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The Top 100 Albums of the 2000s

A decade's worth of industry-shaking music to carry into the future

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The Strokes, Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jay-Z

    And we’re here… 2010. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed us. It almost seems like just yesterday David Fincher unearthed Fight Club to confused audiences, that Tony Hawk was only a skateboarder (and not a video game mogul), and The New Radicals were still, um, new. The truth is, 1999 doesn’t seem so far away — especially when you pop in Californication or try and remember the slasher genre, namely those beloved Scream movies.

    In fact, it’s hard to believe we’re in “the future.” Hell, whenever Back to the Future, Part II comes on TBS (Don’t tell me you forgot about this!), 2015 still seems far away, even though it’s at arm’s length now. Then again, maybe it all comes down to perspective. After all, when you turn to the side and think about the eight years with President Bush, the rise and decline and (somewhat) rise again of Tom Green, and the last time you bought a CD, it all feels about right.

    But overall, it doesn’t feel like 2010. Instead of flying cars and video games that require you not to use your hands, we’re bogged down with age-old past times, like recessions, health insurance scares, and U2. Nothing seems futuristic, save for a trip to the Apple Store, and while we’re embracing the future with every inch that technology shifts forward, it all just sort of boils down to everyday mundane life.

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    That doesn’t really apply to music, though. Not at all. Each year, bands both new and old throw out album after album, stuffed to the brim with sounds that take us to yesterday, today, and, most of the time, to tomorrow. It’s here where we understand the true value of time and how far we’ve come. Artists and groups like Animal Collective, Daft Punk, and even Radiohead take us by the hand into regions that suit our wildest dreams, where things happen that will never occur in our lifetime. Then there are those that keep us grounded, that help us understand our inner emotions and thoughts today, bands like Wilco, The Arcade Fire, and The Strokes. It’s like we’re sonically expanding our own dimensions. Pretty deep, huh?

    C’mon, it’s 2009! Everyone knows how vital music is nowadays, and even though we’re guilty of its absolute accessibility (e.g. the advent and success of the mp3), the past ten years have brought us new ways to celebrate its sonic brilliance. We all own iPods (or Zunes, for the five of you). We all walk and work and play with them in our ears — after all, we live for this stuff. But it’s more than that. We don’t just live for this stuff, we live with this stuff. You know, everyone has recognized again and again that albums have become just a hub for — or a collection of — songs, but few have noted that songs have become dalliances of everyday life. That’s why it’s important to go back, to look at where these songs come from, and to recognize the true power of that “hub”, or “collection”, or album!

    And that we did…

    -Michael Roffman

    100. B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Riding With the King

    When you’re Riding with the King, there can be no wrong, and two greats of the blues joined forces here to prove it. In this superb blues record full of classic B.B. King, Eric Clapton’s style seamlessly compliments the King’s thick wailing vocals and old school down-home riffs. –Maria Murriel


    99. OutKast – Speakerboxx/ The Love Below

    With this double pseudo-solo album OutKast mutually and exclusively redefined the expectations of mainstream rap. Big Boi’s expansive, but still traditional, hip hop and André 3000’s retro afro-pop experimentation are an unlikely combo, but… “Hey Ya!”, “The Way You Move” — these hits don’t lie. –Cap Blackard


    98. Andrew Bird – The Swimming Hour

    I’d once heard The Swimming Hour called Andrew Bird’s jukebox album, and the way his now defunct band jumps between genres on each track, it really makes sense. The Bowl of Fire tries out classic R&B, Country Rock and indie pop, each successfully and without pretense. –Adam Kivel


    97. Muse – Absolution

    Muse delivered a third album full of pomp and power. The sound was more refined, rapidly transforming them into stadium titans and harnessing their creativity. “Stockholm Syndrome” and “Hysteria” were whirlwinds of aggression, but the best moments leant heavily on their musicality, whether performing with an 18 piece orchestra on “Blackout” or unleashing Bellamy on the ivories for “Apocalypse Please”. –Will Hines


    96. Kittens Ablaze – The Monstrous Vanguard

    It’s no secret that this website has had an undeniable love affair with these Brooklyn rockers for some time now. The demo album that arrived in our inbox back in early 2008 was what first caught our attention, but their recently released full-length debut was what made us realize that Kittens Ablaze are not your ordinary Brooklyn based indie outfit. No, The Monstrous Vanguard was 10 tracks of indie rock bliss, fusing together the enigmatic sounds of Arcade Fire with the lyrical melancholy of early Bright Eyes while still maintaining a one-of-a-kind passion, sound, and attitude. The album’s one negative? The fact that even now it has yet to propel Kittens Ablaze to the level of popularity and critical acclaim the band so undoubtedly deserves. –Alex Young


