The decade between 2010 and 2019 brought a lot of change to the predominantly punk genre that PN covers- while new bands made their mark and became huge in the scene, many of the old stalwarts held their own and, in a case or two, made a stellar comeback after a long period of downtime. The music industry in general also saw some great sea changes with the continued rise of streaming music taking a large bite into the sale of physical media, and then the steady backlash as vinyl made (and continues) a comeback. Even cassette tapes! CASSETTE TAPES!!!
The Top 100 albums of 2010-2019 poll was conducted with the participation of twelve Punknews staffers. While a majority of this list is punk and punk-adjacent, it does reflect the overall tastes and preferences of those twelve people. As with the Top 100 list of 2000-2009 published last year, there is no "punk rock purity test" applied here. If an album got enough votes, it is on the list.
Each day this week we will post a section of the results, working our way down to the #1 album of the last decade. Each entry will have a short blurb written by a PN staffer about the album. Accompanied at the end on each day will be an embedded Spotify playlist featuring a track from each of that day's entries, as well as trivia nuggets about data in the poll itself. Next week will include interviews with each of the poll's participants wherein I talk to them about their individual #1 picks for the decade. I think you'll find them as enjoyable to read as it was for me to do.
Before we start, allow me a minute to explain how we came about this list: 12 Punknews reviewers, writers, and editors participated in this poll. Each chose their Top 100 albums of 2010-2019, assigning each album a point value with 100 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. These scores were then cumulated and tallied.
Based on constructive criticism from the 2000-2009 poll, this time around we have also applied a modifier to each album's score based on how many individual Top 100 lists it was on. This "mass appeal" modifier allows albums that were more popular to get a boost in the score (and helped to limit, but not eliminate, ties). If an album had 2 persons vote for it, a multiplier of *1.1 was applied to the base score. For each additional vote, 0.1 was added to that modifier.
The resulting value is the album's final score and, as you'd expect, the final results are the 100 highest scoring albums. And so, without any further ado…
Top 100 of 2000-2009: 100-76
100. Crime in Stereo - I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone (2010)
Long Island melodic hardcore stalwarts Crime in Stereo hit an experimental pinnacle on their only album of the 2010s. I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone fully eschewed their Gorilla Biscuits-indebted sound lineage in favor of emotionally vulnerable and astoundingly progressive alt-rock that resembled few other bands at the time, let alone their punk peers. It’s an effects pedal-laden exercise of space, nuance, and artful noise with grungy aggression, melodic flair and shocking left turns, laying the framework for acts like Citizen and Balance and Composure to dominate the contemporary emo/alt-rock scene in the years ahead. -Brian Shultz
T-96. Red City Radio - Red City Radio (2015)
OKC’s Red City Radio may have shed one of their lead singers prior to their self-titled set, but the loss of that touch of dimension proved freeing. Red City Radio was the bands most concise work to date. Garrett Dale’s deep, whiskey-soaked wail carries the 10 tracks whose veneer may be self-doubt, regret, loathing, and apologies, but ultimately uncover friendship, love, and acceptance. All this above melodic punk riffs and a tinge of roadhouse blues sound, making for one of the most wholly satisfying records you’re likely to come across. -Chris DC
T-96. Rancid - Trouble Maker (2017)
Trouble Maker signified a true return to form for Rancid. With only their third full length since 2003, the band harkened back to their earliest works, and many would say not a moment too soon. Let the Dominoes Fall landed with a dull thud in 2009; …Honor Is All We Know showed promise 5 years later. But on Trouble Maker, Rancid remembered what works: their classic ska/punk sound, with sprinkles of hardcore and Oi! mixed in, with rousing melodies and choruses. They even stamped the cover with their pre-1994 logo, just in case there was any remaining doubt. -Chris DC
t96. Good Riddance - Thoughts and Prayers (2019)
After their reformation in 2012, Good Riddance gave us a pretty solid album in 2015’s Peace in Our Time, but their second album of the decade, Thoughts and Prayers, seemed to be that much and more. A blisteringly-paced 29 minute album, Good Riddance does what they do best: melodic punk with infused with their signature socio-political observations and criticisms. What sets this apart isn’t that it is much different than previous albums- Good Riddance has never let the apple fall far from the tree, but just how much more polished and composed it is. A truly great album from a band that just keeps getting better. -Jeff Sorley
T-96. Direct Hit! – Brainless God (2013)
Direct Hit are pretty much the only band out there doing deeply experimental pop-punk, which sounds like a complete oxymoron, but listen to one and I guarantee that you’ll see what I mean. Brainless God experiments more in its narrative form than in its musical style, but nobody else ever wrote a pop-punk album about the apocalypse and all the short stories that are informed by that apocalypse. The album is full of blatant but humorous jabs at Christianity, with God and the angels turning out to be the villains again. As always, Direct Hit! Walks the line between pop-punk and hardcore, creating for a fun, rip-roaring, sacrilegious masterpiece. -Julie River/truthbealiar
95. blink-182 - Neighborhoods 2011
In late 2008, the death of former producer Jerry Finn, and a deadly plane crash that severely injured drummer Travis Barker, were significant enough events to force Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge to talk after a three year silence. This meeting resulted in the 2011 release of Neighborhoods.
