Find the Best Americana Albums on AllMusic. Before the Drake co-sign, before people even knew his name, the man born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye was just a spectre who fused Siouxsie And The Banshees samples with tales of drugs, debauchery and a haunting falsetto. 25 Best Country and Americana Songs of 2019 ... the Grammys awarded its first-ever award for the Best Americana Album ... by the middle of the decade Americana had … —Dacey Orr, With a voice like good claret or damp moss, Rosanne Cash’s singing is something to sink into. As an homage to the people, places and sounds of the queer dance scene of 80s New York, Cupid Deluxe takes the kitchen-sink approach, melding a bit of disco, soul and R&B to create the new hybrid pop sound that would dominate the decade. Nothing’s Gonna Change… is ultimately the kind of album you can curl up into, let the warm tones surround you and rest easy in a way that makes you feel like, “damn, everything feels right about now.” At the risk of sounding like a jerk, Earle’s album title is true. Drake wasn’t the first rapper to sing on record, but he was the first rap-pop star, absorbing every genre that lay before him. Nothing will change the way we feel about him: he will forever be tied to his father, his mythos, his demons, but above all, his ability to make really wonderful music. Please remember we were 11 when the decade started. While the 2010s saw the return of the female MC (Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj), Whack operates outside of the hypersexualised scene, preferring to sit in the margins, creating an experimental collection of vignettes on her debut album. With The River & The Thread, she comes home with the warmth reserved for knowing where we’re from. The Best Albums of The Decade: The 2010s 99 Bring Me The Horizon, ‘amo’ (SONY/RCA, 2019). 5- Lovesick, Broke, & Driftin’ (2002) – Hank Williams III Without question, BR549 and Wayne “The Train” Hancock created the neo-traditionalist movement in the mid 90’s and will always be the kings of it, but Hank III was the one to carry it into the oughts and introduce it to a brand new crop of fans. And no other song on Nowhere fits as neatly into the eye of the needle that every artist in Nashville is trying to thread as “Dahlonega” does. Here are the 30 best country albums of 2010-2019. Check out: Whack World, There’s a kind of blinding optimism on Teenage Dream makes you wonder: when did we all stop being this happy? Country music is and has always been about telling and preserving the real stories of everyday people, which is why when we started discussing our favorite country records of the 2010s, a lot of these familiar storytellers kept popping back up. Here is a list of the best albums of the decade. Paste Magazine’s Top 10 Country/Americana Albums of 2019 Today, Paste Magazine commemorated a few CE artists, praising their new releases among the best in Country and Americana this year. “Back When We Were Beautiful,” Matraca Berg’s chilling song of aging sung by an old woman to her much-younger listener, sets up Crowell’s “Here We Are.” The hushed ballad realizes what was sought was already within the singer’s grasp. Choosing instead to work with Dave Cobb, the man behind the boards for Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton’s recent triumphs, was a brilliant move on her part. Cash, who’s sidestepped her heritage, and eschewed a career as a country star with 11 Number Ones, a marriage to a country writer/producer/artist Rodney Crowell and the city/industry where she found prominence, savored her wandering and the Manhattan life she built. Even if they can’t remove themselves and head for greener pastures, each spin of Interstate Gospel will help soothe their soul and ease their troubled mind. Her bold pastiche of Americana, filtered through nostalgia and her beguiling voice, launched the “sad girl pop” subgenre, and while her latest effort, Norman F__king Rockwell, may be her strongest yet, Born To Die – and standout song ‘Video Games – is what set everything in motion. As long as they have each other, the ex-husbands, sugar daddies and sundry other bad boys of the world have no chance of survival. It’s a country album at its core, but there’s a whole lot more happening here besides. In the 2010s, music became a benchmark for culture: it reflected the seismic shifts, the unease surrounding our increasing reliance on technology, the political unrest and the shrinking of the world’s borders. It’s not that McKenna is trying to put a lump in your throat. The irony of selecting To the Sunset as one of the best Americana albums of the year is that Amanda Shires deliberately set out to make this a "non-Americana" record. McKenna’s attention to detail, and the way she makes universal sentiments