Top 100 albums of 2010-2019: #s 50-26

(Previous entries: 100-76, 75-51 )

Today we pass the hump and move into the top half of the list: 50-26. As per usual, we'll have today's entries, followed by the Trivia Nuggets, playlist, and then methodology.

Top 100 Albums of 2010-2019: 50-26

50. Title FightFloral Green (2012)

In a review from last year, I stated that Title Fight was “one of the most important bands of the decade.” Maybe it was met with some guffaw, but I stand by it. From old heads to entry-levelers, hardcore fans to pop-punkers, Title Fight became the 2010’s version of Lifetime or Saves the Day in their ability to bridge those generational gaps. They invited everyone in to their ever-evolving style with Shed, but Floral Green is what actually gathered all of the scene troops together. The rolling build-up of opener “Numb, But I Still Feel It” hooked everyone in from the get-go, creating that intrigue to stay. The record dipped in and out of hyper-aggressive post-hardcore blasters and emo-driven alternative jams, yet never lost energetic consistency. They even integrated dainty and airy elements, introducing their loyalists to the term “shoegaze.” And this is where importance of the Floral Green-era lies, in that it prompted the exploration of other genres outside of the stage-diving, speedy punk which opened the door for so many. -Terry McGinty

49. Bad Religion - The Dissent of Man 2010

Bad Religion was a household name and legendary punk band before I was born, so I, like anyone else, have held on for dear life while pressing "play" on a new BR record. For sake of sticking out in 100 reviews, let's call it "PTBRNASD" or post traumatic Bad Religion New Album Stress Disorder.

When "The Day That the Earth Stalled" launches 2010's The Dissent of Man, one message is clear: Bad Religion knows exactly what their fan base is hoping to hear as they carefully press the play button. Perhaps there have been some formulaic steps to their album's presentations since 2002's The Process of Belief, but the transition that follows to "Only Rain" and into "The Resist Stance" show a veteran punk band that knows how to stay true to their simplicity and signature sound.

So why, after another terrific release, are Bad Religion fans still so afraid when a new album drops? Perhaps it is the dementia that haunts other artists in the genre; the "well, it certainly sounds like how that band sounds…" How would a fan react if it didn't? Whatever worries, The Dissent of Man showcases classic Bad Religion with many, many, high points, and proves that the Process of era of the band is still going strong. -Mike Elfers

48. The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation (2013)

The Wonder Years 2013 release The Greatest Generation found the band dealing with the fear of aging and the fear of looking at the aged. As the band moved even further away from the goofier lyrics of their first album, they likely also turned out one of the strongest pop punk albums of the decade, of which they could claim at least three. While the band doesn’t sound immature, they definitely had a worldview that would have felt right for people in their late twenties. This album combined punk roots, pop sensibilities, and emotional honesty to create the soundtrack for the life you’d go back to after the credits finally rolled on The Gaslight Anthem. -Johnathon1069

t46. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (2011)

Tom Waits albums have always been somewhat of an anomaly, even within the Waitsian world. Just when you think you’ve figured him out, he changes the game. With his 16th studio album, his first in 7 years, Waits put out a record that was just as temperamental as his previous affairs. From the booming brawlers like “Chicago” and “Hell Broke Luce” to the beautiful bawlers like “Last Leaf” and “New Year’s Eve”, he once again showed a knack for sonic presentation that greatly enhanced the listening experience, partially because he has always viewed his voice as another musical instrument. In some aspects, it was the same ole’ Waits. But the album also felt fresh, which can mainly be attributed to his continued partnership with wife and co-writer, Kathleen Brennan. The pair have always been able to write vivid stories that jump out at the listener. And with this album, it was clear that the duo had not lost any luster. -Pete Vincelli / pvincelli

t46. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man (2011)

“The Michael Jordan of drunk-driving played his final game tonight.” Andrew Jackson Jihad, before a name-change to AJJ and subsequent releases exploring indie-folk and psych-pop, created one of the most broadly and highly regarded entrants into the folk-punk genre on their fourth album, Knife Man. A haunting listen that’s both effortlessly enjoyable and far from fun. Where Sean Bonnette excelled was in singing some of the most heart and gut-wrenching truths put to tape this decade. Knife Man resonated from a truly deep well of emotion, empathy and, confoundingly too, a compassionate hope offered from a sincere depth of introspection and societal study. Andrew Jackson Jihad cathartically embosomed listeners in an uplifting embrace but only after ripping up the floor-boards and tearing out the dry-wall to reveal the scene; a raw, bare sadness all around our lives. That journey of addictive catharsis still brings listeners back again and again. -Danny Wimmer

45. Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (2015)

In his own estimation of the record, Jeff Rosenstock described We Cool? As an attempt to write the pop songs that ended up sounding all fucked up. That’s as true an assessment now as it was in 2015. The record finds Rosenstock reaching for a distinctly 90s, post-grunge alt-rock sound and reflecting those impulses through his funhouse of emotionally-violent DIY howl-punk. That’s how you end up with a song like “Hey Allison,” which sounds like Alkaline Trio having a nervous breakdown, or “I’m Serious, I’m Sorry,” which sounds like The Rentals having a nervous breakdown or … well, pretty much just having a nervous breakdown. -ChurchillDowns

44. Anti-FlagAmerican Spring (2015)

For Anti-Flag’s tenth album, they finally perfected their transition to a pop-punk band, while still displaying elements of the hardcore band they once were. Some fans of Anti-Flag’s earlier work have not been very accepting of the band’s switch to pop, but since they’ve never let go of their commitment to their radical left wing politics, making their poppier sound the sugar does help to make the medicine go down. And in the transition to pop-punk, they never got rid of their raging power chords and passionate vocals. American Spring is one of those truly eclectic punk albums where no two songs that sound alike, but somehow the entire album seems to have a consistent style that coalesces the whole album into a coherent whole. With a catalogue as huge as Anti-Flag’s, it’s hard to choose a best album, but for my money, it’s American Spring. -Julie River / truthbealiar

43 The Falcon - Gather Up the Chaps (2016)

After almost a decade away, the little side project that could, known as The Falcon, snuck their way back into our veins in 2016, bigger and dirtier than ever. This time bringing Dave Hause down with them, the brainchild of The Lawrence Arms’s Brendan Kelly and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio are faster and harder than their associated acts. And Sergio definitely likes it faster and harder. Filled to the brim with filthy, dark overtones, Gather Up the Chaps adds plenty of sex and drugs to the rock and roll. But all the references to jerking off, BDSM, et al, never come across as overtly juvenile, nor particularly offensive. Dan and Dave both got chances on lead vocals this time; Andriano on the magnificently titled “You Dumb Dildos”, and Hause on “If Dave Did It”, certainly the most aggressive work he’d done to date. Chaps has a relaxed atmosphere to it, as the Falcon would much rather you just have fun than take them too seriously. -Chris DC

42. The Lillingtons - Project 313 (2017)

After a decade long recording hiatus, The Lillingtons returned in 2017 with this 4-song EP, seemingly out of nowhere. These songs weren’t blazing any trails, but as soon as the needle dropped and “Until the Sun Shines” blared through the speakers, it was clear that this was going to be a great record. “Rubber Room” and “Project 313” were just as catchy and “It’s On” added a touch of metal, to combine for a truly classic Lillingtons release. For fans of the band, this EP provided a sound that was merely a memory up until this point. But it also signaled a resurgence of Ramonescore that seemed to have laid dormant for a little while. Consequently, the band gained some new fans ushered in by this record. As a result, many of these newfound fans circled back to their earlier releases, hungry for more Lillingtons. -Pete Vincelli / pvincelli

41. John K. Samson - Winter Wheat (2016)

The honest and fragile songwriting of Winnipeg Propagandhi/Weakerthans legend John K. Samson is relatively unstoppable, and the release of Winter Wheat would be the most significant example of that statement. The album, while drugged with hope and optimism, runs under a dark cloud of doubled vocals, dissonant instrumentation, and heart strings that can drift a listener all over the place.

Personally, the album spun on repeat from it's release on October 21st, 2016, and it's eerie presence carried my brain through the confusion and displacement that followed the '16 United States general election. The beauty and candor of the collection of songs began to sound much more grey, but it was only under such a change of environments that Samson's unique writing truly popped out. Self-titled "Winter Wheat" defines this perfectly, describing a crop of plants that, by chance of wind and the position of the sun, were able to keep the growth alive throughout the frost. The wheat declares, "Of course we found this once in a lifetime chance to survive, because we were destined to survive, otherwise we wouldn't be here!" If that isn't the most round-about, beautiful, and hopeful thought that exists. Nutshell, John K. Samson.

