the albums of the teens

Decades are enormous and insubstantial, like office buildings. How can you see? You have to cross the street and unstick from the day. You have to let go of what you’re holding and look up for as long as you can. And then there it goes, less watery and purple, now itself. Did the nineties last until 2006? Did the aughts run only from 2005 to 2011, from the last good Fall Out Boy album to the first Frank Ocean album? It’s possible.

Forget the dumb songwriter’s dumb interview—now we can see her album as part of a cohort and not just as an extrusion of personal crud.

Time dehumanizes, helpfully, and bricks the single into more. Now we can see the wall.

I didn’t know how chaotic the aughts were until 2017. Look at this 2005 list from the old website. It’s drunk as hell.

Professional magazine writing is confined by weak terrors, most dangerous among them word count and news peg. A true critical column would probably be blank half the year and talk about old shit half the time, maybe for no more than a few lines. This sifting process right here is one way of suggesting that path.

In the middle of all this, I ended up focusing on my sifting tool, the desktop app Music, formerly known as iTunes. The story of iTunes is the story of the decade: us being suckered repeatedly to the point of comedy. We’ve made it worse, please come back. I will not be surprised if I wake up and find out that Apple Music has “glitched” and it’s all gone. For, like, a month or two. And then we’ll be shunted off to some even lower res versions of the music we used to “own.” Whatever vinyl we have will be valuable. THE BLANCMANGE ALBUM ISN’T VERY GOOD BUT I CAN PLAY THAT SHIT.

So, the decade. The first list is the music I played at home or on my portable washing machine plinth. Then come the outdoors music I couldn’t control but heard anyway.


Robyn, Body Talk: the rally and the sleepover

Kara-Lis Coverdale, Grafts: the endless dream

Mica Levi, Under the Skin: the can’t you get out of my head

Księżyc, Rabbit Eclipse: the startless dream

Oren Ambarchi, Live Knots: the house is alive with the music of sound

Angel Olsen, No Fire This Time: the prayer

Frank Ocean, Blonde: the diner

Rosalía, El Mal Querer: the club

The Haxan Cloak, Excavation: the basement

Perfume Genius, No Shape: the aerie

Pusha T, Daytona: the voice I heard in my head for a century

Charli XCX, Number 1 Angel: the shadow government

Arca, Arca: the snow

Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside: the truth

Young Thug, Barter 6: the singer

Oneohtrix Point Never, Replica: the realization

Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork: the essence

Villalobos & Loderbauer, Re: ECM: the beauty

Vince Staples, Summertime ‘06: the voice of reason

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Coda: the elegy

D’Angelo, Black Messiah: the heat

Kendrick, Damn: the overload

Beyonce, Lemonade: the election

Kendrick, To Pimp a Butterfly: the jazz


Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy: your best friend

Drake, Take Care: your worst friend

The Weeknd, House of Balloons: your worst night

Rihanna, Anti: your best night

Kanye, Beautiful Dark Twisted Pancake: your endless night