suddenly, and piercingly, specific, are why her songs are special enough to have earned the deep respect of her fellow folk singers, and to have caught the ear of the big-ticket country stars who have recorded them, including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Little Big Town. That title goes to his wife, Kacey Musgraves, for her stunning Golden Hour. Gaga’s unabashed excess and anthems of inclusiveness marked a pivotal moment in pop music. The needle may keep moving for female country artists, but that’s of little concern to McBryde. Ahh, the beauty of lives realized. —Ellen Johnson, The loose yet sturdy feel of Eric Church’s latest album is something like seeing the Nashville troubadour in concert. With 4:44, however, Jay Z eschewed the posturing and braggadocio of his heyday, recording an intensely personal record of love, regret and repentance. Check out: ‘Firework’, Technology has not only globalised pop music but has connected today’s generation with folk music traditions. She has a well-informed perspective, then, on growing up and growing older and watching the world change around you. Required fields are marked *. Following her culture-shifting visual album Beyoncé, Lemonade was more than a break-up album, it was a declaration of war that played out on an accompanying 65-minute film that only Beyoncé could pull off. —Eric R. Danton, Personal struggles with addiction and troubles with the law, not to mention the connection of his folk-royalty father, Steve Earle, have meant that Earle the Younger, gifted as he is, has always had a specific narrative attached to him and his music. Wistful songs about love and family would be deeply uncool in the wrong hands, but McKenna seems more interested in being honest than hip. A stunning assimilation of jazz, funk, hip-hop and African music, … Butterfly offered the kind of boundless vision the decade was waiting for. “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door” and “Egg & Daughter Night, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)” deliver Prine’s sly, homespun humor. 1. This time, the band turned their collective focus away from mortality and looked inward, towards suburban ennui: “By the time the first bombs fell, we were already bored.” Man were they right. But if Balls was chilled-in-the-box strawberry wine, Welder is mulberry-flavored moonshine: homemade, delicious and completely unsanitary. An instant classic if there ever was one. —Holly Gleason, Brandy Clark’s debut disc, 12 Stories was released not on some glittering Music Row major—but on the Dallas-based indie Slate Creek Records. This is wild, untamed music sung in a wild, untamed voice, and it’s brilliant. “I got to do things my own way, darling,” she declared on ‘Consideration’ – and it paid off. Hip-hop became pop music, while R&B resurfaced with fresh voices. There aren’t very many who can do both in the same breath. To write, sing and relate to your listeners as she does is a rare trio of traits. Hot on the heels of his illustrious and mysterious debut album Pony (out now on Sub Pop), Peck first caught our attention thanks to his look, act and secret identity (we still don’t know who he is, exactly), but his music secured the hold. Listen to the Best Country Albums of the 2010s Spotify playlist right here . Case in point: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. He’s made a superb album. The Nashville Sound, his first record with the 400 Unit since 2011’s Here We Rest, is triumphant in its topical resonance, but draws influence from the timelessness of lyrical curiosity. Instead the Kentucky-born singer looked to more far-out places on his second full-length, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. What else would you expect from somebody who signs off with a song called “Between Jennings and Jones,” which is right where you’ll find Johnson’s music at the record store? Decade-End Billboard 200 Albums; All Decade-End Charts; BANDSINTOWN X BILLBOARD . His brand of otherworldly R&B and narcoticised production would become the blueprint for R&B well into the decade. Developing from a mini-album trilogy, Body Talk proved dance music was anything but disposable; finding humanity on the dancefloor, it tapped into feelings of loneliness and escapism. The albums that were the last decade's best. Listen to the Best Country Albums of the 2010s Spotify playlist right here. Solange’s A Seat At The Table didn’t just shift the culture, it ignited a movement. —Eric R. Danton, Elizabeth Cook’s 2007 album, the Rodney Crowell-produced Balls, was straight up Dolly-worshippin’ country, full of stretchy peddle steel and yodel-peppered sass. Browse the top americana albums to find new music and discover artists. A top-seller despite its lack of radio play, the song became popular across