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50 Albums of the Decade

Date November 2, 2009

(photo by dcdead)

I told myself I wasn’t going to do a decades album list. I mean how can you really rank all your favorite albums over a period of ten years that isn’t even completed yet? Over the last couple of months though, I found myself slowly beginning to compile a list of my albums from the 00’s that I loved and I then I began chiseling the list down to around 50 albums. I guess my love for making lists got in the way of the logic and reasoning I had for not making a list. Also since, I started this blog around the middle of the decade I thought only fair that I share this list to acknowledge those great albums that I wasn’t around to write about or put into a fancy EOY list.

A few words of about this list, firstly, these are my personal favorites of the decade and not the end-all be-all of decade-end lists. I realize that some genres (ahem, hip hop) are being woefully underrepresented because of this. Secondably, I would have liked to do full-scale reviews for each album but life kept getting in the way so instead for each album I’ve linked reviews that I feel capture the spirit of the album (click the album cover to go to there). Scroll all the way down to see some albums that “just missed” and some per-year stats (if you want to know which year is best, it’s between ’02 and ’05). So without any further ado, here’s the top 50 albums of the decade according to me. Feel free to dispute or agree with my choices in the comments. Enjoy!

music for kids who can’t read good presents: 50 Albums Of The Decade

50. Mates of State - Bring It Back (2007)

Key track: “Beautiful Dreamer”

49. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest (2009)

Key track: “Two Weeks”

48. Beirut - Gulag Orkestrar (2006)

Key track: “Postcards in Italy”

47. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)

Key track: “Hotel Yorba”

46. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That (2005)

Key track: “Consolation Prizes”

Follow the jump to see the rest!

45. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)

Key Track: “Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots, Pt. 1”

44. Band of Horses - Everything All Of The Time (2006)

Key Track: “The Funeral”

43. LCD Soundsystem -  Sound of Silver

Key Track: “All My Friends”

42. M.I.A. - Arular (2005)

Key Track: “Bucky Done Gun”

41. The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)

Key Track: “Such Great Heights”

40. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

Key Track: “Bodysnatchers”

39. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight (2002)

Key Track: “The Way We Get By”

38. TV on the Radio - Dear Science (2008)

Key Track: “Lover’s Day”

37. Rilo Kiley - The Execution of All Things (2002)

Key Track: “Spectacular Views”

36. Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)

Key Track: “Aerodynamic”

35. Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (2005)

Key Track: “Ageless Beauty”

34. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife (2006)

Key Track: “The Crane Wife 1 & 2”

33. Sigur Ros - () (2002)

Key Track: “Untitled 8 (popplagia)”

32. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (2007)

Key Track: “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

31. Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)

Key Track: “NYC”

30. Wolf Parade: Apologies to Queen Mary (2005)

Key Track: “I’ll Believe In Anything”

29. The Good Life - Black Out (2002)

Key Track: “Don’t Make Love So Hard”

28. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion (2009)

Key Track: “My Girls”

27. Elliott Smith - Figure 8 (2000)

Key Track: “Everything Reminds Me Of Her”

26. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (2008)

Key Track: “White Winter Hymnal”

25. Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)

Key Track: “If You Find Yourself Caught In Love”

24. The Shins - Oh Inverted World (2001)

Key Track: “Know Your Onion”

23. Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan (2003)

Key Track: “For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti”

22. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings (2006)

Key Track: “Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings”

21. Yo La Tengo - ...And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000)

Key Track: “You Can Have It All”

20. of Monreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)

Key Track: “Lysergic Bliss”

19. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (2000)

Key Track: “Letter From An Occupant”

18. Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)

Key Track: “Sunset Soon Forgotten”

17. The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (2002)

Key Track: “No Children”

16. Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8 (2007)

Key Track: “Take Your Medicine”

15. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive (2008)

Key Track: “Constructive Summer”

14. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People (2003)

Key Track: “Cause = Time”

13. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)

Key Track: “Finer Feelings”

12. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans (2004)

Key Track: “He Woke Me Up Again”

11. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (2006)

Key Track: “Dress Up In Me”

10. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)

Key Track: “Lisztomania”

09. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer (2007)

Key Track: “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal”

08. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

Key Track: “Idioteque”

07. Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs (2005)

Key Track: “Tables and Chairs”

06. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday (2005)

Key Track: “How a Resurrection Really Feels”

05. Sigur Ros - Ágætis Byrjun (2000)

Key Track: “Vidrar Vel Til Loftárása”

04. The National - Alligator - (2005)

Key Track: “Mr. November”

03. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (2005)

Key Track: “Casimir Pulaski Day”

02. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

Key Track: “Jesus Etc.”

01. Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)

Key Track: “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”

Just Missed:

Jens Lekman – You’re So Silent Jens
Kanye West – The College Dropout
Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy
The Mountain Goats – Sunset Tree
Death Cab for Cutie – The Photo Album
The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Muse – Origin of Symmetry
Bright Eyes – Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
The National – Boxer

By Year:

2000 (5 Albums, Highest Placing: #5)
2001 (3 Albums, Highest Placing: #24)
2002 (8 Albums, Highest Placing: #2)
2003 (4 Albums, Highest Placing: #14)
2004 (4 Albums, Highest Placing: #1)
2005 (8 Albums, Highest Placing: #3)
2006 (5 Albums, Highest Placing: #11)
2007 (8 Albums, Highest Placing: #9)
2008 (3 Albums, Highest Placing: #15)
2009 (3 Albums, Highest Placing: #10)

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52 Responses to “50 Albums of the Decade”

  1. Taylor said:

    Two things: the fact that Paste posted their 50 top albums of the decade today and we have the EXACT SAME ALBUMS in our top three was totally unplanned. Just sayin’.

    Also, click on album no. 34 for perhaps one of the most hilarious reviews you’ll ever read by a tiny mix tapes turned musicforants.com writer.

  2. Erika said:

    Yes, yes, yes!

  3. Dom said:

    dude, freakin’ nice list. i now know how i’m going to round out my music collection. (missing a couple of these!)

  4. Anonymous said:

    nice list! but i think The Avalanches “Since I Left You” deserves a spot 😛

  5. Cass said:

    I was SO happy to see that Seperation Sunday made the #6 spot… The Hold Steady are my favourite band right now (they have been for the last year+) and SS is my favourite of their albums. Nice to see they’re getting the love they deserve <3

  6. Wassim said:

    there is absolutely no hip-hop on here, aside from Kanye West under “Just Missed”


  7. Scott Melendez said:

    Your list is so much better than Pitchfork’s. I probably would have switched out Oh Inverted World for Chutes Too Narrow, and Shut Up I’m Dreaming, for Random Spirit Lover, but otherwise great list, yay for originality.

  8. Bill said:

    Nice list…I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve only listened to like half those albums!

  9. Angie said:

    Guess who has all of those albums? Go on, guess. :)

  10. Taylor said:

    Wassim, read second paragraph, second sentence. Also, M.I.A. is #42. :)

  11. Wassim said:

    psht, MIA doesn’t count

    you could’ve at least included Madvillain!

    but ok

  12. Taylor said:

    MIA totally counts. i listen to hip hop more on a song-to-song basis then albums now. i think the 90s had a lot more great hip hop albums (black planet, liquid swords, Bizarre Ride II, Things Fall Apart, 36 Chambers, low end theory, etc).

  13. Matt said:

    I will say that it upsets me that the on all the best-of-the-decade lists I’ve seen, no one has included El-P’s Fantastic Damage.

    Also, STANKONIA.

  14. Taylor said:

    Stankonia is definitely worthy, but as I was saying the singles connected to me way more than the album. I’ll have to check out fantastic damage, Matt. I just have “i’ll sleep when you’re dead”.

  15. Serg said:

    Oh man, Taylor
    What an undertaking. Congrats on being able to compile the list. But you know, I have some major issues with it. My top ten would look nothing like yours. Difference between writers at one blog is a good thing, ya? I think I have to get a decade list together as a response. It should be … fun.

  16. francois said:

    Nice list,

  17. Anna said:

    Got some old albums by some artists that I love on there – will totally have to listen to them now.

    Postal Service should have been MUCH higher though :)

  18. Linds said:

    love all the Sam Beam 😀

  19. anonymous said:

    Now, I know this list is based solely on your personal taste, but in this day and age, how does a ‘relevant’ blogger/music critic get away with almost solely digging indie-pop guitar music made by hip white people?

    I’m not gonna call you out on being a racist, because that’s a ridiculous assumption to make, but if this list was any whiter it would be in a contest with pretending to like jazz as the whitest fucking thing of all time.

  20. Cheryse said:


    People are so funny. Anonymous people to be exact.

    This is a great list, Taylor. Although mine would probably look a little different, making my way towards your #1 pick just reminded why I loved reading your blog so much.

  21. Anonymous said:

    these are his favorite albums, it’s not like he went out and deliberately excluded black artists.

  22. Anonymous said:

    This list shows no insight as to why these are great albums. Instead we’re left with other people’s reviews, which is really the point of this list. It’s just an aggregate of the top albums that all the indie tastemakers have been pushing for the last ten years. Keep drinkin’ that delicious sparks flavored kool-aid.

  23. Anonymous said:

    Gorillaz are not on the list.


  24. Zach said:

    excellent…I really like where of Montreal is on here…”Hissing Fauna” is generally underrated as an album

  25. Anonymous said:

    Very nice list.

