Tag Archives: Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

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.  – Kid A – Radiohead

Something happened in the three years following OK Computer. The endless touring, the relentless media coverage, the invasive life of celebrity struck a nerve somewhere in the heart of the band. They went home to work in studio again but were stuck. On top of that, Thom Yorke had developed an immense distaste for rock, or any guitar-based music for that matter. He bought the Warp Records back catalogue and listened pretty much exclusively to electronica. Kid A is an album of remarkable beauty. Its haunting soundscapes are built on a foundation of ambient electronica, and it eschews typical chorus-based song structures and rock-and-roll dynamics in favour of compositions which build and evolve through waves of textures. There is a disturbing, dark quality to this album that underlies every track. To ears that’d had the second half the 1990s to ingest the rapid developments in electronic music, ears weary of the bankruptcy of post-Nirvana alternative rock, Kid A sounded like a next development in rock music that was both logical and surprising. Thoughts about millennial techno-dread; fragmentation, broken transmissions, garbled communication; the feeling of helplessness that comes from having access to so much information about the world while not having the power to change any of it; the subtle and dramatic ways that electronics are altering our landscape and our consciousness. And there’s still something there, though in some ways it’s all now more intense. Part of our brains moved online in the last 10 years, and this will continue; it’s not a good or bad thing; it’s just the way it is. Refracting these developments through the prism of Kid A, it still resonates, even if so much has changed since. Radiohead were not only among the first bands to figure out how to use the Internet, but to make their music sound like it, and they kicked off this ridiculously retro decade with the rare album that didn’t seem retro. Kid A – with its gorgeously crafted electronics, sparkling production, and uneasy stance toward the technology it embraces completely– feels like the Big Album of the online age. Abstract yet poignant, Kid A is an album filled with contradiction fusing elements of acid, rock, folk, trance and house together to create a truly experimental and epic album.  The album at times goes from being simple to theatrical. In addition, the fact that Radiohead took the risk of committing commercial suicide just not to compromise their musical integrity makes this album a thing of legends.

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Number 9.  –  Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

It’s difficult to make comparisons for Fleet Foxes, given the unique vocal talents of the group, but I certainly can see the Beach Boys or Cosby, Stills, & Nash comparisons that people often draw. And that’s not a bad thing; Fleet Foxes are excellent vocalists that make great use of the different textures of musical instruments. I find that each song is really a composition rather than just a tune. Fleet Foxes can be loved by everyone. Your dad, your grandma, your dog. Fleet Foxes ubiquitous sound is a combination of classic rock, 50’s vocal harmonies, classic country, modern folk, and a dash of pop. “Sun It Rises” begins with a folky harmony as an opener. By the end of the song Robin Pecknold is enveloped by ethereal voices as a guitar softly plucks. It’s a moving moment and it happens all within the first song. The mood is broken by “White Winter Hymnal” with its mysterious lyrics and steady guitars. There is just such a variance between the songs that Fleet Foxes traverses with the skill of a band 10 times their age. Every song sounds like its own serious moment; it’s hard to describe but the album doesn’t feel like an album. Few artists strive to make derivative music.  It makes sense that music done before need not be continually reproduced.  A refrain similar to that can be heard many places over on RYM but in the case of the Foxes, that rule doesn’t really apply.  Many reviewers say that this band relies too much on the voices of other bands, but I don’t really see it.  I find the music to be both original & powerful enough. There are short and occasional moments in the Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album that feel as if they are the very embodiment of perfection – the climax of Heard Them Stirring, or parts of the melancholic Blue Ridge Mountains. ‘Fleet Foxes’ is a rare album that utilizes harmony effectively so that every song feels like a part of a cohesive and rewarding whole. Some songs do seem flat and unchanging, and Robin Pecknold’s voice does conflict too greatly with the music, possibly due to mixing, as heard in Tiger Mountain Peasant Song. But no matter what, it is an album that deserves to be heard – if you give it your undivided attention. ‘Fleet Foxes’ is an album that has clearly been meticulously crafted with great attention to detail. Within the songs lie so many short harmonies and brief segments within that it is a rewarding album to explore.