genre lines by promoting open-mindedness in a way country music hasn’t necessarily seen before. It makes the album a powerful tribute to his son, while establishing Simpson as an artist who, despite his country heart, simply won’t be confined by notions of genre or, for that matter, anyone else’s expectations. —Liz Stinson, Ruston Kelly’s debut full-length Dying Star wasn’t the best album anyone released in 2018. They’re joyously resolved, “marching that freedom highway, and aren’t gonna turn around.” —Holly Gleason, The deck feels perpetually stacked against women in the modern country marketplace. Blonde. Perhaps they didn’t know how to program the soul explosion of “Hangin’ Around” or the sultry opening track “The Snake” or his folksy and heartfelt tribute to the birth of his son as soundtracked by “Hippie Radio.” None of it sounds terribly cozy next to the nearly pop bombast that passes for most country on the radio these days—not that that’s going to keep Church up at night. A military-marching “Hungover” brilliantly documents the dissolution of a marriage from the missus’ fed-up perspective, and the forlorn “Take A Little Pill” slams Prozac-numbed modern society with “If one won’t work then another one will / If you got a little hurt you take a little pill.” Here’s hoping his own mind-expanding experiments will expand the minds of listeners as well. As good as the songs are, Isbell’s singing may be even better. CLOSE. Instead, she chortles and spits and coos and chants. That song, with its lyrical laundry list of working class signifiers, is catnip to country fans. The 11-song cycle is mostly a meditation on the textures and musical forms that emerged South of the Mason Dixon. Check out: ‘4:44’, Following a long line of female country artists who broke into the pop mainstream, Kacey Musgraves became the kind of upstart the genre needed, with her mould-breaking, Grammy-winning album Golden Hour. Stacked with A-list appearances by Nicki Minaj (on her scene-stealing ‘Monster’ verse), Pusha T (‘Runaway’), Kid Cudi and Raekwon (‘Gorgeous’), MBDTF set the scene for a flood of classic hip-hop albums in the 2010s. How Americana Went Mainstream in the 2010s Once a niche genre, Americana music found a wider audience in the last decade with artists like the … But the title of the singer/songwriter’s triumphant third LP is also an ode to the brief period of daytime occurring right after sunrise or just before sunset, a fleeting 30 minutes during which everything is made more beautiful by a dusky, yellow glow. Sturgill Simpson is not one of those people—mostly because he doesn’t seem to care what is happening within the confines of the country music world. Check out: ‘Dance Yrself Clean’, If anyone’s responsible for the kind of genre-subversion that pervaded the 2010s, it was James Blake. Check out: ‘Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)’, Anyone following in music in the 2010s is sure to have a Pavlovian response to the opening synth lines to Grime’s ‘Oblivion’. Her enigmatic vocals and creative arrangements had been evident on her previous releases, but it wasn’t until her third album that she fully unleashed her powers. Check out: ‘Green Light’, The 2010s was a tumultuous decade, to say the least, and only a handful of artists successfully managed to channel the era’s political unrest while creating a sense of hope at the same time. But that’s hardly the point. At its best, her songwriting stands as a shining example of Top 40 music—full of cinematic build-ups and addictive repeatability. To write a few sentences on Frank Ocean's impact on the decade would be an injustice. First of all, there’s Cook’s twangy alto, which used to slip-slide melodically through her lyrics to warm, sweet-as-peach-cobbler effect; on this release, though, her voice is less massaged—shriller, harsher and even more heavily accented—and she doesn’t sing too much. Anti became the first album from black female artist to spend 200 weeks on the Billboard 200. By any reasonable aesthetic criteria, Southeastern is a triumph. Bill Callahan - Gold Record September 4, 2020 Critic Score 82 18 reviews Amazon iTunes Music Spotify 3. channel ORANGE is a slow-burn, but it’s full of rich details. With The Tree Of Forgiveness—71-year-old Prine’s first album of all-new material in 13 years—he doesn’t miss a beat, doling out material that highlight every facet of his still-underrated talent. The 20 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2020 2020 has been one of the most difficult, turbulent years that we’ve lived through in recent memory. Check out: ‘Blank Space’, No longer beholden to the benchmarks of the past, the 2010s saw more pop stars getting personal and taking risks, all thanks to Beyoncé. Her debut full-length Walk Through Fire only solidifies Yola’s position as a talent of rare vintage. At times, it’s still difficult to know when Welch’s vocals end and Rawlings’ harmonies begin with the interweaving of string melodies as expansive and deceptively complicated as anything this side of vintage Grateful Dead. 5 Peak. Let us know in the comments section, below. Following a self-imposed mini-hiatus, West doubled down on his vices and created an ode to excess and hedonism. 