Revisiting the decade that gave us Buttery Biscuit Base, and so much more
Now that we’ve all agreed that the best album of the last decade is A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay, let’s imagine a not too distant future and the resurrection of the BBC’s I Love XXXX franchise, where whoever’s running Heat that week and comedians of the day who you half remember and have never seen before in your life talk fondly about how mad the past was. We’ve reached I Love the 2010s, of course, and Russell Howard is finding his own reactions to the big headlines of the past decade particularly hilarious. It’s a light show: Jimmy Saville is definitely out; Trump is in as long as participants focus on the colour of his skin rather than his race hatred; Boris Johnson (three years dead) is similarly included, but only when falling over. There’s a really long segment on the 2017 Oscar mistake, everyone has a go with a fidget spinner and discusses whether that dress was blue or gold, the montage of 40-year-old men falling off hover boards is strong. Russell Howard might piss himself, and impersonates how he’d fall off a hover board. Phil Jupitus does a plummy voice implying that it’s how the monster from Stranger Things would speak.
What they don’t talk about so much is the music of the 2010s, which (no judgment) is boiled down to Kanye Vs Taylor, Beyoncé Vs Jay-Z, Adele and Ed Sheeran. I get it: it’s been a long and messy decade, and there’s still the Colleen Rooney stuff to get through. But I’ve checked – it wasn’t always remarkable, but things did happen in music in the 2010s. Here’s what I’ve got.
Music doesn’t perform well at the end of any given decade, flumping over the line with a disregard for its own identity that the slug in me massively respects. The ’00s were no different, seen-out by number 1 covers albums from Susan Boyle and Michael Bublé. But the 2010s were just around the corner for music to reinvent itself.
The first number 1 selling album of 2010 was Sunny Side Up. I don’t think it’s Paulo Nutini’s best work either, but we were keen to not write off the entire decade within its first week – it was bound to heat up sooner or later. 2010 was a bit of bastard though and proved us wrong on that front, which was probably to be expected of the year that David Cameron tried so desperately to get “Big Society” happening (the “Bev” of its day, but twice as shit).
By April 8, Malcolm McLaren was so bored he opted to die.
If it didn’t already feel like the emoji with the horizontal line for a mouth was designed as shorthand to express the music of 2010, Jamiroquai then released a record called – and I’m not making this up – Rock Dust Star Light, before the year closed as if it had never happened at all (probably for the best) with Susan Boyle dropping another massive-selling collection of inappropriate covers, called The Gift.
Outside of Drake’s Thank Me Later, the real musical high of 2010 was the Bedroom Intruder song, and that’s not a good sign is it; the most memorable track of the year being a viral song that heavily autotuned a news story about a sexual predator at large in a poor, black neighbourhood. Not a great start, 2010s.