Rob Sheffield's 25 Best Albums of the 2010s - Rolling Stone
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Rob Sheffield’s 25 Best Albums of the 2010s

sheffield best albums

These are my 25 favorite albums, from this strange decade that never got a name. These are the albums I played most, the ones I never burned out on. For most of these, I went back to what I wrote about them at the time on my year-end lists, to preserve that time-capsule quality. They’re all over the map musically — some are by mega-stars, some by upstarts, one by a Nobel Prize-winning poet. The only thing they have in common is they remind me to keep looking forward to the future. Bring on the Twenties!

Related: The Rolling Stone complete ranking of the 100 Best Albums of the 2010s

Light Up Gold, parquet courts
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Parquet Courts, ‘Light Up Gold’ (2013)

These Brooklyn indie madcaps invaded my soul and ruined my life, because I am shallow and weak and I like to shout along with cataclysmically pointless hooks like “hatchback hearses” or “surf population too high to tally” or “I was walking through Ridgewood, Queens/I was flipping through magazines.” Light Up Gold is a perfect 33-minute guitar groove, kicking off the trilogy Parquet Courts completed with Sunbathing Animal and Content Nausea. No innovation here, no claims to historical importance—just four boys who want to simultaneously parody and celebrate rockness for its own sake.

taylor swift, red album cover
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Taylor Swift, Red (2012)

Taylor decides to embrace her love of pop bombast, not that anybody noticed her holding back before. Result? The gaudiest mega-pop manifesto of the decade. The disco-plus-banjos groove Shania Twain only dreamed about. The best color-of-romance song since Prince gave up on the purple rain. The Liz Phair/Ace of Base collabo that never happened. Her punk so punk, her disco so disco. I love how she says the word “refrigerator.” I love how she says the word “drown-i-i-i-ing.” I love basically any five-second stretch of this album. It’s just one of five great albums she made in the 2010s—but it’s still her peak.

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