25. Check out: ‘Cranes In The Sky’, Kanye’s ego has been both his biggest strength and his biggest weakness, but it serves him well on his ambitious opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Check out: ‘Alright’, R&B experienced some of its biggest-ever shifts during the 2010s, as radio started to dwindle and the genre’s tight constrictions gave way to what would be coined “alt-R&B”. As one of the first openly gay artists in hip-hop and R&B, Ocean ignited a self-reckoning in modern pop music. This Is Happening was full of send-offs (‘Home’), wistful dance-pop numbers (‘Dance Yrself Clean’) and nostalgia for the present (‘I Can Change’). Perfume Genius and Dua Lipa had us dancing in our homes, Thundercat and Angelica Garcia dug deep to reach new heights, and long-running acts like the Strokes, AC/DC, and Stephen Malkmus reminded us that rock isn't dead. Check out: ‘Oblivion’, Most musical trends don’t fit into tidy units of measured decades – they ebb and flow, spilling into the next era. This list of the 30 best albums of the 2010s could easily be 200 entries long, but we’ve focused on those records that have truly defined the decade: works by the trailblazers, the disruptors and the torchbearers in popular culture. Topping the decade's best list: Kacey Musgraves. Americana is popularly referred to, especially in print, as alt-country or sometimes alt.country. Musgraves has a knack for coy wordplay on “Space Cowboy” and “Slow Burn,” and if “Mother” doesn’t inspire you to call up your mom right this minute, you need to listen again. —Ellen Johnson, © 2021 Paste Media Group. This section will be updated periodically throughout the end of the year. Like Waylon he carefully cultivates that outlaw image, and like George he has the voice of a slumming angel. While Price has faced a number of setbacks to get where she is today, her talent first beamed golden bright on this album. Like most of her work, McKenna’s latest is a family-centered collection of rootsy folk songs, and as usual, she finds profundity in the ordinary moments of everyday life. Check out: ‘Sugah Daddy’, Rihanna has always been one of pop’s biggest risk-takers, but on her eighth studio album, ANTi, she truly broke away from the pop industrial complex. Rigorous online discourse about “authenticity”, personas and personal appearance surrounded her debut album, yet Lana Del Rey foresaw the future of pop music. Check out: ‘Formation’, In many ways, the 2010s was the decade that Drake built: a ten-year victory lap that started with Thank Me Later (2010) and ended with Scorpion (2018), but it was with Take Care that Drake showed his true colours, creating the template for the vulnerable hip-hop star. A few months later came the release of Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, complete with songs that tug at your heartstrings, and songs that encompass the emotions that run the gamut of the human experience from love, loss, confusion, anger, resilience and fear. In the years that followed, the Kiwi star spawned many emulators, but she would eclipse them all with her sophomore effort, Melodrama, a coming-of-age record that captures in vivid detail all the joys and heartaches of navigating adulthood. She made her name in biker bars and honky tonks before getting snapped up by a major label. Producer Dave Cobb’s warm production can’t be overstated—it holds the entire thing together and also makes Metamodern Sounds a shelf-worthy addition next to the greats. As powerful a witness for the region—Memphis, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas—as it is a lovely quilt of musicality, braiding blues, folk, Appalachia, rock and old-timey country, this is balm for lost souls, alienated creatures seeking their core truths and intellectuals who love the cool mist of vespers in the hearts of people they may never encounter.—Holly Gleason, Jason Isbell is often called one of the world’s best songwriters. —Robert Ham, Chris Stapleton’s debut LP is a shoo-in recommendation for the newcomer to country. —Eric R. Danton, Jamey Johnson looks like an escapee from The Hell’s Angels, so you’d be forgiven if you expected some sort of death-metal caterwaul to erupt from your stereo speakers. Their collaboration resulted in one of the strongest and most grown-up country albums to be released this decade. 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