The Best of the Tenny Tweens (Prologue: Wait, That’s Not an Album!)

Alright, so it’s 2020, and it’s time to look back on the best music from the decade that is now behind us. Most of us will simply refer to that decade as “The Twenty Tens”, “The New Tens”, “The Teens”, etc. I’ve decided to label them “The Tenny Tweens”, mostly for the delight of how that silly phrase rolls off the tongue and because I wanted a unique nickname for it after coming up with “The Ought Nots” for the 2000s, but also because it felt very much like a decade of between-ness and transition, where I ended up in a different place both personally and in terms of my musical tastes than where I started.

Anyway, before I get to the proper list of what I’d consider my favorite album releases of the 2010s, I wanted to give honorable mentions to a hodgepodge of releases that don’t really fit into the conventional album format – generally because they’re too long, too short, and/or are mostly comprised of previously released material. Plenty of songs from these releases perked up my ears and lifted my spirits over the last several years, and it didn’t feel right glossing over ’em entirely simply because the artist didn’t choose a conventional LP as their method of releasing ’em.

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Doves – The Places Between: The world we see belongs to you and me… if we’re lucky.

2010_Doves_ThePlacesBetween

Artist: Doves
Album: The Places Between: The Best of Doves
Year: 2010
Grade: A

In Brief: It’s extremely difficult to get a “greatest hits” collection right. But Doves’ decade-spanning collection proves that it’s possible to pass the test with flying colors.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #85: March-April 2010

My soundtrack from the spring of 2010 is… a bit of a hodgepodge, honestly. Most of my soundtracks are, but this one in particular has a bit of an identity crisis. Lots of great music here from across a smattering of divergent genres, but not a whole lot of connecting tissue tying most of it together – and honestly, not as many specific memories tying the music to definitive events in my life. I think this tends to happen during a season of life when I’m reasonably settled and happy – the music I’m drawn to, which might reflect a certain amount of angst or difficult questions, is probably resonating more with stuff I’ve been through in the past, or stuff I’m glad to have never been through. All of this is to say, I’ve realized in retrospect that this is a less autobiographical set of songs than most of my soundtracks turned out to be. Nothing wrong with that – remembering a time in my life when there was a distinct lack of struggle or upheaval is kind of comforting nowadays, considering how isolated, unpredictable and stressful life is for me (and for most of the world!) ten years down the road.

In with the New:
OK Go
Owl City
The River Empires
Jónsi (as a solo artist – appears earlier with Sigur Rós)

Out with the Old:
Newsboys

It Was Worth a Try:
The Clumsy Lovers

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #84: January-February 2010

Starting the year 2010 off in Hawaii, as Christine and I finished up the last few days of our vacation and our visit with her friends and family, offered a lot of chances for rest and reflection on the almost five years of our marriage so far, and what challenges were potentially ahead of us in this new decade. Going back to the first set of mix CDs I made to cover the first two months of that year, I’m reminded of how my outlook on music was changing (a lot more indie rock, not so much Christian music although I retained a few of my long-time favorites) along with my outlook on life (less rigid and black-and-white, more open to being shown new perspectives and subjecting long-standing beliefs to greater scrutiny to see if they still held water). A lot of it was more about capturing a certain aesthetic or mood rather than a specific meaning – yet after spending some time with this collection of songs again after all these years, I’ve realized as I zoom out and look at the set as a whole that there are still some distinct markers of experiences in my life or ideas I was wrestling with, that give the diverse and sometimes even contradictory elements of these playlists a reason for being together that maybe I couldn’t have fully articulated at the time.

In with the New:
The Paper Raincoat
As Tall as Lions

Out with the Old:
Creed
Anathallo

Listen on Spotify:

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The Best of the Ought Nots, Part III: 41-60

We’ve reached the midpoint of my personal hit list now – at some point in the 40’s is where we cross the threshold from the material bubbling just under the “5 star” barrier, to the material that I feel fully earned the highest marks in each glowing review that I wrote. The higher up we go, the more unbridled my joy in going back and revisiting the great music that the 2000’s had to offer.

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The Best of 2009: Now Departing for Stockholm, Hawaii, New Orleans, and Points Inland

The end of 2009 is upon us, friends. It was a year that many of us didn’t look forward to, already knowing to expect financial woes and potential job losses (if not already realized ones) going into it – a year where the unexpected road ahead seemed to promise more hardship than exciting new possibilities to explore. but a poor year for the world was a rich year for music – either because artists channelled their angst into some of the best songs they’d ever written, or because more and more of them were jumping ship on the big labels and finding freedom to go where their imaginations would take them even if the audiences weren’t as big as a result. Some found artful ways to downsize while others played it as over-the-top as they could in defiance of expectations. In the end, it was a more exciting year than I could have anticipated, one that has left me with a lot to look forward to.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #83: November-December 2009

Here’s the best of what I was listening to as the previous decade closed out. While I definitely ended the 2000s in a much better place than I was at the beginning of that decade, there had definitely been some hard times toward the end of 2009, and we were looking forward to a year-end trip to visit family in Hawaii. I can tell looking back at a lot of these songs that I was really longing for some rest and recreation with a beautiful beach as the backdrop.

In with the New:
fun.

Out with the Old:
Rob Thomas

Listen on Spotify:

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