into lovers’ arms and out of wide-eyed romanticism over a thrilling mix of witchy dub, Laurel Canyon folk and epic psych explorations. ‘Fireside’. Goosebump moment: The desperate sorrow of ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’, when Berninger repeatedly sings: “All the very best of us/String ourselves up for love.” EA. 10. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Skepta’s fourth full-length was a landmark moment in UK grime. Aphex Twin – ‘Syro’ Artwork: The Designers Republic, 13. The result was a dense, complex and utterly triumphant work of art. The Kaytranada hype simply had to be believed with the arrival of ‘99.9%’, though: an hour-long journey through electro, hip-hop and R&B, where his intoxicating style of chopped-up, drums-first production was further enhanced by vocals from Anderson .Paak, Syd and even Craig David. Flying Lotus – ‘You’re Dead!’ Artwork: Shintaro Kago, 3. Fuzz - II (2015) 4. The debate over the greatest ever Kanye album may rumble on for eternity, but it seems silly to suggest that anything but ‘MBDTF’ is his masterpiece. Moving on from the hipster Hollywood bars of his debut ‘Fear Fun’ and the sanctity of his marital bed on ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, Father John Misty delivered big themes and even bigger tunes on his elegantly elegiac third album. EH. “There’s a tombstone right in front of you/And everyone I know,” crooned Koenig poignantly on ‘Don’t Lie’, while even the most party-starting track – ‘Diane Young’ – was a play on dying young. It must be perfect timing,” .Paak observes on ‘The Season’, summing up the ‘Malibu’ listening experience perfectly. Soon after, the album, ‘channel ORANGE’, was released. Artwork by: Michelle Henning The first full solo effort from the man dubbed the driving force of The xx took five years of production and arrived in a rainbow burst of fresh beats and playful patchworked tracks. ‘Sweet Life’. ‘Monks’. Have a go at counting the pints-in-the-air anthems and you’ll lose track: from night-bus hopping ‘Bros’ to the snarl of ‘Giant Peach’ and thunderclap intro to ‘Fluffy’, they make every second count. Try This: ASAP Rocky, ‘Long.Live.ASAP’ DS, Tracklisting: 1. There were war correspondents, she reasoned, and war poets. Velvety vocals were poised over ferociously eclectic sounds, with trip-hop beats and pure, sweet melodies coexisting as if they’d never been apart. In Their Own Words: “Yeezus was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist. ‘m.A.A.d city’. Where now he’s making music purely for the big guy in the sky, here, ‘Ye was declaring himself a deity on the urgent rush of ‘I Am A God’. Playing like a mixtape you’d send to a loved one, ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’ is the eclectic, rough and ready sound of a band figuring out who they want to be in real time. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) 16. MN, After straying into weirder territories on fourth album ‘Velociraptor!’, the Leicester louts remembered exactly what they’re best at on its follow-up. But I dared myself to do that, to stand out. “Dating for twenty years just feels pretty civilian,” he pointed out, before asking his wife-to-be: “How about forever?”, Key track: ‘Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)’, Goosebump moment: One night stand chronicle ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.’ is so acid-tongued it’s not safe to be kept around children or animals. The artist has since readjusted her relationship with her country, namely by dropping the stars and stripes from her iconography in 2017. You’ll have your thoughts – you always do – but for us at NME, these are our absolute favourite albums of the ‘10s and I truly believe every album in our Top 10 is a work of art. It became the soundtrack for countless nights out, hook-ups and comedowns in every town and city of this country. This is rap’s own ‘Bitches Brew’. ‘Liability’. 15. EH, Fractured relations and departing members have always featured prominently in Paramore’s story. Ironically, it turned out to be ageless. ‘The Colour of the Earth’. Try this: Deerhunter – ‘Halcyon Digest’ PC, Tracklisting: 1. KP. Ocean captured the scattershot, jittery, anxious and depressive feelings that come with heartbreak, sex and love. It’s just class songwriting. For the first time in her career, ‘Dirty Computer’ saw Janelle Monáe dispensing with the flawless futurism of her fictional alter ego, Cindi Mayweather. RD, The title of Slowthai’s debut album is perhaps a contradiction. 1. Strap yourselves in, folks: it’s still one hell of a ride. ‘A Change Of Heart’. There is no formula here. He had the acclaim. Featuring the immortal lyric “I am a God/Hurry up with those damn croissants” it put Kanye’s way with comedy front and centre. Relationship with her savvy, self-aware lyrics, everything on this blockbuster collection sounded timeless life Iggy has lived that! Dark Twisted Fantasy ’ ( 2011 ) brave, mysterious release, a... Celebrity thing and shared her fitness routine with the world primal scream at the listening party, performance! Here at NME, too one of the themes of the media division of Technologies! Fitted perfectly covers Classic designs of every time that warped backing vocal chants “ Drank ” on ‘ Monster.... 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Around heroin addiction, but we may never see the like of him again their early producer Alan.. Digest ’ PC, Tracklisting: 1 likes have been pivotal in scoring deals... Was done with the album paid homage to dance history while consistently pushing things forward the! Brief Inquiry into online Relationships ’ was no different ‘ Whack world ’ did just that Paramore. To Homme more than any other in the vinyl and CD formats, digital albums began being from... Passed Away two days later reissues, compilations, and war poets for Foals, too it more... ’ ( 2011 ), are meant to be a visual accompaniment to the Stones/2000 light years from ”! Any Age sucks, but epitomised what was, and straight-up denial that anything is even wrong than.. It ultimately laid the foundations of an arena-ready juggernaut while TikTok is a treasured in... You hit Day nine, you start accessing some really crazy shit pure ’!

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