My Own Top 100 Albums of the Decade

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been working on this collaborative ranking of the top 100 albums of the decade with some of my friends in the higher ed web world. Holly, one of our partners-in-crime, just posted a few words about this project that I felt were spot on:

When you learn that you share musical tastes with others you are networking with on Twitter in a more professional sense, something cool happens – signals take on a higher level of relevance. You develop more associations to that person. If you’re Andrew [Careaga], you’ve identified a tribe of those folks – and you pull them together to collaborate.

That’s more or less how I felt. One of the great things I’ve gotten out of Twitter is finding these communities of affiliation, and communities within communities. While I have a great network of contacts in higher ed via Twitter, within that network, I have people who I consider more as friends than just contacts. Then there’s a circle of musically-inclined folks, most of whom are involved in this project. Then there are the people based in Boston with whom I connect locally and in person more often. If I tried to map it out, the marker board would look like a lesson in Venn diagrams — as it should.

When you can tap your network or subnetwork on a project such as this, you’ve really done something special. It’s not easy, what with logistics and coordination, but it’s one of the truest testaments to what this new age of media and communication is all about.

That said, we couldn’t have accomplished our group effort without doing our own homework, so I have my own list of the top 100 albums of the decade. True confession: I agonized about compiling this list, and even considered not joining the project because of that agony. Why? Well, one of my least favorite questions is “What’s your favorite song/band/album?” It’s always hell for me to pin that stuff down and rank it. I get overwhelmed as images of every album I’ve even so much as given a sidelong glance in my life flashes before my eyes. For that reason, the thought of sitting down with a decade’s worth of music scared the living daylights out of me. But the sheer awesomeness and collaborative spirit of the project swayed me to agree to participate, and I’m glad I did. It ended up being fun to stare down and sift through the decade, coming out of the process with my own estimation of it.

So, here are my top 100. Caveat: I only hold these rankings to be true at the moment they were completed. If I started this list over from scratch right now, I’m sure things would change. It’s just how I am. That said, I’m very curious to hear your agreements/disagreements/additions/removals. What did I miss? Where was I spot on? Which inclusion completely baffles you?  Please weigh in with comments!

Without further ado…

  1. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
  2. The National – Alligator (2005)
  3. Weakerthans – Left and Leaving (2000)
  4. Glen Phillips – Winter Pays for Summer (2005)
  5. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
  6. Hem – Rabbit Songs (2001)
  7. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America (2006)
  8. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
  9. Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy (2000)
  10. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (2005)
  11. Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers – Hang On Mike (2004)
  12. Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) (2008)
  13. Jens Lekman – When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog (2004)
  14. Rufus Wainwright – Poses (2002)
  15. The Long Winters – When I Pretend to Fall (2003)
  16. PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
  17. Bishop Allen – EP-a-month project (2006) [Yes, it’s not an album, it’s 12 EPs over the course of a year, but too bad :-)]
  18. Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica (2000)
  19. Laura Veirs – Year of Meteors (2005)
  20. Brendan Benson – Lapalco (2002)
  21. Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (2000)
  22. Hello Saferide – Introducing… (2005)
  23. Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008)
  24. Nada Surf – Let Go (2003)
  25. Girlyman – Little Star (2005)
  26. Kathleen Edwards – Failer (2003)
  27. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones (2006)
  28. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire (2005)
  29. Beck – Sea Change (2002)
  30. Mike Doughty – Skittish (2000)
  31. Eels – Souljacker (2001)
  32. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat (2006)
  33. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
  34. New Pornographers – Twin Cinema (2005)
  35. Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures (2005)
  36. The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site (2003)
  37. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm (2005)
  38. Fleet Foxes – s/t (2008)
  39. XTC – Apple Venus vol. 2 (2000)
  40. Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger (2007)
  41. LCD Soundsystem – s/t (2005)
  42. Iron and Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)
  43. Cat Power – You Are Free (2003)
  44. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)
  45. Midlake – The Trials of von Occupanther (2006)
  46. The Wrens – Meadowlands (2003)
  47. Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (2003)
  48. John Vanderslice – Life and Death of an American Four-Tracker (2002)
  49. MIA – Kala (2007)
  50. The Long Winters – Putting the Days to Bed (2006)
  51. Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004)
  52. The Knife – Deep Cuts (2003)
  53. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Angles (2008)
  54. Idlewild – The Remote Part (2002)
  55. The National – Boxer (2007)
  56. New Pornographers – Challengers (2007)
  57. Spoon – Gimme Fiction (2005)
  58. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)
  59. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)
  60. The Swell Season – Once soundtrack (2007) [It’s technically a soundtrack, but it’s essentially a Swell Season album]
  61. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief (2003)
  62. Steve Burns – Songs for Dustmites (2003)
  63. Cake – Comfort Eagle (2001)
  64. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
  65. Hidden Cameras – Missisauga Goddam (2004)
  66. Franz Ferdinand – s/t (2004)
  67. Guster – Keep it Together (2003)
  68. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans (2005)
  69. Rogue Wave – Asleep at Heaven’s Gate (2007)
  70. M. Ward – Transistor Radio (2005)
  71. Tegan and Sara – So Jealous (2004)
  72. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007)
  73. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2009)
  74. Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (2009)
  75. Asobi Seksu – Citrus (2006)
  76. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
  77. Shins – Chutes too Narrow (2003)
  78. Jayhawks – Smile (2000)
  79. The Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
  80. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
  81. Metric – Live it Out (2005)
  82. Brendan Benson – The Alternative to Love (2005)
  83. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (2008)
  84. They Might Be Giants – The Spine (2004)
  85. Ben Folds – Rocking the Suburbs (2001)
  86. Mike Viola – Just Before Dark (2005)
  87. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz (2009)
  88. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor (2005)
  89. Langhorne Slim – s/t (2008)
  90. Freedy Johnston – Right Between the Promises (2001)
  91. Cursive – The Ugly Organ (2003)
  92. White Stripes – Elephant (2003)
  93. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)
  94. Justin Timberlake – Futuresex/Lovesounds (2006)
  95. Ted Leo – Shake the Sheets (2004)
  96. Laura Veirs – Saltbreakers (2007)
  97. The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride (2008)
  98. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
  99. John Wesley Harding – Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead (2009)
  100. Menomena – I Am the Fun Blame Monster (2004)