    95. Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek – Reflection Eternal

    Blistering rhymes and lethal grooves propel this 20-song collection that culls from almost every corner of the history of Black music (blues, African drumming, improvisational jazz). “Move Somethin'” (featuring Kweli’s erstwhile Black Star partner Mos Def) should be mandatory listening for all hip-hop fans. The only question left by this album: where’s the sequel? -Gillian Rosheuvel


    94. Kate Walsh – Tim’s House

    Kate Walsh is arguably the brightest star to have emerged from a plethora of UK singer-songwriters in recent years. This, her second album, marks a real coming-of-age in both a musical and emotional sense, and was famously the first U.K. No 1 album on iTunes from an unsigned artiste. –Tony Hardy


    93. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

    Bruce Springsteen joined this Jersey foursome onstage at Glastonbury to play the title track. Need I say more? –Joshua Kloke


    92. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs

    Death Cab For Cutie instantly ventured outside its “safe” indie poprock box the very next album after the success of their major label debut Plans. The decision was perfectly right and Narrow Stairs proved to be a significant step forward for the band as well as an irreproachable new, fresh take on all their potentials. -Jesper Persson


    91. Harvey Danger – Little by Little…

    The last of three studio albums in Harvey Danger’s swift and underrated fifteen year career, Little by Little… defied, lyrically and beyond, this outfit’s typecast alt-rock persona.  From reflections of musical adolescence in “Little Round Mirrors” to the purist bildungsroman approach on “Diminishing Returns”, Sean Nelson and his northwestern comrades wove us a grand pop finale that even Joni Mitchell cannot hope to surpass. -David Buchanan


    90. Lupe Fiasco- Food & Liquor

    Chicago’s other rapper stepped into the spotlight. Backed by Jay-Z, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, aka Lupe Fiasco, arrived with a three time Grammy nominated debut album. Showcasing brilliant production and rhymes way beyond his years, Fiasco had a hit in “Kick, Push” and stuck to his roots, quoting the Qur’an on the album “Intro”. Wholly impressive. –Will Hines


    89. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam

    Animal Collective doesn’t write songs per se. They salvage beauty from noise. With Strawberry Jam, the group proved that acid washed electronic blips can be crafted into glorious, naive pop music, and that screaming every once in a while only makes it better. –Drew Litowitz


    88. Bruce Springsteen – Magic

    Magic uses all of Bruce Springsteen’s classic aesthetics (layered guitars, R&B yelps, lots of dirty sax and crystal glockenspiel) to comment on topics that are completely modern, featuring songs that are just as much about politics as they are about relationships. Highlights include the Brian Wilson baroque pop of “Your Own Worst Enemy” and “Girls In Their Summer Clothes”, and most notably “Livin’ In The Future”, a tale of blood red doom and gloom at The Jersey Shore that is still one of the most energetic, celebratory things The Boss has ever recorded. –Dan Caffrey


    87. The Strokes – Room on Fire

    Hardly a sophomore slump here. In better ways than one, The Strokes expanded on their sound, tweaking and exploring new ways to do, realistically, the same thing they’d been doing all along. It’s just a shame “Repitilia” never took off like “Last Night” did. –Michael Roffman


    86. The Killers – Hot Fuss

    Dark-flavored dance-rock with a hint of soul, overplayed though it was, five years after its release, The Killers’ debut Hot Fuss remains endlessly danceable. Let’s face it: Everyone’s felt like “Mr. Brightside” at one time or another. –Megan Ritt


    85. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

    Blitzen Trapper’s 2008 album Furr is a lyrical accomplishment with simplistic, yet stunning lines such as, “And now my fur has turned to skin/And I’ve been quickly ushered in/To a world I must confess I do not know,” from the title track. The band’s use of the harmonica, an unfairly underrated instrument, fits the overall aesthetic and adds a folk punch, whereas the guitar work on “Gold for Bread” provides a slight southern rock vibe. –Becca James


    84. My Morning Jacket – Z

    Z, the joyous, stoner-rock record that it is, exists in its immediacy. Never harsh and overwhelming, Z is record that will have you passing your joints with a smile, though never too far as you’re always trying to soak up every last breath of this groovy masterpiece. –Joshua Kloke


