Tassia’s Top 20 Albums of the 2010s

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.  

20. An awesome wave Alt-J

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. 



19. I want to hide my face & die Acid Ghost 

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. 


18. Built on glass Chet Faker 
Faker splits the album into two different parts, separated by ‘/’. The first half the album gives the listener the Chet Faker who was established in his previous album, ‘Thinking in textures’, while the second half is evidently more adventurous. These two parts both have something completely independent to offer. The first half is soulful and the second half imaginative. 


17. Wiped out The Neighbourhood 

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. 

16. Hurry Up, we’re dreaming M83.

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. 


15. Harry Styles 

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. 


14. Reflector Arcade Fire 

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.

13. I see you TheXX
‘I see you’ offered a new dimension to what was previously established in the xx’s albums ‘Coexist’ and ‘xx’. The rise of Jamie xx breakthrough album ‘In Colour’ proved influential to the expansion of the band’s sound. While they stayed true to the origins of previous albums, with the bass guitar remaining a large part of the composition. New twists, such as On Hold’s mangled sample from a Hall and Oats song. Meanwhile, the album also highlights the emotional drive of Croft and Sim to rely on the delivery of their simple yet effective lyrics. 
12. Currents Tame Impala 

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). 

11. Melophobia Cage the elephant 

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. 

10. Kids see ghosts (Kanye West and Kid Cudi)
Kids see ghosts was released at a stressful time in my life (year 10 exams can be rough in the moment). I remember waiting in the state library, refreshing my computer to have a look at the listening party for the album. It didn’t work (but who would expect more from Kanye West?) and the proper release was at 3am the next morning, the day of an exam. So naturally, I did what many music fans would and set my alarm for 2:55 am. I fell asleep before completing the full album, but for the following weeks it was all I listened to. ‘Reborn’, played over and over until I couldn’t bear it anymore, but the song was significant to me. Like demonstrated in Cudi’s Man on The Moon album, it acts as a second change and for me, it was. 
9. Teen Dream Beach House 

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. 


8. Trouble will find me The National 
Trouble will find me has the best of both words for an album. Firstly, it just sounds nice. It’s easy on the ear, and there is a constant flow throughout the album in whole. And secondly, the lyrics are meaningful. It was an album which experimented with instruments and the sound of the National which had previously been established through prior albums. Sea of Love, featuring the title lyric is the song which stuck with me the most. Its up-beat, a moment of ‘triumph and confidence’ drummer Bryan Devendorf explained. 


7. good kid, m.A.A.D city Kendrick Lamar 

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. 

6. Pure Heroine Lorde 

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. 

5. AM Arctic Monkeys 
Arctic Moneys release of AM became their highest charting album in the United States, it allowed them to headline shows and become even more apparent in the music industry. It is, commercially, Arctic Monkeys most successful album. This album introduced me into 21st century rock. Their most recent album, Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino also resonated with me a lot, Turner described his experience of writing an album on the piano and how that impacted the bands sound. In all honestly, there is not an album released by the Arctic Monkeys that hasn’t in some way influenced or challenged my understanding of music in one way or another. 
4. The Suburbs Arcade Fire 

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. 

3. Blackstar David Bowie

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. 

2. Coexist The XX

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. 


1. Man on the moon: End of the day Kid Cudi

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. 


An additional EP: Futureproof by The Rare Occasions 

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.