The Hundred
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Growing up, my parents didn’t listen to regular, popular music. In our house, we listened to Christian radio or, if I was lucky, praise and worship cassettes with some honestly rad synths and chimes. Having to fend for myself, most of my music came from Kazaa and my neighbor’s CD burner. I stole, I mean, downloaded whole albums and wrote their titles on CD-Rs. Sharpie on disc was a legitimate art form. This habit continued through high school, when I was lucky enough to trade music with the cool kids in bands. My listening habits haven’t changed much since. I still prefer whole albums and continue to get recommended all the music I end up loving most. So yeah, here it is, a list of my favorite albums of the 2010s. Tapping on an album will take you to a YouTube upload of one of its songs. There’s a playlist of all the songs here.


Floating Points
11/ 06/ 2015
This album single handedly convinced me to switch from Google Play Music to Spotify. For some reason, the Google Play music app on my Galaxy Note 5 wouldn’t play songs that were longer than about 10 minutes. The 10:43 track Silhouettes (I, II, & III) was broken as a result, and it was pretty much my entire reason for loving the album. I still use Spotify.


Title Fight
Floral Green
11/ 18/ 2012
One of my longtime friends has the best taste in music of anyone I’ve ever met (along with the most artistic talent, but that’s another story). In 2013, he gave me this on CD for my birthday, which I secretly thought to be a ballsy, presumptive move. I should’ve known better than to second guess a strong recommendation from him. He knew better than I did how much I craved a well executed blend of hardcore, emo, and shoegaze. Fun packaging bonus: the white part of the album sleeve slides off, revealing a full view of the artwork underneath.


Vince Staples
Summertime 06
06/ 30/ 2015
Is this album artwork a Joy Division reference? I don’t know, but the album bops, and I think we’ll all fondly remember the YouTube video lady being appalled at Norf Norf’s lyrics.


Neko Case
The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
11/ 03/ 2013
My aforementioned music friend bought this vinyl on sale at Urban Outfitters, and I’ve loved it ever since. The energetic songs on the front end are like an indie Shania Twain, but slower tracks like Nearly Midnight, Honolulu still breaks my heart each time I hear em.


Toro y Moi
Outer Peace
01/ 18/ 2019
Chaz has a knack for making a perfect back end of an album: 5 or 6 tracks that I can’t help but listen to as one uninterrupted piece, as he does with Outer Peace. It’s danceable chillwave with teeth that gets my shoulders oh so imperceptibly swaying at my desk.


Dude Incredible
09/ 16/ 2015
The guitar and bass are just so chunky. The vocals sounds more like some guy screaming in the train station than they do a practiced vocalist. Listening to this makes me want to throw a cinderblock through a Bed Bath & Beyond window or eat cereal without milk.


04/ 12/ 2010
Gold Panda
Lucky Shiner
This is some good put-your-head-down-and-get-to-work music, I’ll tell you what. Some of these electronic bleep-bloop compositions are catchy and enough to hold their own in a party mix, too. I’m looking at you, Marriage.


Youth Lagoon
Year of Hibernation
09/ 24/ 2012
Hazy, reverb laden bedroom production that’s as prefect for listening to in your bedroom at night as it is out on a walk with your pups. I can remember my looping Montana all night when I first heard it. The album feels like something you found on an abandoned hard drive, some auteur’s masterpiece that they never got around to mastering.


Cities Aviv
Digital Lows
05/ 02/ 2011
When I saw a Memphis rapper getting blog attention, it was love at first listen. Just like it was yesterday, I can see myself making a right onto East Parkway on my way into work, this album sounding less than its best through my busted 2001 Dodge Neon speakers.


They Get There
06/ 07/ 2019
Grooves, grooves, grooves. Indie rock with basslines that are anything but twee. Lyrics that get to me too, like “I’m scared of things that grow, like love and mold.” A good indie rock album is absolute comfort food. This is my musical rice and beans. Seriously, that bass though.


Majical Cloudz
Are You Alone?
10/ 16/ 2015
“I never show it, but I am always laughing.” Devon Welsh gets sentimental on this album with morbid love songs that were perfectly suited to my then budding relationship. I’d like to think I somehow had something to do with the writing of Silver Car Crash, like maybe I psychically gifted it to Devon while we shared a dream. Minimal, droning loops do their best to stay out of the way, creating cavernous, unadorned cathedrals for romantically misanthropic poetry.