    83. She & Him – Vol. 1

    Odd couple to some, M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel created an album of perfect symbiosis between the elements, a sense of harmony and well-being without becoming dull, predictable or cheesy. Most lovely indie folk pop record should be accredited to She & Him. –Jesper Persson


    82. The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You

    Just a folk group elevating to a whole other level with the aid of some guy named Rick Rubin, sans blips and bleeps. It also has sweet sincerity (“I and Love and You”, “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”) capped off by infectious sing-a-longs (“Kick Drum Heart”, “Slight Figure of Speech”). –Justin Gerber


    81. Yusuf Islam – Roadsinger

    Cat Stevens, ahem, Yusuf Islam is at his finest on his 2009 album Roadsinger. “Boots and Sand”, featuring Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton, is a must hear single, with its late ’70s feel and an added country kick; the lyrics aren’t too shabby either. –Becca James


    80. Gorillaz – Gorillaz

    Wait, hold on a second… did that dude from Britpop band Blur start a virtual band called Gorillaz that took hip hop, punk rock, electronica, dub and other miscellaneous genres he felt like digesting, squeeze them into a trash culture blender and push the button as if he hadn’t done anything else in his life? Huh? It turned out to be quite an awesome record? Cool! –Jesper Persson


    79. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

    After the deconstructed electro-rock of Kid A and Amnesiac, it only made sense for Radiohead to combine their newfound identity with the brute force rock of OK Computer and The Bends. With Hail to the Thief, Radiohead re-emerged as a living, breathing rock band, but not without ensuring that “the rats and the children” followed along.  –Drew Litowitz


    78. Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope

    By turns ethereal and loud-mouthed, enchanting and exciting, and accompanied by the loveliest multi-hued music video, Begin to Hope established Regina Spektor as a major talent (not to mention it made us believe in love again). –Megan Ritt


    77. M.I.A. – Kala

    Together with some of the hippest producers around, M.I.A. rose to stardom when weaving together the genre-mashing quilt that was her second album. Not just setting new standards for what “cool” and “hip” music is but also redefining the terms urban and world music, Kala was, and will remain for  the foreseeable future, one of the most original and memorable albums the 00’s had to offer. -Jesper Persson


    76. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

    Of Montreal pulled off a rare feat in 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? by creating a concept album when it seemed completely uncool to do so. Inspired by Kevin Barnes’ divorce and separation from his child, the result is a beautiful sonic journey through doubt, fear and loss. –Charles Poladian


    75. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

    One of the very best records of the year, Bitte Orca is blast of wonderfully uncertain rhythms paired with killer harmonies. And then there are those insane guitar parts that will equally satisfy fans of King Sunny Adé, Tom Verlaine, Ali Farka Touré, Arto Lindsay, and even Jimmy Page. What? Yeah, exactly. -Aaron Kelley


    74. Metallica – Death Magnetic

    Just when you thought they were over and done with, Metallica roars back at the world with a record that’s lightning fast yet melodic, lyrical but badass, potent, and simply pure metal. Death Magnetic makes up for lost time in the band’s history as the greatest in thrash metal, delivering Metallica’s quintessential coarseness, now mixed with the emotional maturity of three (sort of) aged musicians who can still rock the fuck out. –Maria Murriel


    73. Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress

    Ace 80’s producer, Trevor Horn, amplified the band’s essential sound but kept its signature charm on this spectacularly good pop album. The great “Step into My Office Baby” structurally recalls 10cc at their creative best and their homage to Thin Lizzy, “I’m a Cuckoo”, is a sheer delight. –Tony Hardy


    72. Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/Love Sounds

    The album that fully broke the tether between N’Sync and Justin Timberlake. Justified tackled clean cut pop, but his sophomore effort went dirty, sparking off a lasting creative partnership with Timbaland and penning number one hits in “Sexyback”, “My Love”, and “What Goes Around…”. Many doubted Timberlake’s longevity, but he backed it up after a four year hiatus by going ‘adult’. –Will Hines


    71. Astronautalis – Pomegranate

    Astronautalis is among the most original and exciting new artists of this century. His storytelling and lyrical prowess, combined with an arsenal of historical fiction and a knack for the theatrical make Pomegranate one of the most unprecedented albums of the decade. –Cap Blackard


    70. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

    The band’s fourth studio record is one of those rare albums where every song could be a single. Bleed American provides equal doses of outstanding pop songs (“The Middle”, “Sweetness”) and thoughtful ballads (“Hear You Me”, “My Sundown”). –Justin Gerber


