The First Third | Best Albums of the ’10s

Now that we’re a third of the way through the decade, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the recent past and look back at the ten best albums of the ’10s so far.

amshawnlee-celestialelectric
AM & Shawn Lee, Celestial Electric (2011)

A cornucopia of laid-back, psychedelic-tinged, ’60s and ’70s-inspired hippie funk, soft pop, and electro soul.

arielpink-beforetoday
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Before Today (2010)

An eclectic lo-fi mix tape, sounds like a cassette that’s been dubbed over a few times and left in a glove box for a couple of years.

bonobo-blacksands
Bonobo, Black Sands (2010)

Laid-back London groove maestro Simon Green (alias Bonobo) lays down some masterfully mellow monkey magic.

fleetfoxes-helplessnessblues
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (2011)

A baroque folk-pop sound that hints at a number of influences, but is too unique, too esoteric, too damn weird to warrant any direct links between the Seattle boys and their predecessors.

foxygen-21stcentury
Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (2013)

Picking apart the blatant, intentional references to different classic songs that cycle verse-to-verse throughout the album is a fun game for record collector types; no oldies are safe.

grizzlybear-shields
Grizzly Bear, Shields (2012)

Powerful drums and acoustic guitars that sound more like they’re being scrubbed than strummed tumble into bubbling synths, which then give way to rhythms that conjure leaves twirling in the breeze.

otherlives-tameranimals
Other Lives, Tamer Animals (2011)

Like the indie rock equivalent of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western films, it mixes dusty, dramatic songwriting with orchestral arrangements.

realestate-days
Real Estate, Days (2011)

Jangly guitars, sighing melodies, and complex harmonies… like going to the beach alone and watching the sad sun glisten on the water.

washedout-withinandwithout
Washed Out, Within and Without (2011)

This is make out music with a lush, snowy warmth. Sounds great on headphones and even better coming out of speakers in the background of a late-night rendezvous.

wildnothing-nocturne
Wild Nothing, Nocturne (2012)

’80s new wave pop for the ’10s, its richly textured layers bathe the listener in an autumnal haze.