The top 25 albums of the decade as determined by me. The albums had to be currently in my collection. I tried to limit any band having more than one entry but in some cases this was impossible. This has absolutely nothing to do with record sales, popularity, or what others think. This is purely a selfish list of music I listen to. Without further ado, in reverse order for suspense, here are my choices:
We saw her open for Elvis Costello. The title track is a Wilco and Billy Bragg tune from the Chelsea Walls soundtrack. Worth a spot in the top 25…but just barely!
24. The Decemberists The Hazards of Love (2009)
I gave someone the boot to slip this album in. Included not only for it’s quality but for the audacity of Colin Meloy to create it.
23. Damien Rice O (2002)
When I created this list, I filtered my iTunes library by year and started preselecting albums to consider. As my list got weaned down, this album didn’t go way. An unbelievably moving album stripped down to acoustic instruments and voice. Too bad the followup didn’t measure up.
22. Coldplay Parachutes (2000)
Yes, there is a behemoth commercial success on my list. But I think back to when I first got this album and nobody ever heard of them. It didn’t leave my player for two weeks. Still their best album in my opinion.
21. Ben Folds Songs for Silverman (2005)
The finest of Folds’ solo career. I remember listening to Jesusland after the re-election of George W. Bush.
20. Brian Wilson SMiLE (2004)
What can you say? A tremendous piece of music recreated with a more than capable backing band. Good Vibrations.
19. Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)
This album was so strange when I heard it that I loved it.
18. Okkervil River The Stand Ins (2008)
A new album but already standing tall in my music library.
17. Ween White Pepper (2000)
I had to get one Ween album on this list. Ween is a band who can play any genre perfectly and will mix them all up on the same album. Flutes of Chi is an amazing example of this.
16. Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins Rabbit Fur Coat (2006)
Jenny Lewis’ voice and songwriting is amazing.
15. Belle & Sebastian Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
I hate the word “twee.” B&S are so much more than a word. They are exceptionally talented musicians and songwriters. A lot of fans prefer their older material. I tend to like their newer stuff. Thus, this album makes the list. Pop songs don’t get much better than “If She Wants Me.”
14. The Soft Boys Nextdoorland (2002)
Robyn Hitchcock reformed the Soft Boys for this album in the mid-decade. No one noticed apparently but it is his best non-solo effort of the decade and falls into a solid #14.
13. The Jayhawks Rainy Day Music (2003)
The final album by The Jayhawks and full of excellent pop songs with a bit of country added in for flavor.
12. My Morning Jacket Evil Urges (2008)
Summer of 2008 is what I think of when I hear this. Some people prefer the album “Z” but I think this is MMJ’s finest hour.
11. M. Ward Transfiguration Of Vincent (2003)
Any of the M.Ward albums could have taken this spot but this album was the first one I heard and it is excellent from beginning to end. Sort of dust bowl, scratchy folk on a humid summer night.
10. The New Pornographers Electric Version (2003)
Very electric. And very focused on pop harmonies and hooks. Tremendous album.
9. The Shins Oh, Inverted World (2001)
The Shins were mysterious when this album came out. The albums after this one seemed more mainstream. The vocals were mixed back on this album and it was just unique.
8. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Cold Roses (2005)
Ryan Adams put out like 16 albums a year every year for the last 10 years it seems. But this is his best – and it’s a double CD. How is he able to produce so much material?
7. The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)
From beginning to end, this album is a sonic masterpiece. Add in the live show and you won’t have a mind left to be blown. A track on this even won a Grammy – an instrumental track! Definitely a top 10 album for me.
6. Wilco Sky Blue Sky (2007)
I admit it. I could have placed ANY Wilco album in this spot but I chose this one to be representative of this decade of superb albums. It’s probably my favorite….or is it? Read on. 🙂
5. Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue (2008)
So Jenny Lewis has an acid tongue and she puts acid ON her tongue. Get it? The cover is even a sheet of LSD. Not sure what that has to do with anything but this didn’t make it to #5 for nothing. Her duet with Elvis Costello is astounding. Her voice is so powerful it in and then can be the complete opposite in another track.
4. The Decemberists The Crane Wife (2006)
3. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend (2008)
Original sound, catchy tunes, and a ‘I could care less what you consider pop music” mentality. A very impressive debut album and one I find hard to believe will ever be topped by the band. No pressure. 🙂
2. Belle & Sebastian The Life Pursuit (2006)
Every song on this album is great. They cover the musical gamut. I love the bass playing. I love the song writing. It’s upbeat and the pinnacle of the band’s long career.
1. Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
The album that was ditched by the record company for not being commercial enough. The album that ended up being the band’s signature. The album that was streamed for free on their website before bands did such things. Not only the best of the decade but one of the best of all time.
Honorable Mentions: Ecstasy by Lou Reed, Oracular Spectacular by MGMT, Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs by Andrew Bird, I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers, God Help the Girl by God Help the Girl, Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes, Bring Me the Workhorse by My Brightest Diamond