Cash, who’s sidestepped her heritage, and eschewed a career as a country star with 11 Number Ones, a marriage to a country writer/producer/artist Rodney Crowell and the city/industry where she found prominence, savored her wandering and the Manhattan life she built. Like Waylon he carefully cultivates that outlaw image, and like George he has the voice of a slumming angel. Check out: ‘What You Need’, If the early 00s were about a rock renaissance, the 2010s were about peak poptimism. That’s why back in 2006, in the midst of another decade entirely, we constructed a list of the 100 best songwriters alive. But out of all of Swift’s post-country albums, 1989 remains her most fully realised: the moment when she fully clinched the pop throne. In “El Camino” she recalls delirious sex in a 1972 refurb: “If we get married, gonna have to annul it / Right now my hands are in his mullet.” Hill-top funerals, soup kitchens and backcountry hoe-downs become the stuff of legend in Welder’s emotionally expansive tales, and though it features production by Don Was and guest appearances by Crowell and Buddy Miller, this album is all about Cook finally finding her voice—irreverent, hilarious and gritty as Appalachian soil. And that’s no accident. What else would you expect from somebody who signs off with a song called “Between Jennings and Jones,” which is right where you’ll find Johnson’s music at the record store? Solange’s A Seat At The Table didn’t just shift the culture, it ignited a movement. With 4:44, however, Jay Z eschewed the posturing and braggadocio of his heyday, recording an intensely personal record of love, regret and repentance. These are songs that scream, “We are here, and we have something to say,” but The Highwomen isn’t just some topical social statement that won’t hold up in a few years—this album was not built uniquely for 2019. Though Honest Life is technically Andrews’ sixth album, she withdrew the first three, so these 10 songs served as a bit of an introduction. Check out: ‘bad guy’, When The Weeknd made his mysterious entrance in 2011, with his debut mixtape, House Of Balloons, it felt like contraband. But with Southeastern, Isbell has broken this hard luck streak, crafting an album worthy of his considerable talents. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. —Ellen Johnson, On Country Squire, Childers takes some of life’s grittiest moments—the stuff that’s defined country music for ages—and punches them up with humor and honky-tonk. Work, family, children, straight romance, queer romance, shitty men, imperfect women—it’s all there, made more impactful by the expertly played fiddle, drums, electric guitar and the voices of many. Whether she shuck’n’shimmies through the flirty trombone-laced “Hey Bebe,” the bowed cello and moan lullaby “Baby Boy” or the staccato romance denied “Love We Almost Had” (featuring fellow roots journeyer Bhi Bhiman), the emotions of desire and elation run strong. No one understood this better than Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). Their interplay was as empathetic as ever on The Harrow and the Harvest, reminding us how rare it is to hear musicians with such highly developed senses of intuition. Check out: ‘Limit To Your Love’, Picking up the mantle of jilted torch singer after Amy Winehouse died, Adele’s blue-eyed soul was just as essential to the 2010s as anything by the pop stars who were experimenting with form. Both “Mine” and “Mean,” are examples of her ability to craft instantly catchy hits. “We pray to Jesus and we play the Lotto / ‘Cause there ain’t but two ways we can change tomorrow / Well, there ain’t no genie and there ain’t no bottle.” And she’s just getting started. Check out: ‘Time Will Tell’, With her bubblegum-pop teen icon days behind her, Robyn reinvented herself in 2010 with Body Talk. It wasn’t even the best album his own household released in 2018. After a string of buzzworthy EPs, Blake emerged with his 2011 self-titled debut, putting his transcendent voice on display and carving out his own genre: electronica-soul. Sales Data = AMERICANA/FOLK ALBUMS. It’s certainly some of the best vocal work he’s yet committed to tape. She has a well-informed perspective, then, on growing up and growing older and watching the world change around you. View reviews, ratings, news & more regarding your favorite band. With his tender torch songs and synth soundscapes, the dubstep DJ turned singer-songwriter wrote the kind of melancholic pop that comforted club kids and introverts alike. This list of the 30 best albums of the 2010s could easily be 200 entries long, but we’ve focused on those records that have truly defined the decade: works by the trailblazers, the disruptors and the torchbearers in popular culture. Anti became the first album from black female artist to spend 200 weeks on the Billboard 200. Many returned to their family homes following the crash, but the suburbs were always an empty promise. On Speak Now, Swift is strongest when