Diamond Rings
Special Affections
10/ 25/ 2010
Tbh, I was first drawn into this album by John O’Regan’s flamboyant Diamond Rings persona. I just thought he was neat. I don’t think I could have handled the stress of online Halo Reach multiplayer without the company of Special Affections’ DIY production and playful vocal melodies.


I’ll Be the Tornado
10/ 14/ 2014
An overly earnest emo album with off key vocals and a post rock closer couldn’t be more on brand for me in 2014. Whenever I want to remember the melancholy of being friendless in LA after the shiny newness of the move had worn off, I can put this on, I guess. Sad boy fuel.


The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt
04/ 13/ 2010
At the time, I could not get over the masterful guitar playing of Kristian Matsson. His music felt like total Americana, even though he’s from Sweden, which only made his act more novel. Aside from some piano on the closer, guitar and vocals are all you get from The Wild Hunt. It was perfectly timed for a younger, more earnest me. None of his later, more heavily produced and instrumentally accompanied works have resonated with me as much as this album.


Ones and Sixes
06/ 23/ 2015
This album was a staple for overcast winter months spent visiting my boyfriend in South Carolina. The thoughtfully spaced, heavy guitar strums reverberated across the tall vaulted ceilings of his living room, turning the music into a space itself. The speakers were the last thing we packed when we moved him out to CA that January. Not so much doom, but plenty of gloom.


Sorority Noise
05/ 13/ 2014
If there’s anything I liked more than sad boy music in 2014, it was happy sounding sad boy music that reveled in self-deprecation. “Cause I don’t like who I see/ each morning when I look in the mirror/ In fact it’s the only thing I fear/ That I’m empty inside these bones.” Those were some real feels, man.


Darwin Deez
Darwin Deez
11/ 07/ 2010
This is one of a handful of albums that was on loop in my graphic design studio classes. Three hours of nervously scrolling through other people’s work on ffffound while Darwin’s front-and-center, scuzzy guitar melodies kept me focused. A lot of the songs may be too cutesy and overly novel for some, but I can’t get enough. Like in DNA, he sings, “When I call you are never home, and I am down to six or seven chromosomes/ But you don’t care, or understand, how it feels to be a single double strand.” By the time I got home from class and actually got to work on my assignments, it was sweet relief to finally be able to sing along.


You Blew It!
Keep Doing What You’re Doing
01/ 16/ 2014
Surprise surprise, more 2014 emo: now with fuller instrumentation, great execution, harmonized group vocals, and a little more light at the end of the tunnel. These guys were great company when I was cooking for myself more after the big move. “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe.”


Ten Stories
05/ 15/ 2012
Every band has to try a concept album at some point, and one could do worse than narrating the fates of a troupe of circus animals following the derailing of their train. You have to read the liner notes to really understand what is going on and what forlorn animal Aaron is attributing his voice to, but the payoff is as existentially and spiritually fruitful as ever. After the band went full folk on their previous album It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, it was refreshing to hear some of their previous edge return to both their vocals and their instrumentation. Forever I stan.


The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
Whenever, If Ever
06/ 18/ 2013
I knew I was leaving Memphis, but I didn’t know when and to where. I did know I would be leaving the people I loved and grew up with, as well as abandoning the suburban streets that I blamed for all my life’s shortcomings. In my music choices at the time, emotion and sincerity appealed to me more than anything else. “So where did you live, and what did you learn there?” I asked myself. What did the time spent somewhere I didn’t want to be mean to me? Was leaving the best people I’d ever known worth the bright city lights, the international markets, the better concerts? I know the answers to these things now, so I don’t return to this album very often, but I owe it a large debt of gratitude.


Art Angels
11/ 06/ 2015
Coping with the stress of overplanning for your first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner? Let the pop-punk and chillwave inspired pop stylings of Grimes keep you company. Maybe dial down the number of dishes next year while you’re at it.


Nikki Nack
01/ 16/ 2014
No Water In the Water Fountain was all I needed to fall in love with Nikki Nack. Considering all the downtrodden, self-deprecating emo I was listening to this year, this album of upbeat, percussive pop probably did more to keep my head above water than I realize.


Grizzly Bear
09/ 18/ 2012
Talk about having dessert first. The opener Sleeping Ute is a finger plucking powerhouse. Before my landlord was foreclosed on, I lived by a lake for a cloudy winter, where I would often walk my dogs, listening to this album of harmonized gloom.


Gloss Drop
06/ 06/ 2011
When noisy art rock can be catchy, you know you’ve found something special. This is a great soundtrack to speeding past other cars on the highway, not that I would know anything about that personally. Futura and Ice Cream will be on every party playlist I have any say in.


