EditorialFor the love of music


For when you’re feeling social


RX Music Staff

December 20, 2019
Contributions and reviews by Lindsay Bell, Craig Clemens, and Michael Primiani

The 2010s

What does this post look like in 2030? Are we even talking about albums? Sure, music is timeless, but our consumption of music has so drastically changed over the past 10 years that the idea of the LP might seem quaint to our brains ten years in the future. For now, we look back, at a ten-year period that has been absolutely nuts. But through everything, music has changed to be ever more inclusive. The barriers to entry continue to shrink as digital audio workstations, and electronic production techniques become more and more accessible. The technology that produces our favourite album of the 2020’s might not even be invented yet, and the person who produces this will most certainly have been born in this current century. This is all very exciting.

Alternative Rock

5. Wolf Alice – Visions of Life

4. Yak – Alas Salvation

3. Black Foxxes – Reloi

2. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

1. Wilco – The Whole Love

Consensus at the time of the release of The Whole Love is that this was the best Wilco record since 2004’s A Ghost Is Born. High praise for a group that had stumbled throughout the end of the 00’s with some albums that, frankly, were almost self-parody. But by reinvigorating their folk-rock roots that first made them a name while leaping from genre to genre, from track to track, resulted in their best album in years. Largely written by Jeff Tweedy, this album has his fingerprints all over it. After leaving behind his alt-country roots we see the writing travel from power pop to electronic noise and all points in between, including trips back to folk-country.

Favourite Track: Dawned on Me


Art Pop

5. Bjork – Vulnicrua

4. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

2. Lorde – Melodrama

1. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndriod

In retrospect this was a mind-boggingly massive LP. Trightrope alone arguably was the track that set up the rest of the decade in the first 8-bars. The album as a whole had an incredible range, and a deeply polished, professional, and incredibly bonkers record. Put this record on the mantle – frame it and place it in the Louve, this album will be considered once we (hopefully) make it to 2100 as one of the classics of our age.

Favourite Track: Tightrope (feat. Big Boi)



5. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

4. Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’

3. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

2. Dwight Yokam – 3 Pears

1. Miranda Lambert – Platinum

Her sprawling fifth album is an absolute declaration of vulnerability, of anxiety, of independence – and as a 30 year old at the time, we found Lambert on Platinum as a shapeshifter, someone who moved adeptly through genre and style while staying true to her own declarations. While a part of her story is certainly a pander to country-rock radio, she still pads this record with otherwise adventurous pop country. In 2014 there was, and frankly still is, a dearth of women in country (and country radio) and while the end of the decade saw the rise and recognition of Lambert as a legitimate country star, mainstream country remains to this day a terrible hellish, bro-y frat house of trucks, beers, and football. If any record from the last decade started to crack that facade, it was this challenging statement that wove together her nuanced humour and wit with huge pop hooks to force the industry to stop and truly listen.

Favourite Track: Automatic


Dream Pop

5. Beach House – 7

4. MONEY – The Shadow of Heaven

3. Slowdive – Slowdive

2. Vanishing Twin – The Age Of Immunology

1. Beach House – Teen Dream

Inspired by the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil before them, Beach House re-defined the dream pop genre as of the 2010s. Their first album of the decade released in 2010 – Teen Dream – is enchanting and gothic, as if it was produced in a cathedral. Lacking the reverb and some of the gloom of their earlier releases, Victoria Legrand’s larger than life vocals sound like a siren call but the album’s variances through light and dark allow the listener to choose where to steer their ships of emotion. Legrand and Alex Scally’s arrangements of ethereal synths, organs and fast strummed guitars explode and diminish throughout. This was just the beginning for Beach House. As Legrand sings on “Silver Soul”: it is happening again. Maybe it’s a reference to the show Twin Peaks but maybe it’s a foreshadowing to the four more successful albums that they would release throughout this decade.

Favourite Track: Walk in the Park



5. FKA Twigs – LP1

4. Shackleton – Music for the Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EP

3. Various Artists – Brainfeeder X

2. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

1. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

This was, at the time, the very last we were going to hear from LCD. Clearly that was not the case with the release of 2017’s American Dream, however, in 2010 when the world was saying a somber goodbye to this party-pop phenomenon, the public and critics alike both put this album directly on the alter of one of the best electronic dance records of all time. Wearing his love for Bowie plainly on his sleeve, James Murphy never stoops to imitation, instead the album remains lyrically focused and completely uncompromising. Fully committed to create a record that was to be a fitting send off Murphy and the rest of the group sustained a remarkable amount of energy and created sonic walls impossible to break through.

