We need a better name for the years between 2000 and 2009. The Aughts? Not working for me. The Notties? Who came up with that shit. For now, it’s just gonna be the last decade. And oh boy, that last decade had some awesome music. Ever since I watched High Fidelity, I have had a weird fetish with making lists of my top 5 or top 10 of a certain thing. I was going to make a list of my Top 10 albums of the last decade, but It was difficult to narrow down to just 10 without leaving out some other amazing albums. So, here is my list of my Top 20 Albums of the Last Decade.
20. Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003) – Belle & Sebastian: Out of all of their albums, I find Dead Catastrophe Waitress to be Belle & Sebastian’s most interesting. Most of their music is quiet and soft, but this album is much more… playful? I can’t think of a better word than that. If all of the songs were able to match the perfection of “Step Into My Office, Baby,” this album could be much much higher on my list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fantastic, just slightly underwhelming compared to the opening track.
19. Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004) – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: I wonder if I should only put The Lyre of Orpheus on this. Pretty much, Abattoir Blues and The Lyre of Orpheus are two entirely different albums packaged together. They are both amazing, but The Lyre of Orpheus takes the cake as the better of the two in my opinion. Abattoir Blues is more rock & roll than anything, with fast paced songs like “Get Ready for Love” which pretty much ironically has a gospel chorus of “Praise Him.” Abattoir Blues is good, but The Lyre of Orpheus completely blows it out of the water in my opinion. It’s a more elegant and quiet album, with bits of blues and folk thrown in the mix. Also, if you watched Deathly Hallows Part 1, you have heard the amazing “O Children.”
18. Twin Cinema (2005) – The New Pornographers: As far as Indie Rock goes, this album is at the top. All of the songs are instantly likeable and recognizable. But what makes this album shine above others is the harmonies, mainly because everyone in The New Pornographers is a fantastic singer. This album has some of the best harmonies in modern music. If you want a sample, listen to “Bones Of An Idol” or “The Bleeding Heart Show“
17. Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) – Animal Collective: I thought this album was overrated for the longest time. Everyone gave it endless praise for God knows what. And then I listened to it a second time. I still don’t know exactly why, but I actually enjoy this album a lot now. It’s very difficult to describe, you need to listen to it a few times to understand. Except “Summertime Clothes,” which is instantly likeable.
16. Stankonia (2000) – OutKast: Another difficult to describe album. Well, it’s not as difficult as Merriweather, but this will take some thought. Stankonia is definitely an ambitious album. As far as Hip-Hop goes, this album bends the rules more than any other album in Hip-Hop history. It flies around at different paces, throwing awesome song after awesome song at you, spanning a variety of themes and genres and what not. My favorite track is everyone else’s as well, “B.O.B.“
15. The Campfire Headphase (2005) – Boards of Canada: Boards of Canada are, in my opinion, the masters of ambient and downtempo music. If you have heard of them, then there is a good chance you know their debut is one of the most acclaimed electronic albums ever made. It is very good. I, however, was introduced to Boards of Canada through this album. I don’t understand the critisism it gets, I find it to be a masterpiece, being both relaxing and beautiful at the same time as invigorating. One complaint some have is the guitars added into the mix, but if you ask me, they make the album shine. Listen to “Chromakey Dreamcoat” or “Satellite Anthem Icarus” and tell me they don’t sound good.
14. American Idiot (2004) – Green Day: I know what you’re thinking: “Oh no, Green Day… there goes his indie-cred.” Well deal with it. Green Day is one of the biggest bands around, and because of that it isn’t cool to like them anymore. People who don’t like them generally don’t actually not like them, but are just too afraid to admit that they have good music. Good music such as American Idiot, which is a modern classic. I understand that it got a bit overplayed, but that doesn’t make it not good, just overplayed. Green Day took a leap making a rock opera, and it payed off if you ask me.
