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Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. In case you need a reminder of how long ago was, when the decade kicked off, the set on top the Billboard albums chart was Britain's Got Talent alum Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream -- in the fourth frame of its six-week run at pole position.
Other No. Needless to say, the s have come a long and winding way since then.
At the beginning of the s, many predicted the slow death of the album -- but at the decade's end, the format still seems absolutely vital, if forever changed. Here are the Billboard staff's favorite albums from the decade that was. A Star Is Bornthe soundtrack, is many things -- a meta-take on how an artist evolves in their career when thrown into the pop machine, a reflection on one's unwillingness to change, a coherent story that tells the rise of one popular performer Lady Gaga's Ally alongside the fall of another Bradley Cooper's Jackson Maineand a great pop-rock album that will stand the test of time.
From Jackson's opening riffing on "Black Eyes," to the closing of Ally's Whitney-inspired "I'll Never Love Again" -- with the indelible "Shallow" in the middle, of course -- Gaga and Cooper deed a fully realized work that transcends the film itself, allowing it to exist on its own as a piece of art. Lady Antebellum cemented their stardom with the release of sophomore album Need You Now in Propelled by the title track, a global smash which has been certified 9x Platinum by the RIAA, the project garnered five trophies at the Grammys.
Celebration Rock is a sprint, not a marathon. Its minute runtime flies by at breakneck speed, its only breathers bookending the album in the form of literal fireworks that both herald its start and revel in its conclusion. No rock album this decade could keep pace with its crackling guitar riffs, thrashing drums and go-for-broke lyricism — though oh, did they try. As progressive house was starting to sound anything but, over the increasingly homogenized course of the EDM boom, Porter Robinson was one of the few DJs whose music and imagination remained as open as a festival field.
Debut full-length LP Worlds was like Daft Punk's Discovery for millennials raised on anime and ProTools -- lush and lo-fi, robotic and sentimental, vividly bit. Ed Sheeran kicked off his x pronounced "multiply" era with a pair of frisky acoustic jams, "Sing" which he co-wrote with Pharrell Williams and "Don't. When an artist can both make you move and make you sigh, he's the real deal.
Doesn't need to worry about that anytime soon. More important, the powerful set brought to the national forefront what had already enticed a legion of hometown fans in Los Angeles since a soulful drawl wrapped around sharp production and incisive lyrics extolling faith, overcoming societal hurdles and paying it forward. A testament to Nipsey's authentic talent, perseverance and passionate support of black excellence, Victory Lap also doubles as a timeless blueprint for winning.
Over the course of the track set, Pink flits from piano rock with Fun. In the pursuit of unknotting her contradictions -- heartache and devotion, sexuality and rage -- P! Full of poignancy and instinctual insight into the human condition, Odisea struck a nerve that went far deeper than the club floor, becoming the top-selling Latin album of With this pivotal album release, Cyrus took control of her public persona, surprising less with her provocative antics than with her constant artistic evolution. Following a two-album sojourn on Sire Records, the Florida-bred punk band's sixth LP was self-produced by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace and self-released on her own imprint, Total Treble.
But returning to the group's teenage anarchist roots was far from the focus; across Transgender Dysphoria BluesGrace recounted her recent gender transition, the massive choruses and blustery shout-alongs retaining -- and often surpassing -- Against Me! For the first half of the '10s, Childish Gambino was mainly known as the nerdy guy from Community who also dabbled in spacey, occasionally overshare-y rap.Dirty Auld Town
If the title to Sky Ferreira's debut album and its not-ready-for-Wal-Mart cover image served as a sort of tacit admission that she was done playing nice with the mainstream, the actual album feels blessedly unburdened with any kind of memory of commercial expectation. Night Time, My Time is the sound of an grunge-pop singer-songwriter unconcerned with the Top 40 folks she's running laps around, the sheer confidence of the songcraft belying the occasionally crippling insecurity and frustration of the lyrics.
Even the Suicide-y hissfest about Japanese Jesus kinda sounds like a smash on some level. It's been a long, well-traveled road for folk singer Brandi Carlile, and it feels like all of it led to her masterpiece By The Way, I Forgive You. Gone were the singer's traditional anthemic singles, replaced by more vulnerable, more artistic and more queer songs that showed the possibility and importance of seeing myriad voices reflected in the country music space. That needed voice finally got to come to the light this decade, and Carlile is one of the trailblazers carving out a path for success regardless of identity.
In Junethe Jonas Brothers made an unforgettable return with their first studio album in a decade.
They put their wives, happiness, and tumultuous, yet fulfilling journey as a family band at the forefront of Happiness Beginscreating a pop comeback full of feel-good songs and an overall mature vibe that has a little something for longtime fans and new listeners alike. The JoBros are back, and they're both bigger and better than ever. After two uneven albums of undeniable singles and questionable reaches, J. Cole brought it all back home and officially became his own brand with Forest Hills Drive.
Unlike the big radio swings taken on past efforts, you might not even remember this time around the lead single was the unassuming "Apparently," a meditative song about Cole feeling guilty for living lavish while his mother's home got repossessed. It was representative of an album in which the rapper doubled down on his sometimes awkwardly close connection with his audience, stopped acting like an A-lister, and in the process actually became one.
