17 awesome albums turning 10 in 2020

From Arcade Fire and Kanye West to Foals and Warpaint

From debuts by future megastars to career-highs from already established icons, 2010 was a power year for exciting, thought-provoking music. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

Release date: November 22, 2010

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What NME said: “It’s the best thing he’s done since his game-changing debut, and heartening evidence to suggest the self-professed Louis Vuitton don is in a good place right now. You’d be mad not to follow him.”

What happened next: A whole lot of controversy and chaos. Over the decade since the release of ‘MBDTF’, West has become more unpredictable and unpigeonholeable, veering from the abrasive experiment of ‘Yeezus’ to his recent step into non-secular music with ‘Jesus Is King’.

Key track: ‘Runaway’

Arcade Fire – ‘The Suburbs’

Release date: August 2, 2010

What NME said:‘The Suburbs’ isn’t anything as simple as ‘back to basics’ – they’re a much more accomplished, musically interesting band now. But it finds the band reclaiming a sense of humour and playfulness that smooths over a deadly serious intent.”

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What happened next: The Canadian group headed over to the dance floor on the David Bowie-featuring ‘Reflektor’ and then shimmied into being absolutely unbearable online when promoting their most recent record ‘Everything Now’.

Key track: ‘Suburban War’

LCD Soundsystem – ‘This Is Happening’

Release date: May 17, 2010

What NME said: “If ‘This Is Happening’ must be a parting shot from this smartest and most human of dance machines, it’s a fine one.”

What happened next: Less than a year later, the band split, playing a final, epic show at Madison Square Garden. Happily, it didn’t last long – LCD were back together in 2016, headlined Coachella, and released a new album in the majestic ‘American Dream’.

Key track: ‘Dance Yrself Clean’

Drake – ‘Thank Me Later’

Release date: June 15, 2010

What NME said: “What’s striking about ‘Thank Me Later’ is the downbeat, sober vibe of it all and the lack of an obvious nightclub banger – the beats generally complement Drake’s laid-back, meandering rhymes and often the whole thing comes perilously close to – whisper it – trip-hop. But it’s those constant and predictable superstar interjections that prevent the album from standing out as much as it had potential to do.”

What happened next: Superstardom arrived with second album ‘Take Care’, elevating Drizzy into the major leagues of rap and changing the sound of hip-hop with his emotional approach.

Key track: ‘Best I Ever Had’

The National – ‘High Violet’

Release date: May 10, 2010

What NME said: “Darker and more introspectively brooding than ever, in places it’s the most immediate National effort since their overlooked eponymous debut. Sidestepping studio sterility, it’s imbued with crackling vivacity that’s unusual for a band at this stage in their careers.”

What happened next: The National became festival headliners and a band who took up residence in the upper echelons of the charts on both sides of the pond. Their position as one of the most respected indie bands around was cemented on their next album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ for which they received their first Grammy nomination.

Key track: ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’

Robyn – ‘Body Talk’

Release date: November 22, 2010

What NME said: “She’s also managed to make a particular emotion her own: that of being heartbroken on the dancefloor. It makes for suffocatingly great pop, most notably on single ‘Dancing On My Own’, a comet-trail of sadness and exhilaration that’s easily the equal of Robyn’s breakthrough hit, ‘With Every Heartbeat’.”

What happened next: Robyn sparked a revolution in pop. Every sad banger can be traced back to her commitment to wearing her heart on her sleeve but refusing to wallow.

Key track: ‘Dancing On My Own’

Vampire Weekend – ‘Contra’

Release date: January 11, 2010

What NME said: “With so much going on ‘Contra’ is much less immediate than its predecessor, requiring a bit of patience to uncover its true shades, contours and charm. But it’s certainly worth sticking with, because with their second album Vampire Weekend have escaped their collegiate niche without sacrificing their true essence.”

What happened next: A career-high followed in ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ and then quiet. Founding member Rostam Batmanglij parted ways with the group and a six-year wait for another record began.

Key track: ‘Cousins’

Tame Impala – ‘Innerspeaker’

Release date: May 21, 2010

What we said then: ‘Innerspeaker’ is a brilliantly confident body of work – one that captures the spirit of the complex, ranging, pelvic workouts of their targets, if lacking in out-and-out highs.”

What happened next: Kevin Parker’s group continued their slow ascent to being the biggest cult band in the world, a journey that would eventually lead them to festival headline slots and Kevin collaborating with the likes of Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson.

Key track: ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?’

Janelle Monáe – ‘The ArchAndroid’

Release date: May 18, 2010

What NME said: “If at times her experimental phrasing sounds detached, it’s important to remember – this is her debut album. Her ambition is flabbergasting, let alone that she executes it with bundles of fun and a fizzing personality.”

