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. Surprise surprise, it was another suit that fitted perfectly. ‘Oblivion’ 4. Jonathan Barnbrook wanted to tinker with one of Bowie’s classic covers for his comeback album ‘The Next Day’ – a way of both remembering and dismantling the past – and said: “It had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought ‘’Heroes’’ worked best on all counts.”. ‘Send It Up’, 10. Lana was the first contemporary sad girl who sang. ‘Backseat Freestyle’. Channelling the sonic signifiers of 1970s/early-1980s soft-rock into 11 hook-heavy pop-rock songs – six of which were singles – Haim’s big choruses and bigger charisma saw everyone from Calvin Harris to Bastille vying to become part of their extended family. Goosebump moment: The speaker-detonating climax of ‘Contact’. Goosebump moment: Pastor Eric Thomas’s urgent vocal sample on the labyrinthine, twisting, turning ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’. Lana would purr for validation, and then growl for redemption. The uncle who is holding Lamar also is displaying the Crips gang sign with his hand, which also fits the story of the album and the poster above the head of Kendrick features him and his father. And in Kim Kardashian, he finally had the girl of his dreams. We tried the diplomatic approach among our network of contributors, which largely we stuck to (apart from the people who were just wrong). SM. It seemed to mirror lyrics from ‘Where Can I Go?’: “like a woman with her clothes on / You take them off and she’s a bird”. Now it’s just… fine? The past decade saw a breakdown in genres, conventions, musical borders and barriers to entry… as the best … Goosebump moment: ‘Blood On The Leaves’, for the sensitive sampling of the harrowing ‘Strange Fruit’. ‘She Lays Down’. 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. The album’s artwork features an image of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice. But that’s only half the story of ‘good kid, m.A.A.d City’. ‘Blood On The Leaves’, 8. ‘Not Just Money’. ‘Malibu’ was packed with glorious and emotive lashings of hip-hop, soul and funk – not to forget knock-out production from the likes of Madlib and Kaytranada – to showcase the Californian’s stunning musical versatility. O ver the course of the last decade, radical shifts in how listeners consume music might have predicted the death of the album. ‘In The Dark Places’ 9. 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. ‘Lostmyhead’. It was dance music with a new flavour – the artist not only married a wide range of underground sounds (electronica, garage, house, rave are all there) but also incorporated samples from Netflix and the BBC. 8. AT. Album covers of the 80s mirrored the bright and manic aesthetic of the decade itself. Its fireworks sound dangerous. RD. ‘Crack Rock’. Likes have been pivotal in scoring record deals for new artists while TikTok is a new marker for viral success. 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?”. The edges would get smoothed over later on, but this is the band at their purest. 3. “I’ve got a lot to be mad about,” she sings atop gentle twinkles of piano – a fire burns at this astounding record’s heart. With diverse production, plus slick and honest lyrical themes, ‘Konnichiwa’ proved to be pivotal in the world of grime, and an equally monumental part of British culture. SM, The French version of Christine and The Queens’ ‘Chaleur Humaine’ followed a slow-burning trajectory at first, but gradually the rest of the world started to catch onto this subversive pop innovator. Goosebump moment: Literally every time that warped backing vocal chants “Drank” on ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’. Radiohead – ‘The King Of Limbs’ (2011). Album covers, in general, are meant to be a visual accompaniment to the music contained within. Justin Vernon’s impact over the past decade is undeniable. The artist has since readjusted her relationship with her country, namely by dropping the stars and stripes from her iconography in 2017. His decision to end with the Dre-assisted ‘Compton’ underlined the point that ‘good kid, m.A.A.d City’ is this generation’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’, destined to grace ‘best of’ lists forever more. And in the end, this is where we’re at. The Oxford quintet’s second album landed at a crossroads. 6. 16. Try this: Purity Ring – ‘Shrines’ EM, Tracklisting: 1. If you’re Kendrick Lamar, you don’t even try. Try This: ASAP Rocky, ‘Long.Live.ASAP’ DS, Tracklisting: 1. 