Technologically, evolution of music in the 2000s have been impressive where mp3 files changed the way we get our music and devices such as the iPod and cell phones were much easier to handle. But musically on the other hand… this decade was pretty bad. Music in the 2000s is a static and distasteful decade. Musically, the decade started out as a great, having left overs from the 1990s, but somewhere around 2002, music somehow stopped being as good as we hoped. Majority of pop music offered terrible genres such as emo, distasteful R&B and rap, pop, post-grunge movement, nu metal, and so many other music that ended up as a decade that we want to forget. Never have I seen a sufferable list of hits that made it on the number one charts and we have to thank the irresponsibility of many of these artists who created music that couldn’t even age a year since its release. It’s no wonder why so many stuck in the older times of music and never payed attention to the releases of 2000s. However, without the internet we wouldn’t be able to discover indie music. Never has underground and independent bands ever had so much exposure that it made the mp3 files in our computers to become the standard. And it made it so much easier to list down the albums the we’ve missed out in the decade.
Top 10 Albums of 2000
Top 10 Albums of 2001
Top 10 Albums of 2002
Top 10 Albums of 2003
Top 10 Albums of 2004
Top 10 Albums of 2005
Top 10 Albums of 2006
Top 10 Albums of 2007
Top 10 Albums of 2008
Top 10 Albums of 2009
It was really scraping the barrel to find at least ten albums released in each year of the 2000s. Because a lot of people realizes that they weren’t getting any satisfaction from mainstream music, there’s no wonder why people became hipsters and supported so many indie bands that they weren’t getting attention. But before the post-9/11 era started this terrible trend of music, the year 2000 was a start of a new decade and century. The days of the 1990s were no more, so new faces came in and tried to redefine their talents in songwriting. Again, 2002 was the year music stopped getting good and we would have to wait till 2007 till music got good again. After years of bad music, I can honestly say that 2007 had the best catalog of music coming out because that was when both indie and mainstream gave a crap in making wonderful tracks. You might be thinking that this person who made this list is an old fart bashing on this generation, but I assure you that I’m full blooded Generation Y and I still wish that my gen. could have their time of good music like 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Even though 2009 left us in a bad note, at least the 2010s are looking up so we can just move on. It was a difficult time to rank down some of the best albums of the 2000s to remind myself that this decade wasn’t at least all so terrible.
Number 10. – Animal – This Town Needs Guns (TTNG)
There’s something human about being reminded of something that nobody else will say the same. That’s why a certain scene of any movie, object, or sound will psychologically bring someone a certain thought & emotion from everyone else’s perspective based on the individual’s experience with life. I can imagine Stuart Smith (lead singer of TTNG) has complex thoughts in his mind when thinking about each and every animal on the album cover that has their that has their own individual track. The songs, “Chinchilla,” “Baboon,” “Lemur,” “Badger,” “Quetzal,” “Panda,” “Elk,” “Pig,” “Gibbon,” “Dog,” “Crocodile,” “Rabbit,” and “Zebra” may be looked as songs about these as just exotic animals to some, but just like the usual titling of math rock songs, instead each animal are separate memories of abusive relationships, heartbreaks, and the warmth of love. This is the some of the most creative love songs that I’ve ever came across. At first, I was indifferent of the vocals and thought this was an American Football-rip-off. However, I absolutely adored the instrumentation, and decided I could live with the vocals to hear the rest of the best written love songs that we’ve seen in sometime. Like what Math Rock is most famous for, the guitar work is fast, complex, and downright intriguing. The bass work is absolutely superb, and some of the drum lines make me want to rewind them and play them on a loop. But there was still the matter of the vocals. Listening to Animals since it came out, my opinions on the vocals slowly started to change. I started to see why the band decided to go with this stylized approach to the vocals. It’s basically the awful pain he Stu had to go through in visiting the zoo that keeps reminding him of a memory that he can’t let go. This is something that all of us can really relate to since love has been our inner most desire. The juxtaposition of the fast, intricate instrumentation makes the slow, simplistic singing stand out that much more. It was a risky move, and I started to appreciate everything that this album offered to ease my personal painful love-life that I have to go through. The intentional falters, the remarkably long sustains, and sad whispers of the final track, Zebra, all add a bit of intrigue and mystery to the album, and for the first time in memory, I found myself listening to the vocals more than the instrumentation. Now, this album has two versions, the UK released and the US release that has better song arrangements and two additional songs from the band’s self-titled EP (“If I Sit Still, Maybe I’ll Get Out Of Here” & “26 Is Dancier Than 4”) as bonus tracks were much better additions to end the album a much less depressing experience. This Town Needs Gun‘s Animals is an magical experience that went under everyone’s radar and it is worth your time if you still have pains of the broken promises of love.
