30 Best Albums Of The Decade So Far

30 Best Albums Of The Decade So Far

Looking back on the best music has to offer.

While we’re only a little more than halfway through, it’s astounding to me how great musically this last decade has been in comparison to the past decades of modern music. The best part? There’s still so much time left for more great music to happen. Let’s take a look back and review who has released the best albums of this decade so far.

30. No Cities to Love (2015) – Sleater-Kinney

The last time this punk trio released anything was nearly a decade ago. It’s nice to see them back, and with energy to spare, with arguably their most consistent release to date. Few returns are as smooth and hip-sounding as this one.

“We win, we lose. Only together, do we break the rules.” – Corin Tucker

29. 1989 (2014) – Taylor Swift

Although 2014 was a lackluster year for music overall, it was great to see Taylor Swift return with her best album yet. While Red was great in parts, her fifth effort saw America’s sweetheart complete her pop transformation. And while others might cry "sell-out", I see a pop triumph, a triumph others can only make in their wildest dreams.

“’Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” – Taylor Swift

28. House of Balloons (2010) – The Weeknd

While his later offerings would offer disappointingly diminishing returns, this saw Abel Tesfaye master his distinct PR&B style. While Drake rapped his way to the top, The Weeknd crooned his way there with a mixtape that beats out most of the album competition.

“Trust me girl. You wanna be high for this.” – The Weeknd

27. James Blake (2011) – James Blake

It always pleases me to see artists produce their own works. Turns out post-dubstep pioneer James Blake had a divine voice that no one anticipated, as his EP’s leading up to this debut were purely instrumental. Great voices go nowhere without great production though. James Blake has both, and that’s what makes him a force to be reckoned with.

“All that I know is that I’m falling, falling, falling. Might as well fall in.” – James Blake

26. Kaleidoscope Dream (2012) – Miguel

I wasn’t entirely convinced by Miguel’s run-of-the-mill debut, but fortunately, this album came to pass. Unlike The Weeknd or any other coked-up, paranoid R&B singer, Miguel relies on his sincerity (and a little bit of marijuana) to display his love for music and women. It’s dorky at times, but I care little when he pelts out songs like “Adorn” and “Do You”.

“And I can’t wait. It’s the thrill, I feel my heartbeat race. And I can’t wait.” – Miguel

25. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015) – Courtney Barnett

Sometimes, there’s just not much to a rock n’ roll musician other than a gift for pelting out great tunes. That’s pretty much Miss Barnett. Along with her sense of irony and relatable humor, she needs little else to make pop and rock n’ roll seamlessly mix.

“Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you. Tell me I’m exceptional and I promise to exploit you.” – Courtney Barnett

24. Contra (2010) – Vampire Weekend

No one really expected these guys to last past their excellent debut. It’s a fine one, but many artists fail to live up to that quality, especially when there’s not much to build upon. Instead, they’ve improved on it and have become indie’s most reliably great band. I can’t wait for them to prove everyone wrong again.

“You can turn your back on the bitter world.” – Ezra Koenig

23. This is Happening (2010) – LCD Soundsystem

If this had been James Murphy and friends’ true farewell, it would’ve been a heck of a finale. Just from the first song alone, “Dance Yrself Clean”, it’s already an assured hit. Still, it’s good knowing that it’s not their last, but instead just a fine album.

“Walking up to me, expecting words; happens all the time.” – James Murphy

22. Pure Heroine (2013) – Lorde

“Royals” hit the top spot on the charts, and I listened to it on my own for some random reason. And from that point on, I knew Lorde wasn’t the average indie-pop artist. What’s even better is that album followed through on “Royals” promise, providing non-Top 40 songs that were nearly as good.

“That kind of luxe just ain’t for us. We crave a different kind of buzz.” – Lorde

21. The Idler Wheel… (2012) – Fiona Apple

A couple of years later, this album is still hard to classify genre-wise. If it weren’t so complex musically, it could’ve dominated the charts as well. Indie, jazz, pop: it’s all here and there’s still nothing that sounds like it. Pop music for those who don’t like what’s on the radio.

“The rib is the shell and a heart is the yolk. And I just made a meal for us both to choke on.” – Fiona Apple

20. AM (2013) – Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys never fell off, but it’s obvious their initial hype died down after their second album. The next two albums were by no means mediocre, but they were in limbo while trying to find a new sound. Here, the Monkeys not only feel comfortable making indie rock with R&B undertones, but they actually have a sound they can claim to be their own.

