Another 10 greats from our 100-issue history…

Clash is counting down its top albums of the last 10 years, to mark both the magazine’s 10th anniversary and its 100th issue, coming soon.

For numbers 100-91, click here

- - -

Kindness – ‘World, You Need A Change Of Mind’
(Female Energy, 2012)

What do you get when you cross languorous R&B-cum-funk with the EastEnders theme tune? Kindness's remake of ‘Anyone Can Fall In Love’ from 2012’s ‘World, You Need A Change of Mind’, of course! Adam Bainbridge’s debut full-length (co-produced by Phillipe Zdar, AKA one half of Cassius), though weak in places, ladled disco onto a heap of funk, defying categorisation in the process and wafting a highly polished air of groove over the dancefloor. Towards the end of ‘Bombastic’ Bainbridge lists his influences – Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Nile Rodgers, Larry Levan – and you can hear all these individual voices shining through the record. But the end result is a delightful, unique compound, with the shimmering ‘Cyan’ a clear highlight. Felicity Martin

- - -

Julia Holter – ‘Loud City Song’
(2013, Domino)

Move quickly. Strike first, nail an idea and then move on, leaving others to pick through the debris. Releasing three albums in three years, Julia Holter entered an enormously fertile creative streak, matching independence of spirit to an independence of sound. ‘Loud City Song’ was almost crushing in its weight, unassailable in its breadth. An ambitious yet accessible statement, there are areas of this album which, even now, remain locked, unexplored. Truly, this is an album to get lost in. Robin Murray

- - -

Run The Jewels – ‘Run The Jewels’
(2013, self-release/Fool’s Gold)

A get-together that might have gone nowhere, but quite gloriously went massive, the collaboration between New York MC/producer El-P and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike resulted in a dizzying debut album of jagged beats and slickly intertwined lyrics. Like someone went and spiked the punch at an old-school battle, it’s a boisterous beast of bumping beats and seriously detailed wordplay, albeit underpinned by a humour that ensures it never gets too heavy to stop the dancing. Thirty-two minutes is all it takes for the listener to realise that these twin heavyweights of underground rap went and birthed a monster, Run The Jewels setting new career precedents after years of hardly unsuccessful solo ventures. Mike Diver

- - -

Jay Z and Kanye West – ‘Watch The Throne’
(2011, Def Jam)

On which two of the biggest artists in the world got into their zone and produced a set that flits from wholly decent contemporary rap to astounding songs that can still slaughter a dancefloor. Play ‘N*ggas In Paris’ in any club, any bar, in any city, and you’re gonna see fireworks – assuming there’s anyone there (and if not, and the place is on fire, maybe leave). Terrific guest spots from Frank Ocean and Beyoncé complement the central pair’s impressive performances, and desk work from the likes of The Neptunes and Swizz Beatz ensures this is a blockbuster production from start to finish. Although, just maybe, we could have done without Mr Hudson. Mike Diver

- - -

Saul Williams – ‘Saul Williams’
(2004, Wichita)

Ten years young, the second studio album from rapper-poet Saul Williams can still stop a man in his thoughts, arrest his workflow, and sit his ass down. Politicised, entirely focused on furthering the love and respect man can have for man, and fiercely uncompromised of production – with cameos from System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian, Rage’s Zach De La Rocha, and sampling The Stooges and Bad Brains – this eponymous set seared its mark into any and all rap fans at first contact. Heartfelt and wholly unique, drawn from personal persecution and the perspective of someone able to see the biggest picture, it left a brand that still itches to this day. Mike Diver

- - -

Joanna Newsom – ‘Ys’
(2006, Drag City)

'Ys' swirls through moments of darkness and euphoria with Newsom’s wonderful harp arrangements, incredible strings and faultless production. It’s five songs – seven minutes on its shortest piece – and floats somewhere between opera, folk, a film score and prog. Most importantly, it’s the album that transports Newsom from squeaky elfin to composer, storyteller and unbelievable songwriter. Gemma Hampson

- - -

Tim Hecker – ‘Ravedeath, 1972’
(2011, Kranky)

A conceptual work of rare beauty and unparalleled atmosphere, ‘Ravedeath, 1972’ wrestles with the dizzying deconstruction of music itself, the mortality and secular spirituality of sound. The notes of a deeply sonorous pipe organ, recorded in a Reykjavík church, are manipulated and processed into surprising shapes with the help of fellow producer Ben Frost. A work of great contrast in both volume and texture, it’s shimmering yet sinister, discreet and deafening, a transportive, transcendental saga of impressive resonance and sonic decay. Anna Wilson

- - -

Adele – ‘21’
(2011, XL)

You can try crediting the co-writers (Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Eg White, et al) or point to the guest production of Rick Rubin, but ultimately the captivating appeal of anything Adele does is down to her. The songs on ‘21’, predominantly inspired by a messy break-up, are so personal and emotive already, but it’s her voice – forceful yet with traces of vulnerability – that truly draws the listener in. The album’s mega-success is down to that effortless charm. Simon Harper

- - -

John Talabot – ‘fin’
(2012, Permanent Vacation)

Some albums just seem to capture a certain moment, to nail an atmosphere entirely. ‘fin’ came as John Talabot’s reputation began to soar, as the nation’s dancefloors seemed to fall back in love with house once again. Reeking of optimism, ‘fin’ was the uplifting statement the movement needed, a propulsive gem that radiated with a rare sense of inner beauty. Listening now, it’s remarkable how little has changed. Through continually challenging himself, Talabot created something entirely defining yet consistently fresh. Robin Murray

- - -

Chromatics – ‘Kill For Love’
(2012, Italians Do It Better)

Arriving in the wake of their ‘Tick Of The Clock’ proving a pertinent musical cue in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, ‘Kill For Love’ found Portland synthpop crew Chromatics taking their own, distinct turn for the cinematic. Film-length, ‘Kill For Love’ also followed the undulating narrative of a movie, from its cover of Neil Young’s ‘Into The Black’ leading to strangely romantic liaisons and fraught instances of percussive fragility, the whole thing concluding with the sharp snap to silence of ‘The River’. It’s an intoxicating concoction, but one that needs the right context to properly appreciate: ‘Kill For Love’ is not an album that dazzles, its constituents minimal of detail and half-awake vocals emerging from a dream, but seeps into the senses over time. Ultimately, it becomes something of a masterpiece only when you didn’t think you were paying attention. Mike Diver

- - -

Numbers 100-91

This countdown continues next week.

Get involved: tell us your own favourite albums of the last 10 years, here.

Buy Clash Magazine
Get Clash on your mobile, for free: iPhone / Android


Join us on VERO

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.

Follow Clash: