This was extremely difficult to put together. Over the decade we just listen to so much music, and there is even more we never actually discover. At the end I chose one album for each year from those that stayed with me until now and shaped me as person the most.
2010 | HURTS – HAPPINESS
Happiness by Hurts is honestly one of the best synthpop albums ever made. This British duo has completely won me over with their first single, you might remember it, it was rather successful – “Wonderful Life”. It is also a band that I have seen live the most, purely because I met amazing people at their first Prague gig and it became our thing. I would highly recommend this band, not just the debut album, but also the following three studio albums (“Exile”, “Desire”, “Surrender”), since you can very clearly hear and see the changes in Hurts, their lives and with that their music as well. I cannot believe that the album is almost 10 years old. But then again, I also can’t belie people born in 2000 are big ass adults right now.
MORE WONDERFUL 2010 ALBUM
Marina and the Diamonds – The Family Jewels; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo; Tame Impala – Innerspeaker; Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam; The National – High Violet
2011 | EWERT AND THE TWO DRAGONS – GOOD MAN DOWN
Ewert and the Two Dragons is an Estonian band that now has nice international acclaim, back when I was able to find them through my Estonian friend. This is such a beautiful indie-folk. It has its very own colour, which is difficult to find in the indie genre. Its also very heartwarming kind of music, even though it can deal with the serious and perhaps melancholic topic that feels very very genuine. It’s one of my all-time favourites albums that I think any indie fans can enjoy, especially fans of the band “Of Monsters and Men”. Their biggest hit was title single “Good Man Down” but I recommend the whole album, particularly “The Rabbit” became my favourite song.
MORE WONDERFUL 2011 ALBUMS
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes; Awolnation – Megalithic Symphony, Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain in the Cold; Florence + The Machines – Ceremonials
2012 | ALT-J (Δ) – AN AWESOME WAVE
I think by now pretty much everybody knows how unique this indie rock band from Leeds is. When they released this debut album “An Awesome Wave”, I fell in love with it in an instant. The more band plays with vocals the more in love I am and honestly, the lyrics are out of this world. Look at “Taro” alone. Perhaps on a first listen, it might be confusing, but when you look and really listen, it becomes wholesome poetry. The album as a whole is something I have been constantly listening since it was released and I do recommend seeing them live if you will have the opportunity. Their music, while it may sound simple, is definitely complex, especially when performing it live and Alt-J always, and I mean always deliver. The one thing is, since I put this album on such pedestal, the following records were never able to surpass it for me. But that definitely does not mean following albums “This Is All Yours” and “Relaxer” are bad, quite the opposite.
MORE WONDERFUL 2012 ALBUMS
Air – Le voyage dans la lune; Mark Lanegan band – Blues Funeral; The Temper Trap – Temper Trap; Muse – The 2nd Law; Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
2013 | WHITE LIES – BIG TV
Clearly, this list is by my preference, that’s how this whole thing works, therefore another new wave band is here. White Lies is a British band (some really deep fans may know them with their previous name Fear of Flying). Now this band, consisting of three members, has a very unique distinguishing sound that varies from new wave to post-punk or synthpop, they mix a lot of stuff, they play with a lot of sounds. And on this particular albums, I think it all worked out perfectly. What I love about this album is also its continuing story which unravels as you listen, all about a couple and their relationship. Another band I recommend seeing live, worth the ticket price.
MORE WONDERFUL 2013 ALBUMS
Ólafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter; David Bowie – The Next Day; Woodkid – The Golden Age; Wavves – Afraid of Heights; Black Sabbath – 13
2014 | CHET FAKER – BUILT ON GLASS
Love and loss, among other things, are the main topics of the debut album by the australian musician Chet Faker (now releasing music under his own name Nick Murphy). While it had kind but reserved reviews when it was released, I found this mellow sound combining very toned down house music with jazz and indie elements (among many others) absolutely brilliant. Its an easy listening on any day, some of the lyrics are even about days off, so its a perfect companion for slow days, where you just want to lie down and do nothing at all. Definitely, an album I am still coming back to and that defined the sound that even if its an artist of his/her own doing similar music, I often play this album right after that. One example would be Korean artist and producer millic, who you might enjoy if Chet Faker is your cup of tea.
