Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top 50 albums of the New Millennium (beginning 2000)*

A friend sent me a message asking my Top 25 albums of the new millennium for a radio show he is helping with (to see if I had any weird inclusions- which I do). Spending about 15 minutes looking through my iPod, my Top 200 albums ever (nothing since 2005 included) and my Top Albums for previous few years on this blog, I came up with this cursory list… which I promptly turned into a Top 50.

Of course, it could change tomorrow** and was culled from over 75 albums on my short list. That said, I feel very bad for not including great albums by Johnny Cash, Cobalt Season, Smalltown Poets, Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, Drive-By Truckers, Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World, Sam Phillips, Lilly Allen, Damien Rice, M83, Tinariwen, Elbow, The Gaslight Anthem, The Avett Brothers and M Ward (along with 2nd albums by Okkervil River, Over the Rhine, Sufjan Stevens, U2, The Roots and The Hold Steady). Yes, I even had a heard time leaving a Coldplay album off (Rush of Blood). But, I will just list it and re-evaluate tomorrow. Here is the list of the Best of the Millennium- or really, just Rick’s Favorites (without anything from 2009- they haven’t had time to germinate yet):

50. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

49. Badly Drawn Boy- Have You Fed the Fish Today?

48. Aimee Mann- Lost in Space

47. Jim White- Drill a Hole in That Substrate And Tell Me What You See

46. The Strokes- Is This It?

45. System of a Down- Toxicity

44. Bright Eyes- Lifted

43. The Hold Steady- Boys and Girls in America

42. Elvis Perkins- Ash Wednesday

41. Gogol Bordello- Super Taranta!

40.Devotchka- A Mad & Faithful Retelling

39. The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

38. Radiohead- Hail to the Thief

37. Blitzen Trapper- Furr

36. Josh Ritter- The Animal Years

35. Sigur Ros- Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust

34. Lupe Fiasco- Food & Liquor

33. Bon Iver- For Emma

32. The Decemberists- Picaresque

31. mewithoutyou- Brother, Sister

30. M.I.A.- Kala

29. Bruce Springsteen- The Rising

28. Cold War Kids- Robbers & Cowards

27. Beck- Sea Change

26. Over the Rhine- Ohio

25. Blackalicious- Blazing Arrow

24. Regina Spektor- Fidelity

23. The Roots- Phrenology

22. Ben Folds- Rockin the Suburbs

21. Sigur Ros- Takk

20. The National- Boxer

19. Jay Z- The Black Album

18. The Divine Comedy- Regeneration

17. Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

16. Okkervil River- The Stage Names

15. Kanye West- The College Dropout

14. U2- All That You Can’t Leave Behind

13. Sufjan Stevens- (Come On Feel the) Illinoise!

12. Frightened Rabbit- Midnight Organ Fight

11. Outkast- Stankonia

10. Arcade Fire- Funeral

9. New Pornographers- Challengers

8. Radiohead- Kid A

7. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins- Rabbit Fur Coat

6. Joseph Arthur- Redemption’s Son

5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Howl

4. Radiohead- In Rainbows

3. The Format- Dog Problems

2. Arcade Fire- Neon Bible

1. K’naan- The Dusty Foot Philosopher

Yes, my White Boy, Indie Rock, East Coast Male bias shows through. Oh well (but I know my #1, 3 & 5 are not normal on such lists). I imagine some readers will think I am trying to be needlessly obscure, while others will disparage me for being entirely too mainstream. Which side are you on?

Read. Disagree. Discuss. Give me your top 10.

*yes, i know the new millennium really began in 01.

** i had to do this so fast due to time constraints. Take it seriously that this represented a moment in time and was dependent upon my iPod. I realize that Funeral should be ahead of Neon Bible and Kid A over In Rainbows.


kristi said...

wait a minute, JOHN MAYER didn't make your list? :)

Steve Valenta said...

I'm not sure if me finding your blog was the best thing or the worst thing that's happened to me? I'm going broke. I can't stop buying music after finding your blog - I'm both pissed and so excited at the same time - such a great feeling!

Seriously, your recommendations are beyond words. I'd totally pay for this - $10 a month subscription!! Now there's a business idea for ya! - Derek Sivers eat your heart out!

