Here comes the 2020s. But before we embrace the new, let’s look back at the best in pop, rock, country, hip-hop and R&B over the last 10 years. Here are the 50 best albums of the decade (2010-2019).
1. “Pure Heroine,” Lorde (2013) A 16-year-old New Zealander releases one of the most impressive debuts in pop music history, leading the way for a new generation of young, female artists to make their mark in the industry.
2. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Kanye West (2010) West operating at the height of his powers, delivering an achingly powerful and personal masterpiece.
3. “Born To Die,” Lana Del Rey (2012) Some prefer “Norman F—ing Rockwell,” but Del Rey’s debut has far more memorable songs.
4. “Same Trailer Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves (2013) “Same Trailer Different Park” announces the arrival of the decade’s most significant new voice in country/Americana music.
5. “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” Kendrick Lamar: (2012) The Compton rapper has ruled the hip-hop genre basically ever since the release of this fantastic major-label debut.
6. “Let England Shake,” PJ Harvey (2011) The English singer-songwriter delivers a haunting, harrowing meditation on war.
7. “Melodrama,” Lorde (2017) Two studio albums into her career, Lorde still has yet to record anything less than a good/great song.
8. “Beyonce,” Beyonce (2013) Bey takes things to the next level with her fifth studio outing.
9. “The Outsiders,” Eric Church (2014) Another big step in Church’s evolution.
10. “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean (2012) Strikingly innovative and beautifully realized, Ocean’s debut may be the most influential soul/R&B album of the decade.
11. “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick Lamar (2015) Lamar broadens his musical palette, blending jazz, avant-garde and other styles of music.
12. “The Weight of These Wings,” Miranda Lambert (2016) The country superstar is nothing short of captivating on this breakup record.
13. “m b v,” My Bloody Valentine (2013) After 22 years, Kevin Shields and company finally return with a full-length follow up to the 1991 masterpiece “Loveless.”
14. “California Nights,” Best Coast (2015) A classic SoCal album, which can be filed next your favorite Beach Boys and Go-Go’s outings.
15. “The Bones of What You Believe,” Chvrches (2013) The best synth-pop album of the decade.
16. “Lost in the Dream,” The War on Drugs (2014) The album title nicely sums up what it feels like to listen to this Philly rock outfit’s third studio outing.
17. “Norman F—ing Rockwell!” Lana Del Rey (2019) Del Rey updates Laurel Canyon cool for the 21st century.
18. “Teens of Denial,” Car Seat Headrest (2016) Full of attitude, heart and cool guitar work, “Teens of Denial” belongs in every indie-rock fan’s collection.
19. “Lemonade,” Beyonce (2016) It’s an emotional roller coaster ride of an album, but one that delivers one of the most fascinating musical journeys of the decade.
20. “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct,” Metallica (2016) Double-disc set features band’s best work since 1991’s legendary eponymous outing (aka, “The Black Album”).
21. “Red,” Taylor Swift (2012) Swift doesn’t skip a beat as she transitions from country to pop.
22. “Look Up Child,” Lauren Daigle (2018) Daigle’s vocal work on this collection of inspirational songs is nothing short of breathtaking.
23. “Teen Dream,” Beach House (2010) The decade’s dreamiest batch of indie-pop songs.
24. “Push the Sky Away,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (2013) “Push the Sky Away” is the first of three incredible albums released during the decade by Cave and company.
25. “Hero,” Maren Morris (2016) The Texas singer-songwriter takes Nashville by storm with this confident, accomplished debut.
26. “Body Talk,” Robyn (2010) One of the defining dance-pop outings of the decade.
27. “13,” Black Sabbath (2013) One last blast of scorching metal greatness from the band that wrote the book for the genre.
28. “All That Reckoning,” Cowboy Junkies (2018) More than 30 years into its career, the Canadian outfit continues to operate on an almost absurdly consistent high level.
29. “Born Sinner,” J. Cole (2013) Cole trails only Lamar in terms of delivering the best body of hip-hop work in the 2010s.
30. “Kiss,” Carly Rae Jepsen (2012) Some tastemakers prefer Jepsen’s next album (2015’s “Emotion”), but this bubblegum-pop beauty is better.
31. “American Teen,” Khalid (2017) A stunning debut, signaling the arrival of a young artist who should be a major force on the scene for years to come.
32. “Summertime ’06,” Vince Staples (2015) It was a bold move to debut with a double-disc affair, but one that pays off for this sensational SoCal rapper.
33. “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Billie Eilish (2019) Eilish lives up to the hype, and then some, as she delivers the most streamed album of 2019.
34. “Blackstar,” David Bowie (2016) The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s moving swan song, recorded as he was battling liver cancer. Bowie died two days after the album was released.
35. “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music,” Sturgill Simpson (2014) Honky-tonk space cowboy music at its best.
36. “Damn,” Kendrick Lamar (2017) It won a Pulitzer. Nuff said.
37. “Pharmacy of Love,” Bettie Serveert (2010) The Dutch outfit shows once again why it deserves to be ranked among the top indie-rock outfits of the past 30 years.
38. “Ghosteen,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (2019) Cave mourns the tragic death of his teenage son on this hauntingly beautiful and devastating two-disc set.
39. “The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire (2010) The band’s second masterpiece, but not quite as good as its first one (2004’s “Funeral”).
40, “We Got it from Here … Thank You 4 Your service,” A Tribe Called Quest (2016) Legendary hip-hop troupe conjures up some of that early ’90s magic on its first album in 18 years.
41. “A Moon Shaped Pool,” Radiohead (2016) We are now in compliance with Item No. 438 of the Music Critic Rule Book, which states that all “best of” lists must contain at least one Radiohead entry.
42. “Vulnicura,” Bjork (2015) The iconic singer continues to set the pace in the avant-garde/experimental music world.
43. “Invasion of Privacy,” Cardi B (2018) Turns out Ms. B is at least as good at making hip-hop as she is at making headlines.
44. “Jesus Is King,” Kanye West (2019) Arguably the boldest, bravest album of the decade.
45. “You Want It Darker,” Leonard Cohen (2016) This moving collection of songs written as Cohen was facing death. The great singer-songwriter died a little over two weeks after the album was released.
46. “Chief,” Eric Church (2011) Just loaded with memorable songs.
47. “1000 Forms of Fear,” Sia (2014) “Chandelier” might be the best single of the decade.
48. “Cuz I Love You,” Lizzo (2019) Just makes one wonder how we got by all those years before Lizzo hit the scene.
49. “Lonerism,” Tame Impala (2012) Drop the needle on this and it’s like you’ve entered a completely new world of sound, space and senses.
50. “Days Are Gone,” Haim (2013) The sister act creates quite a buzz with this cool collection of retro pop-rock tunes.