While so much drama overshadowed the energy surrounding the Blink reunion release, the final bell toll on the LP, "Even If She Falls," should be poignantly regarded as "the end of the Tom DeLonge era." It certainly wasn't his last recording with the band, but is quite easily one of their best ever songs, and says goodbye, perhaps forever, to a trio of friends that we watched grow up before our very eyes. -Mikey Elfers
94. Balance and Composure – Separation (2011)
There’s nothing calming or Zen-like about the wretchedness and pain behind Separation, yet it evoked these motions of just swaying and consciously slipping away, even in its heaviest moments. As you zoned out, Jon Simmons, with his nasally, angst-fueled delivery with that perfect tint of rasp, forcefully reeled you back in. It was a polished mish-mash of all of these derivatives of the 90’s grudge movement refined with the maturation of pop-punk growing from the suburbs. This, their much-hyped debut full-length following a handful of excellent EP’s, acted as a pacesetter in the pivoting sound forming out of scenes where three chords and breakdowns couldn’t quite capture the emotion of post-teen life. -Terry McGinty
93. PUP - PUP (2013)
Pup had one of the strongest debut albums with their 2013 self-titled. The album showcased the no-holds-barred energy of Pup as well as their technical skill. Each song had a hectic, infectious spirit that made you pay attention, move, and would have you singing along in no time. From the catchy, guitar bending call to mosh “Reservoir” to haunting, imagery-laden “Yukon” and impossible not to sing along with reminder that no matter what there is always hope “Dark Days”, they were beginning to show their range. Pup presented their style of punk rock with metaphor-heavy personal lyrics over complex guitars, bass, and drums in a way that set the stage for their later work and their inevitable take-over of the punk sphere on PUP. -Em Moore
t90. Single Mothers - Through A Wall (2018)
After the release of 2017’s Our Pleasure, lead singer of Single Mothers, Drew Thomson decided to stop drinking. This lifestyle change did not mellow him out but led to the creation of the flat-out tornado of aggression, sarcasm, and depth that was 2018’s Through A Wall. Single Mothers injected traditional, tired hardcore punk formulas with the fresh ideas and playing styles brought in by their ever-changing musical line-up which resulted in songs with incredible sonic depth. Drew Thomson’s lyrics were darkly humourous, bitingly sarcastic, and more personal than previous releases. At the end of the day, Through A Wall was about change and the good things that come out of it. Single Mothers showed everyone what they were truly capable of and that they will only continue to grow. -Em Moore
t90.Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
We need more female voices in rock. We need more LGBTQ folks’ perspectives in indie rock. We need more ladies showing off their guitar skills. Courtney Barnett brought all three of these elements on her first proper LP, but none of that would have been spread around by indie tastemaker sites if it weren’t so fucking good. With two solid EPs under her belt, Sometimes was destined to kick ass from top to bottom. A combination of spoken and shouted poetry ala Patti Smith, the fervor of Polystyrene and also the ability to bring it down for a sad ballad as well, she ticks all my boxes on this album. -Greg Simpson
t90. Bomb the Music Industry! - Vacation (2011)
As far as swan songs go, BtMI! fans couldn’t have asked for more than Vacation, it closed the second chapter of Jeff Rosenstock’s career and set the pace for the third. The band retained much of its independent spirit but was as far removed from the first BtMI! recordings as the first BtMI! recording was from The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. Rosenstock’s abilities, not just as a songwriter, but as a composer were becoming apparent. The songs were still about life’s frustrations, but they’d become about building a life in spite of them as opposed to just living in spite. -Johnathon1069
89. Superchunk – Magesty Shredding (2010)
If Majesty Shredding was nothing more than a reminder that Superchunk is still out here, ready to out-loud, out-solo and out-melody your next favorite power-pop band, it'd be enough. If it was nothing more than a delivery system for songs like "Digging for Something," "Learned to Surf," and "Everything at Once" to enter the band's canon of alternate-universe alt-rock hits, it'd be enough. That it is also the starting gun to what has since been Superchunk's most creatively fruitful run, arguably ever, is an embarrassment of riches. -ChuchillDownes
