Top 5 albums of the 2010s – Wichita State Sunflower

Posted: January 9, 2020 at 6:44 am


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Karen Galindo and Brogan Gillmore|January 8, 2020

The Sound of the Life of the Mind album art

5. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five

Having broken up at the beginning of the millenium, Ben Folds Five reformed in 2011 then produced The Sound of the Life of the Mind, their fourth studio album, in 2012. The album debuted at number 10 on Billboards Top 200 and retained everything that made the band a hit in the mid-90s: catchy pop lyrics and piano riffs that take a 2-year lease in the back of your head.

In anticipation of the album Ben Folds Five released a music video for their uplifting pop-rock anthem Do It Anyway, featuring Jim Hensons Fraggle Rock muppets. Like most of the rock-groups albums, they have songs ranging from peppy feel-good anthems to angsty and aggressive songs like Draw a Crowd that you turn on just to blow off steam on bad days.

Beat the Champ album art

4. Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats

If you ever thought Wow, I really need a whole album about pro-wrestling, then look no further; Beat the Champ is The Mountain Goats 2015 ballad album detailing the rise and fall of a pro-wrestler in the American southwest. If youre not a wrestling fan, this album still has something for you, with its vivid lyrics and storytelling that have more to do with morality and the mistakes we make in our lives than it does with wrestling. Although not successful on the awards circuit, the album received plenty of acclaim critically with Jer Fairall from Exclaim! referring to the album as a highlight in a career full of highlights.

Lemonade album art

3.Lemonade by Beyonc

Released in 2016, Lemonade resonated with the souls of fans across the world. The R&B album embodied vulnerability and empowerment with tracks such as Daddy Lessons, Dont Hurt Yourself,and Formation. In the album, Beyonc was able to unapologetically discuss gender and racial inequality and empowerment, all while singing from personal experiences and heartbreak. The singer was thoroughly honest with all her tracks, which range from R&B to country to rock. Nominated for nine Grammy awards and the winner of two (Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video), this album continues to be talked about and listed to by music lovers all around.

To Pimp a Butterfly album art

2. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

Released in 2010, To Pimp a Butterfly launched Lamars hip hop career into a new stardom. The album won five Grammy titles, including Best Rap Album of the Year and Best Rap Performance. The Rolling Stones placed To Pimp a Butterfly as the third best album of the decade saying, To Pimp a Butterfly is the LP that defined hip-hops state of the art in the 2010s, not just for Lamars miles of MC styles and undiluted politics, but also for his musical vision Armed with introspective and powerful lyrics, the album became a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar vulnerably talks about Americas political and racial issues, his own mental health problems and his life growing up in Compton. Lamar continued with greatness in his next album DAMN. where he earned his first number one hit with HUMBLE, however, To Pimp a Butterfly is vulnerable and raw in ways that his 2017 album is not.

1989 album art

1. 1989 by Taylor Swift

Nominated for 10 Grammy awards and the winner of three (Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Music Video) 1989 was and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Being whimsical, light and upbeat while armed with Swifts talent of lyrical word-play, 1989 rightfully deserves a spot in the Top Five Albums of the Decade.

Nearly every track in this album became a hit. Gossip tabloids could not get enough of the drama-filled hits, Bad Blood and Blank Space. Wildest Dreams and Style spoke of past relationships in a bittersweet melody, which millions worldwide could relate to. Finally, Shake It Off was either absolutely loved or hated by listeners, but nonetheless, still continued to climb its way onto the Billboard Hot 100. According to the New York Post, 1989 sold about 1.3 million copies in its first week of release making it the biggest debut for an artist since 2002. The album marked Swifts official crossover from country to pop, and it made Swift a tough contender for the title of The Queen of Pop.

Honorable Mentions (in no specific order):

Midnight Memories album art

Midnight Memories by One Direction

One Direction took the world by storm in the 2010s. Their third album, Midnight Memories, which contained hits such as Best Song Ever and Story Of My Life, became the best-selling album worldwide in 2013. One Direction quickly became the most-profitable boy band in history, even breaking records that were set by The Beatles. After their indefinite hiatus was announced in 2015, their popularity still continued to stay strong, which may or may not have helped to boost each individual band members solo careers. One Direction undoubtedly made a cultural impact in the 2010s, and their highest selling album, Midnight Memories, will continue to be sung by fans worldwide for many years to come.

Doo Wops and Hooligans album art

Doo-Wops and Hooligans by Bruno Mars

Although Doo-Wops and Hooligans was released at the very begining of the decade in 2010, it has not been forgotten. Hits such as Just the Way You Are, Grenade, Lazy Song and Marry You caught the hearts of every hopeless romantic and continues to ring in the minds of many as a nostalgic memory. This album launched Bruno Mars into music fandom, but his continued masterpieces on later albums such as When I Was Your Man, Versace on the Floor and Uptown Funk solidified his career. Although Bruno Mars switched from wearing fedoras to snapbacks and from singing Pop to R&B by the end of the decade, he still continued to rock the music charts. The reason why Doo-Wops and Hooligans is listed instead of his later albums, 24k Magic and Unorthodox Jukebox is simply because it perfectly captures the essence that was the early 2010s with its sweet, pop love ballads and happy tunes.

21 album art

21 by Adele

21 by Adele earned the title of Best Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2012. Adeles soulful voice matched with her powerful, lyrical storytelling made for a beautiful album. Hits such as Someone Like You, Rolling in the Deep and I Set Fire to the Rain spoke of the mourning that comes along with heartbreak. Adeles ability to create emotional ballads is absolutely unique to her sound and cannot be overlooked.

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Top 5 albums of the 2010s - Wichita State Sunflower

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am