The People’s Albums: 2010s Edition

As I make my way through 2010s music, I figured I’d take a break from mere reviews to do a bonus People’s Album of the best selling album of this particular decade. The ‘10s were much less a decade of blockbuster album releases than the ‘00s or ‘90s before them for a number of reasons. The death of the monoculture, major record labels’ shifting influence, and physical media’s decline all made it hard to put out an album that simply everybody was listening to. Not to mention the effects that streaming had on how people consumed albums, or whether they bothered to listen to entire albums at all. It made for a weird decade for the album’s cultural relevance, and yet despite that, there were still a few that managed to break out and capture people’s ears, as well as their money. Continue reading

2010s Music Revisited: Smoke Ring For My Halo/Slave Ambient

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo / The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient (2011)

It’s interesting that both Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo and The War On Drugs’ Slave Ambient sat with Radiohead’s King of Limbs just outside of my Top Ten Albums of 2011. First, because they’re both quite a bit better than several albums that made my top ten that year (remember Cults?). But also because Philly boys Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel used to be bandmates in The War On Drugs just a few years prior, while 2011 marked a kind of turning point for both of these mainstays of 2010s indie rock. Continue reading

2010s Music Rediscovered: New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of The Ankh

Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of The Ankh (2010)

It was only in the last few years that I started to really get into Erykah Badu, but from what I can tell, it’s been a weird decade for her. She started the decade off strong, releasing this follow up to 2008’s New Amerykah Pt. 1, but then for the rest of the decade managed only to release a mixtape in 2015, while a new album may await us in 2020. However, she still managed to retain her relevancy through extensive touring and festival appearances, while the kind of laid-back neo-soul she once harbored into the mainstream managed to stay in fashion over the course of the 2010s. She also managed to stay in the limelight (unfortunately) because she defended all-around great guys like Hitler and R. Kelly in public, but I guess it’s hard to give too much credence to any of Badu’s weird personal opinions when she’s always seemed to be living on a planet all her own.

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The Pick: Frozen

Just in time for the weather to get a little more frigid and a Frozen sequel to blow into theaters, we’re talking this week about the original Frozen. While its popularity is unquestioned, the boys talk about what makes it so appealing and how it stacks up to the other Disney fairy tales it follows in the footsteps of. Also, we get in a decent-sized conversation about Terminator: Dark Fate for those of you looking for a follow-up to our Universal Soldier episode. Continue reading

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2010s Music Rediscovered: I Will Be

Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be (2010)

I spent a chunk of the early 2010s waiting for Dum Dum Girls to really become a thing, but it never really happened. Not that any of their albums were underwhelming. In fact, all three of them are quite good. It’s just that they never really broke out from the pack of all the other retro-leaning indie rock bands of the era in terms of mainstream success. Still, I Will Be stands as perhaps the band’s finest moment (along with the End of Daze EP), and as a testament to lead singer Dee Dee’s ability to craft delicious hooks draped in dread. Continue reading

2010s Music Rediscovered: Body Talk

Robyn – Body Talk (2010)

For basically every year of the 2010s, we’ve done a bunch of half-baked album reviews to catch-up on writing about music we never reviewed during the year. You would think that because of this, in addition to our regular reviews and end-of-the-year Top 10s that we’d have already covered all of the notable albums to come out this decade. Well, you’d be very wrong, since it felt like there was more good music this decade than any that had come before it.

So for the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing albums that have never been reviewed on this blog or mentioned in end-of-the-year Top Ten lists. Some of these will be albums that slipped under my radar when they were released, or I didn’t appreciate at the time and have come to enjoy as the decade wore on. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll post these, but the every-other-day of the week approach that Sean took with his Avengers Retrospectus seems like a good one to shoot for.

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The Pick: Universal Soldier

Roland Emmerich has blown up the White House (twice!), ravaged Earth (twice!), and unleashed a giant lizard on Manhattan (once, that we know of). But Universal Soldier is where his road to action movie immortality started, by making a movie about PTSD-laden super soldiers trying to blow up each other. This all intersects with Emmerich’s Midway hitting theaters today, as well as Terminator: Dark Fate currently underperforming at the box office. As we’ll discuss, it turns out Universal Soldier is a pretty big knock-off of Terminator 2, but also pulls from many other action blockbusters that reigned over the movie landscape in the ’80s and ’90s. Continue reading

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