What happened next: She pushed her futuristic android alter-ego Cindi Mayweather until her third album ‘Dirty Computer’. In between, she became a bona fide movie star, appearing in Moonlight and Hidden Figures.

Key track: ‘Tightrope’

Rihanna – ‘Loud’

Release date: November 12, 2010

What NME said: “If ‘Rated R’ seemed disparate sometimes, ‘Loud’’s experiments feel more organic, its tone better paced, from the Caribbean-tinged anthem for doomed youth of ‘Man Down’ via the glossy, dark tectonic beats of ‘What’s My Name?’ (featuring Drake) to the ludicrously banging trance-pop of ‘Only Girl (In The World)’.”

What happened next: She continued to release an album a year until 2012’s ‘Unapologetic’, sharing her latest album ‘Anti’ in 2016. Since then, she’s become a major player in fashion and beauty with her own Fenty brand, while she’s found a new hobby in trolling fans waiting for her ninth album to be released.

Key track: ‘What’s My Name?’

Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’

Foals Total Life Forever

Release date: May 10, 2010

What NME said: ‘Total Life Forever’ crawls and creeps like a tender portrait of their paranoid selves in the way that ‘Antidotes’ always threatened to: it is nervous, intense and quite brilliant.”

What happened next: Foals quietly became one of the UK’s most ambitious and experimental bands, most recently pushing boundaries on their two-album project ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’.

Key track: ‘Spanish Sahara’

The Black Keys – ‘Brothers’

Release date: May 18, 2010

What NME said:‘Brothers’ marks the midway point between the garage-rock stylings of their first few albums and the hip-hop influence of last year’s Blackroc side-project album. Authentic? Who cares when it sounds this good?”

What happened next: ‘Brothers’ gave the band their commercial breakthrough and next album ‘El Camino’ saw them reach new heights with the phenomenal success of single ‘Lonely Boy’.

Key track: ‘Howlin’ For You’

My Chemical Romance – ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’

Release date: November 22, 2010

What NME said:‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ is the third and final stage of reinventing themselves as a world-dominating pop/rock group, and it is utterly fantastic. This is the album they were born to make.”

What happened next: In 2013, before they could release another album, the band announced their split. After years of intermittent rumours and individual solo projects, they finally made their return at the end of 2019.

Key track: ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’

MGMT – ‘Congratulations’

Release date: March 20, 2010

What NME said:MGMT’s refusal to co-operate with the listener jars with the crisp and professional production – which, despite Sonic Boom’s involvement, is more Van Dyke Parks than Spacemen 3 and leaves ‘Congratulations’ sitting somewhere in the middle, not complex enough for the prats, but too obscure for the jerks.”

What happened next: The band continued to eschew the pop limelight they once seemed primed for, making increasingly less commercial albums in ‘MGMT’ and ‘Little Dark Age’.

Key track: ‘Flash Delirium’

Warpaint – ‘The Fool’

Release date: October 25, 2010

What NME said:‘The Fool’ doesn’t deal strong melodic blows, but neither does it suffer for that. The dark purple rumble and hypnotic coo of their vocals swim along, dragging the listener beneath its beguiling surface into a swathe of subtle time changes and guitar prone to sudden swan dives into heart-stabbing gold arcs from oil painting-thick landscapes.”

What happened next: They continued to make their own claustrophobic psych-pop on ‘Warpaint’ before switching to a poppier sound on latest album ‘Heads Up’, securing a support slot with Harry Styles in the process.

Key track: ‘Undertow’

These New Puritans – ‘Hidden’

Release date: January 18, 2010

What NME said: “With their second album, TNP have extended themselves beyond any rock’n’roll terminology and instead are rubbing shoulders with sound artisans like Mira Calix, exploring noise like a photographer explores light.”

What happened next: TNP continued on their voyage to sound like absolutely no one else with third album ‘Field Of Reeds’, which flitted from eerie quiet to discombobulating blasts of noise. Since then, they’ve only released one more record in 2019’s ‘Inside The Rose’.

Key track: ‘We Want War’

Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’

Release date: March 22, 2010

What NME said: “‘Maturity’ can be pop-lexical shorthand for ‘pretentious’ and ‘dull’ but, for better or worse, ‘I Speak Because I Can’ is the sound of 20-year-old Laura Marling facing down the spectre of looming womanhood. Daughter, maid, ‘girl to be used’ – the record teems with prescribed feminine roles and Marling’s attempts to convincingly inhabit them.”

What happened next: Four more albums followed in fairly quick succession, cementing Marling as one of the country’s most powerful and uncompromising songwriters.

Key track: ‘Rambling Man’

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