This New Year’s Eve, we will not only be celebrating the end of 2019 but at the end of an amazing decade of music. The 2000s saw the second rise of boy bands and girl bands, pop-punk, emo, and experimenting with a new era of technology. Since then, in the era of Spotify and Apple Music, expectations have gotten higher and music has evolved. Here’s a look back at the albums that defined the decade.
AM, Arctic Monkeys
There wasn’t a house party in 2013 where the DJ didn’t play at least two full tracks from AM. Arctic Monkeys have been the defining band of the millennial generation. They are a band almost everyone can agree on and AM was full of bangers that voiced a generation of disillusioned young people navigating through love, life, and heartbreak.
Cuz I Love You, Lizzo
Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You is a more recent addition to a decade of great music. The album is a triumph for diversity in music and the 2010’s message of self-love and body positivity. Music fans are less interested in the so-called “perfect” pop-star image and are finding something far more powerful in pop-stars who own who they are and tell it like it is. Sitting naked and proud on her album cover of empowering bangers, Lizzo embodies this.
Beyoncé has been gifting us with pop anthems since the early 2000s but the 2010s have marked her sound reaching full maturity and evolving into something more. Lemonade is an emotionally-charged record that meditates on how love can fracture even the most powerful woman in the world’s sense of self.
To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendric Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly is an album that has become an essential part of black culture. This isn’t a rap album solely about smoking up and getting laid, it’s the album that the black community needed in a shifting political climate. Lamar shifts between pain and joy, playing with a range of genres and beats. In terms of rap music, To Pimp A Butterfly is undoubtedly one of the defining albums of the decade.
Yeezus, Kanye West
Yeezus earns definitive status for the hype the album generated alone. Kanye emerged angrier and more provocative than ever with a newfound confidence that raised his status from music icon to one of the most vocal artists in America.
Thank U, Next, Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next is by no means one of the best albums of the decade, but it marks a huge shift in pop culture. The titular track not only offered what might just be the most iconic music video of the decade, but it also reflected on the changing attitudes towards breakup culture. While the 2000s saw a string of “screw you” breakup anthems, Thank U, Next offers a more nuanced and mature approach to heartbreak.
Lonerism, Tame Impala
The 2000s were a highpoint for indie music. From The Killers to The Feeling, festival headlining slots were reserved for those who could deliver mainstream indie bangers. When the 2010s arrived, indie music evolved into something more alternative. To play indie music once again meant to go your own way, having the courage to experiment at the risk of alienating audiences. The psychedelic rock album Lonerism embodies this revived idea of what it means to be indie.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is another new arrival to the scene. At just seventeen-years-old, she is one of the most relevant and up and coming artists of 2019. Her album has been praised by many old-timers and aptly summarizes the confusing experience of adolescence in the 2010s. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is an album to draw in the new decade.