Favourite Track: Drunk Girls



5. Rae Morris – Someone Out There

4. Noga Erez – Off The Radar

3. Robyn – Honey

2. (Tied) Grimes – Art Angels; Fever Ray – Plunge

1. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

The summer of 2010 was that summer for this author: the summer where freshly out of college I found work where I could, lived in an attic of a house shared with twelve other twenty-somethings, paid little rent, and spent most of my time trying to figure out what it was I truly needed to do with myself. In Toronto, we hosted the G20 and the whole town went up in smoke. But in my attic, in our backyard, my friends and I were busy drinking too much, falling in and out of love, or simply sitting around doing nothing. It was a great and terrible time. It was a time that I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. It was my titular “Summer of ’69” a mere 41 years later. I remember this album as one of the first LPs that dropped that summer and it instantly became the perfect get-high-and-do-nothing record, or we’re-all-partying-in-the-backyard record, or I-just-lost-my-job-and-I-need-to-forget-about-how-broke-I-am record. This record was that record for that summer.  With Plastic Beach, Damon Albarn continued to add collaborators with ease and precision, and while previous records were filled with singles, Plastic Beach lacked a singular focus, a track to turn to – which was probably why it was such a success. it implored you to return for repeated listening and it became the soundtrack for a very pivotal time in this authors life.

Favourite Track: Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)



5. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me

4. Joanna Newsom – Divers

3. Richard Dawson – Peasent

2. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Looking for a fresh start, the former drummer of Fleet Foxes – Josh Tillman – decided to start putting out records under a pseudonym. However, he wouldn’t be playing a character through the persona of Father John Misty. He would be himself – albeit a version of himself with his irony and sarcasm cranked to eleven. I Love You, Honeybear is a 2015 masterpiece of Americana folk that is compositionally in the same vein as the greats of the genre like Randy Newman and Don McClean. Rife with tongue in cheek lyrics mixed with authentic pronouncements of emotion, Tillman speaks to trying to find a semblance of love and emotion in an age where many (including himself) are both disillusioned and insecure. The album’s content is a testament to regrettable behavior and making mistakes in the pursuit of figuring out who you are and what matters, all accented by Misty’s masterful musicianship.

Favourite Track: The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.


Hip Hop

5. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

4. (Tied) Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city; Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book

3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

2. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

After good Kid, Kenrick Lamar could have done absolutely anything. The world of hip hop was at his feet and he could have made his name as a chart topper – he made no such attempt. Instead of aiming for the accolades of hip hop radio we got a record that was the antithesis of his contemporaries, those interested in selling records (Kanye, Drake, Jay, Nicki, Em) were allowed to sell all the records they wanted – instead Kendrick made his record. An absolute landmark of hip hop, there’s not a miss on this body of work. There’s the narrative of hope against brutality and destruction of unity of culture. There’s murderous cops and drug wars. There’s the revolutionary power that unites and makes us all “rulers.” And there’s the idea, that if we commit to making positive change, we’re all going to be alright.

Favourite Track: Alright



5. Actress – Splazsh

4. DJ Koze – Knock Knock

3. Rival Consoles – Persona

2. John Talabot – fIN

1. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Daft Punk’s 4th studio album, Random Access Memories is an exquisite ensemble of electronic fusion that goes beyond the conventions of genre to create a catchy compilation of rhythmic mastery. The electronic duo pays tribute to late 70s-early 80s American music and electronica’s pioneers who introduced synthesizers to manifest the sound of “the future.” This album is a musical monument and sinks its teeth into countless genres including disco, rock, jazz, funk, soul and synth-pop to generate ageless dance records. The featuring artists give the album groove and soul, such as Pharrell Williams’ smooth vocals and Nile Rodgers’ earworm basslines. The album title draws parallels between the human brain and a computer hard drive, referencing the way we randomly access memories. In this sense, Daft Punk uses various technologies to access memories of music’s past while bringing a futurist essence to their sound – fashioning their electronic record into a timeless masterpiece.

Favourite Track: Lose Yourself to Dance


Indie Pop

5. MONEY – The Shadow of Heaven

4. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

3. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magelan

2. The xx – I See You

1. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Annie Clark is an incredibly accomplished musician, to say the very least. Relentlessly original and one of our greatest innovators of Pop music – the absolutely ruthless self-titled record made everything that came before it loose and uninspired. Jagged, edgy, and completely lush, this album hit with absolute maximum impact. Few indie artists, before or after did anything this interesting.