“Do I wanna know, if this feeling flows both ways?” – Alex Turner

19. The Life of Pablo (2016) – Kanye West

The rollout of this album was unlike any other. But aside from all of the superficial aspects of its release, the album was polarizing, even more so than Yeezus. For the first time, West made an album without his trademark perfectionism. I soon came to embrace its unusual messiness, and even deemed it his own White Album. For a man who’s made a career of innovation and unpredictability, he outdid himself once again.

“Name one genius that ain’t crazy.” – Kanye West

18. Currents (2015) – Tame Impala

I liked Lonerism a lot, but not as much as this one. Not much of an 80’s fan, but there’s somewhat of a plethora of artists reviving synthpop, from Sky Ferreira to Taylor Swift. So far, Tame Impala have done it best, and it made for their best album to date. Tame Impala’s strictly-psychedelic fans will sulk, which is a shame. I’m loving this new sound.

“Making such a promise only leads to heartache, closer to an earthquake.” – Kevin Parker

17. A Moon Shaped Pool (2016) – Radiohead

The world’s greatest band (currently) didn’t start off the decade so hot; The King of Limbs wasn’t a bad album by any means, but it was simply too short and underwhelming compared to their other great works. Fortunately, after an ever-so-long hiatus, Radiohead returned. Unlike many of their ambitious works, this album sees Radiohead at their most human, while still being awe-inspiring for its beauty and orchestral arrangements. They are no longer looking to impress or innovate; the music does that regardless.

“I’ll drown my beliefs, to have your babies. I’ll dress like a niece, to wash your swollen feet.” – Thom Yorke

16. good kid m.A.A.d city (2012) – Kendrick Lamar

Before Kendrick could make his bolder ideas more public, Kendrick had to compromise with something more mainstream. Fortunately, this did not mean selling out, and what we got was an album that bumps and tells a story. Not bad for a compromise.

“If a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?” – Kendrick Lamar

15. Art Angels (2015) – Grimes

Pop’s weirdest artist, but she wasn’t always the eccentric banger-making artist she is today. Her previous works were admirable, but rarely stretched beyond that. With Art Angels, Grimes makes pop that’s not quite ready for the radio, but it will definitely please anyone that will listen. And I urge anyone and everyone to do so.

“If you’re looking for your dream girl, I’ll never be your dream girl…” – Grimes

14. Coloring Book (2016) – Chance the Rapper

Acid Rap was exceptional for an underground rapper, but now Chance is with the big boys, and that happened with his extraordinary feature on Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam”. Then, his third mixtape dropped, and it was official. Call it this generation’s College Dropout, because there are few albums out there with this much soul and emotion. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it this generation’s best mixtape.

“I speak of wondrous unfamiliar lessons from childhood; make you remember how to smile good.” – Chance the Rapper

13. High Violet (2010) – The National

Sad indie boys are hit or miss in music. But these aren’t boys; they’re men. Unlike Arcade Fire’s childlike tendencies, The National know the working man’s struggle, and like Arcade Fire, they achieve grandiose heights with it. Everything after “Bloodbuzz Ohio” could be considered a National’s greatest-hits compilation.

“Sorrow found me when I was young. Sorrow waited, sorrow won.” – Matt Berninger

12. Helplessness Blues (2011) – Fleet Foxes

I rarely get onboard with the lyrical material of indie folk musicians, but with Fleet Foxes, I could care less about what troubles they have or whatever existential wonders they come up with. What I listen to them for is their diverse instrumentation, glorious harmonies, and Robin Pecknold’s mountainous voice. Lyrics? Whatever, we have poetry and literature for that.

“And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be… a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.” – Robin Pecknold

11. Halcyon Digest (2010) – Deerhunter

I love it when bands add a pop inflection onto their own sound. Pop music always has the best melodies even if the rest of the elements aren’t so great. This is why Deerhunter’s attempt to make their music a little more accessible is ultimately successful. This allowed them to make more accessible highlights such as “Don’t Cry” and “Memory Boy”, and still create breathtaking epics like “Desire Lines” and “Helicopter”.

“Only bored as I get older. Find new ways to spend my time.” – Bradford Cox

10. Take Care (2011) – Drake

This isn’t the decade’s best album, but it’s arguably the one that defined this generation the most. Drake set out on a mission to distinguish himself from all the others. Picking up where Kanye left off on 808s and Heartbreaks, Drake and Noah “40” Shebib mastered the art of rapping and singing and gave us this gloomy, yet heartfelt, masterpiece.

