The top albums of the decade. This is opinion and for some reason 2005 was my favorite year of the decade in music. It shows in this list. I could listen to these albums, and only these albums, from now to the end of time and continue to find something wonderful and new in each one. The funny thing is that 3 of these albums had trouble getting released and another one skipped labels all together and decided to release it on the internet.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco
The story of this album is amazing. That it had to be leaked to the internet because the label didn’t hear a single is amazing. Simply a gorgeous album – one of my all-time favorites, and this says a lot: one of Wilco’s best.
My Favorites: Jesus Etc., Kamera, I’m the Man Who Loves You
Figure 8 (2000) – Elliott Smith
At the time this album came out many of Smith’s fans thought this album was over produced. Compared to Smith’s previous albums, it was. This is also one of Smith’s best. Unfortunately it was his last before his death.
My Favorites: Son of Sam, Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud, Can’t Make a Sound
Bachelor No. 2 (2000) – Aimee Mann– Another album that waited on someone’s desk because they didn’t hear a single. Fucking record execs are morons.
My Favorites: Red Vines, Deathly, Calling it Quits
Extraordinary Machine (2005) – Fiona Apple
Whoa, yet another album where the execs didn’t hear a single. Jon Brion stirred Apple out of a funk and produced album and then the execs “didn’t hear a single”. A joy to listen to. Brilliantly unique.
My Favorites: Extraordinary Machine, Used to Love Him (Tymps)
In Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead
Radiohead set the world on its head by releasing this over the internet, for free. It is their best album since OK Computer. It brings together elements of their best work of the past two decades.
My Favorites: 15 Steps, Bodysnatchers, Reckoner
Stories from the City – Stories from the Sea (2000) – PJ Harvey
I missed this album when it was released and now I get to rectify that mistake.
My Favorites: W***es Hustle and the Hustlers W***e, The Mess We’re In
American Idiot (2004) – Green Day
I never took this band seriously until this album. Full of angst and serious while maintaining their distinct sound. Took me months to realize how great this was.
My Favorites: Holiday, Wake Me Up When September Ends
Back to Me (2005) – Kathleen Edward
Three brilliant albums – I had a hard time figuring out which was the best, but after listening a few times, this is the most complete – and has the big songs. She will go down as one of the best. She keeps knocking them out of the park.
My Favorites: In State, Copied Keys, Back to Me
Leaders of the Free World (2005) – Elbow
I don’t get why people don’t know this band. They are THE brit pop band around today (outside of Radiohead that is). Start listening to this band.
Just found my first “mistake”. Definitely should have put Metric’s Fantasies ahead of It’s Blitz by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but when I’ve listened to somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 albums in the past 10 years – the difference between a couple of spots is minor.
61. Back to Black (2007) – Amy Winehouse
62. New Magnetic Wonder (2007) – The Apples in Stereo
63. Golden Hum (2001) – Remy Zero
64. Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) – Cold War Kids
65. The Seldom Seen Kid (2008) – Elbow
66. How to Walk Away (2008) – Juliana Hatfield
67. The Stage Names (2007) – Okkervile River
68. Achilles’ Heel (2004) – Pedro The Lion
69. St. Elsewhere (2006) – Gnarlz Barkley
70. It’s Blitz! (2009) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
comments: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Okkervile River’s The Stage Names in the top 10s of national publications. It may end up being a classic in the same way Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become over the years. I think Elbow may be the best UK band out there. Yeah, better than them. Cold War Kids could become one of my top bands with their current trajectory. And there is something about Juliana Hatfield – she’s still as hot as I remember, but that’s not why she’s on this list – twice.
There’s a good reason why I didn’t do this earlier. Last year I lost my commute via public transportation. I didn’t give all the albums I got the same listen I used to. So I didn’t feel right judging them. After being laid off, I’ve had more time to ruminate. I know you’ve been waiting. The lack of A Rubber Door’s official recommendation is the one thing I can point to hurting the music industry this year.
I promise to make it up – the best of 2009 is coming within the week.
Honestly without M. Ward – this may not make the list. More Him, less She (Zoey Deschanel). And he listened – a new M. Ward album this year. (OK – I just relistened to You Really Got a Hold On Me – maybe it was the right amount of She)
My Favorites: Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, You Really Got a Hold On Me
Outside of Radiohead (because Radiohead is in a class by its own), I have two favorite brit bands – Travis and Elbow. Elbow is more consistently great. Their album Leaders of the Free World was brilliant. They recently released their new album, The Seldom Seen Kid – and it is also brilliant. Here’s a video from the album for the song “Grounds for Divorce”.