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Number 8.  –  Relationship of Command  – At The Drive-In

At the Drive-In spent the majority of the ‘90s honing their skills as young, mostly untrained musicians and wowing people with their unbridled passion during live performances, but reportedly, they had a difficult time capturing that same passion on studio albums. For their third (and final) album, Relationship of Command remains one of the most intense recording sessions ever pressed. Cedric Bixler’s slightly strained, extremely expressive and emotive vocals not only leave a lasting impression, but they also spawned an entire generation of imitators who got close, but could never capture the rawness of Bixler’s delivery. The vocals weren’t the only source of intensity; we can also credit the dueling, interlocking guitars of Omar Rodriguez and Jim Ward, doubled on top of each other to either deliver beautifully melodic atmospherics and crunchy, punkish aggression. Relationship of Command does sound like a band being pulled in two different directions—you can hear the mature, Latin-influenced passages and the moments of dub experimentalism. You can also hear the boyish skater punks come through with the pop punk on songs like “One-Armed Scissor” and “Pattern Against User.”  At the Drive-In had just the right amount of appeal and mainstream success to be The Chosen Ones to inspire the countless third-wave emo bands of the 2000s. Let’s not undermine the unbelievable talent and power Relationship of Command unleashes—the album was recognized for a reason. Musically, it’s stunning—every single track is just as intense, relentless, and creative as the one before it. Lyrically, the songs are obtuse, but during this era, when you only had Blink-182 writing lyrics about toilet humor, Bixler’s Lynchian, stream-of-consciousness writing was amazingly refreshing. Thematically, the album deals with darker subjects—from kidnappings (Enfilade), to disappearances of countless women in Mexico (the highly-emotional Invalid Litter Dept), to hypocrisy in government Sleepwalk Capsules), to Jeffrey Dahmer (Arcarsenal). The lyrics and passionate screams fill you with such an inexplicable fire that you don’t know what to do with yourself. You want to scream, you want to tear out your hair—you end up questioning your very existence.

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Number 7.  –  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.

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Number 6.  –  Untrue – Burial

Just when you thought that there would never be another album like DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing…” along came one of the most atmospheric albums of all time. We as listeners listen to music for different reasons, and many of the majority say that they listen to the music for emotion. Sad driven albums can either make or break an album, and it all depends how the artist handle the limitations he/she has. If you’re looking for emotion, then why have you missed this album out? Its atmosphere is so magical that it has indescribable meaning to it while listening. It takes some of the best sampling to create such as stupendous work of music in ways I’ve never imagined. It flows like an original movie score, but Untrue remains faceless and largely anonymous, yet also acutely personal and introspective. You can just simply listen to this album on a rainy day and imagine someone in the world is in pain and you could just cry with them because it took you, as a listener.  Burial doesn’t take music as simply music but as an emotion, as sound. Not heavy nor intense sound. That sound that is made only for touching your heart and emulating emotions at any moment. Only music so esthetically beautiful could move you like this. And it was so unique and revolutionary in its epoch. The concept of taking the human voice and to stretch it so far as making it ghostly and body-less has already been invented but his own take is mindblowing. I already spent too much time reading about him, everything I could find and I understood that (in my sense) he represented music at its most important, the notion of music being emotional and no one else could make it better. Every time I listen to Untrue I’m so amazed by his genius that I become speechless, seriously. I feel so much of his talent that I can’t express it in words. Despite Untrue’s immersive melancholy the album never becomes oppressive, Burial’s moody, evocative sampling has an allure that always beckons the listener for one lonelier walk beneath its flickering streetlights.

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Number 5.  –  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. We were excited just to be living it along with him, on record.

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Number 4.  –  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!

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Number 3.  –  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.

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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.

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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…

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The Top Albums of the 2000s

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Top 10 Albums of 2000

 Music in the 2000s is a static and distasteful decade in music. Just when you thought that boy bands couldn’t get any worse, here comes a decade of horrid pop music and mediocre rappers that’s all hype but in the later years they’ve ended up forgettable. It doesn’t even help that the old names of the music world makes an unwanted comeback and makes us wish even more about music about the old days. Because a lot of people realizes the awfulness of music in music industry, there’s no wonder why people became hipsters and supported so many indie bands that they weren’t getting in the 2000s. 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. So in the next series of Top 10’s, I’ll be ranking the Top 10 Albums of each year and sum them all up on what was the best albums of the decade. So start things off, here are the top 10 albums of the 2000s.