The Christian21 list were so great too - I couldn't save them into my Macjournal fast enough. You saved me weeks of research - if I was to ever find the time.

If you're ever in Portland - I'd buy you lunch any day of the week to say thanks.

Seriously, keep it up. Really appreciate it.

Steve Valenta

DJ Word said...

Thanks- By the Way, the biggest mistake on this is leaving out Outkast's Stankonia. I think it should be #9 while The Strokes should be in top 50 also. I forgot Stankonia came out in 2000 and had a brain fart related to The Strokes.

HeiBräu said...

Thanks for the list, Rick. Have to question a few...

- I like the inclusion of System of a Down. I'm beginning to think they're really underrated.

- I am still duking it out with friends over mewithoutYou. I just don't see much there that hasn't mostly been done five or ten years ago.

- Neon Bible over Funeral? That is crazy talk.

- New Pornographers' Challengers doesn't belong anywhere near this list. Mass Romantic, The Electric Version, and Twin Cinema are all vastly superior!

- Rabbit Fur Coat? More Adventurous is really the only Jenny Lewis project worth mentioning, in my opinion.

- In Rainbows over Kid A. Well, I'd be lying if I said this was the first time I'd heard it said. But come on! Kid A changed the entire decade!

- No Interpol/Animal Collective/Spoon? I'll let you off on Dirty Projectors and Grizzly bear, they're more recent, but Yellow House and Rise Above were both great, if inferior to their 2009 follow-ups.

DJ Word said...


My thoughts on your thoughts...

SOAD has disappointed me with their latest albums, but that Toxicity is a great album, all around. And I am not a snob unable to acknowledge it. I think some out there would be (see Pitchfork).

mewithoutyou has done some interesting things, but it is true they can be derivative. However, i think that 1 album is masterful and works on so many levels. It makes their new one even more disappointing.

The conventional wisdom is that Funeral is better. I am not conventional. Plus, I think something is going on with Neon Bible we have not yet tapped into. I think it is potentially landmark. the subject matter and its cohesive message and depth set it apart. Though I will listen to Funeral as often. I thought I could have 2 albums by them in top 5 on another day.

I love early New Pornographers, but I am a pop fan (power pop to be specific) and Challengers reaches perfection from a pop standpoint. The first 5 songs are as strong an opening song cycle as I can remember (rank in my eyes with some Beatles albums). So, while Twin Cinema does give me the sticky sweetness of Use It and twin Cinema, I think Challengers is coming close to a perfect Pop Album.

Man, I cannot tell you how great I think Rabbit Fur Coat is. I listen to it all the time, still. Every song is a gem and her lyrics are unparalleled, which make her latest and Rilo's latest even more disappointing. I think More Adventurous probably should have been top 50.

Even though I put In Rainbows a slight bit higher, I still have Kid A #8. On a different day they would be in reverse order.

Spoon was an unintentional overlooking I realized afterwards. Animal Collective I think is overrated. I like them, but not that much. Dirty Projectors- I think their latest will be in my year end Top 3. Grizzly Bear- I think the latest is their first consistently pleasing work, but it is too soon in my eyes to put it in Top 50 (I need more time with an album).

As for Interpol, I totally admit I am dismissive of them. I like Turn Out The Lights, but i am 40 and it reminds me too much of stuff I liked better in the 80s when it came out the first time. I need to go back and give them a second chance, I do admit.

Do I give you a hard time that much of your criticism sounds like criticism I would get from a person that reads too much Pitchfork? Hmmmm;)

I am a bit of a Contrarian and like to think about the other album every once in a while, that may be dismissed, but still dang good 9even better in the long run). I tend to be a bit longview in my assessment. Which do I listen to more NOW, which stuck with me more. That is basically how my top ones are. These are the works I return to more than others (which is why Challengers is so high).

Thanks for the debate. I like it.

John Starke said...

I was wondering about Ray Lamontagne. His album "Trouble" is stunning. "Gossip in the Grain" is good as well, but I wonder why you left him off the list. I think you should re-think Ray if you purposely left him off.
Thanks for the list. This was great!
Also, I have really enjoyed Monsters of Folk.