One Sentence Reviews Of Headphone Nation’s 40 Favorite Albums Of The Decade (So Far): 2010 – 2014

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Congratulations – you made it halfway through the decade. How does it feel? Did you come up with a good nickname for this decade yet? Is it as catchy as “The Noughties”? What were the highlights?

It’s easy to get caught up looking back at a particular year (or years) and try to pick out the few highlights that defined the year out of all the countless events. For any pop culture publication, it’s a cheap, bias way to get more hits, and it usually doesn’t do the year justice to what it was actually like.

But hey, we all love to make these lists, and we all love to read these lists.

One of the ways to define a decade is by the most popular (i.e. the easiest to define) musical trends of the time: the 60s were the age of Psychedelia, the 70s saw the height of Big Hair Music (heavy rock and disco), the 80s were the dawn of Indie and MTV, the 90s the mass takeover of Pop music (Grunge-Pop, Britpop, Rap-Pop, Noise-Pop, Trip-Pop, Boy Band-Pop, Riot Grrrl-Pop, it goes on), and the last decade saw the boom of the streaming revolution that we’re still in the middle of. Obviously there were more to these decades than those broad themes, but it gets the job done.

So what is the trend that will define this decade? Is this the age of Doomsday Disco (EDM, Reflektor), Mumblecore (what much of “Indie Rock” has become), or Black Stadium Rock (Kanye West and the realization of his Thriller-sized ego)? Or will we just clump together all this music, much of it angry and noisy, and call it “Great Recession Music”?

It’s too early to tell – we’re only halfway through this decade. There’s no telling to what we’ll be listening to within the next five years and what albums will come to define this decade. So to try and find any sort of pattern in the beginning of 2015 is challenging and probably not necessary.

But like I said, we all love these lists – so let’s have a little fun.

Below is a list of my 40 favorite albums released between 2010 and 2014 and the albums that have defined this decade for me so far. I tried to make things more interesting by describing each album using only one sentence. Of course you cannot properly sum up an entire album in one sentence – but it’s fun to try to anyways!

Please note – this is NOT a list of the GREATEST albums of the decade. This is just a list of my personal favorites, and I hope I introduce you to some great albums that you might have missed in this decade. If this were a GREATEST list, then there would be some albums that I wouldn’t have omitted and some that I would have taken off. For example, Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city is without a doubt one of the best quality albums of the decade, but I have no personal attachment to it – I just like it because it’s good.

There are also lots of albums that I’ve heard are great but I’ve never sat down with and listened to all the way through (Frank Ocean, Grimes, Tame Impala, etc). When I do my inevitable End-Of-Decade list at the end of 2019, some of those albums might appear after I listen to them more.

Also, some of these albums on this list aren’t necessarily “good”, but there’s something about them that I absolutely love or can relate to. Maybe it’s because it’s from a favorite artist, or maybe I have a strong association with that album and where I first heard it or who/what it reminds me of. No matter the reason, these are the albums that I loved the most in this decade so far.

And yes, there’s a good chance that I left out one of your favorite albums. Please forgive me.

This list is in alphabetical order, and click on each album cover for a link to a song from the album.

 

Alright, let’s begin.

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Playlist: Zach Braff’s iPod

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This new playlist combines many of the songs from the Garden State and Scrubs soundtracks in addition to some other songs that I think match Braff’s great range of taste in music. There are also some songs on here from his new movie Wish I Was Here released in limited release July 18th.

 

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Music Journal: Albums To Look Forward To (And To Dread) In 2012

Well 2012 is a go.  Every music publication is now back on the job and looking for the best music of the new year.  To make this hunt a little easier, here are some albums that I’m looking forward to in 2012.  There’s no way to say for sure what albums will succeed and which ones will fizzle, but these are some albums to be on the lookout for.

 

The Big Pink – Future This

This could be the MGMT record of 2012.  Expect good, and trippy, things from this band this year.

 

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

She made a scene last year with her song “Video Games”, and she was dubbed by Gawker as, “the internet’s most hated singer” for her questionable background.  However, if the new album is anything like “Video Games”, then this will be a contender for album of the year.

 

Dr. Dog – Be The Void

I don’t own any Dr. Dog albums, but this might be the first.  The band sounds like a 60s pop band that was raised in the 90s, and I really like the first single off the new album.  This could be one of the bands I rediscover in 2012.

 

Paul McCartney – TBA

Paul McCartney has the right to release anything he wants – he was a Beatle for goodness sakes!  His solo albums have been an uneven mix (Chaos And Creation In The Backyard was terrific, and so were most of the Wings albums), but like I said, this guy can release whatever he wants.  Fuck yeah indeed Sir McCartney.

 

The Shins – Port of Morrow

Everyone’s favorite Beach Boys sound-a-like indie band (this is a compliment) is back with a new album.  This is a very likable band, and I’m sure this album will be great.

 

Bruce Springsteen – TBA

Judging from the picture above, Bruce Springsteen is really excited for his new album.  Same thing with McCartney, The Boss can release whatever he wants – he’s Bruce Springsteen for goodness sakes!  His work will be cut for him though with the loss of Clarence Clemons, who was a huge part of the E Street Band.  Regardless how the album does, a year with a new Springsteen album is better than a year without one.

 

Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

The frontman for The Hold Steady has a solo album? Sold.

 

Mumford & Sons – TBA

This isn’t confirmed to be released this year, but be prepared for the sophomore album from the little English band that took the world by storm with their excellent debut.  Hopefully the album is good, or else these lads are in danger of becoming a one-album wonder.  Fingers crossed!

 

John Mayer – Born and Raised

This also isn’t confirmed for this year, but with the way things are looking expect at least a new song from the pop-blues man in 2012.  His throat sugary had many people worried, but I’m sure Mayer has some great things in store for us.  Again, fingers crossed!

 

D’Angelo – James River

I just started to listen to D’Angelo, and if James River is finally released this year, then we are all in for a treat.  Be wary though, this album was supposed to be released years ago but has been pushed back so many times it’s starting to become like Chinese Democracy (and we all know what happened there).  Even if the album doesn’t come out, at least we have Voodoo to comfort us.

 

And here are some albums I will probably not stand in line for on release day…

 

Black Sabbath – TBA

I have a bad feeling about this.  I’m really hoping I’m proven wrong, for their sakes.

 

Adam Lambert – Trespassing

Look at the picture above.  That’s what I thought.

 

Creed – TBA

It’s Creed.  That’s what I thought.

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