Das Racist
Sit, Down Man
09/ 14/ 2010
My first toe dip into SoundCloud rap was a very fruitful one. Much more than their eventual major label debut, Das Racist’s mixtape Sit Down, Man was oozing with personality. Seemingly ad-libbed and free of braggadocious materialism, the duo’s hilarious and often lazy bars kept me in good company while playing Dragon Age: Origins and working on school assignments.


A Tribe Called Quest
We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
11/ 11/ 2016
It was actually my husband who pushed this album onto me. He played it frequently on long drives, laughing at the same lines with clockwork regularity. It felt like a triumphant torch passing to the current generation. One last victory lap flex, retiring with a perfect record.


C’est La Vie
10/ 05/ 2018
I initially paid attention to Phosphorescent because of their acclaimed single Song for Zula from their previous album. He probably hasn’t made a single track to surpass that masterpiece, but his follow-up album, as a whole, is my favorite of his so far. It long sat saved and dormant on my phone until a bus ride in Thailand, from Bangkok to Pattaya. At that time, I blissfully split my attention between the catchy hooks and auto-tuned crooning of Matthew Houck and the passing highways and countryside. It’s a corny memory, the kind you would roll your eyes at on a cooking blog, but it’s as vivid in my mind as the day it happenned.


Last Place
03/ 03/ 2017
Grandaddy’s year 2000 masterpiece The Sophtware Slump was a recommendation of my resident music aficionado friend. Think Modest Mouse without the aggression of their early work or the overproduction of their more recent output. Last Place doesn’t stray far from that established formula, with the same Silicon Valley disillusionment airdropped into a post-human environmental dystopia. A real mood lifter for 11 AM IKEA runs.


Julia Holter
Have You In My Wilderness
11/ 25/ 2015
I can’t listen to Have You in My Wilderness without listening to the opening track Feel You at least a few times to start. The often layered vocals and roomy, reverberating chamber instrumentals are begging for a rainy day drive. Because LA is always so sunny, I usually whipped this album out during travels. Dreary days in South Carolina and highways of the Pacific Northwest are the images I’ll always associate with Holter’s ethereal voice.


LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening
05/ 17/ 2010
I feel like I would like this album a lot more if James Murphy didn’t call me out for my poor time management skills in Pow Pow. That’s something I’m sensitive about. No, but really, he’s right. I’m typing this halfway through 2020.


Purity Ring
07/ 20/ 2012
At the time, I couldn’t stop listening to Shrines. I took my siblings to the duo’s dive bar show when they were in town. I played it in the back of the restaurant where I worked. Unfortunately, trap tinged pop would soon become the norm, and I don’t revisit Purity Ring much these days. Lofticries will always be a bop, though. I’m a sucker for well done autotuned vocal samples.


