Check Out Some of My Fave Underrated Albums of the 2010s Before the Decade Is Over
The 2010s were a pretty phenomenal decade when it comes to music. We saw the explosion of many new and exciting artists, as well as the continued success of longtime performers. With the end of the decade now upon us, everyone is busy talking about the best albums of the decade and which ones had the most lasting cultural, social, and musical influences that will be felt for years to come. But what about the albums that didn't receive as much fanfare?
Before the 2010s officially come to a close, I want to take some time to look back on the albums that I personally loved but didn't receive as much recognition as they should have. Open up your streaming service of choice, and get ready to discover new music from some of the most underrated albums of the 2010s.
Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka
Fans of Big Little Lies should be familiar with Michael Kiwanuka's work in the show's now-iconic opening credits. But Kiwanuka's appeal extends far beyond "Cold Little Heart," and his 2017 album Love & Hate is the perfect introduction to the British folk singer's music. Each song tells a heartfelt story from Kiwanuka's soul and in the process speaks to many of my own experiences.
The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe
Many people have been introduced to Janelle Monáe in the past few years after her phenomenal roles in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, or her beloved Dirty Computer and Electric Lady albums; as a result, her debut album The ArchAndroid often goes forgotten by many. It's a movie in its own right and speaks to the cinematic and musical artistry that Monáe continues to show us today.
Down to Earth by Flight Facilities
You might've heard Flight Facilities' catchy song "Crave You" in the earlier years of the 2010s, but chances are most people haven't listened to the album that the song comes from. On every song on Down to Earth, the Australian duo takes the best elements of electronic and dance music to create music that's as unique as it is fun to listen to.
City of No Reply by Amber Coffman
If you've listened to The Dirty Projectors in the past, then you should be familiar with Amber Coffman, who served as the band's lead singer and guitarist before leaving in 2013. A few years after launching her solo career, her debut album City of No Reply proved her ability to stand fully on her own, and I love her even more for it.
Kiss by Carly Rae Jepsen
"Call Me Maybe" put Carly Rae Jepsen on the map in the beginning of the decade, but there was a period for a few years after her mainstream breakout where many wondered if she was destined to be a one-hit wonder. Her 2015 album E•MO•TION put those fears to rest, but its success — combined with the popularity of "Call Me Maybe" on its own — meant that the Kiss album that the smash hit came from didn't receive as much attention.
Nocturnal by Yuna
Yuna started the decade as a popular Malaysian singer with little recognition around the world and is ending it with a certified Gold single with Usher. Her 2012 album Nocturnal was a crucial step in Yuna's transition into international stardom, but with her next two albums achieving huge success, Nocturnal only received a fraction of the public popularity that it deserved.
Feel Good by The Internet
The Internet's audience has only grown since their debut nearly a decade ago, which makes it easy to ignore their earlier work. Their 2013 album Feel Good contained the right balance of R&B, soul, and pop sounds that would help them make their mark on the music landscape in their subsequent group and solo albums.
Honey by Robyn
There's never a time we won't jam out to "Dancing on My Own," but Swedish pop star Robyn deserves way more credit beyond her biggest worldwide hit. She was much more involved in the production process for her comeback album Honey, which led to the creation of dreamy pop perfection that was a refreshing departure from her previous work.
Saturn by Nao
I love this album from British soul singer Nao because it touches on themes that characterize any 20-something's Saturn return: doubts about the future, love and relationships, and finding who we are and who we're meant to be.
Take Me When You Go by Betty Who
Australian pop singer Betty Who has steadily crept into the American music scene in the past five years, which all began with the release of her debut album Take Me When You Go in 2014. The album is sometimes Madonna, sometimes Adele, but always uniquely Betty, with tracks that range from upbeat pop dreams to heartfelt ballads.
Super Critical by The Ting Tings
The Ting Tings didn't have as many stateside hits this decade compared to the era of "That's Not My Name" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go," which is surprising, considering the pop potential of some of their later music. Super Critical is the best example of this, but luckily the album is as fresh and fun to listen to as it was when it was released five years ago.
Nightride by Tinashe
Tinashe has had a wild ride — no pun intended — throughout the second half of this decade. Her new album is phenomenal, in part because it invokes the spirit of her sultry Nightride album from 2016: it's equally fitting for the bedroom as it is for the beach and is Tinashe at some of her best and most honest moments.
Magic Hour by Scissor Sisters
We're lucky that the Scissor Sisters' Magic Hour album was their last before taking an indefinite hiatus, because some of their most timeless songs have come from the 2012 album. Should it even come as a surprise for a show like Glee to cover "Let's Have a Kiki"?