Best Albums of the Decade (2010-19)

  • Publish Date: November 5, 2019
  • Comments: ↓ 8 user comments

We begin our recap of the best entertainment of the 2010s with two lists of the decade's best albums, representing views from different vantage points in time. These lists will be updated frequently throughout the coming weeks, when we will also be unveiling similar lists of the best movies, TV shows, and games of the decade.

Part 1: Highest-scoring albums of the 2010s
(aka Albums that critics loved at the time of their release)

This section will be updated periodically throughout the end of the year.
Last update: November 18

These albums have the highest Metascores out of all new albums released from 2010-19. Albums must have reviews from at least 15 critics to qualify for inclusion; reissues, compilations, and EPs are excluded.

Album/Artist Score Buy Album
1Ghosteen
by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
97Amazon  
2To Pimp A Butterfly
by Kendrick Lamar
96Amazon  
3DAMN.
by Kendrick Lamar
95Amazon  
4Black Messiah
by D'Angelo
95Amazon  
5Skeleton Tree
by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
95Amazon  
6My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
by Kanye West
94Amazon  
7A Crow Looked at Me
by Mount Eerie
93Amazon  
8Room 25
by Noname
93Amazon  
9Lemonade
by Beyoncé
92Amazon  
10Sunbather
by Deafheaven
92Amazon  
11You Want It Darker
by Leonard Cohen
92Amazon  
12Channel Orange
by Frank Ocean
92Amazon  
13Titanic Rising
by Weyes Blood
91Amazon  
14Melodrama
by Lorde
91Amazon  
15Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
by Kendrick Lamar
91Amazon  
16The ArchAndroid
by Janelle Monáe
91Amazon  
17We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service
by A Tribe Called Quest
91Amazon  
18Carrie & Lowell
by Sufjan Stevens
90Amazon  
19No Cities to Love
by Sleater-Kinney
90Amazon  
20Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
by Big Boi
90Amazon  
21Spaces
by Nils Frahm
90Amazon  
22St. Vincent
by St. Vincent
89Amazon  
23The Dusk in Us
by Converge
89Amazon  
23LEGACY! LEGACY!
by Jamila Woods
89Amazon  
25RTJ2
by Run the Jewels
89Amazon  
26Honey
by Robyn
89Amazon  
27Kiwanuka
by Michael Kiwanuka
89Amazon  
28Apex Predator - Easy Meat
by Napalm Death
89Amazon  
29Black Origami
by Jlin
89Amazon  
30All Mirrors
by Angel Olsen
89Amazon  
31Coloring Book [Mixtape]
by Chance the Rapper
89Amazon  
32Big Fish Theory
by Vince Staples
89Amazon  
33Chris
by Christine and the Queens
89Amazon  
34Golden Hour
by Kacey Musgraves
89Amazon  
35A Seat at the Table
by Solange
89Amazon  
36When I Get Home
by Solange
89Amazon  
37 The Idler Wheel ...
by Fiona Apple
89Amazon  
38To Be Kind
by Swans
88Amazon  
39American Band
by Drive-By Truckers
88Amazon  
40Divers
by Joanna Newsom
88Amazon  
41Loud City Song
by Julia Holter
88Amazon  
42Bad as Me
by Tom Waits
88Amazon  
43A Moon Shaped Pool
by Radiohead
88Amazon  
44Masseduction
by St. Vincent
88Amazon  
45Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
by Courtney Barnett
88Amazon  
46Run the Jewels 3
by Run the Jewels
88Amazon  
47Designer
by Aldous Harding
88Amazon  
48Magdalene
by FKA twigs
88Amazon  
49Undun
by The Roots
88Amazon  
50Lonerism
by Tame Impala
88Amazon  


Albums released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019 with 15 or more reviews in Metacritic's database were eligible for inclusion. Reissues and other older material, EPs, live albums, holiday albums, greatest hits albums, multi-artist soundtracks, and other compilations are excluded from the above lists. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Albums are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding.