The National
Trouble Will Find Me
05/ 17/ 2013


[Untitled] & [untitled] EP
08/ 13/ 2018


The Weeknd
House of Balloons
03/ 21/ 2011


02/ 05/ 2016


Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City
05/ 14/ 2013


Tyler, the Creator
05/ 17/ 2019


boygenius e.p.
10/ 26/ 2018


Sharon Van Etten
Are We There
05/ 27/ 2014


David Byrne & St. Vincent
Love This Giant
09/ 10/ 2012


Frank Ocean
02/ 06/ 2011


Jai Paul
Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)
04/ 14/ 2013


Beach House
05/ 15/ 2012


Perfume Genius
No Shape
05/ 05/ 2017


05/ 06/ 2016


Death Grips
04/ 25/ 2011


Sun Kil Moon
02/ 11/ 2014


Dan Deacon
08/ 27/ 2012


01/ 24/ 2012


Big Thief
06/ 09/ 2017


Tame Impala
10/ 05/ 2012


Cut Copy
Haiku From Zero
11/ 22/ 2017


Wild Nothing
08/ 08/ 2012


Surfer Blood
Astro Coast
01/ 19/ 2010


Hayden Pedigo
Greetings From Amarillo
06/ 09/ 2017


Angel Olsen
My Woman
11/ 02/ 2016


Jeff Rosenstock
We Cool?
03/ 03/ 2015


Natalie Prass
Natalie Prass
01/ 27/ 2015


Kendrick Lamar
07/ 02/ 2011


Broken Dreams Club EP
11/ 22/ 2010


Into It. Over It.
11/ 24/ 2013


Kill For Love
03/ 26/ 2012


Shugo Tokumaru
In Focus?
03/ 31/ 2015


Sufjan Stevens
Carrie and Lowell
03/ 31/ 2015


Kero Kero Bonito
Time ‘n’ Place
10/ 01/ 2018


Tierra Whack
Whack World
05/ 30/ 2018


Majical Cloudz
05/ 21/ 2013


Arcade Fire
The Suburbs
08/ 02/ 2010


Frank Ocean
Channel Orange
07/ 12/ 2012


Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
10/ 18/ 2011


Julien Baker
Sprained Ankle
10/ 23/ 2015


James Blake
James Blake
02/ 04/ 2011


Vampire Weekend
01/ 11/ 2010


Death Grips
The Money Store
04/ 24/ 2012


Unknown Mortal Orchestra
05/ 26/ 2015


Tigers Jaw
05/ 19/ 2017


Slow Dance In the Cosmos
08/ 27/ 2013


07/ 31/ 2016


Snail Mail
06/ 08/ 2018


Pale Horses
06/ 10/ 2015


Hop Along
Bark Your Head Off, Dog
04/ 06/ 2018


Endless Fantasy
05/ 14/ 2013


01/ 25/ 2011


Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz
10/ 12/ 2010


A Seat At the Table
11/ 30/ 2016


Shabazz Palaces
Black Up
06/ 28/ 2011


Kero Kero Bonito
Bonito Genration
10/ 21/ 2016


Body Talk & Body Talk EPs
11/ 22/ 2010


Nicolas Jaar
Space Is Only Noise
01/ 28/ 2011


Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
01/ 22/ 2010


Tame Impala
07/ 17/ 2015
Feels like: driving to work at Carrabba’s, not owning a bed frame, finally giving hip-hop that isn’t MF Doom a chance because Pitchfork gave this a 10/10, the discount gas station on Highland St.


Kendrick Lamar
good kid, m.A.A.d city
10/ 22/ 2012
Feels like: long distance dating, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, being jealous of the nice condos in Century City, my car battery dying again, parking tickets, cooking a Thanksgiving meal for the first time


St. Vincent
Strange Mercy
11/ 12/ 2011
Feels like: making illustrations to screen print but not actually printing them, dreaming of living near an IKEA, Spin Street record store, Las Delicias guacamole and rocks margarita pitchers


Civil Civic
11/ 07/ 2011
Feels like: my little brother, moving back to the suburbs, not having AC in my car, my friend group’s excellent Super Smash Bros. soundtracks, night drives to and from Alex’s parent’s house


Frank Ocean
08/ 20/ 2016
Feels like: FYF, Tacos Tu Madre, Pokemon Go, fancy smoothies, underachieving, a short lived Diet Coke habit, looking at my apartment complex’s pool but never using it


Beach House
Teen Dream
01/ 26/ 2010
Feels like: Headphones on in a studio class, Chris Kelly, the Kearney house, waiting on the world’s slowest trains, Yum’s General Tso’s with white rice, being confident, being in the closet, not drinking at concerts


Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly
03/ 15/ 2015
Feels like: Derek Smith, Seasons 52, still using Facebook, brown rice sushi, really getting back into Illustrator, Dark Souls 2, east coast road trips with Mark, Sufjan in Richmond, mewithoutYou in Atlanta, empanadas


06/ 09/ 2017, 08/ 25/ 2017, 12/ 15/ 2017
Feels like: Machu Picchu, the last solar eclipse, Wyoming, Sam Stanley’s wedding, New Balance, Otiswoods’s art, D&D, Jon’s rooftop, losing earbuds, my walk home from the Metro but especially the smells from the Chipotle that I always pass but have never been in


David Bazan
Bazan Monthly Vol. I & II
2014/ 2015
Feels like: Microsoft Zune desktop player, spilling wine on my Alienware M15x laptop, subsequently building a tower PC, missing friends a lot, Skype, overpaying for a terrible bike off Craigslist, Culver City, walking to the Mitsuwa Market


Sufjan Stevens
All Delighted People EP
08/ 20/ 2010
Feels like: Dragon Age Origins, my first IKEA desk, JD Salinger, Ghost In the Shell, Otakon 2011, Joe’s chair, Pokemon grinding, driving over 90 mph to be on time for a Sufjan show in Knoxville, my Nintendo DSi, Micah buying me another DSi when the first one got stolen Bandcamp, tape deck adapters, Jared Watson, The Brothers Archival, being unreservedly happy