The 20 most inspiring albums of this decade
By Tassia Paterson
My dad and I weren’t satisfied with Pitchforks top 100 albums of the decade, so we decided to make our own (personal and revised) version.
An awesome Wave, by Alt-J explores both the pop-catchiness in songs such as breezeblocks and experimentalism in songs such as Interlude I and Tessellate. My favourite song on the album would be “Ms” as it contains both the dream-pop catchiness and the experimentalism which the album offers.
Songs such as “Our rotten love” and “Hide my face” offer a deep, emotionally inquisitive approach to what relationships and love may mean. The album combines dream pop and rock to emphasise on both the ‘ups and downs’ love can offer.
Beginning with ‘A Moment of Silence’ the album leaves the listener in a moment of wonder. Firstly, wonder if their phones volume is working, and next an appreciation for the sound already surrounding the listener, whether it’s the rain rolling down the windows or cars speeding down the street. The album then follows with ‘The Beach’ which emulates the airy groove pulled from the Balearic island.
The first time I heard an M83 song was when Hazel Grace has just found out Gus was dead. Needless to say, I was crying and so was my father. However, the album is something I brought home with me.
Harry Styles self-titled debut album opens a door of personal exploration which was supressed during his time in One Direction. Over the course of 10 songs, Styles opens up about the effect fame has had on his earlier years and the relationships he was unable to talk about, with blatantly obvious references to past ex’s. Each song gives the listener something else, whether it be the emotional riffs in ‘Sign of the Times’ or the intimacy of ‘From the dining table’ which connects the listener to one of the most personally revealing songs on the album. The album offers both songs to sleep, cry and dance to which is what makes it an album for any occasion.
There is nothing negative I could say about this album. Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) and It’s never over (Hey Orpheus) shows two sides of the emotionally engaging love story between Orpheus and Eurydice. Porno offers an electronically stimulating song which prepares the listener for Afterlife, which is arguably the greatest song on the album; it instantly brought me to a lovely place and time in my life. Have a listen to the song, it really encourages memories from the past and is a great song to reflect on past events.
The significance of this album can be seen through a simple google search of ‘currents’ (this album being the first to appear amongst a sea of literal ocean currents).
Melophobia, meaning fear of music is Cage the Elephant’s psych-infused rock and roll record. Filled with both heart-breaking and sunny up-beat songs, this album has all.
This record brought a new aspect of psychedelic music which was later re-discovered through Tame Impala’s currents.
When deciding on which Beach House album influenced me the most in the past ten years, Take Care is what swayed me to Teen Dream. It is everything you could ask for in a song, yet it still manages to give you more. I remember listening to it the first time, so intrigued by what the song not only meant to me, but everyone else who appreciated it. How could this not be their most popular song? Aside from this reason, songs such as Walk In the Park and Real Love were what placed this album at the top of my list.
I genuinely do not believe that I can say anything about this album which hasn’t already been said. It influences everyone differently and should be treated as such.
Lorde’s Pure Heroine was one of the first albums I ever listened to (and enjoyed) in full. I remember hearing it weeks before it came out in my Dads car, he expressed how much he liked the album and I thought it was going to be more obscure music that I wouldn’t have the taste for. However, her voice fascinated me, and the album captivated me in a way nothing else had before.
Arcade fire has been playing softly in the background for my whole life, but it wasn’t until I was in the car with my mum at the age of 13 when I listened to it for the first time. I remember her picking me up from a friend’s house, playing ‘The Suburbs’ and all the times I had heard the songs before without fully listening to the meaning came rushing back. While The Suburbs is by no means Arcade Fire’s musically best album, it holds a level of meaning to me personally that cannot be described. Sprawl 2 (Mountains beyond Mountains) and Half Light 2 act as a genuine beam of hope. Suburban War and Deep Blue allow for the listener to be given a safe space of self-reflection and understanding for the world around them. This album is a gem, and if for some reason you have not listened to it, please do.
I only really began appreciating a wider range of David Bowie’s music once Blackstar was released. A few days after the release of Bowies final album, he passed away. I was quite frankly distressed by this and subsequently my exploration of his music began. I have probably cried over David Bowie’s music more times than I am willing to admit, however in saying that Blackstar was released during one of the hardest periods of my life. Lazarus and Dollar Day’s were there to comfort me when I needed it the most.
The explorative sounds of the saxophone and unhinged musical in Girl Loves me and Blackstar opened me into a new dimension of music, dare I say the world even.
The first time I listened to the album was when a person I knew mentioned that Angels (the opening song of the album) was played at his brother’s funeral. When I first heard the song, I was instantly in love with it. The entire album, song after song takes the listener into another world. The entire album is on my top 25 most played songs of all time, and the reason for this is the ability for the album to help me sleep. Night after night, when I was tossing and turning, I would play this album and would instantly feel at ease.
It is singlehandedly one of the main reasons why I am able to relax when stressed, it became a source of guidance, solidarity and self-discovery.
Kid Cudi has inspired some of the most influential and culturally aware artists of this generation. Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and A$AP Rocky have all expressed their admiration for both the cultural and personal influence Man on the Moon has had on them.
Kid Cudi was influenced by bands such as Pink Floyd and Electric Light Orchestra, which he claimed to determine the sound scope for his album. Man On the Moon tells a dream over five acts, each further developing his sound and character to the world. Cudi lived his songs, he used them to better himself as a person, and with that he collected a large following filled with people looking to better themselves too.
This album to me means rebirth. It means coming to terms with your own personal demons, overcoming addiction and learning to accept the past. Kid Cudi takes the listener on a journey where he learns to embrace both the worst and best parts of himself. Cudi begs the question ‘are you, the listener, the sort of person who can’t live any 0ther way?’, both creating a level of determination for the listener to follow their own path in life, much like he did. However most importantly, Cudi lets the listener know that they are not alone, which creates an atmosphere of both self-reflection and acceptance when listening to the album.
Futureproof is a 12-minute feel good EP. Finishing with one of my favourite songs of the decade ‘Bug Eyes’, the EP is raw, truthful and most important imperfect. But the songs make sense, and more importantly they make you feel happy, or at the very least, hopeful. It is most certainly meant to be listened to throughout the summer, so I hope you consider putting aside 12 minutes to give it a listen.