Sound Off: The Torch’s top albums of the 2010s

The 2010s have officially come to a close. This decade brought about some of the strongest studio albums in genres spanning from hip hop, to EDM to pop. Here are some of our favorite albums from the 2010s. Give them a listen if you haven’t already, and let us know if these choices were on fire.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“When I Get Home” – Solange (2019)

by Will Dancer / Staff Reporter

“When I Get Home” is very chill, somewhat ambient fourth studio album of singer Solange. Solange is mostly known for being Beyonce’s sister, but her music is compelling enough to stand on its own. The stripped back and spacey tone of this album carries listeners seamlessly from one song to the next. Many of the songs are short, which helps to create an interconnected flow throughout the entirety of the album. Featuring guest artists such as Gucci Mane and Earl Sweatshirt, “When I Get Home” has a variety of new sounds that Solange did not showcase on her earlier albums. The album features themes of black power, family, and women’s rights. The entire album has an empowering sense of ownership that is fully expressed through the confidence of her lyrics and her voice. 

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

“Random Access Memories” – Daft Punk (2013)

by Amanda Landwehr / Arts & Culture Editor

Listening to an album in its entirety has always proven to be a challenge for me. I love all different genres, and often struggle to limit my playlists to the songs of one artist. But Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” is an exception. Far from the robots’ early days of house music but charmingly reminiscent of ‘90s techno, “Random Access Memories” truly defies all conventional perceptions of the EDM genre. From the pop/funk beats of “Get Lucky,” to the heartfelt slow jam “Instant Crush,” to the heavenly harmonies of “Touch” and “Beyond,” this album encapsulates feelings of joy, vulnerability and the human experience into a surprisingly compelling piece of art.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“Kamikaze” – Eminem (2018)

by Mohammad Samra / Staff Reporter 

Although I enjoy most of the tracks on this album (sorry Nice Guy,) the message behind it is the reason it stands out as my favorite album of the decade. After receiving harsh criticism for his 2017 project Revival, Eminem released Kamikaze with zero promotion and shook up the rap game in the process. The album’s intro “The Ringer” highlights the Detroit rapper’s frustrations with how his critics make a name for themselves through negatively dissecting his music and how by responding he only helps them. “You mention me,millions of views,attention to news/I mention you, lose/lose for me, win/win for you, billions of views.” 

His latest album “Music to be Murdered By” would have easily been my choice had it not come out in 2020. Though it was released nearly a month ago, the 20 tracks are all I listen to. I can confidently say that it is my favorite album of all time, and it may not have existed if it wasn’t for Kamikaze.       

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“Melodrama” – Lorde (2017)

by Aidan McGinty / Staff Reporter

My favorite album of the decade (and of all time) is Lorde’s 2017 masterpiece “Melodrama.” Lorde’s debut album “Pure Heroine” revitalized the genre of pop music, and “Melodrama” truly proved the talent her first album made her out to be. A concept album, the track list is meant to chronicle one night of a party, from sunset to sunrise—and does it beautifully. The track list is extremely varied, having both an upbeat lightheartedness in tracks like “Perfect Places” and the melancholic ballad that is “Liability.” Lorde is a poet at heart, able to masterfully bend words and sounds to create emotions in her listeners that they were not even aware they could feel. 

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

“I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” – The 1975 (2016)

by Kristin McKee / Digital Content Editor

“I like it…” is the second studio album of The 1975. As much as I love their debut, I have to commend this one, because I’ve never been more impressed with an artist’s sophomore album. The band succeeds at establishing their iconic indie/synth-pop aesthetic while also experimenting with different sounds and harmonizations that keep the record from being too one-note. This album is genuinely fun and feels like a celebration no matter the occasion. The transition between its opener “The 1975” and “Love Me” hypes me up every single time.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

“Four” – One Direction (2014)

by Evi Arthur / Editor-in-Chief

Despite the fact that I’m getting closer and closer to adulthood than I’d like to admit, I will forever cherish the memories of listening to One Direction’s “Four” while careening around in my neon blue pickup truck in high school. As the band’s last album with all five members, 1D’s “Four” is the perfect blend of bops and slow jams, making it a perfectly well-rounded album. Songs like “Girl Almighty” and “Stockholm Syndrome” bring a fun, dancey vibe and songs like “Fireproof” and “18” bring the sappy love songs that are quintessential for any bonafide high school experience. 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“4 Your Eyez Only” – J. Cole (2016)

by Santino Torres / Staff Reporter

A gritty ten track album ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, this album served as a man’s open letter to his daughter before his death. Without any features, J. Cole tells us the story about the man, who happened to be his friend, and his journey through his life of crime to his progression into fatherhood and redemption. As he’s done in many of his works, this album tackles lack of resources and the struggle growing up as an inner-city minority. The kind of album that you play all the way through to the finish, it is arguably J. Cole’s most powerful album, despite lacking the accolade reflective of such work. 

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

“Love Yourself: Her” – BTS (2017)

by Ayumi Davis / News Editor

Although every BTS album is gold, this album I hold a little higher than the others. For BTS, this was the first album they were able to perform on American TV with the song “DNA.” They tackle themes of love, specifically ways to love another, focused toward the youth. Plus, it has my favorite song  (not that I don’t love all the other songs), “Pied Piper,” BTS’s somewhat shady, yet adorable, apology for getting ARMY obsessed.  It segwayed perfectly into the other albums in the trilogy, “Love Yourself: Tear” and “Love Yourself: Answer,” the theme evolving into loving yourself and being happy and confident with who you are. 

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

“True North” – Bad Religion (2013)

by Sunyata Courie / Staff Reporter

On a cold January morning, my dad woke me up early to listen to the 16th studio album “True North” by California punk band Bad Religion. He had preordered the album on vinyl, and we sat on the couch listening to the overtly political lyrics on the back of the record sleeve. This album was released seven years ago, but is even more relevant in today’s climate. With songs such as “Robin Hood in Reverse” about the danger of large corporations and “Popular Consensus” describing the dangers of social conformity, this album is the perfect introduction to the punk genre for someone who has never listened.

Photo courtesy of Pitchfork.

“Gone Now” – Bleachers (2017)

by Adnan Basic / Managing Editor 

I only ever really listen to music when commuting to school on the CTA, but that does mean I have several hours to kill each and every week. My favorite album to turn to when sat on the train or bus has to be Bleacher’s third and most recent album “Gone Now.” The pacing of it is pretty much perfect, from the opening “Dream Of Mickey Mantle” to the closing “Foreign Girls.” There’s plenty of variety in the album, but no song ever changes the tone so drastically that it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s so good that I still struggle to pick out a favorite track, but “Don’t Take The Money” will likely always be a tune I turn to for years and years to come.

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