It's no surprise the minute thank-you track is among its most essential. Travis Scott graduated to superstardom when he unleashed his third studio album Astroworld in Filled with unexpected twists and turns, Astroworld was an action-packed ride from start to finish.
Can't say the title didn't warn you: The 's second album was as sprawling, unwieldy, open-hearted and yes, occasoinally embarrassing as its name would imply. But the Manchester quartet and their extremely assuming frontman wouldn't have had it any other way -- at a moment where many rock bands' ambitions seemed to shrink to either getting to the bottom lines of a festival poster or populating a couple Spotify playlists, The went as big as their character limits would allow.
The result was a minute opus that encompassed fame-whoring electro-funk, starry-eyed new wave, and bedroom pop that begged you to come back to bed -- a love 'em or hate 'em masterwork that asked you to do the formerbut preferred the latter to nothing at all. In the creation of Sigh No More which made its U. From the melancholic anger of "White Blank " to the overpowering "Little Lion Man" and the quieter hopefulness of "Awake My Soul," Mumford crafted an entire album infused with the sounds of yester-year -- the best of which is "The Cave," which swells to an incredible heart-pounding chorus.
With all the imitators that followed -- from Phillip Phillips, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men to even One Direction -- it's easy to forget that not only did Mumford do it first, but they did it best. Cabello also became the first woman in three years to hit No. How do you top your magnum opus and the greatest-performing Billboard album of all time? A pretty tall order, but by no means did Adele disappoint on her third studio album. The set contains the perfect melancholy soul hits to put her unbeatable vocals on full display, from "Water Under The Bridge" to "When We Were Young" to "Hello" -- all of which are the type of crossover smashes that made us fall in love with the British powerhouse in the first place.
Five albums in and Sheffield alt-rockers Arctic Monkeys had perfected the more nocturnal, adult version of their earlier formula: a steadying drumbeat, fuzzed out guitars and a smoldering look from frontman Alex Turner to seal the deal. The official LP debut of Charlotte Aitchison was a veritable greatest hits' worth of cloud-pop gems, dramatic and ecstatic and very rarely less than gorgeous. Few pop albums of the early '10s felt anywhere near this hot-blooded, pulsing with all kinds of palpable feeling, whether the head-rush giddiness of "Take My Hand," the woozy longing of "So Far Away" or the near-uncomfortable intimacy of "Grins.
The LP produced two monster hits, both irresistible when it came to sing-shouting the choruses -- "Stressed Out," which peaked at No. After finding her musical past, present and future tied up in litigation against longtime producer Lukasz Gottwald, a. Luke, Kesha and her fans were left worried about what would become of the star's career. With RainbowKesha took the reins of her career back and steered it in the direction that she wanted, which turned out to be a rock-infused, vocal-focused sound that the world wasn't used to hearing from the former dance-pop hedonist.
Rainbow topped the Billboard and earned a Grammy nomination, closing the book on the star's early hip-hop-infused sound, and opening the door to her still impossibly bright and colorful future. While Jenni Rivera would always be a banda singer at heart, she was capable of much more. With Joyas Prestadasshe set out to demonstrate how big her range of action could be, recording covers of beloved songs in two genres: pop and banda.
Bigger than life, Rivera delivered in both, a rare feat. In his final album before his death at 26, the meditative Pittsburgh rapper spools thre that are either on the verge of, or beginning to, unravel. Connect with a pair of charismatic up-and-comers and reassert his rap game dominance.
Constantly quotable and utterly filler-less, Sremmlife remains the duo's definitive full length. But the producer's livewire chemistry with the Brothers Sremm paid dividends throughout the decade -- most notably on the immaculate "Black Beatles," arguably the defining song of Throughout the s, Perfume Genius was experimenting in the studio and on stage, finding new ways to exorcise his demons on the way to self-love.
But Perfume Genius is a singular artist, and on No Shapehe genuinely exists outside of influence or context. Lizzo was the genre-bending, flute-wielding, twerking hero we all needed in One year after the infamous Tomato-gate controversy -- in which a radio consultant compared females on country playlists to tomatoes in sal -- Maren Morris answered with a dynamic breakout LP that won over the country mainstream and beyond. Tegan and Sara's seventh studio album was the alt duo's first marked foray into pure pop music, and the Quins were rewarded with their highest album chart position to date No.
The perfect marriage of confessional lyrics and euphoric, radio-friendly choruses, Heartthrob was always destined to inspire swooning from old and new fans alike. Over 10 abrasive, industrial tracks, West raps with razor-sharp precision about everything from the prison industrial complex to his inner demons, his marriage to Kim Kardashian, and, memorably, croissants.
The result brims with urgency, which makes sense: West made several last-minute alterations to the project, and just days from its release, enlisted the help of Rick Rubin to trim it down to exactly 40 minutes. Yeezus is as loud, hard and fast as a gunshot.