Number 10.  –  “Since I Left You” Avalanches

The painstaking hours of sampling by Robbie Chater and Darren Seltmann resulted in one of the best albums of the 2000’s, if not of all time. This hour long journey consists of so much emotion and creativity that at times it is hard to wrap one’s head around all that’s presented. Because there’s so many layers of sound coinciding at any given time, you’ll notice something new with each listen. The feel of it is almost surreal. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, taking the listener along for the joyous ride. Since I Left You is truly spectacular. Sampling is an art, there’s no doubt about it – unless you’re a close minded idiot who has a bias against certain styles of music. My only real problem with Since I Left You is that Endtroducing did it better – the mesh of sampling I mean, aurally they’re completely different albums. Complete opposites. I always think of Endtroducing as Since I Left You‘s depressed older brother. It’s a much darker and moodier album, where as Since I Left You is upbeat and it feels more summery. But they’re both the absolute best at what they do. I can’t think of too many albums that are more fun to listen to, if Endtroducing was where the art of sampling became an art, this is where it became fun. This album is so colourful, vibrant and full of life. It’s just an absolute joy to listen to.

Number 9.  –  “Stankonia” Outkast

Taking a step back for a moment, it’s a small triumph that this album not only exists, but has a place in history as something an entire country got behind. In terms of music that challenges you mentally and physically, this album is up there.  At times it will have way too much sound for you to handle, or sound ridiculous compared to their origins at the player’s ball.  Sometimes it will sound excellent.  Most of the time you might just be confused (“Snappin’ & Trappin'”). It’s not just the subject matter where there is a lot of gear switching. The production on Stankonia is a rollercoaster ride and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Normally a comment like that would be a negative, but somehow Outkast really made it work on this album. The tracks are produced by Earthone III (which is Outkast themselves) and Organized Noize. Not a beat sounds the same and each track has a different influence to it, which makes it unique on the album. I guess it’s very experimental in nature (I guess that why some people seem to pretty much hate Stankonia). However I personally like some of the more experimental joints. Personally I think the album closer, ‘Stankonia (Stanklove)’, is one of the greatest pieces I ever heard. I just like it slow nature and the way it just drags on. I suppose it’s almost on some chopped & screwed shit. Also…’We Luv Deez Hoez’…great fucking track. Anyways I think what makes this is a rather smooth ride is the skits. I think they are good little breaks for when the sounds is about to change drastically. They serve as a breather and set up for the next song. That’s how you should use a skit. Emcees take notice.Number 7.  –  “White Pony” Deftones

Number 8.  –  “De Stilj”
The White Stripes

Contrary to popular belief or the art movement alluded on the cover, the album is actually a lot more diverse than just straight blues rock and garage rock. There’s uncompromised electric blues played with a teriffic slide guitar („Death Letter“), there’s the acoustic country blues of Blind Willie McTell’s „Your Southern Can is Mine“, and there’s even some folk rock material in singer/songwriter style („I’m Bound to Pack It Up“, „Apple Blossom“). This makes the album’s scope much wider and much more influential when it comes to their audience’s taste than usually acknowledged. Do you know how many teenagers back then fell all over themselves because of this new cool garage rock band who weren’t aware they were listening to straight blues covers of Son House and Blind Willie McTell? I sure don’t. Quite a bit bluesier and much less polished than future efforts, De Stijl doesn’t really suffer from its garage rock feel. Most songs are driven by a somewhat bluesy but very raw sounding guitar, and the songs aren’t as intricate as future efforts, but it makes no difference because Jack White’s riffs, hooks, and solos, rock hard enough to make you get lost in the music for most of the record. The garage blues of “Hello Operator” works seamlessly next to the piano driven ballad “Apple Blossom,” which of course doesn’t fail to have a melodic solo, and the two styles are combined fantastically for the albums best song, “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise.” De Stijl‘s best strength is its ability to use similar tones to maintain a garage feel for lots of different styles of music. Every track in the first half of the album has a very distinct style but it is without a doubt Jack White, with sparse use of great riffs and a bottomless supply of licks to throw in between bluesy lyrics. The songs have more diversity here than they do on White Blood Cells and Elephant, Jack White just isn’t as versatile a guitarist as he is on those albums, though his songwriting clearly has always been there.

