- 15. Kacey Musgrave: Golden Hour (2018)
Full disclosure — I almost didn’t listen to this album, and when I did I think it was after the well-deserved fanfare had died down. Kacey Musgraves is unapologetically country but in this, her third album, she embraces pop in a swirling symphony of songs. The album swells and flows and almost has a magical quality. Golden Hour’s lyrics are understated and sweet, but help tell a story and make this incredibly worth listening to.
Key track: Space Cowboy
- 14. Harry Styles: Harry Styles (2017)
Another album and artist I almost ignored because of the hype. This self-titled album was Harry Styles’ first since leaving boy band One Direction and what a path he set out on. He is aware of course that his early success and audience were preteens, something he embraces. I read a great interview he gave recently where he effectively pushed back on the idea that having popularity with younger listeners was a bad thing, and he’s 100 per cent right. Styles delivers soaring ballads and punchy rock numbers — if this is the rock/pop sound of the future, I’m keen.
Key track: Sign of the Times
- 13. Father John Misty: I Love You, Honey Bear (2015)
Unsurprisingly, Nick Perry (who ranked this album in his top three) introduced me to Father John Misty. In all honesty, it’s just a really smart concept of an album — True Affection is about communicating through technology rather than face-to-face and is the most electronic song on the album. The cynicism of the lyrics as a whole makes me think and I appreciate the musicality.
Key track: Bored in the USA
- 12. Leon Bridges: Coming Home (2015)
The smooth sounds of soul are back and boy are we pleased! Texas native Leon Bridges gave us a big ol’ dose of the 1960s with his debut. I dare you to listen to any song and break out into a smile and a little side-to-side bop. Bridges brings the horns and while he embodies the style of Sam Cooke, he’s completely original. His later works have kept the depth and heart of this debut but he has continued to grow.
Key track: Better Man
- 11. Camp Cope: Camp Cope (2016)
I credit this Melbourne three-piece with getting me into punk music. I’d always been a fan of storytelling through song (thanks Bruce Springsteen and Paul Kelly) but when I heard lead singer Georgia Maq punch out the first lines of Done, I think was hooked. When you combine the strength of Maq’s voice with Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s deep distinctive bass notes and Sarah Thompson’s consistent, steady drumming, with lyrics that paint a picture of the human existence, plus the band’s amazing activism and advocacy, you’re onto a good thing.
Key track: Lost: Season One
Entertain Us (4-8-2020): Top albums of the decade
THE YP Country Times returns to its series looking at the best of the best from the 2010s, as Rhiannon Koch shares her favourite albums of the decade, having limited her selections to one album per artist, continuing with 15-11.
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