she lets her country roots shine through. This time, though, the boys are superstars and those imaginary conversations aren’t taking place in high school hallways. —Robert Ham, Every Lori McKenna album has at least one song that will make you cry—and depending on who you are, and where you are in life, it could be any of them that gets you choked up. Check out: ‘Alright’, R&B experienced some of its biggest-ever shifts during the 2010s, as radio started to dwindle and the genre’s tight constrictions gave way to what would be coined “alt-R&B”. Check out: ‘Firework’, Technology has not only globalised pop music but has connected today’s generation with folk music traditions. —Douglas Heselgrave, As her career has progressed, singer/songwriter Ashley Monroe has been able to move farther and farther away from the standard Nashville plot. Drake wasn’t the first rapper to sing on record, but he was the first rap-pop star, absorbing every genre that lay before him. The album is both retro-inspired and future-minded – a metaphor for the decade as a whole. 25. While you’re reading, listen to our 2010s Hits playlist here. “Back When We Were Beautiful,” Matraca Berg’s chilling song of aging sung by an old woman to her much-younger listener, sets up Crowell’s “Here We Are.” The hushed ballad realizes what was sought was already within the singer’s grasp. Check out: ‘Born This Way’, As one decade opened, the bastions of the previous decade closed-up shop. The Secret Sisters - Saturn … Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Brandi Carlile, easily four of the most talented people in the greater Americana sphere, explore every facet of femininity and humanity and how they exist alongside each other, from the beautiful and hard-won to the ugly and downright messy. We’re half way through the 2010s so it’s the right time to look back at the last five years and celebrate 50 of the finest albums. It’s not that McKenna is trying to put a lump in your throat. Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley are standing strong and providing messages of hope to the women languishing in shitty situations. Topping the decade's best list: Kacey Musgraves. The irony of selecting To the Sunset as one of the best Americana albums of the year is that Amanda Shires deliberately set out to make this a "non-Americana" record. That sort of expectation can be a challenge to live up to, but Isbell continues to sally forth, upping the ante in all aspects of his craft. This 15-song set of minute-long songs is either very punk or just economical. “Mockingbird” boasts a dense, wheezing wall of harmonica, complete with references to drugs and Parker Posey. Browse the top americana albums to find new music and discover artists. It culminates with a roiling boil on “Freedom Highway,” a low impact James Brown revel. The definition: Americana is an amalgam of roots music fused by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, rhythm & blues, rock & roll and other external influential styles. This is wild, untamed music sung in a wild, untamed voice, and it’s brilliant. Check out: ‘Someone Like You’, A post-recession record if there ever was one, The Suburbs may have acutely captured the kind of unease that lingered in the air following the 2008 financial crisis, but Arcade Fire also prophesied the anxiety-ridden 2010s. ... Grammy-nominated Nightfall is not only Little Big Town's best record to date, but one of the best of the decade. Credit: The 101 Best Albums of the 2010s ... Americana hero Isbell paid his dues all the way from spotlight-stealing Drive … The gentle, plaintive beauty of the first track makes the mood whiplash of the next track, the driving sax-and-keys boogie of “Baby’s Got A Bad Idea,” all the more jarring. The Highwomen, John Prine and Black Pumas were the big winners at the 19th annual Americana Honors & Awards, which were announced on Tuesday (Dec. 15). Hot on the heels of his illustrious and mysterious debut album Pony (out now on Sub Pop), Peck first caught our attention thanks to his look, act and secret identity (we still don’t know who he is, exactly), but his music secured the hold. ‘Birth Of The Cool’: How Miles Davis Started A Jazz Revolution, Fania Records: How A New York Label Took Salsa To The World, Pride Of The Opry: Charley Pride Makes Musical And Cultural History. IDM meets pop meets industrial on Claire Boucher’s breakthrough album, which found her inviting us into her manic pixie dreamworld full of endless loops and layers. Billie Eilish may be the last new pop star of the decade, but her debut album is firmly pointed towards the future. Instead, Johnson sounds like a good ol’ boy from Montgomery, Ala., which is exactly what he is, and his second album, That Lonesome Song, recaptures everything that was great about those classic Merle Haggard and George Jones honky-tonk singles from the mid-to-late ’60s. Monroe dug deep on Sparrow after spending some time in therapy to unpack some of the pain of