Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 75 Albums of the '00s

OK, here it is, my decade-end list of the top 75 albums of the past decade, the '00s. Hard to believe that a decade has passed since the oh-so-innocent panic of Y2K hysteria. My general feeling is that music, at least the kind of music I tend to like, was pretty stellar in the past ten years. But, as a point of reference, looking back at the past 50 years of popular music, it's hard to rank the past decade as anything particularly special. I still continue to think that there hasn't been a period as creative as the late 1970s/early 1980s but I would actually rank the '00s as a decade much better than the '90s and probably as good as the '80s.

Just a quick scan through the list suggests that I ranked very few artists from the babyboomer era as still producing good music. And let's face it, the only two real candidates in that category are Bob Dylan and Neil Young, both of whom continue to be as weird, iconoclastic, and inaccessible as ever but seemed to have cooled off in terms of producing sublime music. (And no, I don't like Leonard Cohen and maybe Scott Walker's doing some good stuff too). Neil Young's last peak was sometime in the mid-nineties while Dylan's "Love and Theft," which ranked on my top 75, was released in 2001 (actually, September 11, 2001, to be precise). Most of the other folks on the list came of age in the nineties.

In terms of genres, I can't really draw any firm conclusions besides the fact the '00s had a lot of derivative music (see Interpol, the Strokes, etc.) but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was bad music. I concede one can enjoy a copy of the copy of the copy. After all, I think we can all agree that authenticity is vastly overrated. Sometimes it's more fun to listen to the Rolling Stones than Robert Johnson, ya know?

It's also surprising to see so many of my picks from the early part of the decade rather than the later. The general trend seems to be that the decade began pretty well in 2000 (8 albums), reached a peak in 2003-2004 (about 12 each), then had a steady decline to 2009 (only three records from this year).

Finally, the issue of consistency. Very few bands/artists on the list had multiple showings, i.e., it was one good album and then done. I don't have an explanation for this but it seems to me that in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, you could probably easily find an artist (Joni Mitchell from the '70s, the Smiths from the '80s) who could be counted on to consistently deliver good albums, one after the other. Nowadays it ain't so, although I wonder if that has something to do with the attention span of the audience than the work of the artist.

So, my list:

75. Iggy Pop - Skull Ring (2003)
74. Ariel Pink - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2005)
73. Burial - Untrue (2007)
72. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped (2006)
71. Caribou - Up In Flames (2003)

70. AA Bondy - When The Devil's Loose (2009)
69. Kanye West - The College Dropout (2004)
68. Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The UK (2006)
67. Bob Dylan - "Love And Theft" (2001)
66. Tangemeenie - Faust (2001)
65. A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms... (2000)
64. Paul Westerberg - Stereo/Mono (2002)
63. School Of Seven Bells - Alpinisms (2007)
62. Zero 7 - Simple Things (2001)
61. Rachid Taha - Tekitoi (2004)

60. Eluvium - Talk Amongst The Trees (2005)
59. Lemon Jelly - '64-'95 (2005)
58. The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)
57. A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms (2000)
56. M.I.A. - Arular (2005)
55. The Album Leaf - One Day I'll Be On Time (2001)
54. Tinariwen - Aman Iman (2007)
53. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O. (2002)
52. Sea Ray - Stars At Noon (2003)
51. Yo La Tengo - And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000)

50. King Khan & The Shrines - The Supreme Genius Of (2008)
49. Califone - Roots & Crowns (2006)
48. Steely Dan - Two Against Nature (2000)
47. Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra Of Bubbles (2006)
46. Verbena - La Musica Negra (2003)
45. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (2005)
44. New Order - Get Ready (2001)
43. Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things (2006)
42. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain (2006)
41. Radiohead - Amnesiac (2001)

40. Dead Meadow - Feathers (2005)
39. Sonic Youth - Murray Street (2002)
38. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
37. The Strokes - Is This It (2001)
36. Boards Of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (2005)
35. The Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere (2004)
34. Massive Attack - 100th Window (2003)
33. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
32. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero (2007)
31. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig! (2008)

30. Mogwai - Happy Songs For Happy People (2003)
29. Four Tet - Rounds (2003)
28. Outkast - Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003)
27. Atlas Sound - Logos (2009)
26. Buffalo Daughter - I (2001)
25. Royksopp - Melody A.M. (2001)
24. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow (2003)
23. Primal Scream - XTRMNTR (2000)
22. Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles (2004)
21. Adem - Homesongs (2004)

20. Ulrich Schnauss - A Strangely Isolated Place (2004)
19. M83 - Saturdays = Youth (2008)
18. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (2005)
17. Diplo - Florida (2004)
16. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Like Bad News (2004)
15. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (2007)
14. Beck - Sea Change (2002)
13. Deerhunter - Microcastle (2008)
12. The Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)
11. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

10. Boards Of Canada - Geogaddi (2002)
9. Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)
8. The Books - The Lemon Of Pink (2003)
7. Pinback - Summer In Abbadon (2004)
6. Sigur Ros - () (2002)
5. Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (2003)
4. PJ Harvey - Stories From The City Stories From The Sea (2000)
3. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (2005)
2. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

1. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

1 comment:

Kicking out the Jams, Mofo said...

Great list. I am going to have to check some of this stuff out that I don't really know. Namely #s: 5, 7, 8, 20, 25, etc. etc. I thought you would have Stereo/Mono higher!