As it's been a while since my last blog post, and because they tend to be mostly music-orientated these days, I thought I'd expound my favourite tracks of the 2010s, before we get too far into the new decade.
The 10s was a cultural timespan so fully immersed in the digital era that half of any new music you listen tends to go under most other people's radars, the last hurrah of the singles chart being so far into the past now you'd need a Hubble-strength telescope to detect its dying rays.
Nowadays my main sources are BBC 6 Music, as ever; Radio 2 (!) occasionally; otherwise random tweeted recommendations from friends and those I'm following, and around the summer festival period I'll peruse music websites for the lowdown on bands I've just come across or am about to see. Nothing from TV, nor from an equivalent to NME, which is quite sad when I think about it, compared to the pre-internet era of MTV when it actually played videos and the music press when the alt scene was thriving.
New acts aside, heritage artists like Metallica and the late Leonard Cohen have still been producing the goods, to my ears, although I can't see that continuing much longer.
The final cut is an unholy mix of (mainly) alternative, indie, metal, post-punk & electronica, but also some classical, reggae, trip-hop and African jazz-funk. There’s a few not included only because they’re not on Spotify, like a bonus track from Bowie’s 'The Next Day' in 2013, which proves why the app can’t always be relied upon.
If I had to narrow it down to a top six:
> Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), Arcade Fire (2010)
Epic 80s-channeling opus with fantastic Bjorky vocal and slight Blondie melody purloining going on. Only heard properly for first time in early 2018 when my local radio station played it and replied to my tweet asking who it was.
> Supremacy, Muse (2013)
Their last truly great song IMO, the Bond theme tune that never was; although the title track of the album it appeared on - The 2nd Law - also rocked my world with its dubstep groove and histrionic choir. Ever diminishing returns since then.
> Two Weeks, FKA Twigs (2014)
Dark and brilliantly produced trip-hop. While Twigs never fully goes for it vocally, when she does smash the few high notes it gives me the old pilomotor reflex every time.
> Moth Into Flame / Dream No More, Metallica (2016)
While they’ll never reattain Master of Puppets heights, this is still the best any thrash metal band can produce, at both fast and slow tempos.
> You Want It Darker, Leonard Cohen (2016)
Absolute master of the atmospheric slow-burner, right up until his death only a few weeks later from this release.
Am eternally grateful to have seen him live from close quarters at Glastonbury.
> The Island, Pendulum (2010)
Dubstep/D&B, whatever you wanna call this, it's a hectic wallshaker and my favourite treadmill workout number for smashing it on the highest gradient.
*Honourable shout-outs to PJ Harvey and St Vincent, and Sleaford Mods: their single-note gem 'My Jampandy' my standout.