her past. Developing from a mini-album trilogy, Body Talk proved dance music was anything but disposable; finding humanity on the dancefloor, it tapped into feelings of loneliness and escapism. EDM rose and fell, new icons emerged and old ones re-established themselves. It’s a powerful blend on songs about itinerant lives, fragile hearts and the steady determination of people searching for something they themselves would likely be hard-pressed to name. That title goes to his wife, Kacey Musgraves, for her stunning Golden Hour. It's … And no other song on Nowhere fits as neatly into the eye of the needle that every artist in Nashville is trying to thread as “Dahlonega” does. —Dacey Orr, Back in September of 2015, Third Man Records gave a teaser of the forthcoming Margo Price project. Let us know in the comments section, below. As one of the first openly gay artists in hip-hop and R&B, Ocean ignited a self-reckoning in modern pop music. Gaga’s unabashed excess and anthems of inclusiveness marked a pivotal moment in pop music. 109 Weeks. The 2010s were a time of great transition and breaking down of conventions. All Rights Reserved. —Dacey Orr, With a voice like good claret or damp moss, Rosanne Cash’s singing is something to sink into. But it’s that earnestness, simplicity and willingness to over-share that has, in part, earned Swift a legion of best friends—not to mention all the platinum albums, Grammys and a fistful of Number One songs. —Robert Ham, Chris Stapleton’s debut LP is a shoo-in recommendation for the newcomer to country. Check out: ‘Sugah Daddy’, Rihanna has always been one of pop’s biggest risk-takers, but on her eighth studio album, ANTi, she truly broke away from the pop industrial complex. —Geoffrey Himes, When it comes to humor, straightforwardness and never, ever giving a shit, Kacey Musgraves takes all the right cues. !’ 25th Anniversary Deluxe Vinyl Release, The Kinks Announce Exclusive Livestream Event, ‘The Moneygoround’, Elvis Costello, Sting Fight To Save New York’s Birdland, Listen To The Band’s Previously-Unreleased Live Performance Of ‘Time To Kill’. This remains the best album in Dale’s collection, and one of the best of the decade. What emerges, beyond a woman grappling with a legacy as much in the rich bottom land as her father Johnny’s iconic presence as the voice of America, is a knowing embrace of the conflicts in the things we love. Choosing instead to work with Dave Cobb, the man behind the boards for Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton’s recent triumphs, was a brilliant move on her part. With a knack for melody, Robyn delivered an electro-pop album so good it would take eight years for her to release a follow-up. It makes the album a powerful tribute to his son, while establishing Simpson as an artist who, despite his country heart, simply won’t be confined by notions of genre or, for that matter, anyone else’s expectations. Simpson may reside in Nashville these days, but he’s operating on a completely different plane. Stapleton drew from an epic catalog when plucking tracks for Traveller, blending songs he’d written for other artists (“Whiskey and You”) with mainstays from his live show (“Fire Away”) and even a few covers (“Tennessee Whiskey” and “Was It 26.”) The release felt like a long time coming for most Nashville industry insiders, who had known Stapleton for years as the unsung hero behind many of radio’s biggest hits. 1. “Cover Me Up” is on the one hand a gentle, insistent love song, and on the other a moving testament to personal redemption that never once turns a blind eye to past indiscretions. McKenna’s attention to detail, and the way she makes universal sentiments suddenly, and piercingly, specific, are why her songs are special enough to have earned the deep respect of her fellow folk singers, and to have caught the ear of the big-ticket country stars who have recorded them, including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Little Big Town. To write, sing and relate to your listeners as she does is a rare trio of traits. As good as the songs are, Isbell’s singing may be even better. Ocean brought a sense of fluidity to the genre, occupying a variety of characters’ points of view and, in turn, delivering a fresh perspective: his own. - Overall album rank: #1,244 - Rank in decade: #119 - Rank in year: #35 - Appears in: 184 charts. Albums released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019 with 15 or more reviews in Metacritic's databas… An instant classic if there ever was one. As one of Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters, Mugraves applies a knack for lyrical detail to a sweeping country album that spans pop, rock and disco. Check out: ‘Love On The Brain’, Just as critics decried the death of rock following its early 00s revival, St Vincent led the charge of female rock heroes, demonstrating her axe playing and songwriting prowess on Strange Mercy.

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