Sam Hunt established himself as an undeniable hitmaker on his debut Montevallo. Indeed he does. With soft vocals laid over string beds, Stevens immaculately explores the gut-wrenching details surrounding the death of his mother -- providing an in-depth of his extremely tumultuous relationship with her -- and his subsequent coping methods on this hushed masterpiece.
Through deeply personal tales of longing, heartbreak, reflection and self-destruction, Carrie and Lowell thrives in its hardship.
While other DJs have prided themselves on putting unlikely artists together to forge hits in a lab, none did it more effectively, or with more unexpected pizzazz, than Harris on this star-studded collection. Bon Iver is geography. Forget about the log cabinBon Iver seems to suggest. In itinerant revelry, Vernon established himself as one of the most singular artists of the decade. Inblues-rock duo The Black Keys Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney were personally at odds with each other, and with both launching side projects, it looked like a sixth album was maybe never going to happen.
Fortunately, they set their personal differences aside for the sake of the band, and set out to record the career-making Brothers at Alabama's famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, which had been defunct for 30 years. If Frank Ocean is Odd Future's biggest breakout star and Earl Sweatshirt its most consistent, Tyler, the Creator is certainly the most fascinating, challenging artist to emerge from the outsider hip-hop collective. Serving up a simmering stew of vulnerability, audacity, desire and fear over a bed of satiating synths and hearty, clipped beats, Tyler continues to buck the top 40 trap trends while charting a path into a more idiosyncratic odd, even future for hip-hop.
What does it mean to take responsibility for your actions, really? Is an apology ever enough? As a mea culpa, is as real as they come. Oxnard crooner Anderson. Paak created a major splash inwith a six-song seal of approval courtesy of Dr. But he officially made landfall inbeginning with the genre-blending and Grammy-nominated declaration Malibu. From the wide-eyed saxophone riff of "Run Away With Me" to the thumping, haunting beats on "Warm Blood" to the jumpy bass of "Boy Problems," every note is meticulously plotted — but with CRJ's eternally optimistic ebullience on the mic, there's a looseness to this '80s synth sundae that keeps you dipping the spoon back in for one more taste… and okay, maybe just one more after that.
Released on his 69th birthday, just two days before cancer claimed his life, David Bowie knew full well Blackstar would be his swan song. Even if the music -- which gently veers from warm synths to skittering percussion to avant-jazz cacophony -- is as chameleonic as ever, Bowie isn't role-playing on the mic: There's a tender joy in the latter half of epic opener "Blackstar" and an unusually sweet candor on closer "I Can't Give Everything Away.
And somehow, that makes it even more heartbreaking. ByKendrick Lamar had essentially become the industry's mouthpiece for struggling black artists. After being exalted on albums for his fearlessness and social conscience, Lamar dressed his fourth album, DAMNas the project where his conflicting thoughts about success and spirituality took center stage.
On "Feel," Kendrick is a wounded soul looking for reassurance from his loved ones, while "Fear" showcases the Compton lyricist's biggest worries from ages 7, 17, and With his fifth album, J Balvin made good on his promise to make Latin music universal, regardless of language.
Inelectronic music was bigger than ever in the United States, but the house genre -- foundational to the DNA of the scene -- was largely forgotten amidst the big room, confetti blast madness. Then two babyfaced brothers from Surrey dropped their debut LP, Settleand with it elevated dance world consciousness, with 16 effervescent tracks that were at once an homage to the roots of electronic music and the furthest, freshest iteration of the sound.
Settle made the Lawrence brothers, just 19 and 22 when the album was released, stars -- and with the mega-hit "Latch" which hit No. The title to Drake's third official LP describes its creator's career in pretty much any year of the past ten -- his style and musical core shifted as consistently as his narrative, with the only constant being undeniable, world-beating stardom. Still, you could do much worse than Nothing Was the Same for one flashbulb moment to remember Young Aubrey's decade by: a sonically rich, melodically lush set of personal transmissions that feels like it's being shared in confidence, despite being beamed to untold millions of fans worldwide.
Origin story "Started From the Bottom" comfortably shares space with family-business airing "Too Much," pillow talk whisper "Wu Tang Forever" and crowd-pleasing crossover smash "Hold On We're Going Home," all seemingly coming from the same late-night whims of the s' most prolific "U up?
The debut album for the London singer-songwriter spawned three big hits, all ball of uncommon poignancy. The gospel-infused "Stay With Me" hit No. In the Lonely Hourwhich won a Grammy for best pop vocal album, is one of the best mainstream explorations of late-night loneliness since Frank Sinatra's classic In the Wee Small Hours. Somehow it all meshes — perhaps only as Claire Boucher could allow. His dark thoughts were amplified by dramatic production from Metro Boomin and Southside, and the resulting full-length, which included a Drake feature, found the notoriously prolific rapper with his stickiest, most crowd-pleasing songs yet.
Gucci flip-flops have never been the same. Electronic dance-punk collective LCD Soundsystem -- led by Brooklyn stalwart James Murphy -- heralded their third album This Is Happening as their last, and yet it fittingly doubles as the closing dispatch from the once-burgeoning indie scene in New York.Naughty sex chat Nate Banda
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The Greatest Albums of the s: Staff Picks