The turn of the decade is coming in hot. Thus, at a time when we normally reflect on the past year’s events, that focus broadens drastically to allow for deeper reflection. Imagine, for instance, reviewing 10 years of bank statements to see how much YOLO-ing you’re stacking up at festivals. From this, you can gain clearer insight as to why you probably still live in your mom’s basement. On the other hand, one might self-actualize a devout philosophy of, “Turn down for what?!” To that end, nothing defines a decade of dance music better than the albums we’d all rate as 10-out-of-10. So, in keeping with that throwback tradition, let’s look at the top twenty 10’s from the 2010’s.
With so many different tastes and opinions throughout the EDM landscape, creating a consensus best-of list is a near-impossible feat. Hence, the unending family tree of genres and sub-genres. The 2010’s will forever be the decade overrun with the riddim and future sounds, as a result. Nevertheless, a post on the EDMTunes Facebook page (above) did just the trick to hammer out a decent assortment of 2010’s classics. Therefore, these 15 top twenty 10’s came straight from the readers and fans. Let the squabbling and EDM-snobbing commence!
Fan Picks: Top 15
Skrillex – Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites [October 2010]
Skrillex rises from the depths of the underground to show us what a talented laptop warrior can achieve. After getting a bump from Deadmau5 and his Mau5trap imprint, Skrillex quickly drops his iconic Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites EP. Clearly, no amount of “mixed critic reviews” could slow down this juggernaut’s impressive rise. Critics be damned, the album nabs two Grammy‘s that year (best dance album/record). It would be the dawning of an epic 2010’s run culminating with his record eight Grammy wins- the most by any electronic artist ever. Nearly a decade later, the album’s still repelling haters (and mosquitoes), muscling its way into the decade-defining top twenty 10’s.
David Guetta – Nothing But The Beat [August 2011]
That poppy, upbeat EDM sound that’s become synonymous with the early 2010’s still has an undeniable influence today. Consequently, we all remember watching David Guetta expand his flex-zone to the top of the DJ Mag Top 100 list. Nothing But the Beat‘s pioneering pop collaborations and dance floor baby-makers like ‘Titanium‘ have festival heads longing for the good ol’ days. Notwithstanding, it doesn’t hurt having four US Billboard top 20/10 UK top 20 singles and 4 million copies sold worldwide.
Armin van Buuren – Intense [May 2013]
It’s no surprise an AVB album lands among the top twenty 10’s of this dwindling decade. Truly, that’s a testament to the power the man felt while creating another masterpiece. Even after considering the popularity of trance, his auditory weapon of choice, is arguably continuing to wane as we approach 2020. That fact alone makes his singular Grammy-nomination seem like something one might find in an EDM history book somewhere. However, we can never take those accolades away from Intense‘s leading single, ‘This is What it Feels Like.’ Surely, fans of the Dutch legend will never let us forget all the feels that only Armin can bring.
Calvin Harris – 18 Months [October 2012]
No matter what arbitrary voting system you utilize, Calvin Harris‘ 18 Months should make your 2010-2019 best albums chart. First of all, he totally flips the script on his typical sound. That’s something few artists can pull off without causing fans to have mental breakdowns (more on that later). He fully embraces electro like Armin van Buuren waiting for the drop – with open arms. More importantly, in the span of six months, the album goes on to chart 8 top 10 singles (UK). Not even Michael Jackson, holding the previous record of seven, was that bad. Relive the full album to see exactly why it’s the undisputed soundtrack to 2012.
Nero – Welcome Reality [August 2011]
Around this time in the 2010’s, bass music’s still riding a huge wave of momentum into unequivocal dominance. Indeed, producers from all corners of the industry are pumping the bass into their waveforms so as not to miss out on the crest. Meanwhile, Nero fastidiously takes the genre to new heights nearly putting the bar out of reach. It’s now eight years since Welcome Reality and bassheads are still waiting for someone to get on their level. Additionally, they find time to deliver a Dubstep Symphony and BBC Radio 1 mix that’s part of the G.O.A.T conversation. Bump this one for old time’s sake. It ‘Promises‘ to remind you of why fans put this album in their list of top twenty 10’s.