Number 9. – College Drop Out – Kanye West
This is definitively a difficult one. On one hand, it’s well known (if not sadly very true) that Kanye West isn’t the greatest rapper alive. Hell he’s not even close. On the other hand, we have to admit for a first outing, Kanye is one hell of a producer and one hell of a musician. Yes I know that the majority of his rhyme’s aren’t too complex but there really is something captivating about his music. Well you’d be batshit-retarded to think that Kanye West was going to put out poor beats and raps on his debut effort (where everyone would be making judgments on whether or not to take him seriously as a rapper). No, there are hilarious skits, catchy instrumentals, A-list-rapper guests and his Midwest rapping style (which the mainstream public isn’t too familiar with if you look at the rap charts before Kanye showed up) that deals with subject matters of sexuality, conflicts, and spirituality. It’s definitely all very listenable and at times very good even great. Kanye’s first album expressed his deep views on race, politics, family and religion. Sure, he had a little fun too, but there was once a revolutionary brewing inside of Kanye that soon got lost in all the lights. Still, the College Dropout is one of the best albums ever — you can debate whether or not this is Kanye’s best album, but you cannot doubt that he wanted to be the musical genius he claims to be today. While it may not seem like it, he’s putting his soul on the line here and at the same time sounding relaxed as all hell. Before what would result in intense ego that even would break from the public news reports into his future albums, you had a young, talented producer who wanted nothing more than to be taken seriously as a rapper, and because of that motivation and the overall “new” feel of the album The College Dropout is anything but a flop. If anything, it’s the best hip hop albums of the entire 2000s! It never gets boring or dull. The music is dynamic, the story is engaging, and Kanye sounds excited just to be living his dream.
Number 8. – Discovery – Daft Punk
Every song, every note, every beat, every instrument used, every songwriting, and every second just listening to Discovery was made perfectly and still remains unforgettable. Daft Punk made this album based on their childhood in the 70’s & their personal relationship with that time of their lives. The theme really colors this album entirely; so colorful in fact that it makes their listeners to feel like kids. It took every popular music genre in the 70’s and mixed it with modern electronic instrument to feel like a ride of a life time to appeal anyone’s musical taste. All of their songs succeeded wildly, dissolving a decade-plus of dance music good taste. Anyone who’s anyone has a favorite song in this album, but of course the obvious choices are One More Time, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, & Aerodynamic, When there’s an album nowadays, I usually find myself thinking if only they could organized the songs better, used the solos more than they left off, or made some of the songs longer/shorter (especially some of the albums in this list), but in Discovery’s case, there’s no possibility of me thinking that I could make this album better than it is. Some say there’s no such thing is perfect, but Discovery made perfection believable. The electronic music industry owes a lot for Discovery for bringing much more recognition to the electronic genre. This album is so inspirational that several other artists such as Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, and more couldn’t simply ignore them. This album was popular enough to get itself a movie, Interstella 5555, which purpose was show the visual realization of the album as a whole. Discovery’s reputation as being the best of the decade is truly deserved. This is perhaps one of the most celebrated albums I’ve ever encountered and yet, I refuse to stop celebrating this brilliant piece of music. It’s truly a type of music that is meant to celebrate in harmony and none does it better than Discovery!