MORE WONDERFUL 2014 ALBUMS
WINNER – 2014 S/S; Temples – Sun Structures; Jack White – Lazaretto; Ed Sheeran – X; Pixies – Indie Cindy
2015 | BIGBANG – MADE
One of the very first Korean bands I got introduced to back when was BIGBANG, a south Korean k-pop band that goes way beyond the spectrum of what k-pop is generally described as. Lead by rapper and producer G-Dragon, BIGBANG is now a four-member band while releasing this album, it consisted of five members. MADE was the first album that BIGBANG produced on their very own and you can hear the change, as they had a lot more creative freedom, which also resulted in more of international acclaim. The music on this album combines rap, pop, rock and ballad and is very flashy with both the visuals and the music production, in a very positive way. Perhaps not the best way to start if you never heard Korean idol music before, but nonetheless one of the very best. MADE was originally series coming out in different singles, with the full album concluding the series in 2015, before the band members mandatory enlistment into the military. While most of the songs were released in 2015 full album itself dropped in 2016.
MORE WONDERFUL 2015 ALBUMS
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper; Beth Hart – Better Than Home; Slaves – Are You Satisfied?; Hurts – Surrender; Ludovico Einaudi – Elements
2016 | GLASS ANIMALS – HOW TO BE A HUMAN BEING
To me, Glass Animals are one of the best indie bands out there. They are insanely creative with the elements they put into their music, which makes it very hard for reviewers to put them into some sort of genre box. This British bands music is very heavily psychedelic with combinations of different elements such as indie pop, electronic, all sorts of percussions but also very unique vocals with which bands play in every song, and its very captivating. Songs on this album also build up tension which comes up gradually, almost unnoticeably, accompanied by the lyrics and their meaning. For me the best album of 2016 and one of the best psychedelic pop or rather art pop in general. I would also recommend their debut album “Zaba”, released in 2014.
MORE WONDERFUL 2016 ALBUMS
Aurora – All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend; Birdy – Beautiful Lies; BTS – Wings; Tycho – Epoch; Kaleo – A/B
2017 | BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II
The creativity of Brockhampton, group of US hip hop/rap musicians who got to know each other mostly through Kanye West forum. At the very beginnings, they were active in a whole crazy way, releasing three studio albums in 2017, “Saturation”, Saturation II” and “Saturation III”, at the end of the year. Personally, I loved “Saturation II” the most. Brockhampton is a collective full of artists with a different approach to rap and its delivery but also beats creation, producing or lyrics, which makes it even more of unique art and I would recommend giving them a listen. Even though the band is changed now and has a slightly different sound which may appeal to masses a tad more, they hold their own and are one of the best things that happened to hip hop.
MORE WONDERFUL 2017 ALBUMS
One Ok Rock – Ambitions; Rag’n’Bone – Man Human; Harry Styles – Harry Styles; Taeyang – White Night; King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup
2018 | RM – MONO
RM or by his name Kim Nam-joon is a rapper, leader and producer from south Korean band BTS. This particular rapper started in the underground scene and later debuted with idol band. While the members received a lot of critics for such step, the hard work paid off and RM grew as an artist, which resulted in the release of his solo mixtape “Mono”. Vastly different from his early mixtapes Mono is a combination of ambient beats, indie and rap, resulting in one of the best albums. The album holds particular ambient and melancholy, which holds even stronger hold through its lyrics, which is why I recommend looking up their translations.
MORE WONDERFUL 2018 ALBUMS
BTS – Love Yourself; Editors – Violence; Idles – Joy as an Act of Resistance; HONNE – Love Me/Love Me Not; MINO – THE XX
2019 | BTS – MAP OF SOUL: PERSONA
South Korean band BTS (방탄소년단) debuted in 2013 with a very classic hip hop sound that you could hear mostly in the late 90s in combination with a modern sound. Throughout the years the band evolved and is now a phenomenon – a lot of it is due to the different genres they combine but also messages their albums carry. This particular album was inspired by Carl Jung’s study of one’s persona or ego. The songs on the albums vary in styles but also units within the band itself, delivering hip hop tracks with rock elements, ballads or dance tracks, something for everyone. Again, I would recommend to look up the lyrics which are crucial to who this band is and how they became a new world phenomenon. This is also the second album with international featuring following Steve Aoki, the band worked with singer Halsey. The second part of this album is due to be released soon, at the end of February 2020.
MORE WONDERFUL 2019 ALBUMS
ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of the Storm, AKMU – Sailing, Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To a Hellish Extent, WINNER – Cross, Epik High – Sleeples in _________.