88. Night Birds - Mutiny at Muscle Beach (2015)
Night Birds, making the move to Fat Wreck Chords, barreled into 2015 with their third album Mutiny at Muscle Beach. Here the New Jersey four-piece amplified their jerky, spastic, sneering surf punk sound while dancing around a tight collection of short, well-crafted songs of social commentary and classic Fender tone. Closing track “Left in the Middle” stays caught between your ears with all its wanton lament and fleeting leads. Mutiny at Muscle Beach brought all the catchiness you’d expect from a Fat release, top in their class songwriting talent, and represented the finest hour for surf punk this decade. -Danny Wimmer
87. Restorations – LP5000 (2018)
The promise of dark political times is the return of poignant, meaningful art. Of all the acts of political rebellion released under the Trump era, LP5000 is the most insular, the most personal and the one with the widest view. It looks not only at where we are, but how we got there and what systems are in place to run us down and wear us out. If you’re reading this at all, your part of it. If you’ve listened to this record digitally, your part of it. Restorations took the electric venom of the Very Online and used it to bring us together under a common sense of exhaustion. LP5000 is what social media was meant to be. -ChurchillDownes
86. Restorations - LP2 (2013)
Restorations continued to bridge the divide between post-hardcore and alternative rock with their 2013 release, LP2. At the time, Restorations stood out as being that one thing that very few bands could lay claim to: They were different. Their influences may have been wide and varied, but Restorations, thanks at least in part to their rather large populous, still banged and crashed out a style all their own. The dense layers of guitars and drums fired up an assault that would make Fugazi blush, with enough soul and immediacy to match the poetic lyrics on the disillusionment of quarter-life. -Chris DC
85. Bad Religion - Age of Unreason (2019)
Bad Religion has been playing punk rock for 40 years! After all this time, it’s amazing and maybe even a little scary that they’re still relevant. Age of Unreason, the 17th studio album and their first in six years, was released with a lot of anticipation. It’s nearly impossible to top their best records from their storied career, but the new LP contained songs that rivaled some of their best work in tunes like “Chaos From Within”, “My Sanity” and “Candidate”, among others. But there were also songs that expanded their sound and were somewhat experimental. Despite some polarizing reviews of the record, the band was completely satisfied with this release, which says a lot about a group that has been releasing music since 1981.-Pete Vincelli / pvincelli
84. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away (2013)
On their first album since guitarist Mick Harvey departed, The Bad Seeds sound changed drastically. Now less of a rock band than ever, delving into minimalistic compositions. While definitely a transitional album for the band, with Warren Ellis taking on a prominent role in the songwriting the album still holds up. This is, in part, due to Nick Cave’s ability to create worlds and characters with his lyrics that suck you in, even if the music always doesn’t. While the band would further develop this sound on subsequent releases, they were able to grow without changing who they were. -Johnathon1069
82. Milllencolin - True Brew (2015)
It had been 7 years since the last Millencolin full length and fans were yearning for a record that reminded them of why they got into the band in the first place. Their sound had changed slightly throughout the years since their inception in the early ‘90s, wavering in and out of skatepunk, ska, and straight forward rock. But with True Brew, the band seemed to pick up the speed and aggression, bringing fans back to the early days. Consequently, over 20 years after recording their first songs, the group sounded fresh and invigorated. -Pete Vincelli / pvincelli
82. White Lung – Paradise (2016)
What, pray tell, is the heaviest, gnarliest, most accessible hardcore band to do once it’s mastered hardcore? Make the heaviest, gnarliest, most accessible pop record. Grimes wishes she could manufacture something as snarling and melodic as Paradise’s highest moments (“Below,” “Sister,” “I Beg You”). That the group could produce something with so much poise and polish while still maintaining their viciousness is a testament to the dual powers of blunt-force vocals and Guitar Center tech obsession. -ChuchillDownes