Number 7. – xx – The xx
Some albums are best listened to in certain way. Whether it’s seasons, settings or times. xx has that thoughtful, personal, introspective quality to it. It’s amazing to think that this is their debut album, because it’s so incredibly accomplished. When they made this, the xx were all in their early 20s, but it has a certain maturity to it. I can’t even begin to think where they could possibly go from here. How on earth are they going to top this? This is about as good as debut albums get. Even if they don’t ever do anything this good again, at least I’ll always have this. I kept listening and listening, the more I listened, the more I fell in love with Romy Madley Croft & Oliver Sim sing together. The album has this intimacy to it, xx is like a window into the lives of two lovers. It’s just so easy to connect to. Musically, it has this really moody, melancholy, subtle, understated, intimate beauty to it. It’s almost haunting at times. The beats are fantastic, the guitar lines are great, the vocals are just orgasmic, the drum machine is gentle. xx is incredibly minimalistic, but brilliantly atmospheric and evocative. No one knew before the xx’s self-titled debut that the silence laid between beats and spacey guitar could be used as a band’s most potent, emotive instrument. For an album that’s simplistic and spacy, it took a real talent to make it sound good rather than lazy. Ironically enough it given its listeners a big bang to end the 2000s decade as we’ve entered a new one.
Number 6. – Sound of Silver –
The thing with Sound of Silver is that it manages to walk on familiar territory with such confidence. It’s often reminiscent of artists that came before them – but they put a new, fresh, exciting slant on it and they manage to add their own personality and distinctive style to it. As you listen to it, you hear Bowie, you hear Eno, you hear Kraftwerk. You can hear a whole host of influences but unlike a lot of artists, LCD Soundsystem aren’t simply plagiarising these artists and that’s why it was such a critically acclaimed and widely respected album where its legacy will only grow with time. There’s a fine line between regurgitating your influences to the point where it feels trite, derivative and dated and actually doing something interesting with those influences while putting a modern slant on it. LCD Soundsystem are always on the right side of that line. This is them at their best. I don’t want to point out individual tracks because generally, it’s not really my reviewing style. Though I occasionally decide to do track by track reviews, but it has to be said that ‘All My Friends’ is absolutely amazing. A truly incredibly and unforgettable song. One of the best ever written, but nothing else pales in comparison to it. This is where James Murphy’s punk, pop and electronic sensibilities meet to create something wonderful. It has so many different styles on here which is pretty fantastic, ranging from alternative rock, to electronica, to post-punk, to dance punk, to disco, to krautrock. In LCD Soundystem’s short career, this was their masterpiece. It felt like only yesterday that I first heard ‘Daft Punk Is Playing at My House’ playing a video game and now they’re finished – but at least they gave us this. Sound Of Silver is most definitely one of the best albums of the decade, a true classic.
Number 5. – Flood – Boris
In an adaption of The Odyssey, presumably a TV-made one considering its shoddy acting, innumerable goofs, C-actor cast and lackluster production, there exists a scene where Penelope rises in the middle of the night. Troubled by the suitors who insist that she take a new husband and forget about the likely dead Odysseus, she wanders down to the sea and slowly approaches the shoreline. When she gets down to the water, she lays into the surf and begins to moan and cry Odysseus’ name over and over again, letting the water caress her and allowing us to admire her grief coinciding with the glimmer of the moon on the ocean top. It’s actually one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been shown in the classroom, and it’s something that I ended up witnessing only a couple of weeks prior to engaging with Flood for the very first time. These four long tracks are not just tracks, they’re acts of the album that’s giving the listener a story of how the water flows from a calm body of water into a roaring natural disaster. It’s completely meditative letting the album go and you can really feel the element of water working within your spirit. I very often think about this euphoric scene whenever I have the gall to activate the opening track of this monolith, and it never fails to set the atmospheric stage more stunningly than nearly every other album I laud in this field. While Boris isn’t an artist I frequent or even know very profoundly, I find myself absolutely enamored with the composing techniques and methods found in their supposed equation. Often, albums who boast a few long, untitled tracks are ones who tend to be boring to me very quickly, and I’ve found myself at their mercy for whatever inane length the artist may have chosen for me to endure. With Flood, the tables are turned as I find myself stunned with the beauty there is to be found in the simplicity of it all. Where I’ve always said that simple music can be beautiful, I feel that I’ve been subconsciously looking upon this very release with that in mind; this is the album that introduced me to that very way of thinking
Number 4. – Songs for the Deaf –
Queens of the Stone Age
Here’s the secret recipe of how QOTSA’s formula; make songs that’s hard enough for the guys, but sweet enough for the girls so that everyone can have a nice time with their music. Queens of the Stone Age is currently the only Hard Rock band that doesn’t go over the top like every other Metal Bands screaming into your ears trying their best to you’re your world, but remained that classic feel of laidback rock-star status and song writing that I find lacking in rock music today. Throughout the 2000’s Queens of the Stone Age never once made an album that disappoints, but I have to choose their best for this pick and why is “Songs For The Deaf” that pick? Because it’s an extremely rare occurrence that one album will completely vaporize your concept of cool. This goliathan rhythmic melting-pot is the Rock equivalent of a trip out to the desert under a full moon with a lot of firepower, high-powered narcotics, great friends and a muscle car with a big-ass engine. t’s equal parts danger, mystery, fun and a mind-blowing collection of talent providing a massive dose of steroids to the Queens sound. The result was something we’d been waiting for, whether we knew it or not; that first sign of a next evolutionary step in Rock music, like the “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns n’ Roses and “Nevermind” by Nirvana that came before it. This very album delivered a bracing jolt that fused punk and hard rock sensibilities with an artful sense of eclecticism and that aggressive paste that didn’t feel pretentious or generic. Like other Stoner Rock band, Queens of the Stone Age was not afraid to admit where they got their inspiration; sex and drugs. But in order for Queens to ever be this good again is to get Nick Oliveri back in the band and Josh Hommes to get over himself. But regardless, NEVER listen to this while driving if you want to stay under the speed limit; the fast pasted nature of this album will encourage you to move as faster than the music.
