Nicholas Cicale

DECADE IN REVIEW: The top 200 songs of the 2010s

The 2010s are coming to an end, and to celebrate I’ve put together a playlist of my 200 favorite songs from the past 10 years.

If you read my 102 best albums of the decade list, you’ll notice some familiar faces on this playlist. You’ll also find some well known artists, some one hit wonders, some extremely popular tracks and some more obscure ones. There were no rules to making this list, other than the songs included had to have been released between 2010 and 2019. And the songs are in order from best to…less best (they’re all very good songs).

To view the list, scroll to the end of this article.

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DECADE IN REVIEW: The top 102 albums of the 2010s

At the beginning of 2019 I set three New Year’s resolutions for myself—track my calories in my phone every day, eat at least one bagel a week, and select a different year from over the past decade each month and listen to albums that were released that year. 

I somehow managed to track my calories for the first 295 days of the year until a weekend on vacation got the best of me, and while I started the year off strong with bagels, that streak ended sometime in early May when my fiancée Melissa and I bought a home and moved away from the two neighborhood bagel shops I was frequenting. 

The one resolution I did keep was the music one, and what was originally just supposed to be a way to go back and relisten to some old albums I used to know turned into a way to listen to all of the significant music released over the past decade.

Each month, I selected a year (starting with 2010 in January, 2011 in February, and so on) and downloaded an about 75-album mix of the most acclaimed and most popular releases from that year.

I listened to all of them at least once. Some I liked, some I loved and have gone back to multiple times, and some I wouldn’t care to listen to again. In hundreds of instances I was listening to an album, or a genre, or an artist that I had never tried before. 

It was fun at times, tiring at other, but my New Year’s resolution was a success and a highly rewarding project. By the end of 2019, I had listened to and scored 684 albums that were released in the 2010s. 

This list is the culmination of hours of listening and organizing, and it highlights my 102 favorite albums of the decade. Why 102? Because that’s how many 4-star or better ratings I awarded, which signifies a great album in mind. 

In total, I awarded 7 albums a 5 stars rating (signifying an almost perfect album); 28 albums 4.5 stars, 67 albums 4 stars, 101 albums 3.5s, and 202 albums 3s. I consider every album that’s a 3 or higher at least a good album.

I awarded 173 albums 2.5 stars, which is reserved for average albums—nothing special, but nothing too bad about them either. And finally, I gave 106 albums a score of 2 or worse, representing albums that are below average or just flat out bad.

Listening to music, talking about it and sharing it with others is my favorite thing to do in the world. Whether you’re just scrolling through the list, skimming it for your favorite artists, or actually reading the reviews, I thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to look through, and I’m so happy to finally be sharing this with all of you

Here are my top 102 albums of the 2010s.

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MELISSA AND NICK’S WEDDING SONG BRACKET: ROUND 2

After a couple of weeks of voting, we’re back with round 2! There were some close calls—mainly Rick Ross versus Radiohead—but also some blowouts (Hamilton Leithauser didn’t stand a chance).

Vote now for your favorites! Check out the playlist and vote for your eight. We’re getting close!

VOTE HERE: https://nicholascicale.survey.fm/round-2-melissa-nick-s-wedding-song-bracket

Melissa and Nick’s wedding song bracket: Round 1

Melissa and I are getting married on Feb. 15, 2020, and we would like our friends to help us pick our wedding song!

We set up a March Madness-style bracket with 32 songs and will open up a different survey every week or so with the next round of match ups. The last song standing will be our wedding song!

You can find the survey for the first round of voting below, as well as a link to a playlist with the original 32 songs. Thank you for voting!

YEAR IN REVIEW: My favorite songs of 2018

Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2018, separated into lists for the 50 best Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop song. Full playlists can be found on Spotify, are updated frequently and include additional songs. As always, thanks for listening!

