Connect with us


React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It’s difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

Jasmine-Kay Johnson



The ten best on-screen romances. The top five podcasts to listen to if you love music. The eight ways to use a scrunchie. Whatever the list may be, I can appreciate their purpose of being informative, fun and digestible.

When it comes to ranking music, though, I often find myself gasping, rolling my eyes or fighting back feelings of outright confusion.  

Image from Paste magazine’s Best of the Decade

I’m always left wondering why one album was ranked higher than another, who chose that album or why another didn’t even make the cut.  

Any music journalism connoisseur is well aware of Pitchfork’s authority on all things music, but I wanted to take a gander at Paste magazine’s recent list, dutifully titled “The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s.”

I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of the entire list because that would take forever. I would like to direct your attention to Paste‘s albums of the decade. 

The top ten: 

10. CTRL by SZA (2017)

9. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves (2018)

8. Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen (2015)

7. Blonde by Frank Ocean (2016)

6. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett (2015)

5. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean (2012)

4. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (2010)

3. This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem (2010)

2. Lemonade by Beyoncé (2016)

1. To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (2015)

Of these albums, I think what surprised me most was the appearance of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion. (Full disclosure: she isn’t an artist I listen to often; my experience with her is pretty much limited to “Call Me Maybe.”) So, upon seeing her album at number eight, I figured I should listen to it. 

While it’s a refreshing pop album with a feel-good tone — even if the subject matter doesn’t always make you feel — I’m not completely convinced that it should have charted higher than, say, Alvvays’ Antisocialites or Robyn’s acclaimed Body Talk

Outside of Emotion, the only other albums I hadn’t listened to in the top ten were Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit and This is Happening.

I did the right thing and listened to those as well. Again, both are solid albums that included various lyrical and sonic elements I often fawn over. However, I have my own thoughts about other albums that could have taken their places. 

1 Step 1
Like what you're reading?

This article was created as part of our Music Journalism Program, which is designed to educate, train and build the portfolios of aspiring music writers Enter your email to learn how we can help your career.


The remaining seven make more sense to me, despite the fact that they may or may not have been placed as high in my personal rankings. Kacey Musgraves balances nicely between pop and country, thus creating an album that could easily appeal to the masses beyond genre.

CTRL, a musical landmark for an artist I had already grown to love, was an all-too-relatable telling of what’s it like to be a 20-something black girl. Kendrick Lamar successfully experimented with rap to pull together an album that detailed what we continue to face almost five years after its release.

Beyoncé left a permanent mark on pop culture with an album and visuals that were not only honest and vulnerable, but bold, badass and BLACK AF. And Frank Ocean? Do I even need to explain why he deserved two spots? 

Of course, it’s difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity, especially concerning music— something that eagerly invites personal connections and unique interpretations. Keeping that in mind, I’d love to see a publication take a slightly different approach to these music lists. 

Generally speaking, employees at publications like Pitchfork or Paste don’t necessarily have to sift through and choose their contenders alone — editors and writers usually band together to highlight what they believe are the best of the best.

As we inch closer to the Roaring 20s (2.0), in particular, it makes sense that there would be multiple people working on one list that covered a span of ten years. It would be more interesting to look at a package that includes various personalized lists from multiple people. 

Now, if you’re someone who listens to an abundance of music that spans across genres and borders (like myself), the thought of having to produce a list of your favorite songs and/or albums for just one year is anxiety-inducing. So, I can also imagine how having to pull together a list of your favorites for an entire decade could make an already daunting task that much more difficult.  

Even so, it’s a challenge that people shouldn’t shy away from. It would give people the opportunity to truly personalize their lists, there wouldn’t be a need for compromise or debate. Readers could take those lists at face value and understand the tastes and preferences of the people they’re trusting to be authorities on music.

I realize that it’s a lot to ask, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for it to come to life. 

In any case, I do think that Paste presented a list of albums that have and will continue to stand the test of time. I’m excited to witness the music of a new decade, songs that will one day measure up against each other for a spot on yet another list.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Jasmine-Kay is a senior at the University of Missouri studying journalism with an emphasis in magazine publishing and management. She is an editor for the Genius Knowledge Project and posts her own music-related writing on her website ( Her hope is to obtain a master's in music business from NYU after undergrad.

CMN Music

Music1 week ago

Album Review: Tamino – ‘Amir (Deluxe)’

An expanded edition that offers poetic drama from beginning to end.

Music4 weeks ago

What Makes A Scary Song? Three Things Every Spooky Tune Needs

Genuinely scary sounds, an unsettling story, or just party jams with eerie sound effects?

Music4 weeks ago

React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It's difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

CMN Vibes4 weeks ago

CMN Vibes: Spooky Season

The only playlist you'll need as Halloween gets closer.

Music1 month ago

4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Essentials2 months ago

Four Useful Spotify Features for Music Writers: Part One

Tips, tricks and cool shortcuts to deepen your knowledge.

Music2 months ago

‘We’ll Carry On’: Examining the Legacy of Rock in the 2000s

The seeds planted by these bands are the reason rock will thrive for generations.

Music3 months ago

Man Arrested in Connection of Death of Rapper Mac Miller

28 year old Cameron James Pettit was arrested today on allegations of supplying deceased rapper Mac Miller with lethal drugs....

Music3 months ago

5 Things You’ll Quickly Learn After Moving From the USA to New Zealand

So you graduate college without any real career plan and decide to spend a year bartending so you can travel...

Music3 months ago

Review: Captain Beefheart, “Hair Pie: Bake 2”

An odd intrigue.

Essentials3 months ago

4 Podcasts Every Music Writer Should be Familiar With

Music journalists these days need to listen to a whole lot more than just music.

Music3 months ago

Cocaine and Rhinestones – Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’

Tyler Mahan Coe brings the facts and the feel of history.

Music3 months ago

Track Review: Pool Kids – ‘$5 Subtweet’

Diving into a new age of confrontation.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: The Needledrop: How To Get Into Death Grips

Dominick Rabrun joins Anthony Fantano for some intense chat.

Music3 months ago

Liily: Aiming to Turn the Music Industry Upside Down

California band is on the way up and has new music due out this fall.

Music3 months ago

Interview with Singer Natalie Clark

A CMN Q&A that touches on playing guitar, growing up in Glasgow, and being starstruck on 'The Voice.'

Essentials3 months ago

5 Essential Websites for Music Journalists

Great sources to confirm facts or come up with story ideas.

Music3 months ago

Brockhampton Announces New Album and Releases New Song

Brockhampton announced that their new album Ginger will be available on all platforms August 23. The budding rap group simultaneously...

Music3 months ago

Hot 100 Hometown Heat Map: Which State Makes the Most Hits?

Find where your favorite music comes from.

Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: ‘This Sounds Better’

A great podcast that covers key points important to engineers and producers.

by , Albright College
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: Machine Gun Kelly on the CMN Podcast

Professional and informative.

by , SUNY Brockport

Great Reads

1 Step 1

Copyright © 2019 College Media Network