Number 3. – Fear of a Blank Planet –
The Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson fanboy in me is very annoyed that the general public totally missed out on this prog rock masterpiece that can REALLY go up against the legends of Pink Floyd & King Crimson. In fact, this is THE progressive rock album of the damn noughties. Think about it, what other album examines the troubles of youth going around at the time without being so gringy and embarrassing to look back to? Fear Of A Blank Planet is a lonely and ambiguous tale fearing for the future, spoken softly against a complex arrangement of symphonic swirling guitars and absolutely watertight drumming. The result is an often crushingly heavy masterpiece that has true meaning with or without the music. It’s a rare thing these days but Porcupine Tree seem able learn everything they work upon to their disbandment. Porcupine Tree never converted to all-out prog metal, but Fear of a Blank Planet is easily the heaviest album they ever put out and is a career highlight in a discography already full of classics. Like everything else that Steven Wilson has made, it’s a nihilistic album though it has an impressive musical scope and manages to have memorable melodies on even the most drawn out of tracks. It’s kept from total perfection by a few moments of blatant riff recycling and the rather ham-fisted ways that the themes of teen angst are portrayed, but neither of them are serious deal-breakers. Let me start with the production. Many people also get onto this album about how its “over produced”. You have to remember that production is really nothing more than a preference and it doesn’t at all make for a bad album, and it surly doesn’t mask good song writing if it’s there, unless the sound quality is just absolutely terrible to the point where it really does just get in the way. Wilson really knows how to write a killer guitar riff that’s just as simple as can be, and writing very nice and memorable melodies. Another thing that really sets the mood for these songs are the soundscapes. Not that soundscapes are anything new, but they do it in a way that’s just very porcupine tree and it makes the music stand out. This is how intelligent rock music should sound in the post-millennium era!
Number 2. – Illinois – Sufjan Stevens
Throughout the entire 2000’s if you were focusing on the current events, many of us, especially Americans, have been extremely paranoid about terrorism since 9/11 and was heavily into the subject of politics and terrorism. We still are today, but back then, everything was semiserious. Almost everywhere I turn there was nothing but negative liberal crap on TV, anti-Bush movement everywhere, anti-Iraq War debates/arguments. This is one of the more annoying aspects of the 2000s decade. Because of this we forgotten about the greatness about being in America and what’s what Sufjan did. Sufjan Stevens was out to make an accomplishment by making 50 albums for each state of the United States of America. Hearing that, sounds very patriotic because if you know us Americans, many of us fight each other because of what state one is from. So far he released “Michigan” and “Illinois” and boy, his album “Illinois” already became a classic. What made “Illinois” so special and on the top of this list is that it was indeed a very VERY well crafted album that perfectly nails what Illinois should be remembered for, rather than mobs and Al Capone already given the state a bad reputation.
