Words by Jeffrey Lee Puckett, data by Brent Greissle
No matter how much we’ve loved our Lesters, Daves and Sheffields, there has always been a gulf between citizens and music critics, between what people listen to and what a comparative handful of writers think we should hear.
It’s a friendly enough war. Both sides end the day with their feet on the coffee table, drink in hand and a record on the turntable. There are no losers in that scenario, but that doesn’t stop the battle from endlessly repeating.
Here’s the thing: Critics are charged with constantly trying to find something new, something to champion. Mainstream music will always find an audience, so a critic feels an imperative to explore the fringes. At the same time, there are millions of people who are perfectly capable of exploring those same fringes, sorting through the crap and putting together a stellar record collection.
That’s what this list is about. Real people. Real collections. It’s comprised of records that Discogs users have either bought or want to buy, and it paints a fascinating picture of popular music post-2010.
The decade’s superstar? That has to be Kendrick Lamar, with three albums in the top 15. The most depressing repeat artist? David Bowie, whose 2016 death is no doubt responsible for his Blackstar landing at No. 2. And Tame Impala, with three albums in the top 30? Well, friends, sometimes real life and music critic life perfectly coincide.
So dig into this list and discover how many records are in your collection — even better, check out every band you’ve never heard of and find some new favorites. You don’t need some kid two years out of college, or a jaded critic with 40 years of reviews under their belt, telling you what’s worthwhile. That’s your job. Have fun.
The 200 Best Albums Of The 2010s
And there you have it: the Discogs 200 Best Albums of the 10s in all its glory. What have we learned here today? The big takeaway is that Rock is by no means dead, despite how many times that tired old trope gets tossed around, but Jazz is on life support.
Around 70-percent of the list is comprised of rock artists, with the next closest genre being Hip Hop at 15-percent. Pop is below 10-percent and Jazz is, well, Jazz is Kamasi Washington all by himself. But at least there is a Jazz album; Country music, wildly popular throughout a large chunk of the US, didn’t even make the list.
That proves something about Discogs users that we’ve always suspected: You have excellent taste, and when you see a Bro-country or Hick Hop record, you make the responsible decision to keep walking. Well done.
Produced in Partnership With VNYL.