“We live in a generation of not being in love.” – Drake

9. In Colour (2015) – Jamie xx

Electronic music has never been my thing as far as “art” goes, but Jamie Smith’s debut makes a case for how rave music can be up for consideration. The title and cover art are appropriate, as the music ranges in many sounds, from trap to garage-house. Solo efforts are typically underwhelming, but I would’ve never believed Jamie would’ve been the one do anything better than his work with The xx.

“Didn’t I take you to higher places you can’t reach without me?” – Romy Madley Croft

8. The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire

There’s a reason Arcade Fire have been as successful as they’ve been. Youth is always something we’ll long for; Arcade Fire offers that in spades. Neon Bible showed maturation, but The Suburbs backtracked to the same childlike tendencies seen on Funeral. But I’m not complaining. Not many bands have a third masterpiece…in a row.

“In my dream, I was almost there, and you pulled me aside and said you’re going nowhere.” – Win Butler

7. Modern Vampires of the City (2013) – Vampire Weekend

I highly doubt Vampire Weekend will be able to keep up the trend of making each album better than the last. As masters of songwriting, they and Belle & Sebastian are the heirs to The Beatles when it comes to brilliant arrangements and catchy melodies. This is their best and their wisest offering to date, and it’s hard to imagine improving on such a masterwork.

“Wisdom’s a gift, but you trade it for youth. Age is an honor, but it’s still not the truth.” – Ezra Koenig

6. Black Messiah (2014) – D’Angelo

It’s not a coincidence that Black Messiah came out when it did. After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, D’Angelo sped up the release of the record in a time where a musical response was imperative. Not only was it the most important release of the year, it was definitely the most impressive musically. You could even call it this time’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On. Nothing really justifies a 14-year hiatus, but D’Angelo seemed destined to come back when he did.

“All we wanted was a chance to talk. ‘Stead we only got outlined in chalk.” – D’Angelo

5. Beyoncé (2013) – Beyoncé

Beyoncé is someone I kind of liked, but could never fully get behind. I’d enjoyed her singles despite her spotty discography. Then she somehow surprise-dropped this album, and the world stood still. No longer was she a singles-artist; she was an album’s artist. It also helped that this album contained some of her best singles to date, not to mention the non-single cuts like the bubblegum-pop “Blow” or D’Angelo-like “Rocket”.

“Pretty hurts. Shine the light on whatever’s worse. Perfection is the disease of a nation.” – Beyoncé

4. Teen Dream (2010) – Beach House

Indie pop has never been done this well and it’s hard to believe that it will ever be as enjoyable as this. Song for song, there are no wasted moments, and all of the songs have a distinguishable hook, or even several. Look to the top of the charts, and even that song will have trouble being as irresistible as songs like “Lover of Mine”, “Norway”, or “Used to Be”.

“Need more people to be satisfied. No fear of a god and prayer for the night.” – Victoria Legrand

3. Channel Orange (2012) – Frank Ocean

The album title may be a singular color, but don’t be fooled. This album compares to an artist’s palette in terms of sonics. It would be a crime to generically label it as an R&B album; the genres range as far as R&B, neo-soul, electronica, jazz, funk, rock, and even psychedelia. His mixtape was good, but few music critics would be able to foreshadow just how well Ocean found his footing on his first step. Now the real question is, Frank, where are you at? We need more of this.

“Or do you not think so far ahead? ‘Cause I’ve been thinking ‘bout forever.” – Frank Ocean

2. To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) – Kendrick Lamar

Not many people will admit it, but when this dropped, their feelings were mixed, lightly put. Those who expected a good kid m.A.A.d city part two, including me, were in for a surprise. Feelings ranged from: Hating it, loving it, and admiring it, but not enjoying it. I was the third, but it gradually found its way onto my favorite-albums-list. Kendrick’s sociopolitical album is fantastic in its tunes and its importance in 2015. Few others can sport an anthem for a movement, or make a song showing the contradictions of both the black and white community.

“So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was killed in the street, when gangbanging made me kill a n***a blacker than me. Hypocrite.” – Kendrick Lamar

1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) – Kanye West

Kanye never dipped in quality. 808s and Heartbreaks was a genre-changing near-masterpiece, but was underappreciated. His public image never recovered, but that hardly matters when you are the best album-maker since…dare I say, The Beatles? Despite maintaining quality, I’d still mark this as one of the great comebacks in music history. His narrative around this time is quite legendary; he was confused, spiraling out of control, his mother died, he broke up with his girlfriend, he exiled himself to Hawaii, and recorded this album in isolation, and it won virtually all of the critic’s approval. Never before has hip hop been so self-revelatory or so grandiose. If that isn’t a comeback, then nothing else is. If you ever wonder why people are sticking up for this “douche”, then this album alone should provide a clear answer.