13. The Moon & Antarctica (2000) – Modest Mouse: As far as Modest Mouse goes, The Moon & Antarctica is definitely their most atmospheric. The entire album is moody and melodic, as opposed to the indie rock-ness of their earlier work. Some say that they sold out with this album until they actually listen to it and decide it is in fact a fantastic listen. The lyrics are so well written, it will blow your mind. To sum up the album, you could just listen to “Gravity Rides Everything,” but by doing that, you would be missing the darker songs that need to be experienced. So yeah, just listen to the whole album.
12. Discovery (2001) – Daft Punk: Somehow, this album is a concept album that tells a story. I don’t see how that’s possible considering the lack of lyrics on all but four songs. I can understand that it serves as a soundtrack to some anime movie. What matters to me though, is the fact that it’s the best collection of House music ever released. All of the songs, even the ones that are under 2 minutes, are extremely awesome and well made. It’s hard to even pick a favorite, just listen to it all.
11. Neon Bible (2007) – Arcade Fire: What I love about Arcade Fire is that all of their albums have a different feel to them. Neon Bible is much more grandiose than anything else they’ve done, using all of the instruments they had available in all but one song, the very sombre “Neon Bible.” Everything else on the album has an intense feel, which is what makes it so fantastic. And when the entire group gets playing at once, it’s mind blowing, like the climax of “Windowsill,” or the entire “No Cars Go.”
10. Warning (2000) – Green Day/Vampire Weekend (2008) – Vampire Weekend : I know, I know, another Green Day album. Well, if you ask me, Warning is their most underrated album. Nobody seems to realize that it isn’t them being lame, it’s them experimenting, which is what makes it so damn brilliant. If you ask me, by the time Nimrod was released, the band was getting bored of punk, which is why a select few songs on Nimrod aren’t even punk at all. Well the entire Warning isn’t punk either. It’s incredibly catchy and well written music, plain and simple. Especially “Warning” itself. God I love that song.
Because of my forgetfulness and the fact that it was not in my iTunes library, I somehow forgot Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut in this list, and that is an album I enjoy quite a lot. Rather than re-doing the entire list, I just added it as a tie for number 10, so deal with it.
9. In Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead: Yes, the electronica by Radiohead is amazing. But by reverting back to alternative with In Rainbows, Radiohead was able to put out more of the emotional and dark music that I have a soft spot for. Not a single song on this album is bad. It’s all beautiful, in fact. This album just screams beauty. The title, In Rainbows, is beautiful, the music is beautiful, even the album cover is beautiful. I love it. Especially “House Of Cards.”
8. Elephant (2003) – The White Stripes: This is the best garage rock album of all time. It’s so perfectly made, every song perfectly performed and written, I love it. From the extremely catchy opening of “Seven Nation Army” to the folky closing of “Well it’s True That We Love One Another,” this album is just so good. Every song is extremely catchy and unforgettable. Even the 7 minute long blues epic “Ball and Biscuit.” I wish I was as talented as Jack White.
7. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco: As I have said about this album in the past, it is very mysterious. It doesn’t really fall under any specific genre. Also, every song is so well written, I think the lyrics on this are some of the most interesting of the decade. They’re very creative and use a lot of imagery. It’s complex, yet you always know what the songs are about. Listen to “I’m The Man Who Loves You,” or “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.”
6. Is This It (2001) – The Strokes: This album has so much groove. By groove I mean it’s instantly likeable and very catchy, despite the somewhat simplicity of it all. It’s impossible to stand still while listening to it, and once you know the lyrics, you’re gonna want to sing along. It has a lot of confidence as well, starting off with one slowish song followed by an entire album of groovy 70′s inspired post-punk that never lasts too long and is always awesome. I’m sure you’ve heard “Last Nite” at least once, but my personal favorite is “The Modern Age.”
