Best/Favorite Albums of 00s

I’m no music critic, so won’t bother trying to articulate precisely why I think these albums are better than any others released in the last ten years. They have impressed me with their musicianship, innovation and emotional heft. I’ve made no attempt to keep sentiment out of my decisions; that’s largely why people make and listen to music and part of what makes a list such as this one so fulfilling is the way in which it measures and signposts my life in the 00’s.

1. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)
Senior year of college was an undeniably fantastic time and this was the soundtrack. I first heard it at my friend John’s house and mocked it as Eurotrashy. It’s fair to say I was wrong.
MP3 – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

2. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
Their epic quality is a little too self-serious for some people, but I think it’s the natural extension of the old emo movement, only with lots more layers of sound, old-timey instruments, chugging percussion and talent.
MP3 – Rebellion (Lies)

3. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (2009)
Groundbreaking stuff. Despite seeming to be an asshole, Dave Longstreth is an undeniably talented asshole. Fusing world music influences with the transcendent voice sounds of the beautiful chorus (Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle), the Dirty Projectors creations are fresh and appealing.
MP3 – Temecula Sunrise

4. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
There should probably be a Radiohead-only category, because that’s how good they are. My favorite band is like the musical equivalent of the Cohen brothers–moving from one genre to another and showing complete mastery of it with everything they release.
MP3 – Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

5. Grizzly Bear – Vecketamist (2009)
Creating music that is undeniably new yet familiar, Grizzly Bear are the most talented musicians I’ve seen live. They took several minutes setting up at Bonnaroo to get their equipment just right, so committed are they to their sound. The result, of course, is flawless, from Ed Droste’s rich voice right through the rest of the band.
MP3 – Southern Point

6. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
The song below was probably my favorite for a few years. To me, YHF was Wilco at its best, an ideal blend of folk, alt-country and experimental rock.
MP3 – I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

7. The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)
Revitalizing the pop rock scene early in the decade, The Strokes conjured some of the deepest hooks ever on this astonishingly cool album.
MP3 – The Modern Age

8. The National – Boxer (2007)
I read somewhere that this is unquestionably a drummer’s album. Having not paid much attention to drums before that, it was like hearing and loving the songs for the first time all over again.
MP3 – Green Gloves

9. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
The pick of many for album of the 2000s, and I’m not going to argue. Imbuing sophisticated electronic sounds with powerful emotion, Kid A deserves all the praise it gets.
MP3 – Everything In Its Right Place

10. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
On the heels of Michigan, the quirky and hugely talented Sufjan Stevens raised fans’ hopes of a 50 state opus with the release of Illinois. That doesn’t look to be on the cards anymore, though it takes nothing away from this fantastic album.
MP3 – Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!

11. Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight (2008)
Sometimes an artist just comes along at the right time. A few days after being completely taken in by the raw emotion of Frightened Rabbit’s music, I was down in New York City watching them in concert. That they’ve reached a larger audience since then is not at all surprising.
MP3 – Floating in the Forth

12. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2003)
I always think the Flaming Lips are from England or Holland instead of Norman, Oklahoma. I think it must have something to do with their sophistication (no offense to Oklahomans).
MP3 – Fight Test

13. Spoon – Kill the Moonlight (2002)
If you want cool, look no further than Spoon. Britt Daniel is cool as they come and both Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga could have easily made it onto this list.
MP3 – Stay Don’t Go

14. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)
Sort of the antithesis of the electronic, experimental direction of many bands, Fleet Foxes’ quiet, pastoral stylings hearken back to a time long forgotten.
MP3 – Blue Ridge Mountains

15. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (2003)
Having “New Slang” featured in Garden State was maybe the best and worst thing to happen to the Shins. That big break brought big expectations and to me, they never managed to recapture the magic present on Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow.
MP3 – Turn A Square

16. Islands – Return to the Sea (2006)
Fun, irreverent and in an instant shifting to earnestness and longing. The amount of personality on this album makes for a joyous and thoughtful trip.
MP3 – Rough Gem

17. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)
High tempos, heartfelt lyrics and driving guitars makes a good recipe for great music and Silent Alarm delivers on every level.
MP3 – This Modern Love

18. White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)
My brother Aaron played this for me when it first came out and it completely captured my imagination… probably because I was listening to LEN’s “Steal My Sunshine” and Santana’s “Smooth” before then.
MP3 – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

19. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
I was psyched to see Phoenix when I went to Bonnaroo and they delivered with the best concert I’ve ever seen. Their guitar riffs went right down to my bones and the crowd was absolutely bananas. They’re the quintessential rock band.
MP3 – Lisztomania

20. Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope (2006)
Though the guitar has been the preferred rock music instrument for quite a while, the piano and cello are pretty much tied for my favorite. Perhaps Regina Spektor’s aborability and musical chops will signal a sea change?
MP3 – Summer in the City

Honorable Mentions:
Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
The Walkmen – Bows and Arrows
TV on the Radio – Dear Science
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
Passion Pit – Manners
The Format – Dog Problems
Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Elvis Perkins in Dearland

29 thoughts on “Best/Favorite Albums of 00s”

  1. have you ever tried listening to anything besides Indie or forms of Indie? Because Im pretty sure there are albums that deserve more attention than some of the ones you just listed. I am just disturbed that you labeled this best of 00’s and did not specify my top songs of 00’s

  2. HEY I DIDNT BOTHER TO READ THE BEGINNING OF YOUR POST AT ALL!!!! OMG THEIR ARE BETTER ALBUMS THEN THESE ONES FROM THE 00s!!! HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT THERE BETTER THEN THE OTHERS LIKE THAT?? ITS JUST YOUR OPINION, GaWSH!

