As 2020 rapidly approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past 10 years. I believe this has been the first decade of my life where I can remember every detail from start to finish – starting at university as an 18-year-old and trying to use that Sports Journalism degree with this blog now.
Looking back, I can say with conviction that for two-thirds of the decade, I had severe mental health problems. Loneliness at university, unemployment thereafter and relationship troubles scattered throughout were the major causes of my poor psyche. Not a lot of things helped during them six or so years but the one constant coping mechanism I had was music.
I relied on music to escape, connect and find hope. Much like comedian James Acaster’s recent book – where he claims 2016 is the greatest ever year for music – I could make a case that 2012 is the all-time best, as the albums from those 12 months helped me through so much during the height of my depression in 2013.
Frank Ocean (channel ORANGE), Beach House (Bloom), alt-J (An Awesome Wave), Tame Impala (Lonerism) and Kendrick Lamar (good kid, m.A.A.d. city) were all on repeat, while there were also some great 2013 releases from A$AP Rocky (At.Long.Last.A$AP.), Foals (Holy Fire) and Kanye West (Yeezus) that helped during my bad spell that year.
Thankfully, I’ve recovered from that dark period and I’m very grateful to be more mentally sound now. But as we head towards 2020, I still feel somewhat dissatisfied.
Some of my best memories from the past 10 years are with people who I’m no longer in contact with and it’s left me feeling lonely and sad. I also feel like I’ve wasted much of my time in this decade career-wise, as my blog stagnates and my job continues to be unrewarding.
However, going through my music during this decade has made me appreciate the times I’ve had. I feel like I’ve lived a lot and, although I probably won’t be making more memories with the same people again in the next decade, I’m in no doubt I’ll have another list of incredible music associated to the new experiences I’ll encounter along the way – and that’s really exciting.
It’s amazing how much music defines times in our lives and gives us strength. I would, therefore, encourage anyone reading this who has similar worries and doubts to create, and be inspired by, their own playlist of the decade.
Revel in the good times and be thankful for the art which got you through the bad. It’s all living, at the end of the decade.
These were my personal favourites from each year of the 2010s, with the top being the best album and the bottom being the best song:
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Drake – Take Care
The Weeknd – House Of Balloons/Glass Table Girls
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Beach House – Myth
Kanye West – Yeezus
Arcade Fire – Porno
La Roux – Trouble In Paradise
Lana Del Rey – West Coast
Tame Impala – Currents
Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Twin Atlantic – GLA
Kanye West – Famous
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
The Orwells – Double Feature
St. Vincent – Masseduction
MGMT – Little Dark Age
Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
Foals – Into The Surf