5. Kid A (2000) – Radiohead: OK Computer was a very difficult album to follow, so instead of trying to best it, Radiohead reinvented their sound, producing what some call the best album of the decade. I can understand why they love it so much, however it takes a few listens to fully appreciate. Once you get going, you will see how very interesting this album is. From the opening keys of the masterful “Everything In Its Right Place” to the closing keys of “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” everything on Kid A is mind blowingly good. Even the people who were put off by the cold electronic sound of the album were blown away with both “The National Anthem” and “How To Disappear Completely” (which is my personal favorite). It may have taken a while to fully appreciate the dark electronica on this album, but once you do, oh Lord is it fantastic.
4. Late Registration (2005) – Kanye West: If someone were to ask me who I think is the best rapper out there, without thinking I would say Kanye West. No single person has pushed the boundaries of what can be considered “rap music” as much as he has. It also helps that his music, especially that of Late Registration, is extremely well produced, probably because of Kanye’s experience as a music producer and engineer. Late Registration has the best collection of songs out of Kanye’s albums (before 2010), its only problem is the skits, which can be irritating. They were funny at first, but after a while, I just want to listen to the music, especially considering how amazing it all is. It helps that the skits are all under a minute each.
3. Sound Of Silver (2007) – LCD Soundsystem: It takes a very rare kind of talent to be able to make dance music as good as what’s on Sound Of Silver, and clearly James Murphy has it, because, for all intents and purposes, he is LCD Soundsystem. The first three songs on this album are perfect, fast paced electronic songs, with my favorite being “North American Scum,” which adds a bit of alternative to the mix. The next two songs are where this fantastic album really shines. Combining pure emotion with fantastic production, “Someone Great” and “All My Friends” are in my Top 10 Songs of the Last Decade. They’re so good, it’s hard to describe. I don’t know a single person who didn’t love either of them, despite the face that they’re both over 6 minutes long. After “All My Friends” comes three more fantastic, fast paced electronic songs, the best of which being the almost Depeche Mode sounding “Sound Of Silver.” The last song on the track is the bittersweet “New York, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which should also blow you out of the water. This is a perfect album for two reasons, A: Every song is legitimately fantastic, and B: It is an electronic album that has both wit and emotion. It doesn’t matter if all but two of the songs are longer than 5 minutes, they fly by.
2. Sea Change (2002) – Beck: I have so much I could say about Sea Change because it has gotten me through so much in my life. Whenever I feel sad, I listen to this album. Whenever I am tired, I listen to this album. Whenever I am stressed, I listen to this album. This album is the most comforting thing I possess at this point. Beck wrote this album after his girlfriend of nine years broke up with him. This is an album of a broken heart, but it isn’t bitter at all. This album serves as comfort to you when you are distressed in any way. Sea Change is about the healing. It starts of with the beautiful “The Golden Age,” and the healing begins. Through the next nine songs, Beck uses his soothing voice to console you, regardless of what type of problems you might have. By the time “Little One” has its climactic ending, you are ready to move on, which is helped along with the song “Side of the Road.” I can recommend this album to any person in the entire world, and as long as they can understand english, they will fall in love with this album as I did. I don’t know how I went 7 years of my life without listening to this masterpiece. It has helped me with so much in my life, and I hope everyone else in the world can experience its healing power as well.
1. Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire: While Sea Change has the raw emotion for comforting you, Funeral has that and much more. In my opinion, Funeral should be up at the top of everyone’s list of their all-time favorite albums, as it is for me. It surpasses even some of the most acclaimed albums out there for me, resting very very close to the top. This is the first album in my entire life that I have listened to hundreds of times and have not even slightly grown sick of. I don’t even care if I can play the songs in their entirety in my head, there is nothing quite like listening to this album loud, letting it sink in. Very infrequently does an album combine raw emotion with masterful instrumentation and arrangement. Every single song on this album has the exact perfect amount of stuff going on inside it. Not so little that it gets boring, not so much that it is distracting. It’s sombre, empowering and peppy all at once. It expresses the feelings of children, adolescents and adults so that everyone can relate to it and fall in love with it. The songs are so well written, telling stories and even giving a few life lessons if so interpreted. These songs will rip into your chest and take hold of your heart, controlling your heartbeat. Some will stop your heart, others will make it pump like it never did before.