Swedish House Mafia – Until Now [October 2012]
It’s all too ironic that SHM‘s remix of Coldplay‘s ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall‘ brings Until Now some critical acclaim. Especially, considering that the album reaches #1 on charts in several countries despite mixed reviews. What’s of note here, however, is that the trio broke up after this album leaving fans crying a waterfall’s worth of tears. Luckily, the group reunites near the decade’s end and tours, but the latest news isn’t very reassuring. At this point, we now have to bid the 10’s farewell with no clear signs of a new album on the horizon. As vast and loyal as Swedish House Mafia‘s fan base is, it’s understandable why this album is attracting votes. Certainly, they’re far too influential to not appear in our top twenty 10’s that define the last decade.
Gessafelstein – Aleph [October 2013]
Gessafelstein begins working on our next entry into the top twenty 10’s in 2011. As the project is nearing completion, he embarks on production work for Kanye West‘s Yeezus album. After the summer release of Yeezus, word gets out about Gessafelstein’s contributions and his popularity begins to skyrocket. From there, he decides to ride that momentum and finally drop his album, Aleph. With its dark Techno beats, it soon becomes somewhat of a symbol for the antithesis of the feelgood happy EDM that’s popular at the time. Those themes can be seen in the video for ‘Pursuit‘ above. Obviously, critical acclaim is soon to follow as the album goes on to make the best dance lists for Spin, Complex, and Billboard. Eventually, it becomes clear that this was a big part of what starts the push behind techno’s resurgence in popularity.
Eric Prydz – Opus [February 2016]
This addition to the top twenty 10’s should be a no-brainer. Eric Prydz consistently set himself apart from other artists as a fan favorite throughout the decade. As a result, when Opus drops in early 2016, EDMTunes is all over the news like white on rice with a quick album review. Furthermore, several of the tracks on Opus are considered to be the greatest Prydz tracks of all time. To Illustrate this, check out the video of the album’s title track above.
Odesza – A Moment Apart [September 2017]
By the time 2017 rolls around, fans are pretty desperate for some new material from Odesza. So much so that back in 2015, the duo had to address the issue in an interview with Magnetic Magazine, saying this:
Finally, late in 2016 fans get to hear one of the album’s lead singles, ‘Late Night‘ (above). Once the album drops the following year, it shoots straight to #1 on US dance charts. Easily, it’s one of the top twenty 10’s too.
Avicii – Tim [June 2019]
Although the album comes very late in the game, fans are still boasting that it’s one of the top twenty 10’s of the 2010’s. Whether or not that’s a product of the album still being so fresh in the minds of many is hard to discern. Certainly, with Avicii‘s untimely passing in the spring of 2018, news of the new album spread like wildfire. Thus, when Tim finally drops earlier this year, fans are quick to pounce on the new material from the sorely missed producer. The numbers don’t lie either as it quickly shoots to #1 in 7 different countries. Not to mention, the countless tributes that are happening in his honor.
Rüfüs Du Sol – Bloom [January 2016]
Three long years after their first #1 album on the Australian charts, Rüfüs Du Sol finally returns with another huge hit, Bloom. Six of the album’s singles come before the album drops including, ‘You Were Right‘ (above). It goes on to win an Australian Recording Industry Association award for best dance release. RDS is purely a product of the 2010’s as the trio forms in late 2010. Since then, they’ve had a magnificent run in their dominance of the Australian market. The ARIA even has them as their best live act of the decade. Bloom is indeed one of the top twenty 10’s of the 2010’s but expect this trio to do major damage in the years to come as well.
