A Note From Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel About Our 2010s Project
200 songs and 200 albums don’t just rank themselves
When we first embarked on creating this package—Pitchfork’s definitive guide to the best music of the 2010s—it felt like an exciting but overwhelming task. We wanted to be clear-eyed about the recent past while still looking forward; we wanted to celebrate innovation and pay proper tribute to modern classics. What music felt like it universally grounded us? What delivered humanity, soul, and passion at a time where there was more recorded music being released at a faster clip than ever before?
The making of these lists took close to six months and included multiple rounds of voting, several meticulous spreadsheets, a Slack chat channel devoted to staff debates around certain albums and songs, and an existential discussion about whether a late 2009 release could be included due to the weight of its impact landing in 2010 (it was a “yes” for The Fame Monster). We spent hours upon hours revisiting incredible music and hearing it with new perspective, and had thoughtful and dizzying conversations about the cultural significance of a piece of music next to the complexity of its craftsmanship and the feelings it evokes. And then there were the weeks of meetings between editors to painstakingly decide what landed where.
It turns out that choosing and ranking 200 songs and 200 albums was a massive task, but it also served as an opportunity to reflect on what moves us. Music is the heartbeat of culture, a reflection of the world at any given moment, a way for us to navigate the knottier parts of being, a means for catharsis.
It took 80 writers over 65,500 words to get to the core of why these songs and albums are the best of the decade—you’ll see some new faces and some old friends in the bylines. (We also realize that 2019 isn’t over quite yet—if something comes out that deserves a spot on one of these lists before the year is out, we’ll add it, unranked.) Over the next two weeks, we’ll share essays, features, and other reflections on the music of the 2010s as well. We hope you enjoy reading about some of your favorites or discover something entirely new. I encourage you to take your time reading it—the payoff is worth it, especially if you listen as you go.