Number 7.  –  “Dopethrone”
Electric Wizard

Electric Wizard’s monumental classic of doom metal absolutely drowns the listener in some of the heaviest riffs ever recorded. Dopethrone is filthy, loud, heavily distorted and fuzzy sounding doom/stoner metal. The vocals, which are distorted, raw and low in the mix are of a quite aggressive nature, which along with the extremely heavy and slow, yet groove based riffing and rythms create the basis of the band´s music. This is ultimately the blues taken to it´s most heavy extreme. While this is at it´s core traditional doom metal greatly influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Pentragram and Saint Vitus, the music on “Dopethrone” is generally of a far more extreme nature than the music of the influences. The tracks are generally pretty long and feature few riffs that are repeated over and over again. While that description may not sound like the most interesting thing in the world, listening to the music will probably give you another perspective. Yes this is repetitive, but the repetition is a means to create a hypnotic vibe. It´s kind of like listening to a psychadelic trip that´s gone bad, ugly and evil. The occult themed and dark lyrics provide just the right words to describe that trip. In addition to that the album features several samples from horror, fantasy and witch movies which also help create the right atmosphere. Dopethrone is overall quite a monumental release and by now a doom/stoner metal classic. Because of it´s extreme nature it´s probably not a release that will please everyone, but to those who enjoy their doom/stoner metal raw, filthy, distorted and louder than loud “Dopethrone” is not only a recommended listen, it´s a mandatory one.

Number 6.  –  “Mer De Noms” –
A Perfect Circle

APC is also one of the most unique sounding bands out there, even though many would recognize Maynard James Keenan’s voice, from the universally beloved band Tool. Frankly speaking, APC does have a lot in common with the legendary band; Tool’s music core is a darker version of Alternative Metal, but is then covered and perfected with a huge, thick veil of experimentation that makes their sound distinguishable like no other band. APC go just a little further from Tool’s core, so basically they are a lot more accessible, but a lot less experimental. However, they are more original than many other bands of their same genre. What makes the band’s uniqueness are the guitars and Maynard’s voice. While the guitar work is very distinctive because of the wide amount of effects it can have, Maynard’s singing abilities are impressive not only for their excellence, but also because they have a very different delivery than the one they had with the other band; Tool’s vocals are creepy, warm, present, urgent and of course very haunting, and many times they are used as another instrument, something that only a few vocalists are able to do. But in APC, even though they are always haunting and beautiful, Maynard sounds more distant, almost like a melancholic, remote cry. This of course said in the most complimentary way possible. “Mer De Noms” means “Sea Of Names” in French, and it can almost be considered a concept album, where most of the songs are dedicated to people that had an impact on Maynard, who wrote all the lyrics. These songs, such as “Madgalena”, “Judith”, “Orestes”, “Thomas”, are full of that personality and darkness that the world fell in love with when Tool came on stage, even though the music is, like I said earlier in the review, a lot different and more straight forward than the Progressive band. Songs like “The Hollow”, “Madgalena”, and the single “Judith” are destined to make history, because of these characteristics that many have been so happy to hear, loving Maynard for his previous work, and listening to something equally as haunting as Tool. Indeed, “Mer De Noms” is one of the great Alt Metal albums, that will certainly go down in history because of it’s profoundness and it’s very fragile, human touch. If you’re one of those haters of the genre, please put aside your pride and prejudice, and listen to this gem: I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Number 5.  –  “Rated R”
Queens of the Stone Age

Bouncy, grungy, mezmorizing, fantastic. QOTSA were one of the first bands I ever got into and have been a favorite ever since. This is their shining album. Definitely my favorite  strictly rock album ever. The instrumentation is so beautiful throughout, especially with the variety on this album. How do you go from Tension Head to Lightning Song? QOTSA know how to utilize and command the pace of their music. They can slow it down, almost to the point where it sounds lazy, but turns out to be hypnotizing. They can speed things up just when you start to get comfortable. The song-writing is great too. I know this is labeled stoner rock, but I’m not sure that is entirely fair. QOTSA make it easier for you to believe that with the obvious drug references, but this album enters another realm, it has some very psychedelic moments, very dream-like imagery. By far my favorite part of the album is that QOTSA has not one, but three very great singers that all have completely different styles. Oliveri is a mad-man, Homme does have that stoner personality, and Lanegan is a sobering wise-man on my favorite song on the album, In the Fade. Even though Homme can occasionally be a bit boring, especially paired with those slow and heavy songs that he does sometimes, but Homme is definitely helped by his Oliveri and Lanegan, and the excellent instrumentation. I’m not trying to discredit Homme, because he has many brilliant songs under QOTSA where he is in the lead, but damn, Oliveri and Lanegan really compliment Homme so well.