  26. madison ave said:

    Ridiculously. Black Sheep Boy should be in the top ten at least, not, “just missed,” I feel like that was done specifically to piss me off. You just lost all your hot music blog cred.
    Why would you pick more than one album by each artists? Does Michigan by Sufjan Stevens deserve a place at all? It was mediocre compared to Illinoise. This list makes it look like you’ve heard of about 15 bands.

  27. Taylor said:

    Your argument doesn’t make any sense. Including the “just missed” section there’s almost 50 artists on this list. And there’s many many people who consider Michigan to be a better album than Illinois, calling it mediocre completely invalidates your opinion.

  28. madison ave said:

    “End of,” lists tend to hurt. I’m not going to attack a music blog I read regularly (2 years), I’m just mad that most of my favourite albums were left out of this.
    I said mediocre compared to Illinois, not mediocre in general, there are probably more people who would agree with that.
    I really love the inclusion of Cloud Cult though, I also didn’t read the introduction so I assumed this was your list of ultimate ‘2000’ records. Sorry.

  29. Taylor said:

    No hard feelings. It seems like the majority of negative commenters are not reading the intro and misunderstanding the list.

  30. Sam Clark said:

    This list is great =D
    For all those who say its not, get a life and find something else to bitch about

  31. greymatter said:

    Solid list! I can’t stand people who tear down another person’s opinions. If they think they can do better, they should do it themselves!

  32. David said:

    I’m surprised that Sunset Rubdown’s Random Spirit Lover wasn’t included, which, if I remember correctly, was your favourite album from that particular year. I think it has some simply spectacular tracks, so I wonder, has it fallen out of favour since?

  33. Taylor said:

    @David: Random Spirit Lover was actually #11 on that list. Cloud Cult was my number #1 (although I ranked “Hissing Fauna” and “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” ahead of it on this list).

    Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

  34. Allie said:

    Not gonna lie–I’m a little sad that Vampire Weekend didn’t make this list… Their album really brought new awareness of the indie world to people who generally listen to mainstream music. Not to mention that it’s just fun to listen to.

  35. Allie said:

    Also, so glad to see Rilo Kiley on there. Also Cloud Cult.

  36. Seanyboy said:

    hey, decent list, although I’m also surprised that Black Sheep Boy didn’t make the 50.
    Also, no Feel Good Ghosts?
    Looking more forward to your end of year list, tis always nicer to read why an album is on there :)
    Keep up the good work.

  37. Robin Buckley said:

    Again where are the brits?

    Arctic Monkeys, Late of the Pier, Franz Ferdinand, Foals, The Libertines, Los Campesinos?

    Sad to see the country so neglected…

    Maybe The Strokes? Vampire Weekend?

    Otherwise some interesting stuff I would like to check out now :)

  38. chris said:

    nice list bro

  39. DP said:

    Arcade Fire ? is that a joke? it is a joke right ? No ? FUCK!

  40. Costello said:

    No strokes, or vampire weekend album equates this list to be shite.

  41. Eric said:

    aren’t opinions amazing?

  42. Brad said:

    Great list. I still need to get a few of these.


    We did our list here – http://therecommender.net

    3nr Sufjan Stevens albums in the Top 50 is perhapa a little unfair when there is no place for many others, including Neon Bible. At least you made up with Funeral at number one.

    Not sure Arcade Fire have at least 50 places between their two albums if Sufjan has 3 included.

    Still it’s a brave list, packed with many amazing albums, so thanks loads.


  44. Natalie Skiller said:


    As usual, you hit it on the head. Awesome list. So glad you put Arcade Fire first. although think Oh Inverted and Our Endless Numbered Days I think could have been pushed a little closer to the top.

    Swear that if we both weren’t married, we would have to run away together, since our music tastes are just about identical. love it hun, thanks so very much…

    A few days late my post comes. A bit slack this month due to moving again!!

    Your Aussie Twin
    Natalie 😛

  45. american sun said:


    my list

  46. jamsie irish said:

    This is a great list. Completely agree with Arcade Fire at No. 1.

    I think LCD Soundsystem should be much higher, though and Interpol as well – both great albums. I also think Bjork’s “Vespertine” album should feature too.

  47. Marcus said:

    good list except for some of the key tracks. bodysnatchers completely kills the mood for me on in ranbows, i think nude’s the best. and vidrar is nowhere near the best on agaetis

  48. Anonymous said:

    Yessssss. Satanic in the Panic rules. .

    Nice list.

  49. mike said:

    Decent list but c’mon, if Funeral is number one where is Neon Bible?
    No Springsteen aswell? The Rsing is without doubt worthy of a top ten pace.

    TV ON The Radio however is a great call. Overall a passible list, better than the crap given by so called ‘music’ magazines like NME.

  50. Katie said:

    No Strokes? I guess this only reflects your personal tastes but still…

  51. connor said:

    what about The Strokes “Is This It”