The immaculate LP runs 15 perfectly rounded songs in 49 minutes, and is Samson at the height of his ability, not to say anything of his isn't great, but he really, really, hit a home run with the Winter Wheat album. -Mikey Elfers

40. Off With Their HeadsHome (2013)

While his heart was pumping the life into Home, Ryan Young began to mull over the realization that his heart didn’t have a place to actually call home. This record humanized his instability and mental health struggles more than any release prior, and it’s where Ryan’s “Anxious and Angry” brand really became his persona. Any physical foundation that he had, and the comfort that came with it, was slowly dissipating from his life on-the-go.

The outcome was an observation of his mental foundation starting to break, leading to several deviations in the band’s approach. They took some low-risk chances in their song development, integrating more mid-tempo flair and pop-inspired riffs into their traditional, thumpy Midwestern-punk sound. Some scoffed, but there was no denying the melodically ferocious rippers here, like “Nightlife” and “Start Walking,” that eventually grew into classics.

Sadly though, Home brought Ryan’s personal battles to the forefront, and the despair and self-loathing was no longer just lyrical content. At the same time, however, it produced gritty anthems and dark heaters that became staples in the band’s rocky career. -Terry McGinty

39. Bad Cop/Bad CopWarriors (2017)

Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s first album seemed to focus on introducing their unique musical style, particularly their use of perfect three-part harmonies. For their second LP, it felt like they were saying “Now that we’ve shown you who we really are, let’s talk about feminism!” Warriors is a completely unbridled, furious punk album raging against patriarchy and the status quo, all while maintaining their unique sense of melody and their impressive, signature three-part harmonies. But, more than anything, Warriors is a celebration of female strength and empowerment that’s guaranteed to make any woman feel empowered and strong. I suppose men might like it, too. -Julie River / truthbealiar

38. The Mountain Goats - Beat the Champ (2015)

On Beat the Champ, The Mountain Goats did something that, to the best of my knowledge, hadn't been done in indie rock before. They put out a concept album based around professional wrestling. That isn't to say every song was literally about professional wrestling, frequently it was used as a medium for the characters in the song. This album confirmed two things about John Darnielle, his songwriting skills are still in top form, and the guy knows a lot about 1980’s pro-wrestling. This become obvious when he writes songs about the aches of life, the pains of youth, and general dissatisfaction using pro-wrestling as the backdrop for each song. While certainly not their best album of the 21st century, it is definitely in my Top 5 Mountain Goats albums of the century. -Johnathon1069

37. Downtown BoysFull Communism (2015)

Has there ever been a more punk rock album title than simply calling your record Full Communism? But the bilingual, political, saxophone party that is Downtown Boys more than live up to their ambitious title by calling for a “100% Estate Tax” and demanding that white hegemony accept brown girls who are smart without going looking for a third element that explains their intelligence. Frontwoman Victoria Ruiz’s vocal style is a bit of an acquired taste, mostly because of her defiant refusal to sing and her choice of monotone screaming instead, even on their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” But Ruiz’s shouted monotone is a perfect contrast to the band’s melodies, not to mention it’s just punk as fuck. Full Communism is a fierce and raw punk rock album that sometimes find ways to revel in beautiful melodies, too. -Julie River / truthbealiar

36. Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder (2012)

Masked Intruder came outta nowhere (well, actually Madison, WI though they claim “parts unknown”), with guns blazing and ski masks wet with the tears of a heartbroken punk. They had a gimmick, there is no doubt of that, but if the songs weren’t fabulous slices of Ramonescore pop punk, we wouldn’t be seeing them on this list and definitely not twice. After a scrappier EP, Red Scare got them a little moolah (whether they stuck up Toby at gunpoint, I’m not sure), and they got a production style that fit them perfectly. Masked Intruder has the speed and grit any good punk band should have, but they also got the studio time it takes to record 3 and 4-part harmonies to layer on top of that musical foundation. The album is front-to-back pop punk gems, not a stinker among them. Touring the record they proved themselves as one of the most outright fun, good time punk bands to come a long in awhile. This band single-handedly got me back into the punk I loved in my youth, all those bands that grew up on the Ramones while I grew up on them (…and also the Ramones). So thanks, Masked Intruder. -Greg Simpson

