Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top 10 Favorite Albums of the 2000's first decade

Compiling this list was harder than I thought it would be - two of my favorite bands during this first decade have been the Black Keys and White Stripes, whose entire catalogs were released during this time (with the exception of the White Stripes' debut album from 1999). Also, I was somewhat surprised that just about every year was represented in my personal list. Ah, and that brings me to another point...notice how I included "favorite" in the title because unlike professional critics who think their opinion is the be-all, end-all when it comes to what the top albums are, I realize my personal "top 10" could be somebody else's "bottom 10"...although they would be wrong, of course. :)

Without further ado, let's get this started with number 10 - since counting down backward to 1 is supposed to be more dramatic...I guess. Anyway...

10. The Best Little Secrets are Kept - Louis XIV (2005)

This album kind of makes me think that this could have been what might have happened if Bon Scott hadn't died and then decided to take AC/DC in a "new direction" in the early 80's. This album has a rockin', bad boy (almost a bit revolting at times if you pay attention to some of the lyrics) feel to it like any other traditional rock album...yet, the sound is a little out in left field, so to speak. I only wish they would have added their great instrumental "The Hunt" to this album.

9. Costello Music - The Fratellis (2007)

Fun album that'll have you tapping your toes and bobbin' your head to the beat (though some of the beats are a bit off-time and off-kilter - but they work). "Creepin' up the Backstairs" is probably the most well-known song from the album.

8. Audioslave - Audioslave (2002)

What do you get when you mix Rage Against the Machine with the lead singer of Soundgarden? A kickass album, in my opinion. This group's first album blasted you in the package from the get-go with "Cochise", and didn't let up with the awesomeness throughout the entire album. In fact, the final track, "The Last Remaining Light", is my favorite song on the album. Too bad they couldn't keep the magic going in their subsequent albums.

7. Is This It - The Strokes (2001)

What a great friggin' album! The riffs, the beats, the vocals - everything is put together simply and solidly for an album filled with catchy tunes. I remember first hearing "Last Nite" and thinking "wow, haven't heard a song like this in a long time - I need to hear more!". "Soma" and "Take It or Leave It" are two of my favorites.

6. Contraband - Velvet Revolver (2004)

"Well, awright! GnR is back with a better singer!" is what I thought when I first heard about the creation of Velvet Revolver. I was just hoping the songs wouldn't suck - and, man, they sure didn't! Great, straight-forward, rock-n-roll album - with a few ballad-esque numbers thrown in. In fact, one of those more mellow tunes, "You Got no Right", is my favorite off the album.

5. Parachutes - Coldplay (2000)

In my opinion, Coldplay is a group that defies logic. With each successive album, the quality of their songs have gotten worse; yet they've become bigger and more successful with each successive album. Their debut album is so dang good - full of rich, atmospheric sound and quality lyrics. Their second album also very solid (some may say their best). Third album - crap. Fourth album - even crappier. Oh well, enough of that. This album is a perfect listen on those cold, cloudy, rainy or snowy days - just slap on a pair of headphones and shut out the world around you.

4. Elephant - The White Stripes (2003)

This was an incredibly tough choice for me, as all but one of their albums were released this decade. Do I go with "White Blood Cells", which featured the first song I had heard from them - "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" - a song with such an infectious riff, that it drove me to buy my first electric guitar just so I could play the riff? Do I go with "De Stijl", an incredibly good album filled with bluesy-perfection? No, in the end, I gotta go with the album that combined everything that was great about their first three albums and raised it up another level yet. This really is a behemoth of an album, and I can't think of a more appropriate title than what it was given. The greatness of this album made it even harder to accept how sub-par their next two albums were, but - oh well - the first four albums more than make up for it.

3. Rubber Factory - The Black Keys (2004)

Even harder than my White Stripes album choice was my Black Keys choice. The Black Keys may just be the best group going today. This album was my first introduction to this incredible duo and it instantly blew me away! Is there a more kickass song than "Stack Shot Billy"? Well, sure, but the choices are few. Their cover of "Act Nice and Gentle" is one of my favorites as well. Like I said, this was a tough choice as the two albums that preceded it, and the two albums that proceeded it, are all fucking brilliant! All I can say is that I hope there's more to come from this group in the next decade.

2. Wolfmother - Wolfmother (2006)

This album will punch you square in the clackers and you'll thank them for it! Plain and simple, this album ROCKS!!! Alot of people harp on them and say that they're just recycling old Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath sounds - well, to that, I say "THANK YOU, Wolfmother! More please!". I wish there were more new groups dabbling in the great inventiveness of late-60's and early 70's rock. This album is cosmic, man, cosmic...what an incredible debut album. Favorite song - "Colossal". As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to listen to that right now.

1. Diorama - Silverchair (2002)

I've got one word for this album - "Masterpiece"! This Australian group continued to evolve from it's mid-90's grunge origins with each successive album, but their first release in the 21st century is this century's finest piece of popular music - in my opinion of course. Songs like "Across the Night", "The Greatest View", and one of my all-time favorites from any band - "Tuna in the Brine", sound as if they should be on other classics such as The Beatles' "Abbey Road" or Queen's "A Night at the Opera". If you haven't heard this album, you're missing out on greatness. Don't your ears deserve something great for a change?

Best of the rest (in alphabetical order):

Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black" (2007): She's weird, but this album has a great retro sound.

Belinda Carlisle - "Voila" (2007): Surprisingly good - even though it's all in French. Another underrated gem from the former Go-Go.

Dan Auerbach - Keep it Hid (2009): Solo effort from The Black Keys' frontman. Do not keep this one hid! (that was my clever play on the album title...*ahem*) "Real Desire" is a standout track.

The Darkness - "Permission to Land" (2003): Solid debut rocker. They could have been somebody, they could have been a contender.

Evanescence - "The Open Door" (2006): Great voice, great sound.

Fiona Apple - "Extraordinary Machine" (2005): I love her voice...and her eyes...ok, I'm starting to get creepy. The bootleg version of this album is even better...but you didn't hear that from me.

Franz Ferdinand - "You Could Have it so Much Better" (2005): Catchy tunes!

Green Day - "American Idiot" (2004): Better than "Dookie".

Kylie Minogue - "Light Years" (2000): A girlie album to be sure, this heavily disco-infused gem is a slightly embarrasing guilty pleasure for a dude such as myself.

Metallica - "Death Magnetic" (2008): Just missed my Top 10. Welcome back to greatness, Metallica.

Queens of the Stone Age - "R" (2000), "Songs for the Deaf" (2002): ROCK ON!

Robert Plant/Allison Krauss - "Raising Sand" (2007): Good stuff. This album will surely be on many professional critics' "Best of the decade" lists.

System of a Down - "Hypnotize / Mesmerize" (2005): Essentially a double-album, this melodic, heavy rocker is a must-have.

Tool - "10,000 Days" (2006): A return to greatness after the sub-par "Lateralus" from earlier in the decade.

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