15 responses to “My Own Top 100 Albums of the Decade

  1. Hey, great list! I agree 99%: At #61 I would have Amnesiac, which I think is much better than Hail to the Thief.

  2. So many of my favourites on here. Kathleen Edwards, Neko Case, the Weakerthans. I’d have reversed the order, myself – Reconstruction Site is in my all-time top-ten – but I understand the appeal of Left and Leaving. The title track makes me weep every time I see them play it live.

    You didn’t care for the new Metric record, Fantasies? I know it’s a bit of a departure, for them, but I’m madly in love with it.

    • When you see my best of 2009 list, you’ll see “Fantasies” in my “underlistened” categories. I have no given that record its due, but I will!

  3. Great list! I own, um, two of them. What this post is missing is a Win Them All contest!


  4. Terrific list. Some overlap with my own (which shall revealed soon) but also much more diverse. And to think you thought your picks might reveal some gap in your musical knowledge. Tsk, tsk.

    Thanks, too, for the kind words. It’s been a lot of fun working with you, Holly and everyone else involve d in this collaboration.

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  6. Many records here that I recognize, and plenty others this list makes me want to go listen to.

    One of the CDs that would with a permanent place on my desert island list is The Cardigans’ Long Gone Before Daylight. It’s a beginning-to-end listen for me, and one of not too many CDs I own I can say that about.

    Oh, and Fantasies is a TERRIFIC album. Metric’s best, in my opinion, though more mainstream and therefore, to some, less appealing than their earlier stuff, I’m sure.

    • OK, all I have of the Cardigans is “First Band on the Moon,” “Gran Turismo” and “Super Extra Gravity.” I’m apparently missing out! That one’s going on my wishlist. What did you think of A Camp?

      Also, I’m making a point to listen to “Fantasies” more closely. I’ll report back!

  7. Quite impressive. There are a few quibbles that I have, which is ok–if I didn’t, I think that would mean I don’t listen to music. Here are the two that I’m saddest to see missing: No Doves or Elbow? Good God, I don’t think I could have made it through the decade without those bands…
    How long did it take you to make the list? It would have taken me until 2019 to get mine done.

    • I still remember hearing Elbow’s “Asleep in the Back” for the first time. It was in your old apartment above the EMS on Comm Ave. I think it was an advance copy or something. “Red” utterly floored me.

      There is probably an Elbow album lurking (likely “Asleep in the Back” or “The Seldom Seen Kid”) at number 102 or 103. But like I said, these rankings hold true only for the moment they were completed. Perhaps not having Elbow in the top 100 was an oversight 🙂

      Also… not a big Doves fan. *ducks*

      • Remembering the old Comm Ave apartment absolves you of any musical oversights, crimes, misdemeanors, or lapses of judgment that you may commit.

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