35. Single MothersNegative Qualities (2014)

It’s not uncommon for aggressive music to pitch itself against oppressors. It’s less common for them to be called out so specifically by name. Negative Qualities is an assault on the educated, the polite, the informed, or anyone else who is too good to get drunk and fight someone, too well-off to rob someone, too cowardly to talk about it but not spill any blood. It’s a deeply unhealthy record of unique and inexhaustible gutter-charm, powered by sword-tipped assaults on graduate students (“Marbles”), people who use party drugs too sparingly (“Half-Lit”) and abusive lovers who aren’t abusive enough (“Money”). In the years since this album came out, the band switched locations and lead singer Drew Thompson got clean. Thank god for the healing, thank god we got the bile first. -ChurchillDowns

34. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else (2014)

The first thing I think when trying to describe Cloud Nothings is, “they sound like Nirvana would today.” On the surface, they are a straight up guitar/bass/drums rock band (which is sadly rare these days), but they are so much more. Singer Dylan Baldi does the perfect Cobain, confused about whether he wants to be a pop singer or a demented screamer, switching between the personalities at the drop of a hat. Cloud Nothings have punk leanings but aren’t a punk band. Indie kids love them because they get louder and wilder than their other favorite bands. They straddle that line fantastically. Recorded loud and loose, Here and Nowhere Else is the band’s best LP to date, with songs that are so singable it’s ridiculous, to songs that just rock the fuck out. More often than not, the songs contain both of those things. This is what rock music should be, and if the populous didn’t have horrible taste, Cloud Nothings would be as big as Nirvana. -Greg Simpson

33. The National - Trouble Will Find Me (2013)

When The National put this album out in 2013, I was twenty-eight years old and living in a Midwestern city where heroin overdoses were a near everyday occurrence. Even though I’ve never done a hard drug in my life, when I heard Matt Berringer sing, “If I stay here, trouble will find me, if I say here I’ll never leave,” this became my summer album of 2013. This, I suppose, gives you some idea of how that summer went. The refrain was only half right, trouble never found me. But, I bought a house in Dayton two years ago. Which I guess is how this album flowed, fear that somehow sits uncomfortably next to hope. Capturing that feeling, and doing so honestly, on an album is a hard task. The National pulled it off here, perhaps better than they’ve been able to since. -Johnathon1069

32. Teenage Bottlerocket - Stay Rad! (2019)

On their second LP since the sudden passing of drummer Brandon Carlisle, and their first of new material, all eyes were on what TBR would do. What they did is prove that TBR is as resilient, and talented, as we expected. While sticking pretty much in their pop-punk lane, the band expressed a maturity in several of their songs which was unexpected, but felt so right upon listening. Tearjerker “Little Kid,” a tribute to Brandon from his twin brother and bandmate Ray, shows a level of emotional song-writing that propels this band beyond their well-deserved, although not entirely precise considering how easily they can step in and out of the Ramonescore stylings, reputation as kings of pop-punk. -Jeff Sorley

31. Lagwagon - Hang (2014)

With their first original music since the 2008 EP I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon, and their first new LP since the departure of long-time bassist Jesse Buglione and his replacement with Joe Raposo, Lagwagon had to step up again and prove why they are one of the best melodic punk bands on the scene. Hang was touted as a return to the band’s thrashier roots and, while there was a lot of metal in it, it maybe didn’t go that far (that tagline probably applies more to their next LP Railer). But for Lagwagon fans, the album is still top-notch and refreshed the band’s standing at the top of their field. Few groups can visit the trough of “gentle opener exploding into a banger” again and again like Lagwagon does and still makes it work every time. The intro of “Burden of Proof,” featuring Joey Capes oft-wavering vocals and gentle acoustic strumming leads perfectly into the classic melodic punk “Reign.” In some ways this album seemed to experiment with a more traditional chugga chugga metal style, such as with “The Cog in the Machine,” and while that can (and often is) a recipe for disaster, Lagwagon pulls it off in spades… as they always do. -Jeff Sorley

30. Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

Mainstream rap is a cesspool and finding good albums in the mainstream is like fly fishing in a sewer. But, like a miracle, every now and then you snag one good album out of the mainstream, like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Sadly this is literally the only hip-hop artist to appear on this list on this list, and while I could name dozens of hip-hop albums that I think should have made the cut as well, if only one hip-hop artist is going to make our list, it should absolutely be Kendrick Lamar. With the album’s laundry list of renowned musicians, including George Clinton, Lamar makes a lush, complex, layered album with elements of funk, jazz, spoken word poetry, soul, avant garde, and…an interview for some reason? Lyrically it takes on the music industry and finds new angles to talk about in the age old discussion of race. A pretty easy argument could be made for this being the greatest hip-hop album ever made, but there’s no question that it’s the most creative and unique hip-hop album of this or any generation. -Julie River / truthbealiar

