2010s Marathon

A collection of 200 2000s albums (or mixtapes), I haven't heard yet and that are highly regarded by critics, the general public and/or this website.
Each day, I will try to listen to one of these albums and rate it.

55 / 200 projects done

Doing this together with u/ scotthalde

Marina & the Diamonds - The Family Jewels
72
Favourite track: Are You Satisfied?

Despite some duds in the track list and Marina‘s special vocal timbre sometimes being off-putting, the album ultimately succeeds with catchy tracks, good messages and solid production.

Listens: 2
Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
Favourite track: /

NR – I don’t get the hype. Have One on Me is an impressive singer-songwriter accomplishment instrumentally and vocally. It’s also overly long, non-memorable and samey mess of an album.

Listens: 1
MGMT - Congratulations
79
Favourite track: Congratulations

Congratulations isn't my favourite Neo-Psychedelia album of 2010, but it is a solid take on the genre. Especially the first and last song manage to simultaneously deliver on the pop sensibilities of MGMT. The other songs aren't all that intriguing to me though and while Siberian Breaks certainly is a great accomplishment, it does seem like multiple song fragments were just combined to try to make an epic. I remember owning this on vinyl and giving it away to a friend who appreciated this album more. This is exactly how I feel about today.

Listens: 2
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
85
Favourite track: Diamond Eyes

Deftones' focus on strong and emotional vocal melodies and choruses pays off greatly on Diamond Eyes.

Listens: 3
The National - High Violet
73
Favourite track: Terrible Love

I didn't think I would be remotely intrigued by an album by The National at all after hearing the singles for one of their latest albums The First Two Pages of Frankenstein, Taylor Swift's Aaron Dessner produced albums Folklore and Evermore and some other stuff by them. I did enjoy High Violet though. It turns out that the band actually is capable of delivering really lush and vibrant Indie Rock instrumentals to somehow make their relatively basic melancholic Indie/Singer-Songwriter shtick work. This is well-made and enjoyable stuff, but I'm not sure, if it can connect with me on a deeper level.

Listens: 2
Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
83
Favourite track: Locked Inside

An album that grew on me immensely on second listen, Janelle Monáe‘s The ArchAndroid seems to be quite ahead of its time. While the second (or third) suite has some inconsistencies towards the middle and isn't all that memorable in its stronger parts, the rest of the album is an immaculate, fun and conceptual pop experience mixing R&B, Neo-Soul, Funk, Neo-Psychedelia, orchestral elements and Hip-Hop.

Listens: 4
The Brave Little Abacus - just got back from the discomfort—we're alright
Favourite track: Bug-Infested Floorboards—Can We Please Just Leave This Place, Now.

NR – I just can't get over the lead singers vocals. I can tell the album is great, but it just doesn't connect with me for that reason. I find myself enjoying (and even feeling) some moments – mostly, I'm just out of it though.

Listens: 2
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
87
Favourite track: The Suburbs

For some reason, I always thought that I don't like Arcade Fire. Now it turns out, they make some really pretty and detailed Indie Rock which is stylistically right up my alley, reminding me of Grizzly Bear at points. I also do understand why Isaac Wood once said, Black Country, New Road wanted to become the new Arcade Fire. This specific album, The Suburbs, has a really nostalgic sound to it tying into the themes of childhood and growing up. It's remarkable how I feel like I've known these songs for years after only a few listens. What keeps this from a 9-ish rating, is the length of the album. More specifically, I think some songs could've been cut as they don't quite hold up to the best tracks, don't expand the album sonically or don't seem too necessary thematically. Nonetheless, The Suburbs is one of the best traditional Indie Rock records I've ever heard.

Listens: 5+
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
85
Favourite track: Helicopter

As one of my favorite labels, 4AD always seems to be a reliable source for great music in the broad realm of Psychedelia. Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter is no exception. It is no groundbreaking or absolutely original work, but the band consistently delivers irresistible, well written and immaculately produced Indie Pop tunes through the lens of Psychedelic Rock. Especially Helicopter is one of the most blissful Psychedelic songs I’ve ever heard. It sounds like someone wanted to make the instrumental intro of Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground a fully fleshed-out song.

Listens: 5+
Women - Public Strain
79
Favourite track: Heat Distraction

Public Strain is an interesting listen and Women present a bunch of great ideas, but the Lo-Fi production and bleak atmosphere do get in the way a little too often for it to translate to true greatness.