    69. Weezer – Maladroit

    Somewhere along the past few years, Rivers Cuomo decided to be ironic, smugly musing on the perks and pitfalls of fame with campy throwaway tunes like “Beverly Hills” and “Can’t Stop Partying” (featuring Lil’ Wayne). But his quirkiness and genre hopping used to be a lot more sincere, and this is most evident on Maladroit, a wonderfully weird album that stretches itself between 70’s garage thunder (“Take Control”), sunny math punk (“Possibilities”) and um…space rock (“Space Rock”). Chocked with twisted, archaic lyrics, insane riffage, and a song whose video unabashedly celebrated The Muppets, Maladroit always sounds like the band is having fun, and for all the right reasons. –Dan Caffrey


    68. Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things

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    Rilo Kiley’s second LP cemented the band as indie’s coolest kids and lead vocalist Jenny Lewis as one of the best storytellers of this generation. Listen to “With Arms Outstretched” to feel the simultaneous sting of fleeting time and the joy of a hopeful future-and clap your hands while you do it. –Anthony Balderrama


    67. Battles – Mirrored

    Like a nuclear blast of innovation and sound coming from another universe closely resembling a mirrored room, Battles dazzled us, intrigued us and entertained us. Mirrored is a testimony of the fun in experimental music and came across as one of the most mind-bending, wildly eclectic and unpretentiously brilliant rock records of the decade. –Jesper Persson


    66. The Living End – Roll On

    For the Australian trio’s sophomore release, The Living End continue its revved-up musical strikes from Green Day-inspired pop punk to Stray Cats-esque rockabilly and overall excellent musicianship. Guitarist Chris Cheney’s guitar roars loudly throughout the album, scorching everything in sight with the likes of “Roll On”, “Carry Me Home”, “Don’t Shut The Gate”, and the epic crusher, “Astoria Paranoia”. Talk about a rock album when it’s needed, Roll On not only delivers, but begs for immediate repeats…and this was in 2001! –Jay Ziegler


    65. Patrick Wolf – Lycanthropy

    Patrick Wolf’s precocious debut was a statement of intent. His obsession with werewolf mythology was in full swing at 19; he changed his name (nee Apps, now Wolf) and released an album loosely exploring the process of transformation. Energetic songs like “Bloodbeat” slid in amongst the more melancholy “Pigeon Song”, whilst “The Childcatcher” explored pedophilic images, establishing itself as both twisted and brilliant. –Will Hines


    64. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy

    In all its powerful alt-folk fury, Okkervil River’s remarkable narrative centered around an assumed character from Tim Hardin’s “Black Sheep Boy” delves into sex and drug abuse, manic depression, fucked relationships, and pretty much everything that falls in between. Will Sheff always had a penchant for vivid imagery and captivating songwriting, but not until Black Sheep Boy did his ambitions and stunning style balance out so damn perfectly. –Drew Litowitz


    63. Red Hot Chili Peppers – By the Way

    By The Way proves to be a pivotal album in the Peppers’ career with Anthony Kiedis dropping his broken rapping for more consistent singing while John Frusciante is left with writing the melodies, bass lines, and chord progressions — a deviation from the punk funk fusion they had been known for previously. With tracks like “Can’t Stop” and “The Zephyr Song”, By the Way captured the ears of America in 2002. –Andy Keil


    62. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

    Teaming up with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanios again, U2 made its comeback in 2000 with what’s widely regarded as the band’s third masterpiece. Dealing with the essential things in life, All That You Can’t Leave Behind hits on an emotional level with songs like “Beautiful Day”, “Walk On”, and “Kite”. –Joe Marvilli


    61. The Roots – Phrenology

    Phrenology was a lean, mean machine. Focusing on hip hop for their fifth studio album, Philadelphia group The Roots took three years to come up with a new sound, all but abandoning their lighter jazz roots. They brought some brilliant featuring artists to the table, and unleashed an experimental album that was groundbreaking yet accessible. –Will Hines


    60. Mark Mulcahy – In Pursuit of Your Happiness

    On In Pursuit of Your Happiness, Mark Mulcahy discovers the perfect balance between his youthful Miracle Legion days and his more mature solo work. Infectious pop songs like “Cookie Jar” juxtapose moodier tracks like “Can’t Find a Reason to Let You Go”, creating a record that is as fun as it is thoughtful. –Matt Melis


