Maxwell's blackSUMMERSnight, The Strokes' Angles, and more.

By Eli EnisEve BarlowMaura JohnstonChristopher R. WeingartenMaureen Lee Lenker and Alex Suskind
December 02, 2019 at 10:30 AM EST

To celebrate the end of the 2010s, Entertainment Weekly is looking back at the best pop culture of the decade that changed movies, TV, music, and more (catch up on our list so far, which includes the MCU’s big Snap, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s history-making hit Hamilton, and Beyonce’s iconic Coachella set). Today, we count down the 10 most overlooked albums of the decade.

10. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie – Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie (2017)

Did a decade even happen if Fleetwood Mac doesn’t undergo some kind of a shake-up? The twentyteens were no exception, with Christine McVie rejoining the band full-time in 2014 and Lindsey Buckingham getting fired in 2018. The brief restoration of the classic line-up also lead to this 2017 duet album of new, original songs. While it didn’t receive the reception of a new Fleetwood Mac project, it’s some of McVie and Buckingham’s most engaging work in years. The record has the sparkling, melodic bounce of a Mac triumph like Rumours, while also benefitting from the mature perspective in the duo’s songwriting. Fans may always remember this decade as the time Fleetwood Mac broke up (again), but this lilting collection of ballads and California rock throwbacks from two of the band’s standout members is the real worthwhile takeaway. —Maureen Lenker

9. Jeff Rosenstock – Worry. (2016)

Jeff Rosenstock’s Worry. was released less than a month before Donald Trump was elected, but it still feels like the most accurate depiction of how things have felt since he took office. The punk veteran was singing about gentrification, all-encompassing corporatization, and how our internet-induced anhedonia has made the bad things feel even worse. After translating all of that — and then some — through nearly every punk subgenre (hardcore, ska, pop-punk, etc.), the album ends with an oddly gleeful gang-chant of the phrase, “Perfect always takes so long / because it don’t exist.” Somehow, openly cheering for our inability to achieve a perfect world, and instead rallying to appreciate what we do have, has remained one of the most honestly hopeful statements of the decade. And the music behind that sentiment is some of the finest punk rock of the 21st century. —Eli Enis

8. Warpaint – The Fool (2010)

The L.A. quartet had been jamming for years before the 2010s, but it wasn’t until this decade that they’d put out full, tight bodies of work with their forever lineup, including decade-best drummer Stella Mozgawa. The ‘paint would eventually become one of the era’s most electrifying touring bands, with this LP kickstarting their journey as a musical force. The Fool featured songs they’d been playing live, including their to-this-day fan favorite “Undertow.” The album also represents a timestamp for a band so beguiling to the press that the NME awarded them a coveted magazine cover with the woeful tagline: “Satanic Majesties!” (Women who played guitar in 2010 were still witches, you see.) —Eve Barlow 

7. Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien (2014)

A year after My Chemical Romance announced their 2013 breakup, frontman Gerard Way released his solo debut, an assured collection that proved the emo hero had been raised on (alternative rock) radio. While some tracks like “No Shows” and “Zero Zero” echoed MCR’s glammier moments like “Teenagers,” others draw inspiration from VHS copies of 120 Minutes; “Action Cat” layers shoegazy funk over its mosh-pit bounce, and “Juarez” crash-lands Way’s era-defining snarl into art-punk chaos. —Maura Johnston

6. La Roux – Trouble In Paradise (2014)

La Roux had a huge breakthrough with a debut album in 2009, and global hits “Bulletproof” and “In For The Kill.” The hotly anticipated follow-up, which came in 2014 after a five-year wait, was the definition of a difficult second album. There were allegations of riffs between Elly Jackson and creative partner Ben Langmaid, who split from the project before release (Jackson confirmed in the press that she was now the group’s sole member). Aptly titled then, Trouble In Paradise was a record about betrayal (“Sexotheque”), disappointment (“Let Me Down Gently”), and societal unrest (“Uptight Downtown”). Critically adored, it sadly didn’t claw the public attention it deserved. —EB

5. The Strokes – Angles (2011)

By 2011, the Strokes had gone half a decade without a new project — an eternity for a group that dropped three full-lengths the previous five. When they finally sat down to make their fourth studio effort, frontman Julian Casablancas decided to submit his vocals remotely instead of recording with the rest of the band, a decision that would likely doom most records. Instead, Angles showcased a new creative apex for the quartet. By ditching the garage rock revivalism of their first three albums and subbing in bouncy, new wave ’80s riffs (standouts include the yacht rock-indebted “Games” and the poppy “Grastifaction”), the Strokes managed to produce one of the most surprising and enjoyable releases of their career. —Alex Suskind

4. Dr. Dre – Compton (2015)

Sure, we never got Detox, but the third album from Dr. Dre — his first in more than 15 years — was still an embarrassment of riches. Even with Kanye West and Sounwave coming for his crown, the headphone mogul was still one of hip-hop’s lushest producers, and his chattering, luscious arrangements were full of new textures and unpredictable detours. Friends old and new — Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, the Game, Ice Cube — all gave powerhouse performances, and Anderson .Paak walked away a newly minted star. A tribute to his gangsta rap glory days, there was no pop single, no attempts to court the new generation of trap-rap fans, and little concern for what rap sounded like in 2015. Just another luxurious head-knocker from rap’s Quincy Jones. —Christopher R. Weingarten

3. Janet Jackson – Unbreakable (2015)

Janet Jackson reaffirmed her place in the pop pantheon with 2015’s Unbreakable, which reunited her with Control producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and reached forward to the genre’s future. The sultry “No Sleeep,” the Missy Elliott-assisted “BURNITUP!,” and the EDM-tinged “Take Me Away” brought New Jack Swing into the 21st century with grace and bravado. And on “Shoulda Known Better,” she doubled down on the political stances that made Rhythm Nation 1814 so vital a quarter-century prior, sounding a call that would prove even more pertinent as the decade went on. —MJ

2. Savages – Silence Yourself (2013)

The quartet based in London emerged with their debut in 2013 alongside a watertight sense of identity, style, sound, and, in “Husbands,” a first single with an immediately infectious repetitive chorus (“Husbands! Husbands! Husbands!”). They channeled Krautrock rhythms, monochrome imagery, and a frontperson in Jehnny Beth so mystifyingly menacing she became the focal point of every one of their gigs, particularly when she’d climb offstage to walk over the hands of her audiences. Silence Yourself was an instant classic; its doomsday basslines, clattering drumbeats and screeching guitar licks (the intro on ‘She Will’ is one of the decade’s greats) as irresistibly urgent now as they were then. —EB

1. Maxwell – blackSUMMERS’night (2016)

Maxwell’s blacksummersnight trilogy began in the 2000s, and — barring a last-minute surprise release — will culminate in the early part of the millennium’s third decade. Its second installment, SUMMERS, proved that patience is a virtue, one that in this case paid off with ornate arrangements and left-turn-filled songwriting. The anxiety that percolates through “The Fall” has its mirror image on the luscious “Lake By the Ocean,” while the simmering “Lost” places Maxwell’s searing voice front and center. —MJ

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