“Is hip hop just a euphemism for a new religion? The soul music of the slaves that the youth is missing.” – Kanye West

Cover Image Credit: Myself

Popular Right Now

Remember To Be Kind To Theme Park Cast Members This Holiday Season

They make the magic for you.

For those of you who have traveled to a theme park during the holidays, you know what you are in for.

The weeks right before and after Christmas are some of the busiest times of the year to visit, making the parks extremely crowded and wait times higher than usual. Yet, this time is so popular since it is fun to experience the magic of the season with your family during the special Christmastime celebrations at the parks that bring something extra to your holidays.

One of the most important things to remember during this time of year is to be nice to the cast members!

Families that come to the parks during this time have so much to remember and so much to do; unfortunately, something that is often forgotten during a vacation is to be thankful for those who have to work during this time of year.

The cast members and team members who work during the holidays are doing so at the expense of spending time with their own families. They are sacrificing their Christmas celebrations at home to be at work making your vacation magical.

Some of these workers are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from their families and may not have seen them for weeks or even months. Yet, they are here in Orlando working in a job that they are passionate about because they love making happiness for their guests

Making magic and spreading happiness is something that is important to us and why we love what we do. However, it is still really hard to be away from our families at Christmas.

Think it is hard to be a guest when the parks are crowded?

It's even more difficult for the cast members who are working as hard as they can, for 8-15 hour shifts, when things happen that are out of our control. We too dislike long waits, telling your child that he is too short to ride or the fact that a ride is temporarily closed. These things make our jobs difficult too, just as they may be a huge setback in your vacation plans.

So focus on the positive things and appreciate the time you can spend with your families and friends rather than dwelling on the things that may be small setbacks during an overall wonderful holiday vacation. Please be patient this holiday season. Give the cast members a smile and a pleasant "thank you" or "Merry Christmas". We are here for you and we want you to have a wonderful vacation, but it still makes an incredible difference to know that our work is appreciated.

At this time of year, it is important to spread Christmas cheer and we are excited to celebrate with you and your families!

Cover Image Credit: Park Troopers

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Fast Food Horror Stories

Rude people and accidents... You can't avoid them


After working in the fast food industry for almost three years, I have accumulated many stories. There are many factors that make working in fast food awful and rude customers is definitely one of them. Some customers turn a very minor issue into a huge fiasco and when that happens, it's hard to forget about them. Here are eleven encounters I've had working in fast food that I will never forget.

In 48 Years of Living, This is the Most Ridiculous Thing

This lady comes up to the counter and orders a single dip of ice cream in a cone for her child. When the family is ready to leave, she came back up to the counter and asked for a cup to put the cone in so her child doesn't spill the ice cream in the car. At my place of employment, we have to charge for both, it's about .85 cents and this lady goes crazy. She said "Well the kid who sold me the ice cream didn't tell me that! In the 48 years that I have lived *this* is the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced!" she then began storming out of the store and said "If my child spills this in the car, I'm coming back to get the kid who sold it to me to clean it up! You just lost my business!"

Honestly, lady, if paying .85 cents for something extra is the most ridiculous thing you've ever experienced, you have a boring life. Next!

You're Paying For the Cup, Sir

This man came through the drive through and ordered a medium water. Once he got to my window, he immediately asked me "Is water not free?" to which I replied "The water cups are free but any other size is $1.25." He said "Well why didn't the order taker tell me that? It is OFFENSIVE to me, as a customer, to have to pay for water that should be free." One of my coworkers then joined the conversation and said "Is it offensive? You asked for water, the price is for the cup."

"Yes! It is! How old are you?"

Coworker: "20?"

Customer: "That's why it isn't offensive to you. What's your name? There are six people who own this parking lot and I'm one of them! I will get you fired! What is your name?!"

Then I gave him a fake name, he drove off, and we continued our shift.

Are You Listening to Me?

I was taking orders in the drive through and this man pulls up. As I start to take his order, my manager bagan shouting at someone from across the kitchen where I was passing so I didn't hear what he said, so I said "I'm sorry what was it?" and he angrily said "Are you listening to me? If you're not going to listen to me then we'll come inside."

