The Top 40 Albums of the Decade

A note of intro: to preclude the usual carping that comes whenever I make a list like this: yes, of course, this is all subjective. All music criticism is subjective. If there was an objective standard for judging music, then we wouldn’t need music critics, and we wouldn’t need record labels, and we wouldn’t need press flacks: corporations would just put out a very small number of records that met the objective standard for “good music” and everyone would buy and listen to the same small number of things. It is subjectivity, both in terms of artists’ aspirations and talents and critical and commercial response to them, that makes music exciting. You can’t have a happy train wreck or an inspired mistake in a world ruled by objectivity.

And, yes, of course this is also just my opinion, and it’s based on what I listen to, which (unfortunately) does not include every bit of music made in the world, commercial or otherwise. But, then, this is my blog, isn’t it? Why would I fill my blog with somebody else’s opinion, or include things that I actually didn’t like or listen to, just to look “cool” in the eyes of the sorts of folks who take comfort in their own obscurantism? If you want to know what Kurt Loder or Dave Marsh or Greil Marcus or the editorial staff of Pitchfork think about the best albums of the decade, then go read their blogs.

So with that as preamble, here’s what I come up with after an extensive review of the 10 annual lists I posted over the decade, buffed up by some commercial and critical scans of other items from the era:

…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Source Tags & Codes (2002)
Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005)
Bjork, Vespertine (2001)
British Sea Power, Do You Like Rock Music? (2008)
Caribou, Andorra (2007)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)
The Chap, Mega Breakfast (2008)
Clutch, Robot Hive/Exodus (2005)
Department of Eagles, The Cold Nose (2007)
Edan, Beauty and the Beat (2005)

Max Eider, Hotel Figueroa (2002)
Electric Six, Fire (2003)
The Fall, The Real New Fall LP…Formerly Country On the Click (2004)
Frightened Rabbit, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008)
Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (2006)

Gorillaz, Gorillaz (2001)
Cee-Lo Green, Cee-Lo Green . . . Is the Soul Machine (2004)
Japanther, Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt (2009)
King Crimson, The Power to Believe (2003)
Konono No. 1, Congotronics (2005)

Paul McCartney, Memory Almost Full (2007)
M.I.A., Kala (2007)
Mindless Self Indulgence, You’ll Rebel to Anything (2005)
Mos Def, The Ecstatic (2009)
Napalm Death, Time Waits for No Slave (2009)

The National, Boxer (2007)
Outkast, Stankonia (2000)
Pere Ubu, Long Live Pere Ubu! (2009)
The Residents, Demons Dance Alone (2002)
The Residents, Animal Lover (2005)

Santogold, Santogold (2008)
Steely Dan, Everything Must Go (2003)
System of a Down, Toxicity (2001)
Ween, Quebec (2003)
Ween, Shinola, Vol. I (2005)

Why?, Alopecia (2008)
Wire, Send (2003)
The White Stripes, Icky Thump (2007)
Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles (2004)
Warren Zevon, Life’ll Kill Ya (2000)

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