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Top 25 Rock Albums of the 2010s

on November 05, 2019, 11:30am
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25. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (2013)

Queens of the Stone Age Like Clockwork art

From the Archives:…Like Clockwork was a huge risk. It’s one of the most hyped rock albums in recent memory (due in part to a big-budget publicity campaign that included everything from a mockumentary film to animated shorts and cryptic letters). Yet, it’s also the most ambitious Queens of the Stone Age record — both sonically and conceptually. It takes confidence to sing about your own demons when thousands of people are listening. Homme doesn’t waver.” Read Jon Hadusek’s full review.

24. Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze (2013)

kurt vile - wakin on a pretty daze

From the Archives: “What’s he searching for? That’s a hallmark of Wakin on a Pretty Daze: he’s everywhere. Whether it’s withered love, a hunger over lost friendships, poking fun at life, or just getting plain stoned, Kurt Vile’s anxious thoughts avoid any navel-gazing through idiosyncratic storytelling, where emotions and situations are often muddled by enough ambiguity that one finds immediate connection — another loose characteristic of the ’70’s best stuff. And while Vile’s slumming it in his own mental ditch, he’s always surrounded by interesting people: us. So, hang onto your ego, man, and ride, ride, ride.” Read Michael Roffman’s full review.

23. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014)

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In the End

From the Archives: “For the first time since The Green Album, Weezer retreated to their heads and set out to prove something instead of just indulging every playful genre experiment on Cuomo’s mind. According to the band, they sought to recapture their roots (aka the anomalous success of The Blue Album and Pinkerton) with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, going as far as to once more hire Ric Ocasek to produce it. Did they succeed? Could their ninth studio album accurately be called Bluerton, some flawless hybrid of the band’s first two works? Not exactly. Cuomo isn’t the brooding, isolated man he was when he wrote “Say It Ain’t So” and “Across the Sea”. Yet, in revisiting those times, in trying to get back in touch with that man, he and the rest of Weezer have created something that’s completely unique to their catalog, a record that tries its damnedest to feel alienated by the conflicts of the past, but discovers that it’s actually at peace with them.” Read Dan Caffrey’s full review.

22. Japandroids – Celebration Rock (2012)

Japandroids - Celebration Rock

From the Archives: “At the very end, the guitars dissolve into fireworks again, like the aforementioned thunder but also reminiscent of the frantic, passionate Jack Kerouac, whose alter ego in On the Road famously rhapsodizes that he loves people who “burn burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everyone goes ‘Aww!’” So too does Celebration Rock burn and burn, faster and harder, all the way through to the delirious end, a blur of an album that somehow helps you see more clearly. If you listen to it close and hard enough, you’ll be pleasantly exhausted by the end — like the end of a hard-living, hard-loving summer day —  fireworks included.” Read Megan Ritt’s full review.

21. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (2012)

Spiritualized - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

From the Archives: “Continuing to probe and seek answers to questions only he may know, Spiritualized’s latest is a fully realized effort. Coming in at just under an hour, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light covers a broad aural spectrum from surrealistic haze to outward pop and as such, is some of Jason Pierce’s and Spiritualized’s best material since Ladies and Gentlemen. A man who obviously has a whole new appreciation for life, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light is the product of an artist truly inspired. It’s just a shame he almost had to die to achieve it.” Read Len Comaratta’s full review.

20. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy (2015)

Titus Andronicus The Most Lamentable Tragedy stream listen

From the Archives: “This is music that wants to be read as a text, and deserves to be. The fact that it comes to us in an era of smartphones and shortening attention spans only serves to underscore its audacity. I’m reminded, once more, of Titus Andronicus the play. It’s messy, it’s ugly, it’s borderline barbaric. And yet it endures. Whether or not the final, sustained note of “A Moral” is the last we hear of Stickles and co., their career can be summed up in three words: Titus Andronicus forever.” Read Collin Brennan’s full review.

19. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory (2012)

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

From the Archives: “With last year’s self-titled album, Baldi had his share of hooks and ideas, but altogether it felt too unfocused. He recycled harmonies, he relied on the scruff, and the songs pulled its punches. With Attack on Memory, Baldi’s never felt more alive or more authentic. On closing tracks “Our Plan” or “Cut You”, the band knocks out taut exercises in songwriting, taking what they’ve learned and pushing forward in signature style. Those aforementioned hooks and ideas? They’re fully realized, and that’s when things get dangerous – or, when guitar sales start to bloom. Either way, it’s another win in rock for Ohio.” Read Michael Roffman’s full review.

18. Lucy Dacus – Historian (2018)

 Top 25 Rock Albums of the 2010s

From the Archives: Lucy Dacus played Historian almost entirely front to back, with the exception of closing with the opener/lead single, ‘Night Shift’, and saving the title track for the encore. Even without the gorgeous touches of strings and horns featured on the record, the rich artistry of the new material was immediate and authentic. Dacus’ performance was subtle and effortless, with no pretense to distract from what has to be one of the purest, sturdiest young voices today. She seemed so approachably unassuming, dressed in a $3 thrift store blazer with her Epiphone guitar and casual smile. Yet, for all the nonchalance of her delivery and presence, there was no lack of power; in fact, the apparent reserve only served to make the set’s incendiary moments (the final build of “Body to Flame”, the back half of “Night Shift”) that much more dynamic.” Read Ben Kaye’s full review.

17. Sleater Kinney – No Cities to Love (2016)

Sleater Kinney Sub Pop Reunion

From the Archives: “‘Surface Envy’ is the sound of three people tired of all the bullshit, ready to break free. Sleater-Kinney are sick of the rules as they stand, but they don’t just want to break the rules; they want to make new ones. They could only do that by coming back together to reintroduce their own perspective and fight their own battle. If it took eight years to reach this boiling point and fuel this inevitable explosion, so be it.” Read Adam Kivel’s full review.

16. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)

Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

From the Archives: “Linking up with producer John Congleton, the Hakeem Olajuwon of engineers, was a wise choice for Sharon Van Etten. Prior to recording, she sent him all sorts of influences or sounds she was feeling at the time — ranging from Suicide to Portishead to Nick Cave’s heartbreaking last record, 2016’s The Skeleton Tree — and he clearly designed a fitting blueprint. This isn’t so much an evolution, but a complete restructuring of Van Etten’s sound. It’s her OK Computer if you want to get frank.” Read Michael Roffman’s full review.

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