    *Great list man… I have already listened to many, and you can be sure that I’ll give the unheard ones a play*

  3. I bookmarked your list and look forward to exploring these bands. Thanks for taking the time to put a top 25 list together. best. I would add anything by PJ Harvey.

  4. Really good list! Just think Wilco & Strokes should be over Grizzly Bear & Dirty Projectors, but overall my favorite best of 00’s list so far.

  5. I’m really surprised nobody’s heard of The Antlers yet. They’re another amazing band. The Civil Wars too. And People in Planes…

    As for the list…Damn good job here. I still don’t totally understand the hype behind Arcade Fire, but it’s not bad I guess. I can tell this is a favorite list, considering The Postal Service is at the top…yea, they’re ok, but there are better albums. Just sayin. Thumbs up though, putting your tastes out like this on the wide open intertubez is brave, for taste wars are sure to follow. haha

  6. I enjoyed your list, but during the whole thing I was thinking “What , no Regina Spektor” then I got to the end, and there she was!

    Amazing list.

  7. Some of my favourite albums is on there as well, though I would have put several of your Honourable Mentions on the actual list.

    But each man, his opinion. πŸ™‚ You have a great taste in music. I definitely have to check out some of the bands I haven’t heard yet.

    @Randy J.: Apparently the target group Brian is aiming for doesn’t include you. He must be aiming for a literate group of people. I think that’s why he didn’t “specify” any of your top songs.

  8. I bet Randy J. actually bought the new AC/DC album and hasn’t stopped listening to it since. πŸ™‚

    Good White Stripes mention–you should honestly check out “De Stijl” by the Stripes, or better yet, -anything- by the Black Keys.

  9. They weren’t the best albums cause I didn’t buy any of them. What you don’t like and Heavy Metal. No Korn or System of A Down.

  10. Well, at least you had ONE good album amongst the BEST of the 00’s. Only problem is, with such an overall poor taste in generic tripe, I’m slight;y ashamed that you like it – The Flaming Lips = Genuinely good. Everything else = boring generic rubbish. Expand your horizons dude. There is so much good music out there. The human ear is an amazing thing and you are wasting yours.

  11. I think the list is fantastic. You have a lot of good bands in there, and some that I haven’t yet heard. But hey, you’ve got good taste, so I’ll check them out.

  12. Just curious Chech, but what music is not generic tripe in your opinion?

    I liked the list, though I never really got into the Postal Service

  13. Sometimes a favorite is a favorite, not strictly because of musical quality, but because of the time of your life in which you hear it.

    The Postal Service might not grab everyone. But boy oh boy, when I was 16 it sure grabbed me.

  14. Great list- Bookmarked so I can listen to the ones I haven’t heard yet. From what I did recognize, this is a great list (White Stripes, Phoenix, the Strokes, Radiohead…) , although I’m not too fond of the Dirty Projectors or LCD soundsystem. Maybe that’s just me.

    Why no Chinese Democracy?! haha

    Seriously though – Stadium Arcadium?

  15. gotta agree this list is pretty generic, very mtv. glad however the funeral got a shout, love that album.

  16. ALL of these songs are the shit, not going to lie. I love all of these bands. But, I’m going to have to agree with some of these other people….you just kinda stuck to the more popular indie bands….try Discovery or The Decemberists or maybe even the Yeah Yeah Yeahs….
    just branchin’ out a little…

  17. I very much enjoyed reading this.

    Here are my omissions that I’d love to hear your thoughts on:

    -The Doves : Last Broadcast
    -Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights
    -..and you will know us by the trail of dead: World Apart
    -John Frusciasnte: The Empyrean
    -Damien Rice: O
    -Rilo Kiley: The Execution of all things
    -Stars: Set Yourself on Fire
    -Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Living with the Living

    Thanks

  18. Very pleased with this… I enjoy these indie lists much more than mainstream MTV crap. But, I think that these should be added, or at least mentioned:

    Brothers – The Black Keys
    Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
    Strawberry Jam – Animal Collective

  19. This list is so great, so many bands I love, while others I’ve heard of but had no idea where to start with. You’ve definitely got great taste in music!

  20. This is my kind of music, I literally own nearly all of this haha. To anyone who likes this list, also check out Ra Ra Riot, MGMT, Noah and the Whale, and maybe Los Compesinos! These bands are all really different styles of indie music, but I love them.

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