This is my personal shortlist of the albums over the past 10 years that I think have redefined genres, enlivened music and just provided some quality music for the old earholes. These are my top 5 albums of the past 10 years.
An Awesome Wave – Alt J
This album’s genius comes from its lyrics and obscure rhythmic patterns. Every track on this unique album fills the listeners ears with interest and wonder, this is often partly due to Joe Newman’s intrueging voice which is often hard to understand, making you really have to listen to work out Alt J’s abstract lyrics.
My favourite track on this album is ‘Tessellate’ in which Joe Newman sings the line “Triangle’s are my favourite shape, three points where two lines meet.” This lyric, although very simple once understood, takes a while to work out and this is what i think Alt J have managed very well throughout ‘An Awesome Wave’.
Another track on this album which i find equally poignant is ‘The Ripe and The Ruin’, an accapella song which depicts the life of an autistic girl and how she goes about life seeing things very differently, with lyrics such as “Eighteen strides and she stops to be abide by the law that she has self has set, that 18 steps is one complete set and before the next nine right and nine left.” Lyrics such as this really give you a sense of deep thought about individual subjects and this alone is why i think this marvellous album deserves a place in my top 5.
To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
This album is full of surprises with eight different featuring artist’s including the legendary George Clinton and the rising jazz star ‘Thundercat’. Kendrick really went all out on this album to make it a diverse mix of genres and styles from the funky feel of ‘King Kunta’ to the soul vibes of ‘Momma’.
Kendrick dosen’t step lightly on the issue of the black american rights in this album either, and at the time of this album being made, it empowered so many people to fight for black rights. This is why I feel that no other Hip Hop Album could come close to this one. Kendrick’s use of clever lyrics and samples within the album really make it his best album yet and it definitely gets a place in my top 5 best albums without a shadow of a doubt.
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
With folk music’s first real peak at the charts in years, this album brought us a handful of treats with plenty of sing-a-long tunes. The trad folk vibes and slight country feel to this album are then mixed in with a dance-y tempo to make a modern genre that has never been managed before. The whole feel of the album makes you want to get up and dance but they’ve managed to equally keep their genre to its roots.
Sigh No More was Mumford & Sons debut studio album and with a first studio album like this, they must have known to they were off to a good start. I think its an excellent choice for my top five with 12 brilliant tracks. This is a rare album with no others like it and that’s why I believe it belongs with the best of the best.
No More Idols – Chase and Status
With fourteen featuring artists, this album rocked the ears of the youth and will do for years to come. With iconic voices from Maverick Sabre, Plan B, Tempa T, Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal, Cee Lo Green & White Lies, this mind blasting album is a mixing bowl of modern music. Chase and status have baked the album of all modern albums with songs that you make you want to dance, jump, cry and sing.
This second album from Chase and Status will always stay a legendary album. I remember buying it on CD and listening to it for the first time then for the next 6 months solidly also. This album is addictive, thrilling and revolutionary with more well known Dance hits than any other album. This is the music that will live on in the memory of my generation.
What Went Down – Foals
This anthemic album is the most recent of my choices and is a powerful album with hits such as ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Mountain at My Gates’. This 10 track album is the 4th studio album by Rock Band – Foals and is full of life and musical genius. Foals ability to create dynamic pieces is really brought to the listeners attention and really grasps your inner rocker.
I think this album is ultimately the most impressive Rock album in the last 10 years because no other band have mixed such a dynamic range of music into one album with such powerful choruses and anthemic songs and equally slow meaningful songs.