Malta’s music journey throughout the 2010s can be categorised as a period of great musical endeavors, both in the mainstream and underground. Over the past 10 years, the island has seen the triumphant rise and tragic fall of some great musical acts which has, in turn, resulted in some great releases, some of which are too long ago to remember.
But as we say goodbye to the decade defined by social media and online streaming, it’s always good to look back and reminisce on what have been some of the best musical releases of the past decade.
After careful deliberation – and in no specific order – we present to you the best Maltese albums of the 2010s.
1. Microlith – Dance With Me
Two years ago, Malta’s electronic music world lost one of its finest, Rhys Celeste, but not before the 24-year-0ld released one of the best albums of the decade.
Dance With Me was released on 3rd June 2016 and features warm vintage synth and analogue melodies reminiscent of the early days of electronic music.
A definitive and distinct sound in Malta’s underground, Microlith’s debut album was unfortunately his last, but it will forever go down as being one of the best releases of the 2010s.
2. Red Electrick – Vine Lady
Red Electrick’s debut album in 2011 is perhaps the band’s most prolific release to date. Vine Lady harkens back to a younger REK rooted deeply in the rock n’ roll scene. Their growth as a band has seen them seep more into the pop scene as of late but the classics on Vine Lady, such as Who The Heck Is Rek?! will always go down as some of their best work.
3. Brikkuni – Rub Al Khali
The most decorated band in Malta’s alternative scene releases an album bang in the middle of the decade completely changing up their style, presenting a different side to the band inspired by a personal account of heartbreak.
You just know Rub Al Khali had to make this list.
4. No Bling Show – Ċar Kristall
This list wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t feature an album from Malta’s rap scene, and Malta’s rap scene wouldn’t be anything without this album.
Ċar Kristall is everything that is NBS, from complete freedom of expression to powerful, honest and controversial lyrics. The album also features a 20-minute short movie ‘Marija is-Sabiħa’ which fuses rap and local Maltese music to create a fascinating hip hop spin.
5. nosnow/noalps – Romantik Politik
Alternative rock group no snow/no alps released their debut Romantik Politik back in 2011 and nine years later, it still stands as one of the most relevant albums in the alternative scene.
The album features a collection of instant classics that managed to cross over onto the mainstream and land the band extensive tours in Italy, Denmark and the UK among many others.
6. Plato’s Dream Machine – Għera
Pioneers in the metaphysical rock genre, Plato’s Dream Machine has been largely hailed as one of the first modern bands to truly experiment with the Maltese language in their musical genre.
Their debut Għera was a resounding success when released back in 2014, resulting in PDM winning Best Band and Best Album from the Rockna listeners’ polls.
And while the band’s second album Ġuf was just as glorious, it was their debut that truly paved the way for success.
7. Brodu – Ħabullabullojb
The debut of what would become one of the most beloved bands in the alternative scene, Ħabullabullojb is dedicated to a friend of the band who died tragically young and inspired a great deal of the themes and the songs in the record, including Iċ-Ċimiterju, which might just be one of the most beautiful Maltese songs of the decade.
8. Abysmal Torment – The Misanthrope
Bludgeoning their way into the list is none other than local death metal act Abysmal Torment with the band’s latest release ‘The Misanthrope’.
The tech-savvy but vicious album was well-received by the local and international metal community and was nothing short of a thundering masterpiece.
9. Ira Losco – No Sinner No Saint
Ira Losco proves time and time again why she’s the Queen Bee in the Maltese music scene with her latest showing ‘No Sinner No Saint’ being one of the most dominant releases of the decade.
A double album is impressive enough for any musician, but Ira did so with a specific theme in mind and delivered some of her best work in recent times including multiple hits and guest collaborations that have only added to the richness of the album since its release in 2018.
10. Mathematikal- Nightbreakers
Back in the beginning of the 10s, when French electronic music and tech-house ruled international festivals and billboard charts, this Maltese duo was busy adding their own Mediterranean twist back at home.
While not a full-length album, Nightbreakers proved to be immensely important for both the island’s sound and the popularity of Mathematikal, who went on to tour the continent for years to come, finally teasing a much-needed comeback and new album for the new decade.
11. The Violent Violets – TAME
Formed in 2011 and releasing their first album in 2014, the VVS is easily one of the alternative scene’s top bands of the decade.
Their wall-of-sound of an album Tame is the story of how three young musicians managed to bring everyone from young Gen Zers to old metalheads into their moshpits.
Not to mention the fact that, released less than two weeks before the end of 2019, their second album Jade is a perfect embodiment of the entire decade for the alternative scene.
12. Dolls For Idols – Cut, Paste, Rave & Roll
There used to be a (silly) unspoken rule that people who played guitars and people who went to clubs don’t usually mix together. One of the many reasons this doesn’t work anymore is a little band called Dolls For Idols, and their 2011 album.
Merging post-punk guitar riffs and vocal lines with pumping dance tunes and synth lines reminiscent of late 00s dance tracks, Dolls For Idols went down a treat with all audiences, ranging from Beerfest headlining spots and gigs alongside Red Electrick to beautiful crossovers like gigs at the techno mecca that is San Ġwann’s Liquid.
Another band we definitely need to see rising from the ashes in the 2020s.
13. Eddie Fresco – Incognito
An album of the decade can either embody everything that came before it, or set the blueprint of everything that’s set to come after.
The 2010s in Malta saw the meteoric rise and tragic fall of guitar-rock and indie, but it was in the latter half of the decade that hip hop (already a force to be reckoned with around the world) really became the new status quo.
And while it took until the eleventh hour back in Malta, contemporary hip hop infused with more rock-oriented styles that had shaped the first part of the decade finally came together in Incognito, the first full-length album by young local rapper Eddie Fresco. A couple of the months and over half a million streams later, the writing’s very much on the wall.