Friday, December 11, 2009

The best albums of the 2000s: 50-41

Kicking off the second half of our fin-de-decade countdown. We begin with alt-metal and remind you that we really, really want to talk about this stuff. So comment, please. And we'll comment back.

50. Deftones, White Pony (2000)

Their most mature output to this point, White Pony comes equipped with a polished sound that'll even allow the faintest alt-metal fan to enjoy the noise out of the speakers. - RB

Change (In The House of Flies) - Deftones

49. Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)

Having interviewed Sam Beam, of Iron and Wine fame, I can say that there is no nicer man deserving of this slot. He is like his music: simple, humble and full of wisdom and warmth. - GC

Sinning Hands - Iron and Wine

48. Stars, Set Yourself on Fire (2005)

With alternating boy-girl vocals to die for and a thousand and one heartbreaking ways to sing about love, Stars is remarkably versatile yet comfortingly consistent. - GC

Stars and Broken Social Scene seem to pass a few members back and forth, with outstanding results. "Set Yourself on Fire" brims with ridiculous hooks that will burn inside you for days. - TN

"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" ruminates. -RB

Reunion - Stars

47. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow (2003)

“Turn a Square” is one of the top 10 pop songs of the decade, no question. - GC

Must note The Shins' fanning of the retro flames that flourished through the decade. -HR

Turn a Square - The Shins

46. Cat Power, You Are Free (2003)

Chan Marshall's spare vocals meander through simple but beautiful arrangements. While she rounded out her Memphis soul sound with horns and bluesier compositions in her follow-up The Greatest, this album is still, in my opinion, Cat Power's best work. - AC

I Don't Blame You - Cat Power

45. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones (2006)

Not as much caterwauling as on the debut Fever to Tell, but Karen O.'s feral vocals still power this second release. And is there any better combo of vocals and kick drum than on "Honeybear"? - AC

Delicious; authoritative and delicate at the same time. Ranks slightly higher on my personal list than Fever - this whole listmaking business is not for the faint of heart... so bittersweet. -HR

Honeybear - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

43. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend (2008)

Surprised to see these guys rank so highly - I am a fan, for sure, but I always straddle the fence as to whether they are just a fad. Then again, I thought The Strokes were a fad and look how highly they rank :-) - GC

Too-clever-for-their-own-good college kids sing joyously about serial commas, French architecture and weekends in Cape Cod, all to a driving ska beat with a touch of baroque. Yes, it's overrated. But for some of us, it's a not-so-guilty pleasure. - AC

Agreed that it's probably not the 43rd best album of the decade in an objective sense. But I make no apologies for having it on my list. I find myself cranking this one up when I need to plow through something especially tedious at the office. - MD

Just saying: if you're sick for months continuously early 2008.. and you finally come out of it - this album will seem as though it invented spring. -HR

A-Punk - Vampire Weekend

43. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (2009)

I don't think it's quite as good as "American Idiot," but this modern rock opera has some serious gas on its own. - TN

How do you follow up a multi-platinum rock opera (2004's American Idiot)? With another rock opera, of course. Somehow, Green Day pulls it off. - AC

Peacemaker - Green Day

42. Coldplay, Parachutes (2000)

Before they became U2 Jr. and ultra-annoying, they were a really, really good band. Amid the crap that is everything after “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” everyone forgets that their debut was remarkable. - GC

This record taps into something bigger. It's beautiful and I admit it, I've given it some listening love. -HR

Shiver - Coldplay

41. The National, Alligator (2005)

In another universe, this album charts five top-10 singles on the Billboard charts. It’s loaded with powerful melodies, amazing stories and the feeling that this is the way rock music was meant to be. - GC

For me, few bands are as good as The National at capturing postmodern angst and disillusionment with the mundaneness of office jobs and everyday life and turning that into something beautiful, poetic, and rocking. - MD

Mr. November - The National


  1. The musicianship for Vampire Weekend is dandy. Their singing okay, too. I just found all of the fawning a bit much to handle. It stays true to its roots, I suppose...but, their first single tells me the ruse might already be over.

  2. I agree on the Cat Power; I find this one infinitely more appealing. The National are such a beautiful, deep feeling, dark and moody kind of band. Boxer is a great album too. And, as for Green Day, I almost hate myself for loving 21st Century Breakdown and American Idiot as much as I do.

  3. I still haven't quite figured out the appeal of Iron and Wine.

    Courtney - I hear you on Green Day. It's sort of embarrassing how appealing those two albums are. But they are both great concept albums. Who'da thought Green Day of all bands could have pulled it off?

    Ron - I haven't really listened to the new Vampire Weekend single, but even so I think they could be a one-album wonder. I guess we'll find out when their album comes out next month.

    Oh, and the National: I discovered Boxer first, then went backwards and found Alligator. But by the time I started tuning in to 'gator, my National fixation had mostly passed. Time to reconsider.

  4. #43 again, definitely on my play list for those though-to-get-through days at work. Cheers to those cute New England college boys

  5. I'm assuming, of course, that "American Idiot" is somewhere near the top of this list eventually. But "21st Century" is a pale imitation.

    I love love love "Oxford Comma," though. (The song and the grammatical notation.)

  6. Chris - Shouldn't your statement be edited to say that you "love, love, love" the Oxford Comma (punctuationally speaking)? ;)