t80. Smoking Popes - Into the Agony (2018)
The first studio album to feature the classic Popes lineup of the 90s since the 1998/2003 cover album The Party’s Over, Into the Agony sees the band on the top of their game musically, while also stepping into unfamiliar territory with songs touching upon current world issues (“Little Lump of Coal”/ global climate change, “Melting America” /xenophobia and the death of the American Dream). Vocalist Josh Caterer continues to croon with the best of them, and the band packs a sense of urgency and excitement into a great set of well-crafted songs that you love to sing along to. -Jeff Sorley
t80. Direct Hit! – Wasted Mind (2009)
Somehow improving on their previous masterpiece, Brainless God,” Direct Hit! pull off a bizarre, non-linear narrative of the many different aspects of drugs and drug culture. With a bevy of extra musicians to fill in their sound with everything from saxophone to a jazz piano, the album has a very full and well-rounded sound while still keeping up their manic, pop-punk style. This is one of those albums that you learn something new about on every listen. I literally think it’s impossible to get bored with this, arguably the most innovative and original pop-punk album since the genre’s invention. -Julie River / truthbealiar
79. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get…
I was first introduced to Neko Case through the sunny pop of New Pornographers. The song “The Laws Have Changed” was on a mix CD that came with the College Music Journal magazine when I was in college and I was hooked on whoever it was that sang that catchiest hook. Got online and learned it was Neko Case, so I bought every album. She was a bit more alt-country early in her solo career, but The Worse Things Get… is straight-up highest-level indie rock. Every song sounds different and yet there’s a cohesive feel with the album tied together by themes and her vocal prowess. -Greg Simpson
78. Bob Mould - Patch the Sky (2016)
Standing above it’s predecessors in a loosely defined album trilogy, the consistently prolific Bob Mould’s 12th solo album, Patch the Sky did keep with the running theme. Starting work on the trilogy upon turning 50 years old, all three albums are a louder, faster return to the more raucous sound of Mould’s early days in Hüsker Dü. Almost contradictorily, they also bring to the forefront the inevitable tropes of the writers recent landmark: nostalgia, reflection, physical dysphoria, and an oft-ignored degree of loneliness. But Patch the Sky benefits from being the closer, indulging in more nuanced highlighting and devil-may-care fortitude. -Chris DC
77. War on Women - War on Women (2015)
War on Women brought a version of feminist thought to the table that strove to be as inclusive as possible while educating people about the severity of the issues they sang about on their 2015 debut full-length War on Women. They tackled rape, sexual assault, abortion, violence, online harassment, and the wage gap in powerful, hardcore punk songs that made people think about what it meant to live in a society where over half the population still are not seen as equal or even as human. War on Women put into music what so many people feel and experience daily, which gave voices to those who felt voiceless and showed everyone how far there still is to go in the fight for equality. -Em Moore
76. Pears - Go To Prison (2014)
Pears’ Go To Prison was every punk purists’ wet dream. It was loud, obnoxious, and dirty. Their singer had snarl and bite, whether spitting out lines at machine gun pace or screaming at the top of his lungs. Or both. The guitars were raw and tight, yet had a woven eloquence that would not stop at three chords. Pears brought back the fury of it all, the unapologetic finger in the air. No coordinated stage outfits here…just shout about what pisses you off. All while it’s successes came the old fashioned way, with a self release, DIY touring, and word of mouth. -Chris DC
- Between the 12 participants in the poll, there were 856 unique albums across 620 unique artists (not including “various artists” albums which feature three or more artists).
- 672 of the albums only received one pick (regardless of score). None of these albums broke into the Top 100.
- At position #827, Gallows 2012 self-titled album was the first to receive at least two picks, with a total score of 4.4. The next album to receive two votes would be Swingin' Utters’ 2018 release Peace and Love, at #726.