Favourite Track: Digital Witness


Indie Rock

5. Angel Olsen – My Woman

4. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

2. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Montreal based band Arcade Fire’s 2011 release The Suburbs is an art rock masterpiece. It defined a generation of uncertain people in a transitional stage between childhood and adulthood. It captures and attests to wayward feelings during this time, along with the shallow pursuit of nostalgia and a perceived loss of childhood innocence. Win Butler writes about the decay of the suburbs he was born in as a metaphor for the decay of youth. There is a brilliant display of artistry throughout this album, with decadent string work and a gargantuan wall of sound supporting the vocals from Butler and Régine Chassagne. There’s plenty to ponder, but also plenty to dance to. There’s no cul-de-sac in sight for the limitless sprawl of instrumental and lyrical prowess delivered in The Suburbs.

Favourite Track: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)



5. Robyn – Honey

4. Beyonce – Lemonade

3. Lorde – Pure Heroine

2. Beyonce – Beyonce

1. Lorde – Melodrama

There’s a fine line between being introspective and being far too self indulgent. With Melodrama, Lorde rides this line perfectly. Honest and brave, her growth as a musician did something incredible to her output in comparison to her earlier work, it resulted in even more authenticity. This album is absolutely extraordinary – a record that takes you along with it on a journey of self-discovery.

Favourite Track: Supercut


Psychedelic Rock

5. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

4. Ty Segall – Manipulator

3. 75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real

2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

1. Tame Impala – Lonerism

This was the straw that broke the camels back. After Lonerism, those who did not know already, immediately knew: Kevin Parker was the future of indie psych. This record had a singular focus, something fully realized that resulted in Parker’s relative obscurity being thrown to the wayside. Intriguing and beautiful and only two albums into his career at this point, they created a record that was directly on the cusp of perfection.

Favourite Track: Feels Like We Only Go Backwards



5. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace is There

4. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

3. Screaming Females – All at Once

2. Royal Headache – High

1. PUP – Morbid Stuff

Following in the footsteps of Sum 41, Alexisonfire and F*cked Up in the decades before them, PUP has solidified themselves as one of the best and most consistent pop punk bands of the 2010s to come out of Toronto with three heavy hitting releases. As the namesake suggests on their third album – Morbid Stuff – the band tackles death and depression with snarky, matter-of-fact lyrics and relentlessly catchy hooks screamed out by Stefan Babcock and accented by gang vocals. The power chords are as frantic as they are layered and Zack Mykula’s drums are as punchy as ever. The album also exhibits diverse twists such as an alternative rock Sam Roberts style opening to the track “City” and “Full Blown Meltdown” – which is a full out heavy metal song. PUP has made the perfect album for “embracing the calamity” or maybe just going for a jog down Queen Street.

Favourite Track: Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley



5. FKA Twigs – LP1

4. Solange – A Seat at the Table

3. Beyonce – Lemonade

2. Blood Orange – Negro Swan

1. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Frank Ocean’s debut record Channel Orange came out in 2012 and everyone was obsessed with it. It was a welcome treat for the die hard cult following stemming from his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra and allowed him to amass thousands of new fans with his groundbreaking combination of sounds. Rooted in neo-soul, this meticulously produced album also features elements of synth funk, rock, lo-fi hip-hop and even new wave. Ocean’s vast vocal range is on full display as he sings about the core themes of young adulthood. Songs address social media’s penchant for making us feel isolated, unrequited love and illusions of excess. There’s songs for house parties, studying, and break ups. Ocean released two critically acclaimed albums this decade while maintaining a reclusive nature and a lack of an online persona. This only compliments his genius and leaves us waiting eagerly for what he has in store for the 2020s.

Favourite Track: Super Rich Kids (Feat. Earl Sweatshirt)



5. Black Peaks – All The Divides

4. Tame Impala – Lonerism

3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

Skeleton Tree is both an avant-rock revelation and thought-provoking masterpiece that explores themes of death, loss and despair. Nick Cave presents an eerily honest portrayal of trauma and death as a dark void with no means of fulfilment. He illustrates harrowing scenes that are allegorical to his personal experiences suffering with heroin addiction and untimely death – specifically the tragic passing of his 15-year old son nearing the album’s completion. Cave’s grief-stricken lyrics consisting of violent imagery and desperate cries send the listener down the rabbit hole of life’s gruesome underbelly. The ambiguous, distorted and echoey overture of the album is emptiness personified. Hauntingly prophetic and painfully insightful, Skeleton Tree is a melancholic venture into the enigma of life’s cruel and uncertain nature.

