As the decade closes, it's natural to search for a narrative that flows through the music of the past 10 years. Did a singular act embody the monoculture and cross the most boundaries? Is there an iconic image that will be used as shorthand for what we experienced? If there is, it's probably the digital play button (hear selections from our list on Spotify). As the streaming age took hold, audiences fractured between listening platforms, and exhibited varied habits within those, making the musical story of the past decade perhaps the most wide-ranging we've seen yet.
Our editors' list of the decade's 200 best albums reflects the complexities of modern listening: from our favorite French robots to the final dispatches of now-departed icons to a surprising number of Odd Future affiliates, even this quantity and variety of albums likely leaves a few stones unturned. But we did our best.