29. Jeff Rosenstock - POST- (2018)

“USA”, the seven-and-a-half-minute opus amidst a collection of otherwise serviceable but not exceptional songs, is almost singularly responsible for this high placement. POST- fit its cultural timing and context, the very specific and tumultuous shared experience of the Trump Administration, so perfectly its success is self-evident; releasing an album bluntly and simply titled POST- with absolutely nobody having to ask “Post what?” To set the scene: norms upended, villains celebrating in a landscape dominated by harsh, cruel, anachronistic voices. There was a lot of emotion in the air- paranoia, guilt, worry, most of it anger, and nowhere in the scene was this spirit being given a voice that wasn’t embarrassing, misguided, or commodified. That is, until Jeff came along to yell sweetly in our faces and angrily into cold, dark parking lots exactly what was already in our heads, or our guts, or our chest. “Et tu, USA?” -Danny Wimmer

28. War on Women - Capture the Flag (2018)

Massively improved, War on Women refined their overt political subject matter into a much more recognizably punk offering with their second album, leaving behind the more hard-rock flavor of their debut. Content to let the guitars and drums move your flesh in the pit, the vocals arrived dead-set on education, burrowing into your grey matter, with as clear a message as any in its contemporary politics. Impressively, exactly zero tracks here are dispensable to their platform, and Capture the Flag gets better the longer it plays. The B-side was the real heavyweight of the album, giving the album a purposeful feel, that it was built, sonically if not narratively, with a clear goal of conversion and empowerment, or indoctrination and activation. The leading manifesto on this album, its title track, is strong but for my ears the album really showed its teeth with ‘Childbirth’ and ‘The Violence of Bureaucracy’. -Danny Wimmer

27. Leftover Crack - Constructs of the State (2015)

It had been over a decade since their last full-length, they were without Ezra, a mainstay since the Choking Victim days, and they’d moved from Alternative Tentacles to Fat. So much discontinuity bred much fan uncertainty around this project; the stakes couldn’t have been higher for Leftover Crack to finally follow up the masterpiece Fuck World Trade. LOC roared back with not only a worthy successor, but a damning and incredible album in its own right. Chock full of features (and a couple covers), Constructs of the State gets by with a little help from major punk rock figureheads Penny Rimbaud and Jesse Michaels, as well as contemporary folk-punk friends from Mischief Brew, Blackbird Raum, and Days’n’Daze. Befitting a band as revered and prolific as LOC, this community-effort crack-rock-steady record was wildly heralded as a welcome comeback after a decade of side-projects. The band didn’t miss a beat and reaffirmed for a new generation their hard-earned stature, pandemic influence, and jaw dropping talent. -Danny Wimmer

26. G.L.O.S.S.Trans Day of Revenge (2015)

While G.L.O.S.S. certainly didn’t intend for their album to be released in response to a mass shooting in a gay club in Orlando, but I’m pretty sure the decision to move up the digital release up to just a few days after the shooting was a pretty deliberate move. Trans Day of Revenge is the perfect response to the Pulse shooting, as the main theme of the album is that trans people (and other minorities) need to strike back against hate crimes with more violence, sometimes even preemptively. Whether or not you agree with that message, the absolutely unbridled queer rage is something that everyone should really hear and at least consider. Add in some of the loudest and most ferocious hardcore punk in the history of the genre, G.L.O.S.S. makes Leftöver Crack look like a Cub Scout troop. -Julie River / truthbealiar

Trivia Nuggets

- 81 albums received two picks (regardless of score), but didn’t make the Top 100. 40 albums that received two picks made it in.

- 2 albums- Beach Slang’s A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings (2016) and Superchunk’s What a Time to Be Alive (2018) received three picks each, but didn’t make it into the Top 100. The other thirty albums to receive three picks made the cut.

- Any album that received four picks or more made it into the Top 100.

50-26 Playlist

G.L.O.S.S.' "Trans Day of Revenge" isn't available via Spotify, so here it is from their Bandcamp page:


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.