To adapt that famous misquotation attributed to Mark Twain, reports of the album’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Ever since the turn of the millennium, conventional wisdom has had it that the traditional long-player is on its way out, an arcane format out of time with the digital world that will cede inexorably to a future of singles and playlists. But while many artists have experimented with what an album could and should be – many high profile artists have made surprise releases, while emerging ones have relied upon mixtapes and free downloads – the format has proven surprisingly resilient even halfway into the ‘10s.
While physical sales overall are down (can you honestly say you buy as many CDs as you used to?) and even paid-for digital downloads are declining in the face of the streaming wars, there has been encouraging signs that the oft-maligned, even older format of the vinyl album is enjoying a renaissance. There’s still a dedicated, and maybe even growing, audience out there that’s prepared to take physical ownership of the music it enjoys – so much so that the Official Charts Company in the UK has recently announced a chart tracking the sales of vinyl only.
Perhaps our attention span isn’t as worn-down as it’s supposed to be; maybe it’s too much effort to keep on chopping, changing and adding to our own personally curated lists; or maybe the record companies and artists haven’t figured out a more effective way to promote music than by touring schedules based around new material recorded in short bursts of studio time. For the meantime, it looks as if the full-length album is still the measure by which artists measure their own progress and each other’s.
Hopefully, these 100 albums are a compelling argument that the album format is not only alive, but still the optimal medium through which artists express themselves: what we think are the greatest records of the 2010s so far (January 1st 2010 – December 31st 2014).
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Tags: Adele, albums of the decade so far, Alt-J, Anna Calvi, Aphex Twin, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Band Of Horses, Battles, Beach House, Bill Callahan, Bjork, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bon Iver, Caribou, Chance The Rapper, Cloud Nothings, Crystal Castles, Daft Punk, David Byrne, Deerhunter, Disclosure, Django Django, Drake, Eagulls, Ed Biggs, Elbow, FKA twigs, Flying Lotus, Foals, Frank Ocean, Fuck Buttons, Girls, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Gold Panda, greatest albums of the 2010s, Grimes, Haim, Jagwar Ma, Jake Bugg, James Blake, Jay-Z, Joanna Newsom, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, Laura Marling, Lauren James, LCD Soundsystem, Local Natives, Lower Dens, M83, Matthew Langham, Melody's Echo Chamber, Metronomy, My Bloody Valentine, Parquet Courts, PJ Harvey, Pond, Pulled Apart By Horses, Purity Ring, Queens Of The Stone Age, Real Estate, Robyn, Run The Jewels, Savages, Sharon Van Etten, Sleigh Bells, St. Vincent, Swans, Tame Impala, The Black Keys, The Drums, The Horrors, The Maccabees, The National, The Student Playlist, The War On Drugs, The xx, Thee Oh Sees, These New Puritans, Tuneyards, Two Door Cinema Club, Vampire Weekend, Warpaint, Wild Beasts, Yeasayer
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