Part 2: Best-of-the-decade top ten lists
(aka Albums that critics still love now)

This section will be updated as new lists are published throughout the end of the year.
Last update: November 18

While the list above reflects how critics felt about each album at the time of its release, opinions can change over time. So, to get a better read on the current consensus, we have also aggregated best-of-the-decade lists published by a variety of music and entertainment publications in late 2019. Individual lists are displayed at the bottom of the page, but in the table below, the most frequently mentioned albums are ranked according to our points system (which gives bonus points for being ranked at the top of a list):

  • 3 points for each 1st place ranking
  • 2 points for each 2nd place ranking
  • 1 point for being ranked 3rd - 10th, or for being included on an unranked list of 10 or fewer albums
  • 0.5 points for being included on an unranked list of 11-20 albums
  • No points for albums included on unranked lists of more than 20 albums (or for albums ranked worse than 20th)
Albums Mentioned on Most Best of the Decade Top 10 Lists
Album / Artist # 1st Place # 2nd Place # Other Points
1 To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar41519
2 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West13312
3 Lemonade by Beyoncé11510
4 good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar1138
5 A Seat at the Table by Solange1127
Blonde by Frank Ocean1047
7 Channel Orange by Frank Ocean0066
8 Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend0055
9 Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen0044
Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the Vanguard0044
11 Black Metal by Dean Blunt1003
Visions by Grimes1003
House of Gold and Bones, Pt. 1 by Stone Sour1003
Body Talk by Robyn0033
Melodrama by Lorde0033
16 Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age0102
 Tha Tour Pt. 1 by Rich Gang0102
Beyoncé by Beyoncé0022
Anti- by Rihanna0022
Double Cup by DJ Rashad0022
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire0102
Yeezus by Kanye West0102
This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem0022
Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom0102
Red by Taylor Swift0022

Individual top ten lists

Below are the 12 individual top ten lists used to calculate the standings above. Some publications may list albums without ranking them; such lists are displayed below, without numbers, in alphabetical order. Many publications have published multiple lists by genre; we are only including one list (the most generalized one) from each source.

Cleveland.com Troy L. Smith View full list
  1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  2. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
  3. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  4. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
  5. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
  6. Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen
  7. Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
  8. This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
  9. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  10. Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
Consequence of Sound View full list
  1. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  2. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  4. Melodrama by Lorde
  5. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
  6. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
  7. Body Talk by Robyn
  8. good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
  9. Strange Mercy by St. Vincent
  10. Be the Cowboy by Mitski
Crack Magazine View full list
  1. Black Metal by Dean Blunt
  2. good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
  3. Double Cup by DJ Rashad
  4. Let England Shake by PJ Harvey
  5. A Seat at the Table by Solange
  6. Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides by Sophie
  7. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  8. Apocalypse, girl by Jenny Hval
  9. Classical Curves by Jam City
  10. LP1 by FKA twigs
Gorilla vs. Bear View full list
  1. Visions by Grimes
  2. Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom
  3. Teen Dream by Beach House
  4. Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones) by Jai Paul
  5. Black Up by Shabazz Palaces
  6. Norman Fucking Rockwell by Lana Del Rey
  7. AIA by Grouper
  8. Kill for Love by Chromatics
  9. Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
  10. Rival Dealer by Burial
The Independent View full list
  1. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  2. A Seat at the Table by Solange
  3. Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
  4. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
  5. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  6. Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
  7. DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
  8. Melodrama by Lorde
  9. We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest
  10. Body Talk by Robyn
Loudwire (Rock list) View full list View metal albums list (not included in combined standings)
  1. House of Gold and Bones, Pt. 1 by Stone Sour
  2. Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age
  3. Diamond Eyes by Deftones
  4. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here by Alice in Chains
  5. Yellow & Green by Baroness
  6. The Pale Emperor by Marilyn Manson
  7. Wasting Light by Foo Fighters
  8. Conditions of My Parole by Puscifer
  9. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance
  10. The Boy Who Died Wolf by Highly Suspect
Noisey View full list
  1. A Seat at the Table by Solange
  2. Tha Tour Pt. 1 by Rich Gang
  3. Blonde by Frank Ocean
  4. Nightmare Logic by Power Trip
  5. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  6. Double Cup by DJ Rashad
  7. Anti- by Rihanna
  8. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  9. DS2 by Future
  10. Replica by Oneohtrix Point Never
Paste View full list
  1. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  2. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  3. This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
  4. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  5. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
  6. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett
  7. Blonde by Frank Ocean
  8. Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen
  9. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
  10. Ctrl by SZA
Pitchfork View full list
  1. Blonde by Frank Ocean
  2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  3. Beyoncé by Beyoncé
  4. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  5. The Idler Wheel… by Fiona Apple
  6. A Seat at the Table by Solange
  7. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
  8. Body Talk by Robyn
  9. Black Messiah by D'Angelo and the Vanguard
  10. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
Stereogum View full list
  1. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  2. Yeezus by Kanye West
  3. Art Angels by Grimes
  4. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  5. Blonde by Frank Ocean
  6. good Kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar
  7. Beyoncé by Beyoncé
  8. Night Time, My Time by Sky Ferreira
  9. Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen
  10. Red by Taylor Swift
Uproxx View full list
  1. good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
  2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  3. Red by Taylor Swift
  4. Blonde by Frank Ocean
  5. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  6. Melodrama by Lorde
  7. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  8. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
  9. Take Care by Drake
  10. Anti- by Rihanna
The Young Folks View full list
  1. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
  2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
  3. Lemonade by Beyoncé
  4. Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe
  5. good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
  6. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
  7. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
  8. Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen
  9. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
  10. Contra by Vampire Weekend

