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My Ten Best Albums of the Past 10 Years

By Sophie Fennelly

1. Ceremonials – Florence and the Machine – 2011

This was the first album that I ever bought with my own money. I remember buying it and taking it home. At first, I played it using my Mum’s CD player in the kitchen, but when my Dad gave me his old iPod Nano he showed me how to put the CD onto it using my laptop I listened to this on repeat constantly. This was the album that first gave me my love of music and even to this day Florence and the Machine is one of my favourite artists and is the top of my list of artists I want to see live.

2. Red – Taylor Swift – 2012

To me, this album screams Year 7. ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ was released at the end of August, meaning it was all over the radio during my first few weeks back at school, and the album was released within October half term. Having listened to this album from start to finish at least once a month ever since, it is still one of my all-time favourite albums. I revelled over each music video as it was released and modelled my style off of everything she wore, particularly in the ‘Begin Again’ music video. ‘All Too Well’ is lyrical masterpiece that has not since been matched. This album was the start of my love affair with the vintage look, red lipstick, and Taylor Swift herself.

3. The 1975 – The 1975 – 2013

This was the album where I feel like I first fell in love with indie music. It was a happy accident when my Mum gave me a spare tenner over the Christmas holidays as a treat for helping out around the house and I used it to buy this album. I felt as if the album seeped into every part of my life, infecting my mind. I listened to it as I walked around London when we stayed there the week after and even now when I listen to this album it feels like city life. This coherence of the album opened me up to the idea that music can understand you, even the rhythm.

4. 1989 – Taylor Swift – 2014

Once again, we return to Taylor Swift, a continual theme within the tumultuous past 10 years of my life. This time she was back with a vibrant pop album, and this was perhaps the most successful era of her career, defined by short hair, high-waisted shorts and a relationship with Calvin Harris. This album was a continual feature not only on my playlists, but on any radio station and was played in shops wherever you went. The line ‘darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream’ was used in an Instagram caption or bio by all of us at one point which exemplifies the popularity of the album. On a more industry-based level, Swift’s boycotting of Spotify and open letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, set a precedent for artists to follow and has ensured that artists do not lose out on royalties by making their music available on popular streaming services. On her star-studded tour for this album, Swift stopped at Hyde Park, London, with 65,000 fans (including me) in attendance. There is no doubt that this was Swift at her most influential.

5. Light Up the Dark – Gabrielle Aplin – 2015

After catching the public’s attention with her cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’ in a 2012 John Lewis advertisement, this was her second studio album and saw her playing the acoustic stage at Glastonbury in 2016. I still think that this is one of Aplin’s most cohesively beautiful pieces of work and as this album is still one of my go-tos it deserves a spot on this list.

6. I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It – The 1975 – 2016

I can quite confidently say that this is the first album that I ever counted down to the release of, and I remember that I spent the entire weekend after its release on the Friday listening to the album until I knew every word to every song. In many ways this is a sequel to the band’s self-titled debut album, and so I loved it for all the same reasons, especially as its more melancholic tone fitted the fifteen-year-old that I had become. Many of the songs off of this album are still some of my favourite songs overall and it’s an album that has a song for every mood.

7. Starboy – The Weeknd – 2016

A late 2016 release, ‘Starboy’ was the album that I listened to non-stop throughout my GCSEs and thus created a very serious but upbeat undertone to my life during this period.

8. Melodrama – Lorde – 2017

Whilst I remember liking ‘Royals’ when everyone was obsessed with it in 2013, I was never that into Lorde before this album. In fact, I don’t really remember listening to the album in the first month after its release. However, in late July of 2017 I had my heart broken by my first boyfriend and calling my best friend to tell her that I had been broken up with and feeling a bit shunned when she just told me to listen to ‘Melodrama’ by Lorde from start to finish. Regardless, I did what she said, and I am definitely not the first to say that this album is the best album to get you through a breakup. It follows the journey of getting over someone from start to finish and I haven’t come across a piece of art that so fluidly and succinctly guides you through the process elsewhere. So, if you’ve ever been through a breakup, you won’t regret listening.

9. High as Hope – Florence and the Machine – 2018

Ever since I bought my first album, Florence and the Machine has always been one of my favourite artists, but I was never as in love with ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ as the critics work. This, for me, is her most impressive and beautiful album so far. ‘The End of Love’ is the most haunting yet moving long I have ever encountered and whilst I’m quite fond of my Spotify premium subscription, this is one that has to be heard on vinyl.

10. Lover – Taylor Swift – 2019

As much as I love all of her other albums so far, this might have to be her best album so far. A lot like my favourite songs on ‘Red’ but with a more mature tone, ‘Lover’ embodies the best bits of all of her past 6 albums. There are no songs on this album that aren’t both lyrically complex whilst still being catchy and enjoyable. In the recent American Music Awards this album won Swift 6 and she was honoured as Artist of the Decade, so it is only fitting that her albums feature so heavily on this list.

Image references:

Ceremonials -

Red -

The 1975 -

1989 -

Light Up the Dark -

I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It -,_for_You_Are_So_Beautiful_Yet_So_Unaware_of_It.png

Melodrama -

High as Hope -

Lover -

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