Pitchfork came out with an article called The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s. It inspired me to share with you the albums of the decade that shaped me into the person I am today.
I was selective in choosing albums because there are over 10,000 songs that I’ve adored in this decade. That’s how these albums mean to me.
The Best 20 Albums in my 2010s
Drake – Thank Me Later
I’ll always remember finding ‘Best I Ever Had’ on YouTube and thinking it was the best hip-hop song. I became a camp counsellor in 2010 and it was my first time working downtown. I memorized this album from start to finish with the help of my iPod Nano.
Favourite Song on The Album: The Resistance, Drake
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
In high school, Taylor Swift was one of my role models. I remember playing the album on my pink CD player and memorizing the lyrics. The songs ‘Dear John’, ‘Enchanted’, ‘Last Kiss’, and ‘Long Live’ are some of her best.
Favourite Song on The Album: Last Kiss, Taylor Swift
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
This album is Katy Perry’s best work. My favourite song of her’s is ‘Not Like The Movies’. It describes that intuition you feel when you’re not in the right romantic relationship. When I was in high school, I didn’t think it was possible to put those feelings into words.
Favourite Song on The Album: Not Like The Movies, Katy Perry
Kesha – Animal
This album is a party from start to finish. It’s full of clever lyrics that make you appreciate Kesha’s talent in songwriting. Where would we be without the lyric “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy!” in her song TiK ToK?
Favourite Song on The Album: TiK ToK – Kesha
Drake – Take Care
Take Care is my favourite Drake album. I can hardly get through the song ‘Look What You’ve Done’ without getting emotional. My favourite song on the album is ‘Over My Dead Body’ with the Chantal Kreviazuk feature. When I saw him in concert, they played a video montage of his early career to the instrumental and I was speechless. I have a lot of memories tied to Drake in my life.
Favourite Song on The Album: Over My Dead Body, Drake
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Lady Gaga was the first concert my parents allowed me to go without them. I got my makeup done at a M.A.C. counter and had them paint a David Bowie lightening bolt across my face for the occasion. This album shaped me because I wrote two of my university application essays on Lady Gaga.
Favourite Song on The Album: Born This Way, Lady Gaga
Beyoncé – 4
This album is important to me because when I was close to finishing high school it was a new release. I played the song ‘I Was Here’ to inspire me when writing speeches. It also reassured me that I lived up to my potential in high school and that I was ready for university.
Favourite Song on The Album: I Was Here, Beyonce
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
I discovered Lana Del Rey my last year of high school and I adore her style and dramatics. The album has such a vintage feel and her voice is hypnotizing. My favourite music video to this day is for her song ‘National Anthem’.
Favourite Song on The Album: National Anthem, Lana Del Rey
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
I remember hearing ‘Swimming Pools’ in my first year of university and then listening to every Kendrick Lamar song on Grooveshark. It let me know that I had an interest in hiphop outside of mainstream artists like Drake, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.
Favourite Song on The Album: Poetic Justice ft. Drake, Kendrick Lamar
John Mayer – Born and Raised
In University, I had a crush on someone who was a John Mayer fan. This led me to listen to his whole discography and fall in love with his country album. I even saw John Mayer in concert that year to see these songs performed live. The crush faded but my admiration for John Mayer stayed.
Favourite Song on The Album: A Face To Call Home, John Mayer
Taylor Swift – Red
One of Taylor Swift’s more emotionally charged albums. Acoustic songs about heartbreak always have a way of pulling on your heartstrings.
Favourite Song on The Album: All Too Well, Taylor Swift
One Direction – Midnight Memories
I have a soft spot for boybands, especially One Direction. I’m fortunate that I was able to see this album played live before Zayn’s departure. This album makes me think of my favourite year in university and the friends I made throughout that time.
Favourite Song on The Album: Story of My Life, One Direction
Beyoncé – BEYONCÉ
There are a lot of people who remember the night when Beyoncé released this surprise album. Overnight, she became more of an iconic figure than she already was. The production on this album is impeccable and it’s impossible not to dance while listening to it.
Favourite Song on The Album: ***Flawless ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé
The 1975 – The 1975
Like many people, I found out about The 1975 from the social media platform Tumblr. They are one of the few pop-rock bands I’m fond of. I’ve loved a lot of their work since this album but seeing these songs played in concert was incredible. The energy at a The 1975 concert is unreal.
Favourite Song on The Album: Fallingforyou, The 1975
Taylor Swift – 1989
This may not be a popular choice but Taylor’s 1989 album had more of impact on me than her Red album. The songs are allegedly inspired by Harry Styles and it has a pop sound that makes it fun to listen to. ‘Clean’ is my favourite song on the album and I love the Imogen Heap feature on it.
Favourite Song on The Album: Clean, Taylor Swift
Selena Gomez – Revival
In my last year of university, I had a dance performance to the song ‘Revival’ from this album. Before dancing, I recited the poem in the beginning and then started the choreography. This album shaped me because it helped me see myself as a confident person. Which was something I repressed for years.
Favourite Song on The Album: Revival, Selena Gomez
Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
When this album was a new release, I was experiencing my first romantic rejection. It’s silly to think about it now because in retrospect it was so insignificant. This Ariana Grande album helped me get past my own ego and it helped me move on.
Favourite Song on The Album: Moonlight, Ariana Grande
Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves is one of my favourite country singers. 2018 was a year of growth for me and I’m appreciative that this album was always on play. Seeing her open for the Harry Styles concert was something I will never forget.
Favourite Song on The Album: Oh What A World, Kacey Musgraves
Sweetener – Ariana Grande
My respect for Ariana Grande after the catastrophic event grew. I was fortunate enough to see her in concert to perform these songs and I was in awe the whole time. She is a 5” foot powerhouse in heels.
Favourite Song on The Album: goodnight n go, Ariana Grande
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
We’re lucky to have let Lizzo shine at the end of this decade. Being an artist who makes female empowerment music is difficult. But when Lizzo sings her songs it feels authentic. This album is a pep talk and it will stand the test of time. She is also someone I recommend seeing in concert because you’ll have the best time.
Favourite Song on The Album: Truth Hurts, Lizzo
2011: Demi Lovato – Unbroken
2013: Demi Lovato – Demi | Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest | Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days | Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
2014: Ariana Grande – My Everything | One Direction – Four
2015: Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material | One Direction – Made in The AM
2016: Kanye West – The Life of Pablo | The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It | Drake – Views
2017: Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. | Harry Styles – Harry Styles | SZA – Ctrl | Taylor Swift – Reputation
2018: Drake – Scorpion | Lady Gaga and Bradley Copper – A Star is Born Soundtrack | LANY – Malibu Nights | The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
2019: Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life | Julia Michaels – Inner Monologue Part 1 | Ariana Grande – thank you next | Kim Petras – Clarity | FLETCHER – you ruined new york city for me | Taylor Swift – Lover | Charli XCX – Charli
What are your favourite albums of the decade?
Let me know.