Alternative/rock songs

  1. Cute Thing – Car Seat Headrest
  2. Ullswater – Hookworms
  3. Your Dog – Soccer Mommy
  4. Last Ride – Beach House
  5. Bodys – Car Seat Headrest
  6. Art of Doubt – Metric
  7. We’re Not Done (End Title) – Mogwai
  8. Breadwinner – Everything Everything
  9. Nobody – Mitski
  10. Six Wave Hold-Down – Hot Snakes
  11. Nameless, Faceless – Courtney Barnett
  12. If You Really Love Nothing – Interpol
  13. Fly – Low
  14. Silhouettes – American Football
  15. Noid – Yves Tumor
  16. Suspirium – Thom Yorke
  17. Let Them Win – Jeff Rosenstock
  18. Fast Slow Disco – St. Vincent
  19. Lemon Glow – Beach House
  20. Dark Saturday – Metric
  21. When You Die – MGMT
  22. Sober to Death – Car Seat Headrest
  23. Leave It In My Dreams – The Voids
  24. Now or Never Now – Metric
  25. Dancing and Fire – Low
  26. Need a Little Time – Courtney Barnett
  27. Right Now – Dirty Projectors, Syd
  28. Drunk In LA – Beach House
  29. Tenderness – Parquet Courts
  30. Decompose – Preoccupations
  31. I Need a Doctor – Hot Snakes
  32. Burn – The Soft Moon
  33. Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
  34. Talking Straight – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
  35. Far Away Truths – Albert Hammond, Jr.
  36. Risk – Metric
  37. She Works Out Too Much – MGMT
  38. Pain Killer – Iceage, Sky Ferreira
  39. Mardi Gras Beads – Parquet Courts
  40. Never Fight A Man With A Perm – IDLES
  41. Two Slow Dancers – Mitski
  42. Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
  43. 60 & Punk – Death Cab of Cutie
  44. Danny Nedelko – IDLES
  45. Dissarray – Preoccupations
  46. Funeral Singers – Sylvan Esso, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees
  47. Honeycomb – Deafheaven
  48. Science Fiction – Arctic Monkeys
  49. Pontiac 87 – Preoccupations
  50. Never Ever – Lord Huron

Hip-hop/R&B songs

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YEAR IN REVIEW: My 11 favorite albums of 2018

I don’t think 2018 produced nearly as many great albums as the previous 3 years had, making it an average or somewhat below average year. It felt like there was an endless supply of albums that I felt were fine but didn’t fully capture my attention. That said, there were 11 that stood out to me over the crowd. For a Spotify playlist of highlights from each album, scroll to the end of the article.

Double Negative, Low

It’s rare, but ever once in a while you find an album that for whatever reason hits on everything you’re looking for in music, even if you can’t explain why. Double Negative did that for me, and reminded me a lot of how I felt the first time I listened to Radiohead’s Kid A in high school. The sparse and vast soundscapes Low is able to create are powerful and awe-inspiring. I don’t think any of the individual songs are classics on their own, but as a collection the record really works on a level that’s different than any album in a long time. Double Negative is not an album I would ever call fun or uplifting, but its one I’ve loved listening to and appreciating, and are a cut above the rest of the 2018 pack in my book.  

Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers

Young Fathers is a group that really can’t be defined by a standard genre—they loosely make songs that mix hip-hop and R&B over alternative and electronic beats—so it’s hard to describe their appeal to someone who’s never listened to them. I hate using the words “unique” or “experimental” when talking about music, but there really isn’t much out there like them. On Cocoa Sugar pianos, organs, MIDI horns, and vocal harmonies and rounds create the melodies, while drum machines and samples drive the music. Frantic songs like “Wow,” “Wire,” and “Toy” are panicked-sounding dance tracks with fantastic beats and telling lyrics.  “In My View” and “Lord” are tortured-sounding gospel songs, with grand instrumentals and subdued, reflective vocals.  Cocoa Sugar also made me appreciate how creative the trio has been since day one. I love when an album forces me to go back and listen to an artist’s older works I hadn’t really given much of a chance. Ever since hearing “LOW” on Minnesota Public Radio back in 2014 I’ve liked most of the Young Fathers songs I had heard but never bothered with their albums. That was a mistake I rectified in 2018.

7, Beach House

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List: All the concerts I’ve ever been to

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By Nicholas Cicale

I love going to concerts, and this article lists every concert I’ve ever been to!