Avicii – True [September 2013]
This entry in the top twenty 10’s meets some backlash when it initially drops in late 2013. Fans come out very critical of his new productions which include country music influences. Though the album makes Avicii’s production game take off like a fighter jet, it doesn’t land very well. Crashing down in flames, would be describing its reception lightly. Especially, considering many are first hearing the new material during his Ultra Music Festival set. As mentioned earlier with Calvin Harris, its difficult for an artist to switch up their sound without giving some fans angst. In response, Avicii takes to his Facebook page to address the haters. Check out the full post here:
Additionally, he uses an alternative method for promoting the album. The True Reveal Project also garners some mixed reactions from fans too. Nevertheless, the album eventually charts at #1 in 5 countries, hitting #5 on the Billboard US 200. Furthermore, it’s certified platinum in 11 countries including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. It’s pretty safe to say the fans eventually come around to True.
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories [May 2013]
As one of the most iconic groups in all of music, it’s no surprise seeing Daft Punk make this top twenty 10’s list. Enlisting Pharrell Williams for his production expertise proves to be a genius move for the French duo too. Following his lead, the group releases ‘Get Lucky.’ Easily, it’s one of the most worn out (in a good way) tracks of the year. As a whole, Random Access Memories achieves something great for a generation of jaded ravers in their bitter old age – it defines what it’s like being a “grown-ass raver.” Check out this Rolling Stone piece about the album which describes it in just that fashion. The Grammy’s the duet won for album of the year and record of the year are a forgone conclusion before the year is even up.
Above & Beyond – Group Therapy [June 2011]
Ah, Group Therapy. No other album epitomizes the definition of it’s respective genre more than Above & Beyond‘s second studio album. The album’s title has since become a rallying call for all tranceheads to convene on the dance floor. Fans recognize this and give the release the second most votes on our Facebook post. Moreover, A&B themselves are one of the few groups one could argue defines the decade. All they do is headline the biggest festivals every year to sold out crowds. In doing so, their shows are the embodiment of crowds 1000’s of euphoric ravers deep, which are now the norm year-in-and-year-out. On a more technical note, five tracks off of this album are in the top 10 of Billboard’s all-time best A&B songs list. If that doesn’t get an album into our top twenty 10’s list, what does?
Porter Robinson – Worlds [August 2014]
Rounding out the fan’s portion of the top twenty 10’s list is Porter Robinson‘s Worlds. Like Calvin Harris and Avicii, Porter’s sound undergoes a significant change for this effort. Vacating his title as the pound for pound king of complextro, he ventures into the realm of alt EDM. Following his disillusionment with the carbon copy output of dance tracks, he decides to amp up his production. Using video game themes and an affinity for Japanese culture, he pieces together a legendary project. Certainly, its influence can be felt in almost every live act today. Even more convincing is the fact that half a decade later, fans are still losing their minds to the Worlds vibe. Hence the reason this album receives the lions share of fan votes for album of the decade. Check out the video above from Porter’s Worlds Live 2019 performance at his Second Sky Festival to refresh your memory.
Staff Picks: 5 More 2010’s Bangers
The last five albums on our top twenty 10’s of the 2010’s list aren’t so much honorable mentions as they are insightful picks. The EDMTunes team of writers have their finger on the pulse of the industry throughout the year. Thus, it’d be disingenuous to not include the input from individuals with such an informed perspective on the sounds of a decade. In no particular order, these are the 5 albums that we felt are undoubtedly bangers of the 2010’s.
Madeon – Good Faith [November 2019]
Eric Prydz Presents – Pryda [May 2012]
Mat Zo – Damage Control [November 2013]
Rüfüs Du Sol – Solace [October 2018]
Above & Beyond – We Are All We Need [January 2015]
Saying Goodbye to the 2010’s
Looking back, the 2K10’s are definitely a decade to be reckoned with. Particularly, for EDM, whose popularity makes it’s way to the top alongside pop and rock. Upon closer inspection of our top twenty 10’s list, 2013 seems to be the biggest year. It scores the most albums fans believe define the decade with five total. 2011 is a close second with a respectable three albums making the list. Another notable trend is bass music and its meteoric rise in the 2010’s. Although, its popularity still pales in comparison to the more melodic genres. Seemingly, fans still favor house and techno albums more than their bass-heavy counterparts. Above all, it’s interesting to peer back into time to see where we come from to where we are today. More importantly, this list makes one thing clear- dance music is here to stay! We can’t wait to see what the 2020’s have in store for us.