Listens: 2
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
84
Favourite track: Too Much

Sufjan Stevens is another artist I haven't found myself loving so far. I heard his collaboration with Angelo de Augustine which was fine and I was impressed by Javelin, but didn't really return to it or regard it that highly. The Age of Adz connected with me though – on two different levels. Firstly, I find the Glitch Pop and Indietronica instrumentals combined with Chamber Pop elements very interesting, quirky and unique. It's far more engaging to me than what I've heard on said other Sufjan Stevens projects. And secondly, I loved the vocal performances, vocal arrangements, vocal production and melodies which made me connect to the album on an emotional level.

Listens: 3
Robyn - Body Talk
64
Favourite track: In My Eyes

It pains me to say because some tunes are actually good, but this album has aged like milk. The whole production is incredibly outdated, goofy or outright dreadful. It was fun to hear Snoop Dogg rap over this kind of beat though – and then Robyn just kinda goes Reggae (Dancehall to be precise) on Dancehall Queen, which is quite jarring and also the first time I genuinely liked parts of the instrumental. I guess the last few tracks of the album are by far the best.

Listens: 1
Adele - 21
71
Favourite track: One and Only

21 is a good Pop Soul record, but nothing beyond that. There is not a lot here and many of the songs are fairly forgettable and generic, while trying to be bombastic and meaningful. Especially Adele's cover of The Cure's Lovesong stands out as dull filler.

Listens: 1
Destroyer - Kaputt
86
Favourite track: Kaputt

Despite being a little distracted on first listen, I recognized melodies and hooklines on second listen, like I had been familiar with the album for an already longer time. This is one of the best indicators for some seriously great songwriting and for a body of work being a grower. Apart from that, the production and instrumentation are very beautiful throughout; a very unique blend between Dream Pop, Disco elements and Jazz.

Listens: 2
James Blake - James Blake
73
Favourite track: The Wilhelm Scream

The production and electronic instrumentation, although ambitious and experimental, often comes off as tame compared to other artists who did similar things. The same goes for James Blake's vocal performances and songs. It's a good album, especially for a debut, but nothing more.

Listens: 2
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
82
Favourite track: All & Everyone

Listens: 1
Giles Corey - Giles Corey
90
Favourite track: Spectral Bride

Giles Corey is an album I don't see myself returning to all that often, but a formidable and deeply disturbing one, if you listen closely.

Listens: 2
71
Favourite track: Coming Down

Some of the lyrics are really bad and sometimes The Weeknd's persona (best case: annoying fuckboy, worst case: low-key rapist) and vocals get on my nerves, but man, these songs are so well produced and when they hit, they are great. Sorry, but you're not what I need, Abel.

Listens: 1
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
66
Favourite track: The Edge of Glory

I kind of hated most of Born This Way and simultaneously didn't. I might never return to this album because I think it aged similarly bad to Robyn's Body Talk and some of the beats and production are frankly atrocious, just like the album cover. On the other hand, Lady Gaga has some great melodic ideas, memorable lyrics and a lot of personality here. So, I don't fuck with this, but ey, it's a solid late 2000s/early 2010s pop effort with some big hits.

Listens: 1
Death Grips - Exmilitary
83
Favourite track: I Want It I Need It

Listens: 1
Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
74
Favourite track: Perth

Bon Iver's self-titled record is a lot of style and not a lot of substance. The songs don't really intrigue me all that much and Justin Vernon's vocals are a little too stale in their whininess.

Listens: 1
Beyoncé - 4
69
Favourite track: Love On Top

4 is kind of a weird transitional album for Beyoncé, where she presents some very classic R&B sounds. Mostly, the results aren't exactly outstanding, sometimes they are a little too shallow. Love On Top is pure ecstasy though with its multiple key changes sending you on an emotional upward spiral.

Listens: 2
Kendrick Lamar - Section.80
80
Favourite track: Ab-Souls Outro

Section.80 is an amazing debut from one of the best rappers I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. While there are one or two duds on the album (especially that song about make-up is very meh), I thought the rest of the tracklist was incredibly consistent with some incredible samples and instrumentation already pointing towards Kendrick's magnus opum TPAB. I didn't really pay attention to the lyrics on first listen apart from what I couldn't overhear and still, I had a great time with Section.80 – very excited for good kid, m.A.A.d city now.
Also, am I the only one who thinks Hiiipower sounds a lot like MBDTF?

Listens: 2
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
64
Favourite track: /

As someone who enjoys almost half of Coldplay's discography (Parachutes, except for Yellow, AROBTTH, Viva la Vida and Everyday Life), this album is pretty boring. It's not lifeless or devoid of passion, and the production is not bad, but everything about it is just so mediocre and uninteresting to me. I think I prefer Ghost Stories to this, despite some admittedly mid instrumentals and low-key cringe lyrics.