Number 4.  –  “The Moon Antarctica”
Modest Mouse

While Modest Mouse somewhat sound more accessible and radio friendly here, it doesn’t mean that Issac Brock’s lyrics are any less clever or hard hitting. If anything, they’re the best they’ve ever been here, with so many great lines that it’s hard to pick highlights. “The Dark Side of The Universe” is probably the best song lyrically, with lines such as “Everyone’s life ends but no one ever completes it/Dry and wet ice, they both melt” (a pretty nihilistic way of looking at life) as well as the eminently quotable”Well it took a lot of work to be the ass that I am”. Elsewhere, Brock muses about what he always sings about; disaffection with urban life, disaffection with God and depression all feature. Brock also muses about death a lot, especially towards the beginning of the album. What really makes this album is an absolutely wonderful run of songs starting with “Dark Side of the Universe” and ending with “Alone Down There”. “Perfect Disguise” is probably the slowest song here driven by some delicate banjo picking, Brock lamenting someone that screwed him over. “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” is memorable because of its bass hook, making the song sound like someone driving through a dystopic city. “A Different City” is Issac Brock at his schizophrenic best, enhanced by the double tracking of his vocals. Brock sounds intense and panicky. The tension is built brilliantly throughout this sequence of songs, with “Alone Down There” being the release. Unfortunately, the only problem with this album is the sequencing of “The Stars Are Projectors”. While it is a good song and serves to break-up the album, it also kills the tension and atmosphere of the first half. The album becomes more light hearted after this in a way, but tries at some point around “I Came as a Rat” to recover the tension, and it just doesn’t quite work as well anymore in the second half of the album.

Number 3.  –  “Marshal Mathers LP” Eminem

In his debut, Eminem was looked as a comedic rapper that promotes violence and so many other material that gets the word against him. But right on his second album, not only did he released one of the best hip-hop albums ever, but he created a ingenious autobiographical poetry from two personalities (Eminem and Slim Shady). Damn it, I miss Slim Shady! Can a monster be a hero? How can these artists who encourage violence, sex, and drugs to the world and get away with it? Easy, just make the music sound good and your influence changes peoples’ reaction in accepting it. And for that same reason is why Eminem is the most popular and most successful rapper of all time and he couldn’t do it without his Slim Shady split-personality gimmick that I truly miss! Eminem/Slim Shady took the best of his talents of producing hip-hop and there was never an album that ever felt so complete and made Dr. Dre proud that he made Marshall Mathers popular. This is the very album that open doors to Eminem’s world since the release of his debut LP “Slim Shady LP” and simultaneously whenever Em brings up his Slim Shady gimmick he offered the insanity from his debut album. Eminem told every one of his listeners about his problems of being the most popular artist such as his ignorant, insane fans, family & marriage problems, people who didn’t think much of him but suddenly started accepting him, the law, media, drugs, loosing control with his music, censorship, gay people, and the pop stars that annoyed him and he completely dissed them acting as if he doesn’t have anything to loose. We Eminem fans adore the fact that he had the balls to express himself unlike other artists who hides their feelings to avoid controversy. He hoovers drugs and threatens date rape, bashes gays and encourages murders and the crazy thing is that no matter how controversial this album was, it was relatable to many of its listeners because secretly (well for some) we all feel the same as Eminem. I am sometime confused if all of them are true or half of them were him just playing around, but Eminem delivered such a tremendous piece of hip-hop in ways I think we’ll never see again, since all Em does nowadays wines that he has problems and makes excuses why he won’t bring back Slim Shady. So won’t the real Slim Shady, please stand up!