Stevens collected facts and anecdotes about the great state of Illinois, stringing them together in ambitious rhyme schemes and wrapping them in meticulous arrangements; from Chicago to Seer’s Tower, he made anything historical or significant about Illinois in wonderful songs. It not only takes those locations seriously, but also made stories of those who lived in the state such as his friends, family, religion, and experiences living there. This is truly an emotional album where all the stories that Stevens shares in this album was wondrous & magical, but at times sad and emotional. It’s quite rare to see such album to have a great story going on. Listening to this album from beginning to end felt like it was a Broadway Play. I can’t imagine anything else when listening to Illinois but a stage play with each story that each song represents. You can just visualize actors going on stage singing and dancing to whatever the songs is playing and it executed perfectly because of its vast variety of moods! There are plenty of moments in this album that gets emotional, magical, powerful, joyful, romantic, and all kinds of emotions that fulfills the experience of such a great album. Even for some of the songs that have very weirdest titles ever, they were all references to many of the famous parts of Illinois like Superman (his origins), Casimir Pulaski Day, Christianity, ghost towns, and more. Never have I seen such brilliant lyrics in a large selection of songs in a single album. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a great folk album and Sufjan Steven’s “Illinois” should definitely be in the same league as to Don McLean’s “American Pie” & Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisted.”This album had a huge impact on me and it always reminds me how good it is to be an American and appreciate my nationality as it is a blessing. I thank, Sufjan Stevens for showing patriotism in an oddly fashion of music, but yet his goal in one day making all 50 albums for every State in America would be the most patriotic thing an American musician can possibly do.
Number 1. – The Mantle – Agolloch
Death comes for us all. We will one day come to our death and no matter how hard we from escape it, there will be that one day that our time will come. It’s normal for all of us to fear death because we really don’t know if its truly our end or we might end up in the afterlife. Agalloch’s “The Mantle” is unlike any album because it tackles the theme of the afterlife. This album is so amazing that saying that it puts you in its own atmosphere does not do it justice; rather it brings you to this new stratosphere of the hereafter that no other album can possibly do as well as The Mantle. And what’s incredible about Agalloch is that they were able to do all of this with only limited instrument effects of black/doom metal and neofolk that redefined a new breed of the metal genre. Agalloch have always been a band that isn’t afraid to experiment and mix many different styles of music in order to produce their own unique sound. Nowhere is this more apparent than on their sophomore album, The Mantle. After their extremely solid debut record, Pale Folklore, the band somehow managed to greatly advance and improve their sound, and produce what many people would say is their magnum opus. This album could easily be the soundtrack to a long, cold walk through the woods at night or a foggy day, as it is easily one of the most atmospheric albums I have ever heard, and I have frequently used this album as a soundtrack for long walks into the snowy wilderness. The production on this album is extremely clear, and the musicianship, while not particularly flashy, is extremely well done, and creates a very lonely and depressing tone. The vocals range from the traditional black metal style growls, to the dark and melancholy, and extremely haunting clean singing.
This is perfect songwriting within storytelling with two separate voices telling two different view points of the same story; like two characters in each of the songs. It’s one of Haughm’s trademark styles, but none is more apparent nor more powerful than The Mantle. Just how is it possible that an album could make you feel that spirits are watching you and you can feel like you’re a wandering ghost stranded in a haunted cabin covered in this snow? As the album draw near to its end, you as well can feel that the end of the world approaches. It really makes the listener to feel as if they’re really there while everything around them is a foggy mist where we’re uncovering the unknown. The band members come from Oregon, and they take a lot of inspiration from Oregon’s forests and look at the result!
It’s complex, rough, and beautiful all at once; I’d definitely rank it as one of my favorite albums of all time. Mostly, The Mantle explore the destruction of nature by the human race—In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion tells the story of a man who realizes that we literally live “in the shadow of our pale companion,” nature, (which is pale, as we sucked the metaphorical blood out of it), that it is only the “death of man” that will save the Earth, and commits suicide in the end, his suicide symbolizing the death of man. It’s much more moving when you understand it (though the music itself is great on its own), but the more you understand this album the more you’ll love it. I would cite my favorites as In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion, Odal, and You Were But a Ghost in My Arms. But No song in this album really stands out from one another which makes it perfect for anyone to decide what their favorite song from The Mantle is. This is an album that will reflect on your lost ones that you hope that you’ll one day see again; helping those mourners to feel that very out of the body experience from beginning to end, (using their imagination of what the afterlife is like and use their life experiences & memories in the mix) while you’re still alive…
The Top Albums of the 2000s
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