With our first decade of the new millennium hightailing it to a close shortly, there have been a lot of lists being posted around the internets of what the greatest albums of these past ten years have been. Not an easy feat! But being unable to resist a list, especially one that involves music, I couldn’t help but figure out what my own top ten was. So without further ado, here are the ten albums that not only made what I think some of the biggest impact on the music industry, but my ears as well:
10. Worlds Apart (And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) – Rare is the album that is this strong and so precise. There is not a throw-away moment on Worlds Apart and Trail of Dead did it by not sacrificing a sound that is uniquely their own. A bonus is that this album somehow wakes me out of whatever slump I may be in with every listen.
A track to listen to: Let it Dive
9. Give Up (The Postal Service) – Many have tried but few have come close to capturing what Gibbard and Tamborello accomplished when they formed The Postal Service. The combination of Gibbard’s romantic storytelling lyrics with Tamborello’s 8-bit melodies made for a delicious meal and, like every commercial and movie trailer for the next two years, I ate it right up.
A track to listen to: Clark Gable
8. Let It Come Down (Spiritualized) – Can I just say that this album is amazing and leave it at that? Yes. Yes I can.
A track to listen to: Don’t Just Do Something
7. Howl (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) – Sometimes when a band decides to take a detour they only end up getting lost. But with Howl it just felt like BRMC were holding out on us! Taking their already authentic American rock n’ roll and giving us some Americana to enjoy with it seems like a no-brainer now, but it’s only because BRMC did this so effortlessly that it worked and worked as well as it did. As much as I enjoy their past and present albums I still hope the harmonica infused sound of Howl is a road BRMC travel down again.
A track to listen to: Shuffle Your Feet
6. Takk… (Sigur Rós) – Really, I could have put any Sigur Rós album on here, but Takk is the one I’ve listened to the most. With each new beautiful offering we get from the Icelandic harmonizers, we seem to get a brighter more energetic album than the one that receded it. It’s a progression I’m more than happy to hear continue since Sigur Ros seems to be one of the few bands out there that get better with every passing year.
A track to listen to: Sæglópur
5. A Rush of Blood to the Head (Coldplay) – When I first heard Politik on the television before the album’s release, I got excited. See, I like it when bands evolve, for better or worse. And here was a band who was showing us that they weren’t going to disappear into the vastness of one-hit-wonder music space as a group known primarily in America for one yellow song. ROBTTH was a bigger sounding, more ambitious album than Parachutes and it WORKED. It’s what I call a “perfect” album when musically, lyrically, and structurally everything aligns in all all the right places and you’re left with something you’ll continually be listening to for years to come—regardless of where the band eventually ends up.
A track to listen to: A Rush Of Blood to the Head
4. Funeral (Arcade Fire) – I’ll be the first to admit, I was new to Arcade Fire when everyone was already enjoying the (almost) equally amazing Neon Bible. With Funeral, it was like when you meet someone for the first time but deep down there’s this sense that you’ve already been good friends for a while now. What I love most about Funeral though is the way the album just builds and builds and builds to more and more and more awesomeness. But the truly amazing thing? IT STARTS OFF ALREADY AWESOME.
A track to listen to: Wake Up
3. Illinois (Sufjan Stevens) – Jen can attest to this. This album did not leave my car for almost a month once I first got it. I just kept it on constant repeat and it is all I listened to while driving back forth from work and wherever. This is a rare thing for me since I’m normally always rotating music and impatiently inserting the next new thing. But with Illinois I was content. And that’s probably the best word to describe Sufjan’s fifth album and his amazing banjo playing self. 74 minutes of pure indy-folk-pop contentment.
A track to listen to: The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
2. Kid A (Radiohead) – To be honest, I wasn’t even a fan of Kid A when, 4 years after OK Computer, it finally filled our “we need new Radiohead!” music void. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t what I expected from Radiohead—at this point fully embracing the new technology that is now a staple in well, ALL of music. I just missed that Bends style that made me love Radiohead in the first place. Over time though (which likely was only a year) Kid A started creeping into me, to a point where it became and still is my favorite Radiohead album. And a lot, I’ll admit, has to do with a certain season that it evokes. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that you couldn’t ask for a better way to to start a whole new millennium of new music.
A track to listen to: How to Disappear Completely
1. A Collision (or 3+4=7) (David Crowder*Band) – What more can I say about my favorite album by my favorite band? It is the album that not only introduced me to DC*B but also gave me a new appreciation for praise music. More importantly, the aptly named A Collision—more than any other album—successfully blended my three favorite genres of music (evident on this entire list): rock, electronic and folk. It’s structurally perfect, unique in sound and the awesome doesn’t just build- it bombards and surrounds you during it’s third triumphant act. In truth, it’s an album that encompasses all the things I’ve mentioned about every other great album on this list. Which is why it ends up at #1.
I actually figured out my top ten 90’s albums while compiling this. Maybe I’ll post that list someday too. Lots of great stuff came out back then!