Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The best albums of the 2000s: 90-81

The countdown continues, with even more ties:

90. The Weakerthans, Left and Leaving (2000)

I discovered this album while hanging out with a friend who had a fling with someone in the Canadian music industry. “Left and Leaving” was her souvenir. Their relationship didn’t work out, but it did spark my love affair with this band. - GC

Left and Leaving - The Weakerthans

86. Tool, Lateralus (2001)

The Grudge (track 1) wastes no time setting the tone for what's ahead. 5 years after truly showing the world what they were capable of with ├ćnima, the talented foursome headed further down the progressive/art rock path. You don't need anymore proof than the song Schism, which begins in six, moves to six-and-a-half, then, according to bassist Justin Chancellor "goes into all kinds of other times." The direction of Maynard's lyrics also takes a slight shift towards the imaginative and spiritual. A nice preview to what we'd come to hear another 5 years later. - SB

Lateralus - Tool

86. Gillian Welch, Time (the Revelator) (2001)

I couldn't tell you who introduced me to Gillian Welch or pinpoint when I fell in love with this album. What I can tell you is that it's one I never grow tired of - lately I find these songs playing in my head all the time. Welch's melancholy, beautiful vocals and storytelling combine on this album with David Rawlings' simple acoustic accompaniment for a near-perfect listening experience.This was my pick for second best (and most underrated) album of the decade. - MD

Revelator - Gillian Welch

86. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals (2008)

The other day on the bus, a co-worker commented that this might be the definitive album of the 2000s, given how it takes all the music from the preceding decades, chews them up and spits them out in a delightful bolus of digital mashup. Good argument. - GC

A must-listen for fans of Lil Wayne, Rick Springfield, Big Country, Rod Stewart, Sam and Dave, Kenny Loggins, Michael Jackson, Tag Team, Twisted Sister, Pete Townsend, Of Montreal, Sinead O’Connor, Radiohead, Tom Petty, Madonna, Queen, Busta Rhymes and dozens of other artists sampled in this masterful mashup. - AC

Hands in the Air - Girl Talk

86. The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious (2000)

What a way to kick-start the decade. This garage band out of Sweden came, saw and conquered with a fury of buzzsaw guitar and snotty juvie-hall vocals. Later efforts haven't been on a par with this effort -- more like a mild rash compared to this itchy disease of an album. - AC

Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives

85. Tool, 10,000 Days (2006)

In my opinion the band's masterpiece. The musicianship displayed on this record is nothing short of extraordinary. Jambi is mind-blowing and has always been my favorite track. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more personal and emotional song than 10,000 Days, which took guts to write. And I can assure you, you've never heard anything quite like Rosetta Stoned in your life. From a band that takes music more seriously than most, this is the album that will cement their place as the Led Zeppelin of our time. - SB

Jambi - Tool

85. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods (2005)

Some of the best rock'n'roll fun you can have without a bass player. Not my favorite effort from this band, but as solid and sardonic as any. Too bad S-K broke up soon after this album. - AC

I'm responsible for this ranking as highly as it does. Grrl Rock never sounded better than here. It's fierce and accessible. The best part of it? The fact that they don't make another after this. I can't think of a better way to go out on top than this album here. -RB

Entertain - Sleater-Kinney

83. Band of Horses, Cease to Begin (2007)

The album responsible for bringing this band to mainstream earbuds, Cease to Begin was easily one of the best albums of 2007. It's full of great songs and unlike some albums, which just boast a few songs you skip to reach, you can listen to this one from start to finish. - RB

Cigarettes, Wedding Bands - Band of Horses

83. Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Two words: "Hey ya." My nominee for song of the decade is but one of dozens of great tracks from one of the funkiest, soul-filled hip-hop works of the past 10 years. Andre 3000 and Big Boi even brought Polaroid back into vogue, at least temporarily. - AC

"Hey Ya" is easily in the top 10 singles of the decade. - TN

While I agree that Andre 3000's "Hey Ya" is one of the best songs of the decade, I think on reexamination that Big Boi's "Speakerboxx" is actually the better of the two discs. - MD

In double. Almost like a new 24 pack of Crayola crayons. I find the production lovely. Did anyone mention, 'Hey Ya?'. -HR

Hey Ya - Outkast

81. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)

Harmonious, sincere beachy electronic pop. Moving. Not to be missed. -HR

I almost gave up on this album after the first couple of listens. I still don't know that I get it, but now I just turn it up and enjoy. - MD

I did give up on this album. But I'll give it another listen. Promise. - AC

Summertime Clothes - Animal Collective


  1. Re: The Weakerthans: I didn't have any Weakerthans selections in my top 100, but probably would have to pick Reconstruction Site as my favorite. Left and Leaving is solid, though.

    Re: Tool: I'm sorry. I just don't get Tool. Yes, I'm old. But still.

    I need to give Gillian Welch another listen. I know this album was high on the eMusic end-of-decade list. Not sure why I like Lucinda Williams but not GW. Guess I've never given her a fair shake.

    And Animal Collective? I'm conflicted as hell about them. I want to like their stuff, but I can't seem to get into that style.

  2. @Andy Ha - don't apologize! I just grew up listening to them and they've meant more and more to me over the years. I know I made a huge statement w/the Led Zeppelin thing... time will tell if that rings true.

    Feed the Animals is a cool record - I was really into it for several weeks. Certainly a different method to composing music.

  3. Thanks, Steve. I've got my own faves that many people don't get. (Although I still wonder how on earth I could be the only one in our group to include my hero, Joe Strummer. *sniffle* Fortunately I had him high enough on my list that he broke into the collective top 100.)

  4. Reconstruction Site is my fave Weakerthans album, too. As Rob said of the Band of Horses CD, it's one of few albums I own that I can listen to, start to finish, and LOVE every song.

    You guys are coming up with a great variety of stuff on here. Looking forward to reading the rest!

  5. I find myself becoming more and more interested in Girl Talk. And Modern Girl from that S-K album may be one of my favorite songs of the decade, too.

  6. I wanted to think that OutKast record was so incredible, but it was just way too much. Seven years later, and I have only four songs from that entire collection on my mp3 player.