More best of the decade coverage

Additional best of the decade lists (as well as our year-end best of 2019 coverage) will roll out over the following weeks.

What about your list?

What are your favorite albums of the decade? Give us your list in the comments section below.

 

Comments (8)

  • MusicGuyMack  

    We Are Not Your Kind scored an 89 and easily should have made this list. I don't understand why it's not.

  • JasonDietz  

    @MusicGuyMack: We Are Not Your Kind only has 14 reviews at the moment (one short of our minimum requirement).

  • JuanLuisGG14  

    Steven Wilson's Hand Cannot Erase is my personal favourite one... it's sad it does not meed the 15 reviews requirement, it deserves more attention

  • PlanetRJ  

    my top 10

    1.Taylor Swift - 1989
    2.Taylor Swift - Lover
    3. Jamie XX – In Colour
    4. Tinashe – Aquarius
    5. Noname - Room 25
    6. Taylor Swift - Reputation
    7. Tyler, the Creator - Flower Boy
    8. Disclosure - Settle
    9. Bicep - Bicep
    10. Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$

  • MusicGuyMack  

    @JasonDietz Didn't see the 15-review requirement, appreciate the clarification!

  • blueayou  

    glad this exists but just to point out this you guys are missing at least one - chance the rapper's coloring book has an 89 with 21 reviews so it should be up there bumping out foundations of a burden.

  • JasonDietz  

    @blueayou: You are absolutely right. It was flagged in our database as ineligible for high score lists (presumably because it is a mixtape), but that shouldn't be the case. It'll be added the next time we update the list. (I'll also check to see if I can spot any other omissions like that one.)

  • LamontRaymond  

    I would suggest that you're missing 3 of the great rock albums of the decade: Bella Novela's The Archeress, Fartbarf's Dirty Power, and Los Mysteriosos' TNT. (Not of which got enough reviews, but they're bad-ass)

New in Metacritic Reports

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/best-movies-of-the-decade-2010s Image
    Best Movies of the Decade (2010-19)
    November 18, 2019 - 1 comment
    1. Roman1990 : Most of these films are so terribly overrated. "Burning", "Master", "They shall not grow old", "Inside Lewyn Davis"... Read »
  2. /feature/best-albums-of-the-decade-2010s Image
    Best Albums of the Decade (2010-19)
    November 5, 2019 - 8 comments
    1. LamontRaymond : I would suggest that you're missing 3 of the great rock albums of the decade: Bella Novela's The Archeress,... Read »
    2. JasonDietz : @blueayou: You are absolutely right. It was flagged in our database as ineligible for high score lists (presumably... Read »
    3. blueayou : glad this exists but just to point out this you guys are missing at least one - chance the rapper's coloring book has... Read »
    4. MusicGuyMack : @JasonDietz Didn't see the 15-review requirement, appreciate the clarification! Read »
    5. PlanetRJ : my top 10 1.Taylor Swift - 1989 2.Taylor Swift - Lover 3. Jamie XX – In Colour 4. Tinashe – Aquarius 5. Noname... Read »
    6. JuanLuisGG14 : Steven Wilson's Hand Cannot Erase is my personal favourite one... it's sad it does not meed the 15 reviews... Read »
    7. JasonDietz : @MusicGuyMack: We Are Not Your Kind only has 14 reviews at the moment (one short of our minimum requirement). Read »
  3. /feature/new-free-games-playstation-xbox-pc-switch Image
    This Month's Free Games
    October 30, 2019 - 13 comments
    1. juliabeyers : thanks for games Read »
    2. juliabeyers : thanks for games Read »