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. Adding extra polish to promising 2012 debut ‘Oshin’, album two saw Zachary Cole Smith and co honing their melodic indie-pop brilliance with simply stunning songwriting. SM. 6. ‘Scheiße’ (which translates, quite literally, to ‘Shit’) gibbers on in nonsensical German above a jackhammer EDM beat. We thought the robots might have abandoned us forever. ‘Be a Body’ 9. At the time of writing, suicide remains the UK’s most common cause of death for men aged 20-49. 7. ‘Let It Happen’ went full-on lasering rave banger, ‘Eventually’ detailed heartbreak through divine synths, and ‘Cause I’m A Man’ dove headfirst into FM pop and emerged as one of Parker’s best creations so far. Delving into the darkest of human anxieties and neuroses, Matt Berninger and co opened up conversations on mental health and masculinity long before the mainstream dialogue began; “Sorrow got me when I was young.” “It takes an ocean not to break.” “Put me on the pill.” Berninger’s weary baritone sang amidst sparse orchestration, military drumming and mournful guitars. Initially based solely on the sales of albums in the vinyl and CD formats, digital albums began being included from April 2006. They stole from hip hop, glam, Motown, rock’n’roll, R&B and even doo-wop with equal ease and evident delight. ‘Nana’. Their crisp, clean iconography has been replicated throughout the pop sphere, rounding out their place as one of the most influential bands of the last 10 years. Goosebump moment: When the title track shifts from a sludgy, steady march into a whirlwind of wild riffs and Ellie’s strained, sharp shrieks. 16. Key track: ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains’) – A tidal wave of a track, encompassing every ounce of the colossal, pumping emotive power of Arcade Fire at their best. 21. The best album covers of all time: 50 coolest album covers Classic designs. Last update: January 4, 2020 These albums have the highest Metascores out of all new albums released from 2010-19. 14. In their own words: “It sounds like a Dr Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.” Alex Turner, NME, July 2013. David Bowie – ‘The Next Day’ (2013). Eventually he achieves the success he once dreamt of, with Dr. Dre’s appearance on ‘Compton’ an indication that Kendrick’s arrived in the big leagues. Fuzz - Fuzz (2013) 2. “Essentially it’s a big pink blob of nothing,” said Battles’ bassist Dave Konokpa. There were musings on religion and fame, and Healy’s lyrics were coloured with references to scoring hard drugs and affairs of the heart. 15. ‘Pyramids’. 8. 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. Over Kanye-produced beats, the Virginia Beach rapper wheeled off enthralling bars about selling drugs (well, what else?) In his claim that there’s nothing great about Britain, he fails to acknowledge the bittersweet beauty that generations of negligence and marginalisation has spawned in this country, through art and resistance; his own career a great example. It begins with a song that sounds like the national anthem of Hades (the lumbering ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’) and ends with the epic number that gives the album its title; think a Bond theme, only performed by a choir of ghosts. The 1975 have built a reputation for crafting wide-ranging, thought-provoking albums and ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ was no different. A stark work of self-reflection and thrilling jazz-rock, ‘Blackstar’ was hailed as one of the finest records of Bowie’s career upon its release on his 69th birthday, even when we didn’t know he was dying. She sang for, and with, girls on Tumblr, girls who now stan on Twitter. 13. Goosebump moment: When all of the layers strip away on ‘Hard Feelings / Loveless’, leaving only string flourishes to accompany Lorde as she recalls the little moments in a relationship. An absolute landscape of ideas, innovation and ambition – to say it was worth the wait is a massive understatement. ‘Born to Die’ is Lana’s worst-reviewed album. 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. Lucky ’ … still the sound of iconic band becoming a legendary.... Pay ’ over later on, but they were magpies, of course but. Might have predicted the death of the 2000s fell out of all time: coolest... Showed that there was nothing the Horrors couldn ’ t hesitate to check these. Taking a pouty selfie and posting it online 10 years ago ’ re Kendrick Lamar, suspect. 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