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The Top Ten Albums of the Decade

  • Dec 1, 2009
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Ghostface Killah's hip-hop epic manages to move from crime narrative to life on the streets to general bizarreness like a dream sequence involving Spongebob banging the Eisleys. It's catchy, it's hardcore, it's personal, and it's massive.
See the full review, "Best album of the decade".
One Beat
Sleater-Kinney's mix of rhythm and melody is unsurpassed in the rock world. One Beat, their most diverse album, moves from insanely catchy pop-punk like "Oh!" to Motown-esque tinges on "Step Aside" and Rolling Stones-inspired paean to motherhood in "Sympathy." Every song is good, most are great.
Under the Blacklight
Rilo Kiley's ability to turn tragic stories into gorgeous pop/rock reaches its apex on Under the Blacklight. "Silver Lining" and "15" are stunningly beautiful tales of lives gone astray, while "Breakin' Up" is the most joyous breakup song imaginable. 
See the full review, "Mass appeal done right".
Kid A
Out of nowhere, Radiohead went from somewhat experimental rock band to bizarre, still-immensely-popular, insane soundscape/rock/electronica on Kid A. That it worked is one of the marvels of modern music.
College Dropout
Kanye's debut shattered expectations of what to expect from a producer/rapper, from a debut album, and from a mainstream hip-hop artist in general. He put his insecurities and desires on full display, and backed it up with his at-the-time shockingly new production. Top that off with "Jesus Walks" and you've got a winner.
Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below
This is the clear #1 if it's a single album, as about half the songs on each part are magnificent. That said, there's still enough here to call it one of the best of the decade. The litmus test: if "Hey Ya!" comes on the radio, are you gonna grin and dance, or turn it off? I sure can't turn it off.
See the full review, "Biggest isn't quite best".
Mass Romantic
Just song after song of power pop goodness. The insane catchiness of upbeat songs like "Letter from an Occupant" or the title track are balanced with slower beauty like "Jackie" or "The Fake Headlines." If you haven't heard The New Pornographers, check them out - they're darn hard to dislike.
Pick a Bigger Weapon
Oakland's funky Marxist hip-hop stars strike again with an occasionally dizzying album ranging from anthemic bangers like "Laugh, Love, F*ck" to hilarious societal indictments like "We Are The Ones." The album's highlight is "My Favorite Mutiny," a who's who of "socially conscious" hip-hop, featuring Black Thought of The Roots and Talib Kweli, who, along with The Coup, are all at their rabble-rousing best.
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Neko Case's piercing, ethereal voice ensures that country music has never sounded better. Charming even when singing about serial killers, she brings beauty to each subject she tackles.
Talib Kweli's masterpiece veers wildly all over the place both musically and thematically, and still manages to make it make sense. Songs about crime, parenthood, love, and more all cohere into an album about life itself.

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December 05, 2009
As I said, awesome Sleater-Kinney mention! It's funny because I got into them during high school after hearing "Oh!" but never could really get into any other songs because I found her voice so grating. I'm happy I've given them another chance! Thanks for the list, I really need to do the same!
December 05, 2009
I am finding that music I hated 10 years ago or so is much less grating to me now. I'm giving Daft Punk another listen and not loathing it, oddly.

"Oh!" is a real wildcard of a song. Sometimes it's the best pop-punk song ever made, sometimes it's incredibly grating. It's partially the song that made me love the album and then S-K, and it's also the first song I got tired of from it (though I've never really liked "Light Rail Coyote.")
December 01, 2009
What @MichaelN said! :P  I dig some of the albums on this list though.  I think you might appreciate @cenobite7's list of Best CDs of 2008!
December 01, 2009
Devora, I think you mean "& What Michael N said"
December 01, 2009
All right - list now has text in addition to pictures!
December 01, 2009
Looking forward to some commentary on these albums so I can give you my feedback.
December 01, 2009
I'm working on it, but that tends to take longer. Heh.
December 01, 2009
Since I started doing commentary on lists, I find writing the commentary more fun than the list itself. Looking forward to finding out more about these albums!
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