    59. Beastie Boys – To The 5 Boroughs

    When this 2004 bomb dropped, it boomed with the raw, dirty explosions of “3 the Hard Way”, “Rhyme the Rhyme Well”, and even touched the Apple’s heart with “An Open Letter to NYC”. 5 Boroughs is a harsh edge on the Boys that never fail to surprise and re-funk the scene with warped beats and white-hot verses. –Maria Murriel


    58. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary

    Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug don’t sound good on paper. Both sing with hoarse, warbly voices, gargling most of their cryptic words atop their blend of noisy, mathy prog-pop. But somehow, the result of these chaotic, off-kilter ingredients makes for indie pop perfection. Wolf Parade leave nothing to be sorry for with their Apologies, but create a unique record that’s as danceable as it is philosophical. –Drew Litowitz


    57. Spoon – Kill the Moonlight

    The most popular track on Kill the Moonlight, “The Way We Get By”, was featured on pretty much every major TV show of the early 2000’s, propelling the band to a brief stint with popularity. The rest of the album, though, is dense with Spoon’s signature sound; “All the Pretty Girls Go to the City” and “Something to Look Forward to” exemplify Spoon’s to-the-point, snappy nature. –Shayna Hodkin


    56. Tool – Lateralus

    “Schism” holds a Ridiculously Awesome credit; “The Grudge” is arguably Tool’s finest musical arrangement; Lateralus represents amath-master progressive metal, a puzzle box with artful sonic staying power and death marches aplenty. To not give this magnum opus a full listen from beginning to end defies all logic, and your very sanity shall indeed “spiral out”. –David Buchanan


    55. Postal Service – Give Up

    Sometimes… when an electronic musician of the more experimental kind and an indie rock musician of the more poppy kind meets, sweet music appears seemingly out of nowhere. Sub Pop probably didn’t expect that this underground pop record would blow up this big, but frankly it couldn’t make any more sense. –Jesper Persson


    54. Green Day – American Idiot

    The group’s most rewarding effort — commercially and critically — since their 1994 mainstream debut, Dookie. From epic trials of musicianship (“Jesus of Suburbia”) to witty and concise pop (“Holiday”), American Idiot demanded the group’s fanbase return and with their jaws dragging on the floor. –Michael Roffman


    53. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Tyranny of Distance

    “Timorous Me”, “St. John the Divine”, and “The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree” make Tyranny of Distance one of Ted Leo/Pharmacist’s most notable releases. Focusing less on politics and more on musicianship, the album clocks in at 49 minutes with twelve upbeat, danceable tracks that have, since the album’s release, carried the band’s live show with their energy and positivity. -Shayna Hodkin


    52. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

    The greatest album about a Japanese girl fighting pink robots ever! It’s also one of the band’s finest, with the mysteries of “Fight Test”, that bassline in “In the Morning of the Magicians”, and the official rock song of Oklahoma, “Do You Realize??”. –Justin Gerber


    51. Tom Waits – Blood Money

    Tom Waits has always been a notorious eccentric with a love for the skeezy and downtrodden side of life, but give him the revolutionary 19th century German working class tragedy, Woyzeck, to base a body of work on, and you summon a demon of decay and human suffering. Eerie sea shanties and circus dirges meld with melancholy jazz and maddening laughter- if a dockside hangover was a beautiful thing, this would be it. –Cap Blackard


    50. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife

    Progressive rock has taken a back-seat for the past three decades, but no longer. With The Crane Wife, The Decemberists, embrace full on the tradition of musical storytelling and return modern rock to the timelessness of bygone days fused with the present tense. The album features a diverse collection of single songs interspliced with an interpretation of the Japanese folk tale of The Crane Wife. Top that off with a 12 minute epic based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and you’ve got prog-rock magic not seen since times long past. –Cap Blackard


    49. Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

    On his fifth studio album, Trent Reznor moves Nine Inch Nails from the personal to the political. A concept album set in a dystopian America in 2022; Reznor offers one of the best musical critiques of the politics of the Bush administration. The frantic, slippery bass of “Survivalism”, the destructive, mechanical sound of “My Violent Heart”, and the stuttering instrumentation of “Zero-Sum” create an environment of paranoia that leaves a bigger impact on the audience than any of his efforts since The Downward Spiral. –Joe Marvilli


    48. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

    It’s unbearably cold outside as you walk home from an intensely traumatizing breakup. Snow floats around you, coating the rock hard soil beneath your stiff legs. As you walk, your shaky breath dances around your head in warm vapor. In many ways, Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever ago is the sound that mist would make if it only could. It expresses everything you feel in that exhalation, but can’t put to words.