Number 2.  –  “Kid A” Radiohead

Something happened in the three years following OK Computer. The endless touring, the relentless media coverage, the invasive life of celebrity struck a nerve somewhere in the heart of the band. They went home to work in studio again but were stuck. Thom Yorke was hit with writer’s block, often unable to conjure more than a simple drum-machine beat and some spoken-word dada poems made from newspaper clippings drawn from a hat. On top of that, he had developed an immense distaste for rock, or any guitar-based music for that matter. He bought the Warp Records back catalogue and listened pretty much exclusively to electronica. Kid A is an album of remarkable beauty. Its haunting soundscapes are built on a foundation of ambient electronica, and it eschews typical chorus-based song structures and rock-and-roll dynamics in favour of compositions which build and evolve through waves of textures. There is a disturbing, dark quality to this album that underlies every track. The opener, “Everything In Its Right Place”, is a simple song featuring only keyboard, vocals, and some background noise. But the oppressive atmosphere lends a feeling of despair to the song, making it seem as though perhaps not everything is in its right place.  To ears that’d had the second half the 1990s to ingest the rapid developments in electronic music, ears weary of the bankruptcy of post-Nirvana alternative rock, Kid Asounded like a next development in rock music that was both logical and surprising. Thoughts about millennial techno-dread; fragmentation, broken transmissions, garbled communication; the feeling of helplessness that comes from having access to so much information about the world while not having the power to change any of it; the subtle and dramatic ways that electronics are altering our landscape and our consciousness. And there’s still something there, though in some ways it’s all now more intense. Part of our brains moved online in the last 10 years, and this will continue; it’s not a good or bad thing; it’s just the way it is. Refracting these developments through the prism of Kid A, it still resonates, even if so much has changed since. Radiohead were not only among the first bands to figure out how to use the Internet, but to make their music sound like it, and they kicked off this ridiculously retro decade with the rare album that didn’t seem retro. Kid A— with its gorgeously crafted electronics, sparkling production, and uneasy stance toward the technology it embraces completely– feels like the Big Album of the online age. This album is closest a band can get to perfection.  Abstract yet poignant, Kid A is an album filled with contradiction fusing elements of acid, rock, folk, trance and house together to create a truly experimental and epic album.  The album at times goes from being simple to theatrical.  Kid A is amongst the greatest of the greatest and will influence music for years to come.  It is the absolute grandeur of the Kid A that makes it very intimidating to listen to, which is something that hard to find in music.  In addition, the fact that Radiohead took the risk of committing commercial suicide just not to compromise their musical integrity makes this album a thing of legends.  If there is one album that deserves to be heard repeatedly, Kid A is that album.

Number 1.  –  Relationship of Command – At The Drive-In

At the Drive-In spent the majority of the ‘90s honing their skills as young, mostly untrained musicians and wowing people with their unbridled passion during live performances, but reportedly, they had a difficult time capturing that same passion on studio albums. For their third (and final) album, Relationship of Command remains one of the most intense recording sessions ever pressed. Cedric Bixler’s slightly strained, extremely expressive and emotive vocals—a just-right mixture of nasality and shouting—not only leave a lasting impression, but they also spawned an entire generation of imitators who got close, but could never capture the rawness of Bixler’s delivery. The vocals weren’t the only source of intensity—we can also credit the dueling, interlocking guitars of Omar Rodriguez and Jim Ward, doubled on top of each other to either deliver beautifully melodic atmospherics (later Rodriguez’s trademark as a leading member of the Mars Volta) and crunchy, punkish aggression. Relationship of Command does sound like a band being pulled in two different directions—you can hear the mature, Latin-influenced passages and the moments of dub experimentalism. You can also hear the boyish skater punks come through with the pop punk on songs like “One-Armed Scissor” and “Pattern Against User.” Of course, nearly everyone knows the story behind this album—the band broke up shortly after Relationship of Command saw an enormous amount of mainstream recognition and success, leading Bixler and Rodriguez to form the spacey, progressive rock-influenced Mars Volta, while Tony Hajjar, Paul Hinojos, and Jim Ward continued on with their preferred indie rock and punk sound in Sparta. While that sounds like the perfect storm to make an album sound messy, the marriage of styles worked to great effect. Relationship of Command set At the Drive-In apart from mainstream ‘90s pop punk acts like Blink-182. They took their deviate-from-three-chord-rock cues from Fugazi, Public Image Limited, and (perhaps more directly) Refused. At the Drive-In had just the right amount of appeal and mainstream success to be The Chosen Ones to inspire the countless third-wave emo bands of the 2000s. Let’s not undermine the unbelievable talent and power Relationship of Command unleashes—the album was recognized for a reason. Musically, it’s stunning—every single track is just as intense, relentless, and creative as the one before it. Lyrically, the songs are obtuse, but during this era, when you only had Blink-182 writing lyrics about toilet humor, Bixler’s Lynchian, stream-of-consciousness writing was amazingly refreshing. Thematically, the album deals with darker subjects—from kidnappings (“Enfilade”), to disappearances of countless women in Mexico (the highly-emotional “Invalid Litter Dept.”), to hypocrisy in government (“Sleepwalk Capsules”), to Jeffrey Dahmer (“Arcarsenal”). The lyrics and passionate screams fill you with such an inexplicable fire that you don’t know what to do with yourself. You want to scream, you want to tear out your hair—you end up questioning your very existence.

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