Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 30 Albums of the Decade

Well this is it, folks. We've reached the end of the decade. And barring any last minute, earth shattering releases, we can call the decade in music a wrap. Here's my favorite 30 albums of the decade. Maybe they're not the "BEST" but they're the records I'll take with me, and the ones that I'll think about when I think of "The Aughts."

Feel free to take a trip through the decade musically via Groovshark:




30.Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere

What was probably the best single of the decade overshadowed a very strong conceptual album. That said, go ahead and listen to "Crazy" again up there. What a fucking. Incredible. Song.

29.Wilco, A Ghost Was Born

You know what, I like A Ghost Was Born better thank Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I know that makes me a heretic and all. But if the two albums were released in reverse order, I promise you'd be seeing Ghost on all these Top Albums list, not YHF. It also helps that a really neat documentary was made about YHF. But if you strip down the surrounding circumstances, I think Ghost is a much more creative record. The addition of guitarist Nels Cline extended the life of Wilco another 15 years.

28.The Octopus Project, Hello, Avalanche

My favorite instrumental album of all time.

27.The Killers, Hot Fuss

Go ahead and give Hot Fuss a listen. You probably haven't heard it in a few years. Eventually you'll realize what a great collection of songs that was.

26.The Strokes, Is This It
25.Damien Rice, O
24.Postal Service, Give Up
23.Outkast, Stankonia

Before there was "Hey Ya" there was "Bombs Over Baghdad." Holy fuck what an amazing song.

22. The National, Boxer
21. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

Incedentally, the first album of the 2010's to buy is Vampire Weekend's Contra. Comes out January 11 so stay tuned.

20. Spoon, Gimmie Fiction
19. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale
18. Beirut, The Flying Cup Club
17. Regina Spektor, Soviet Kitsch
16. Rufus Wainwright, Want One
15. Beck, Sea Change


The break up record to end all break up records. Beck reinvented his career with Sea Change. He's sort of the Danny Boyle of music. His first four albums were all incredible disparate and unique.

14. Dan Deacon, Bromst


13. Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News


12. St. Vincent, Marry Me



Given the strength of St. Vincent's first two albums, there is no artist I'm more excited about for the 10's decade.


11. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther


10. Danger Mouse, The Grey Album


What an incredible project. Sampling the Beatles' White Album with Jay-Z's Black Album, this album well represents one of the prevailing trends of the decade: the mash up.

9. Nellie McKay, Get Away From Me


With the taste of Norah Jones' Come Away With Me still in our mouths, Nellie McKay showed the guts of a rapper in terms of one-upsmanship. You want schmaltz? I'll schmaltz the fuck out of you!!! Game, set, and match, McKay. Still very young, she's one to keep an eye on in the next decade. I have no idea where she's headed. She's already spat out a scathing debut, produced her own album after unceremoniously breaking up with her label, and constructed a tribute to Doris Day. It'll be a wild ride, but I'm on board with wherever she goes.

8. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago


After residing in our car's CD player nonstop for an entire winter, it's all scratched up. So we'll burn another copy and shove it back in there for another winter, and probably every winter from now. I'll say this, if you album has a corner on 1/4th of every year, it's a pretty good album.


7. Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism



Yes, this album is phenomenal from start to finish. And before we got all cynical and shit, we listed to the crap out of this album. The title track still has gripping power. And if we're really honest, Ben Gibbard is just an unmatched lyricist. Go back and read the lyrics to "The New Year," "Title and Registration," and "Passenger Seat." Then you'll be reminded of how much you really love this album. Just don't pay attention to all the teeny boppers at the merchandise tent.

6. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain



For unabashed TVOTR gushing, please go here or here.

5. Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head



I know it's not cool to like Coldplay these days. But if you'll remember this specific album, you'll remember what an aggressive set of songs these were. "Politik" was like something out of the Rage Against the Machine catalogue, except it had a tune. Part of the problem is that Coldplay has produced incredibly limp music since then. But if we're talking about albums in isolation, Rush of Blood pretty much ruled my life between 2002 and 2004.

4. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, vs. Children



I've already waxed poetic about this album this year. I can only hope it'll inspire you to get to know the album, grassroots style.

3. Arcade Fire, Funeral



2. Sufjan Stevens, C'mon, Feel the Illinoise!

If Illinoise is the pinnacle of Sufjan Stevens' career, I'll be incredibly sad. Because at the time, I thought it was only the beginning. Sure the 50 States Project seemed ridiculous, bordering on shtick, but if Texas! has been anything like Illinoise or Michigan, I'd have been joyous. Since then, he's said he's bored with the album format. Well you know what, Sufjan? I love albums. And so do most of the people who love you. And we want nothing more than a steady stream of Sufjan Stevens albums to collect for the next decade. Feel free to get all "soundtrack-y" in 2010, but give us a couple more masterpieces like Michigan, Seven Swans, and, Illinoise first. Godammit, even your album of Illinoise rejects was fucking fantastic! Anyway, I'm at the point where I can't even think about Sufjan rationally. Just know that I love this album with my very core, and so do many of you.


1. Radiohead, Kid A



But then, doesn't it have to be? I'm not going to spend a ton of time waxing poetic about Kid A: it's been done. But just for a minute, rewind with me back to the year 2000. Music was headed in a very scary, Spears-NSYNC-Limp-Bizkit kind of direction. Then Kid A came out. Kid A set the precedent for music of the 00's. Although, sometimes I wonder if its importance has overshadowed it's brilliance. It certainly was important for what it stood for, marking the end of traditional rock and the start of the digital decade, but it was a great album as well. Kid A was like nothing we had ever heard at the time. If you'll remember, it's like we were given this incredible gift from God. It was like we knew the mind of God. I'm not even kidding. It's the last album that I could just sit and listen to. Now I have to watch TV, write papers, or blog when I listen to music. But Kid A made everything stop. Still does.

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