2019

11/15/19: Flying Lotus with Brandon Coleman Spacetalker, Salami Rose Joe Louis, and PBDY at Emo’s Austin

10/21/19: Vampire Weekend with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram at ACL Live Austin

9/19/10: Built To Spill with ORUÃ, XETAS at Mohawk Austin

9/6/19: Goo Goo Dolls at Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach

5/19/19: Idles with Fontaines DC at Barracuda Austin

4/23/19: Jon Hopkins with ORTHY at the Scoot Inn Austin

3/29/19: Taking Back Sunday with Frank Lero and the Patience at Emos Austin

3/15/2019: SXSW Day Party-Japanese Breakfast with Cherry Glazerr, Nothing, The Nude Party

3/15/2019: SXSW Alex Di Leo at Tiniest Bar in Texas

2/23/2019: Car Seat Headrest (4) with Naked Giants at The Otpheum, Tampa

2/8/2019: Vince Staples with Buddy and PNTHN at Emo’s Austin

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YEAR IN REVIEW: My 20 favorite albums of 2017

1. American Dream – LCD Soundsystem

From the first time I heard it (when it was released Sept. 1) to the last time (about 10 minutes before writing this), American Dream was my favorite album of the year. It’s rare I like something that much on first listen without getting sick of it, and coming from LCD Soundsystem, who’s albums and songs typically go on for a bit too long, this is easily their most concise and accessible. From the opener “oh baby”, a classic LCD Soundsystem slow-build track, through “tonight,” a classic dance-punk anthem, and the pulp-inspired single ‘call the police,” to the 12 minute electronic ballad that closes the album out, there isn’t a sour moment.

2. A Deeper Understanding – The War On Drugs

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YEAR IN REVIEW: My favorite songs of 2017

Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2017, separated into Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop lists. Full playlists can be found on Spotify and are updated frequently. As always, thanks for listening!

Alternative/rock songs

  1. Cool Your Heart – Dirty Projectors
  2. call the police – LCD Soundsystem
  3. Star Roving – Slowdive
  4. Nothing To Find – The War On Drugs
  5. Something To Remember Me By – The Horrors
  6. Guilty Party – The National
  7. ameriacn dream – LCD Soundsystem
  8. Up All Night – The War On Drugs
  9. Funeral Pyre – Julien Baker
  10. Hologram – The Horrors
  11. The Body Is a Blade – Japanese Breakfast
  12. In Undertow – Alvvays
  13. emotional haircut – LCD Soundsystem
  14. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
  15. 12 Steps – Japanese Breakfast
  16. Gwan – Rostam
  17. S.H.C. – Foster The People
  18. Up In Hudson – Dirty Projectors
  19. Song – Sylvan Esso
  20. Hot Thoughts – Spoon
  21. No Longer Making Time – Slowdive
  22. Beach Life-In-Death – Car Seat Headrest
  23. Machine – The Horrors
  24. Don’t Delete The Kisses – Wold Alice
  25. Darling – Real Estate
  26. Slip Away – Perfume Genius
  27. Thinking Of A Place – The War On Drugs
  28. Paradise – ANOHNI
  29. Diving Woman – Japanese Breakfast
  30. Villains of Circumstance – Queens of the Stone Age
  31. Never Been Wrong – Waxahatchee
  32. Lights of Home (St. Peter’s String Version) – U2
  33. I’m So Free – Beck
  34. Sometime/Someplace – Cornelius
  35. The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
  36. Up All Night – Beck
  37. Mourning Sound – Grizzly Bear
  38. Simple Season – Hippo Campus
  39. Friend Zone – Thundercat
  40. Pain – The War On Drugs
  41. Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
  42. My Old Man – Mac DeMarco
  43. Road Head – Japanese Breakfast
  44. Espiritu Olimpico – Los Planetas
  45. Silver – Waxahatchee
  46. Little Bubbles – Dirty Projectors
  47. Tonya Harding (In D major) – Sufjan Stevens
  48. How to Boil an Egg – Courtney Barnett
  49. Feet Don’t Fail Me Now – Queens of the Stone Age
  50. Everything Now – Arcade Fire
  51. Dangerous – The XX
  52. The Little Things That Give You away – U2
  53. Wall Of Glass – Liam Gallagher
  54. The End Daughter
  55. Something For Your M.I.N.D. – Superorganism
  56. Explore – Sundara Karma
  57. Bike Dream – Rostam
  58. Still Beating – Mac DeMarco
  59. Evermore – Grandaddy
  60. The Economics of Emotion Labor – Wild Year

Hip-hop/R&B songs

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