Favourite Track: I Need You


Singer Songwriter

5. Bob Dylan & The Band – The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete

4. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

3. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Throughout the earlier parts of the decade, Sufjan Stevens busied himself with electronic music and recordings of Christmas songs. His 2015 release Carrie and Lowell marked a return to his indie folk roots. This is a somber and introspective album about growing up with his mother and stepfather (Carrie and Lowell, respectively) in Eugene, Oregon and the recent passing of Stevens’ mother. The lyrics are the perfect combination of beautiful and hauntingly poetic. This is a very stripped down album, with most songs simply featuring Stevens singing over softly picked guitar arpeggios. Echoes of his previous work manifest themselves through references to biblical parables a la Seven Swans and mentions of Oregon folklore that render this an unofficial U.S state album like Illinoise and Michigan before it. Both an exercise in grieving and a contextualization of memory, Carrie and Lowell has a plethora to offer listeners both wayward and hopeful.

Favourite Track: Fourth of July



5. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Soul of a Woman

4. Thundercat – Drunk

3. The Internet – Hive Mind

2. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

1. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Energetic, liberating and emotionally charged – Lizzo’s 2019 album Cuz I Love You is a celebration of womanhood, sexuality and self-love. Her booming vocal range, sassy lyrics and fusion of R&B, soul and hip-hop result in infectious anthems that preach body positivity and independence. They exude a level of vulnerability necessary to empathize with the common strife associated with relationships and femininity. Tracks such as “Cuz I Love You” and “Exactly How I Feel (Feat. Gucci Mane)” showcase her singing prowess with ample octave range, while “Jerome” and “Lingerie” present a more sultry, stripped down version of Lizzo. The nude self-portrait displayed on Cuz I Love You’s album cover personifies her journey to self-acceptance, from falling victim to societal standards of body image, to flaunting her thick form with the kind of fiery confidence every woman aspires to have. In both visual and vocal presentation, Lizzo simply holds nothing back.

Favourite Track: Juice



5. Twin Shadow – Forget

4. Christine and the Queens – Chris

3. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

2. Gazelle Twin – The Entire City

1. Chromatics – Kill for Love

This 2012 release set up this entire decade by proving that chill, synthy, dream pop can be just as visceral and exciting as rock n’ roll. This almost felt like a thesis of the synth – a proof that it can be just a nuanced as the guitar. Stringing together ideas and feeling into one colossal being as an immersive experience from beginning to end.

Favourite Track: Into the Black


Trap Rap

5. Young Thug – Slime Season

4. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife

3. 2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music

2. Travis Scott – ASTROWORLD

1. Denzel Curry – ZUU

(Originally posted on Release Day | May 31)

An absolutely strong offering from Denzel Curry – this is absolutely a record you’ll want to nod your head and dance to. In a well-deserved salute to the his fans and the masses Curry has taken the introspection of his previous work and turned it completely around and possibly finally shedding his label as the “most underrated rapper in the game”.

Favourite track: Speedboat

Our own Master T had the opportunity to interview Denzel Curry in September, check out that sit-down here:


Best Albums of the 2010s

50. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot

49. Blood Orange – Negro Swan

48. Angel Olsen – My Woman

47. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

Favourite Track: Surface Envy

46. My Bloody Valentine – m b v

45. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

44. Swans – To Be Kind

43. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

42. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

41. D’ Angelo – Black Messiah

40. Aphex Twin – Syro

39. The National – High Violet

38. Big Thief – Two Hands

37. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel

36. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

Favourite Track: BagBak

35. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

34. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

33. FKA Twigs – LP1

32. Flying Lotus – Conmogramma

31. Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker

30. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

29. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here … Thank You 4 Your service

28. Christine and the Queens – Chris

Favourite Track: 5 dols

27. Bjork – Vulnicura

26. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

25. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

24. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

23. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

22. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors

21. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

20. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead

19. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

18. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Favourite Track: I Like That

17. Solange – A Seat At the Table

16. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell

15. Beyonce – Lemonade

14. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

13. Lorde – Melodrama

12. David Bowie – Blackstar

11. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

10. Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

9. Frank Ocean – Blonde

Favourite Track: Nights

8. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

7. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

6. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

5. Robyn – Honey

4. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city

3. Tame Impala – Lonerism

2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Favourite Track: Alright