My thoughts on this is he didn't know WHY I couldn't hear him so why did he get so angry? Also I don't understand how someone can talk to a stranger in such a manner. He was probably hangry.

It's Been 5 Minutes

A lady came through and ordered about $15 worth of ice cream and because the order behind hers was made first, we pulled her forward. She was waiting for a total of five minutes from the second she pulled away from the speaker and came inside and asked if she could get compensation of some sort. My manger gave her a $5 gift card and she said "Well that's not what I paid" so my manager ended up giving her the $5 gift card, a full refund, and all of her ice cream.

Your Parents Must Not Like You

A man read my name tag and said "Your name is Brooke? Your parents must not like you very much, huh?" I was completely taken aback by this comment but somehow managed to ask "Why not?" to which he replied "Oh, because it's the name of a trout fish."

...yeah... okay?

If I were your boss, I'd Fire You

An old man who is a regular at my store had returned a pint of ice cream and said he was able to get a free one. I called my manager over and he said he would check to make sure this is true. So while he was checking I went ahead and checked the person out behind him. I said to him "While my manager is checking that, I'll go ahead and help the person behind you and I'll be right back." He didn't say anything so I did as I said. When I came back with the information that I needed, I continued to help him but he gave me an earful. He said "You're very rude. It's incredibly disrespectful for you to leave someone and help someone else." So I told him, "Sir, I let you know about the situation and I told you we had to check to see if you were able to get a free ice cream."

Customer: "You weren't checking! You helped someone else out!"

Me: "We're short-handed and I'm trying to help everyone with the best efficiency."

Customer: "It's not my problem that you're short-handed!"

Me: "Sir, it becomes your problem when there isn't someone to help you."

At this point, he's just rambling on and I'm ignoring him while calling for my manager who comes over and stands next to me and listens to this guy talk. He then says "If I was your boss, I'd fire you!" I said "Well you aren't. This is my boss if you want to talk to her about it." Which he then looks at her, gets even more angry that my boss is a woman, and then leaves.

The lady behind him kept apologizing and wishing me a good rest of the day so that was somewhat relieving.

You Need to Hire More People

The same old man came in about two days later and I really did not want to help him because I knew it would not go well. However, I walked over to him and said "Hi, what can I get you?" Instead of telling me what he wanted, he began saying "The service here sucks. You either need to work faster or hire more people. I think you need to hire more people." When he said this I was about to reach for the applications to hand him one but then the same manager from before walked over and his attitude completely changed. I got him his ice cream and then ranted to my manager saying "I literally told him we were short-handed and he comes up and tells me the service sucks because there isn't enough people."

It's .30 Cents

This guy came up to the front counter and wanted to buy a banana. He did not weigh the banana and there is a button on the registers that rings up a single banana for .54 cents. When I tell him "it'll be .54 cents," he freaks out. He says "that banana is about .25 cents! I am NOT paying .54 cents! That is ridiculous!" and I said "well if you want to ring it up in the produce section we can" and he said "Do you see anyone over there?"

Me: "Sir, I am capable of ringing you up over there."

So I went over there and listened to him gripe at me because he thinks I steal money from customers for ringing them up for prices higher than they actually are. He even said "You know better than that. It's wrong and you know it." Then proceeded to pay .24 cents with a credit card.

I'm just doing my job. People want things and I ring them up and cash them out. I don't know what else to say.

There's Blood In My Ice Cream

This lady asked for ice cream and come back to the counter a few minutes later, speaking to my manager. My manager walks over to me and checks the front and back of my hands for any cuts or nail polish and showed me the lady's cream. She thinks there is blood in her ice cream but it was half of a cherry.

Bloody Finger

This story does involve blood. One of my managers was making a shake and somehow broke the cup and split her finger in half on the shake spindle. Blood got all over the counter and the floor and the other manager that was there had to take her to the hospital to get stitches. Luckily, there was an urgent care center across the street but, my goodness, that experience was a thrill.

Broken Hip

There is this 60 year-old lady who works in the grocery area of the store and she decided to stock milk. There were customers waiting on her and we didn't know where she was. We looked everywhere and when we couldn't find her, we just checked the customers out and went back to making food and ice cream. But then, about thirty minutes later, someone came up and told us that there was someone yelling for help in the freezer. We ran in there to find that she had fallen and broken her hip. There were only five people working and three of them were helping her. It was only my manager and I running the entire store while fire fighters and ambulances came to the rescue.

She recovered well and came back to work without even a limp!

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