    It’s a record that acknowledges the downright miserable circumstances of the situation, but also recognizes that there’s some beauty to be found in the moment. As Justin Vernon belts out line after cryptic line, through layer upon layer of soulful, gut wrenching falsetto, you feel his pain like it were your own. It floats around your ears in tear-jerking bliss. It’s an impeccably crafted bedroom record that, through its honest sound, says everything about the conditions under which it was made. You can’t help but take pleasure in a misery that sounds this perfect. –Drew Litowitz


    47. Beck – Guero

    Beck returned in 2005 with a throwback to the days of Odelay. Much more than a rehash, the album is the highest charting that he’s ever released. From the infectious funk guitar riff of “E-Pro” to the acoustically flavored “Girl”, it’s easy to see why. While not as radical as some of his other work, Guero proves to be one of the most eclectic albums in his catalogue. -Joe Marvilli


    46. The Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium

    The musical genius of the Mars Volta is an unfettered mastodon force that redefines progressive rock with piles of climbing virtuoso riffs, tastefully manipulated Latin undertones, and unimaginable stories. It’s safe to say this album was the first of its kind, spawning a new style of experimental, jazz, or psychedelic rock music that would inspire hordes musicians in the following years. Begetting one of the best guitar songs of all time (“Drunkship of Lanterns”, via Rolling Stone), and introducing the world to behemoths like “Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)” and “Cicatriz ESP”, De-Loused… was a milestone in the evolution of music into this 21st century, and boy, are we glad we reached it. –Maria Murriel


    45. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

    After Arcade Fire closed the casket on conflicted nostalgia, they were ready to tackle some more heated issues. With Neon Bible, a new, more mature, more ruthless Arcade Fire introduced itself to the world. Using church motifs, Arcade Fire viewed mankind’s most controversial piece of literature as a neon sign; an advertisement for a commodity that they believed the world could really do without. Regardless of your values, there’s no denying that the Arcade Fire got at least a few things right with their sophomore effort. –Drew Litowitz


    44. Girl Talk – Feed the Animals

    It would have been easy to write off mashup DJ Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis) after 2006’s breakthorugh Night Ripper as a catchy, one-off festival of choice slices from pop, rock, rap and beyond’s biggest hitmakers.  But with 2008’s Feed the Animals, Gillis brought the hypersonic mad-dash of sounds to a more streamlined setting, mixing intricate background beats and the slickest lines and hooks together in something that was as much his own as bits of pieces of other musical hotness.

    From bridging Elvis Costello into Shawty Lo in “Here’s the Thing” to burners like “Shut The Club Down” and the truly diverse, even by his own standards, track “Give Me a Beat”,  Girl Talk proved music had forever changed with the emergence of file sharing and a more global larger culture. It also showed us that the sum is definitely better than its parts, regardless of how good those are. –Chris Coplan


    43. Radiohead – Amnesiac

    Let’s say up front what this album is not: a collection of Kid A b-sides. Equal parts follow-up and companion to Radiohead’s seminal 2000 LP, Amnesiac was immediately viewed as b-sides and leftovers, but it ended up being an album just as challenging and cohesive as any other Radiohead release before or since. The New Orleans jazz of “Life in a Glasshouse” will crush your spirit, while the schizophrenic “Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors” taps into the paranoia surrounding the new millennium’s digital age. –Anthony Balderrama


    42. The Knife – Silent Shout

    Following the success of “Heartbeats”, a bittersweet pop number that became an instant classic, you wouldn’t have blamed Swedish brother-sister duo The Knife for trying to repeat the formula. Instead they released Silent Shout, an icy electro-pop album so steeped in drum loops and androgynous voice manipulation-not to mention musings on gender roles and sexual identity-that you feel as if you’re listening to the coolest psychology thesis ever. The title track and manic dance number “We Share Our Mother’s Health” are as cryptic as they are catchy no matter how many times you listen to them. –Anthony Balderrama


    41. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP

    Before Eminem had to put Mariah Carey in her place and before 8 Mile, there was The Marshall Mathers LP you nervously and quite gleefully bumped in your car in the summer of 2000. While The Slim Shady LP made you think Em was a jokester, this album here took the knife attacks and drug use to a much darker and more sinister level. A level, by the way, you hated yourself for loving. But visceral reactions aside, this album earned legendary status for its raw, in your face attitude, slick beats, and even deadlier wordplay. To this day, nothing beats awkward head bopping to “Kim” or “The Way I Am”. –Chris Coplan


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