Listens: 1
Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
70
Favourite track: Leave My Body

This kind of sound just isn't for me. The huge stadium anthems are expertly crafted musically and lyrically, but they don't connect with me at all. The emotions are so big and grandiose that they simply don't come off as genuine enough. The instrumentals are detailed, but they don't seem nuanced or interesting at all. And on top of all that, this album is kind of messy sonically (I guess the mixing is the problem here). So, not my thing, though I will say that I wasn't entirely turned off and even enjoyed some moments here and there.

Listens: 1
A$AP Rocky - LIVE.LOVE.A$AP
79
Favourite track: Trilla

Amazing production and samples!

Listens: 1
Drake - Take Care
58
Favourite track: Under Ground Kings

For a start, I want to disclaim that I have heard like 10-15 Hip-Hop records so far. I say this because I'm gonna compare this album to Kanye West's MBDTF and I feel amateurish doing it. I'll do it anyway though since Drake's tone, his mix of singing and rapping and his lyrical themes remind me of MBDTF. The point I want to make is that Take Care is worse on absolutely every level. Some lyrics are just utter garbage, the production is nothing more than pleasant, the instrumentals are often boring and Drake is not a compelling singer nor rapper to me. There are some highlights here, when Drake either focuses in on story telling, like on Marvins Room, or when he lets loose on Under Ground Kings or when he has some strong feature guests like Kendrick Lamar or, although I hate this guy as a person, Rick Ross, but overall, Take Care is just far too long and far too boring to really care about it.

Listens: 1
The Roots - undun
85
Favourite track: Kool On

I wouldn't have noticed this is a concept album, if I wouldn't have researched a bit. Regardless, this is one of the most beautiful Hip Hop albums I've heard so far.

Listens: 2
Chairlift - Something
75
Favourite track: Sidewalk Safari

As a big Caroline Polachek fan, I expected liking this album about as much as I did. It's very good and pleasant, occasionally quirky and very well produced Indie pop.

Listens: 2
Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
81
Favourite track: Dark Parts

This will surely grow on me as I’ll start to get a little more of a grip on the individual songs presented. After just two listens, the track listing still blends together quite a bit, but I already know that a lot of these songs are phenomenal on their own. The biggest strength of this record from the get-go is its atmosphere though, which is created by the beautiful production and vulnerable vocal delivery.

Listens: 2
87
Favourite track: Get Got

These guys really want to give me tinnitus and a headache, but somehow I still love what they're doing.

Listens: 2
alt-J - An Awesome Wave
70
Favourite track: Tessellate

alt-j was always a band I disliked and even after giving this album a chance from front to back, I'm not convinced as there is some unforgivably terrible stuff on here – specifically the album's two biggest hits Breezeblocks and Fitzpleasure. From the titles alone one could guess that these songs are crap. The rest of An Awesome Wave is surprisingly solid though with some intriguing and often beautiful production, touching melodies and well-crafted Indie Pop tunes. Mostly this formula works in alt-j's favor and makes for an enjoyable listen.

Listens: 1
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
77
Favourite track: Every Single Night

A fantastically strange and very focused Singer-Songwriter record where the tunes mostly didn't quite convince me.

Listens: 2
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
85
Favourite track: We Drift Like Worried Fire

Lengthy instrumental Post-Rock probably won't ever be my favourite genre, so take my high rating with a grain of salt. This is simply high-quality music. The performances are fantastic, the builds work and the atmospherics are on point. I've got nothing to complain about.

Listens: 1
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
80
Favourite track: Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst

Hmm, considering how much praise is piled up on this album, I am pretty mild on it. Definitely not as good as To Pimp a Butterfly and not as sonically up my alley as Section.80. Don't get me wrong here, the lyrical content is mostly fantastic, with the occasional eye-roller (the entire Backseat Freestyle), but musically I wasn't blown away here. Kendrick's flows didn't connect with me that much and most features didn't land. I definitely enjoyed myself the most during the last leg of the album from the phenomenal Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst to the somewhat triumphant closer Compton.

Listens: 1
Deftones - Koi No Yokan
85
Favourite track: Swerve City

An all-killer-no-filler alt-metal album; Koi No Yokan might be a little long and a little too similar to what Deftones did on Diamond Eyes, but it still pops off!

Listens: 2
Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox
69
Favourite track: Treasure

Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox is kinda bland, like many pop records from the early '10s, the production lacks bite and character and the track list is kind of all over the place. Nevertheless, much of the album slaps.

Listens: 1
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
71
Favourite track: Ya Hey

It was quality indie pop, but I couldn't really find anything to love musically. Also, why is that incredibly mid album cover art so beloved?

Listens: 1
Kanye West - Yeezus
56
Favourite track: Bound 2

Listens: 1
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