The Best Albums of 2000-2009
In our A&C feature this week, I count down the best albums of the year. But this week isn’t just the end of the year. It is, depending on how you count things, also the end of the decade we could never quite figure out what to name—the 10-year period from January 2000 through December 2009. So here, for your consideration, are my picks for the 25 best albums of the decade:
25. The Go! Team, Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004): This might seem like a novelty—an amalgam of hip hop, noise rock, ’70s TV theme songs and jump rope cheers—but boy, does it hold up.
24. Madvillain, Madvillainy (2004): Never before have superhero comic books been so perfectly combined with marijuana.
23. Joanna Newsom, The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004): Nobody else does squeaky voiced harp songs better.
22. Tom Waits, Real Gone (2004): He’s such an icon you can take him for granted, but this is one of his best.
21. Loose Fur, Born Again in the USA (2006): Wilco is way more famous, but this is Jeff Tweedy’s best record.
20. Daft Punk, Discovery (2001): I don’t usually like electronic dance music, but this record is just too damned good.
19. Outkast, Stankonia (2000): Too many skits, but still some of the best hip hop tracks of the decade: “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson,” “B.O.B.,”
18. Animal Collective, Feels (2005): If you’ve got time to let your mind wander—on a long drive, say—this is the album.
17. U.S. Maple, Acre Thrills (2001): Ugly, ugly, ugly. But really perfect.
16. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Master and Everyone (2003): I’m going to cry just thinking about this record.
15. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele (2000): Probably my favorite rapper of the decade. Somebody else did more important work, but I just love this guy.
14. The Fall, The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) (2003): British punk rock class of ’78 and still going strong.
13. Bruce Springsteen, The Rising (2002): After Sept. 11, 2001, everybody made embarrassing art, but the Boss made something that will stand.
12. The White Stripes, Elephant (2003): Best opening track of the decade: “Seven Nation Army.”
11. Liars, Drum’s Not Dead (2006): Best closing track of the decade: “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack.”
10. Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights (2002): My only complaint about this record is they haven’t done anything half as good since.
9. Silver Jews, Bright Flight (2001): “We’re gonna live in Nashville, and I’ll make a career out of writing sad songs and getting paid by the tear.”
8. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale (2006): The best Wu-Tang Clan-related record of the decade.
7. Blonde Redhead, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000): Sexy. And sad.
6. Jay-Z, The Black Album (2003): Which is the better Jay-Z album, The Blueprint or The Black Album? The answer, coming up!
5. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009): The only 2009 album to make the cut.
4. Radiohead, In Rainbows (2007): One of my favorite moments from any song ever is at the end of “Reckoner” when the orchestra strings come in, and the song sounds like a dream.
3. Jay-Z, The Blueprint (2001): Though the best songs on The Black Album are better than the best songs on The Blueprint, the latter is a hip-hop rarity: an album where every song is a classic.
2. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells (2001): Chicago, summer of 2001, late night at a very hip bar, which is playing the Stooges, and then they put on something even better, and my mind is blown—that was the first time I heard the White Stripes.
1. Radiohead: Kid A (2000): It’s pretty good.