With only a few days left of 2019, we’re quickly approaching not only the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new decade. The past 10 years have brought us countless mementos of music, fashion and pop culture gold. There are way too many to keep count, and this is not the format to do the entirety of artistic excellence justice. But of course, we too, had a thought on what we would consider standouts, if even only on a very personal, very sentimental level. So below, find Team INDIE’s alphabetically-sorted selection of albums we would carry with us into the 2020s – records that, for whatever reason, were so good, and so influential that we’d save them from an otherwise pit fire-like, past decade.

ARCA – ARCA (2017)

“Not an easy listen by any means, but I think that this album covers so much ground, displays such versatile artistry and covers an expanse of emotions; anger, heartbreak, frustration, forgiveness, melancholy – you name it. Not an album I would listen to every day, especially since some of the tracks are sonically so intense and all over the place, but when it came out in 2017, it was a tumultuous time for me and every time I do listen to it I get a feeling of consolation, kind of like the feeling I imagine people get after attending a church service or something. This particular album aside, I think she’s one of the best, most interesting artists and performers of the decade. Arca is her best body of work so far, but I think she’s really gonna turn it out even further in the next few years.” – Henry Lifshits, Editorial Assistant 


“On their sophomore record, Florence and her Machine took everything I loved from their debut – harps, haunting, chant-like vocals and poetic drama – and transported it into an even darker sonic territory. Not only did it prepare my acoustic tastebuds for the likes of Kate Bush and Patti Smith, it was one of the first albums a then delicately pre-teenaged Max would consciously listen to from start to finish. The album feels as though one is standing in a dim-lit, musty cathedral. It’s a bit scary, a bit stuffy, it feels uncomfortable, the large, sacred space feels so small as every sound echoes back and forth through the void. But then there is the rose glass, through which coloured rays of sunlight reek into the building, restoring one’s confidence, exuding hope, warmth and the idea that ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn’, as is fittingly sung in the feat’s undeniably iconic beacon track “Shake It Out”. It, among other songs on the record, triggers the types of emotions you take weeks or even months to pass through in real time within under five minutes. It’s devastating and relieving, pure catharsis and a true testament to alternative pop music above and beyond the 2010s.” – Max Migowski, Music Editor 


“Sorry to Solange, Andy Stott and everyone else who made music that changed my life last decade, but this album—the last one he ever made—was monumental for me in many ways. It was my first introduction to Gil Scott-Heron: I was 15, and I remember going to the record store with one of my best friends, who already knew he wanted to buy this album—it was on XL Recordings, which must have thrust it more into our consciousness then I guess. We went back to his and listened to it on his parents’ crackly vinyl player in the living room of a house that became my second home during my teenage years. These were tracks that would cement my love and respect for music, they felt profound, dark, sad—as my dramatic younger self often felt at the time. It was industrial kind of electronica overlayed with this incredibly soulful voice, and this political poetry that was far deeper than I was. Every time I hear any one of those songs I’m transported back to that time in my life, and thankful that I heard it then.” – Harriet Shepherd, Digital Editor 


“Being the Music Editor, I decided I had to grab another album from my stash. Given that Sail Out is actually an EP, I feel it’s fair. The 7-track stunner was made and released in the height of the age of Alt-R&B. As one of, if not the original Siren of the sub-genre, Aiko firmly positioned herself amongst the likes of male counterparts Frank Ocean, Miguel or The Weeknd, and crafted an intricate sound palette, with vivid productions, stunning features and lyrical precision on both written and freestyled tracks. Comparable to what one would imagine Sade’s music would sound like on drugs, the somewhat underrated and under-appreciated Sail Out counts as one of the original bodies of work that would define not only a now completely over-saturated genre, but the entire decade in music.” – Max Migowski, Music Editor 


“This decade proved to be an existential crisis for the entire world, and in my book, there is no better album to soundtrack an existential crisis than Kilo Kish’s Reflections. I love the spoken-word, monologue elements, it makes the music more immersive, more approachable without sacrificing the use of intriguing, mystifying metaphors. It’s an album I can listen to while riding the bus in the morning, to contemplate what’s been and what is yet to come.” – Trisha Balster, Editor 


“Lykke Li is kind of the original sad girl, with Wounded Rhymes released one year before Lana del Whatshername’s Born to Die. The nordic melancholy oozes from every pore of this album, be it by way of the its spooky instrumentations, cold music videos or the painstakingly depressing lyrics.” – Kira Stachowitsch, Editor-In-Chief


Robyn‘s Body Talk is full of gems. Songs like ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ or the iconic ‘Dancing On My Own’ still make me cry, 10 years later, and will continue to make me do so far into the next decade.” – Simar Deol, Social Media


El Mal Querer changed my life. It made me Spanish. It made me learn to love the language, the people, the culture. Rosalìa created something here that hadn’t existed before, pairing her roots in the traditional Flamenco-genre with attributes of modern music, such as Pop, Trap and R&B. She wrote and produced everything on the record and has rightfully risen to the top as one of Europe’s leading mega stars.” – Dogukan Nesanir, Creative Director

Head Image: Still via YouTube
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