We all have albums that have hit us in that musical and emotional sweet spot.
And like an addiction, we can’t stop listening, until we’ve practically beaten them into the ground.
There is nothing like the initial thrill of discovering such an album. We may not ever return to them with that same intensity again, but there is no denying that they have indelibly imprinted themselves on us. If we do revisit them in later years, more than likely a special feeling washes over us like no other
More so than any other decade, the 00’s were a time when I got hooked on albums that just floored me – from top to bottom.
It greatly helped that about halfway into the decade, I had logged on to streaming with Rhapsody. I was now availing myself to much more music than I ever had, though I hadn’t stopped buying CDs altogether.
Albums that were a core part of my musical formation in my younger years were likely to have quite a few songs that I would wait patiently to finish, so I could get to the three or four songs I really loved. I would have still probably called these albums “great.”
Conversely, by the 00s, my definition as an adult of what constituted a “great album” was:
It had songs that just really hit me hard, one after another, with no more than one or two skips. And it was more than just a collection of great songs.
Those songs conspired together to set a distinctive mood, and take me to a place where I would not want to leave anytime soon.
Here is my list of 10 Great Albums of the ‘00s, ranked in order.
This is not a “greatest albums of the decade” list. I have not listened to enough music to ever presume to be qualified to make such a list. And it would still be my opinion anyway.
No, these are simply albums that personally grabbed a hold of me and worked their magic, making me want to keep listening endlessly. In some cases, I was never the same after the experience.
Out of curiosity, I did look at Rolling Stone’s list of Best 100 Albums of the 2000s, and saw that four out of my ten were on the list, though none were in their top 20.
I also saw many albums, particularly higher up, by artists that try as I might, I most likely will never get. I’m at peace with that.
Perhaps: we share a love for one or more of the albums on my list.
It would be fun to hear about that.
If there is something here that you haven’t heard before or only know marginally, I invite you to listen to it and see if it does anything for you. And if you have any favorite albums of the ‘00s that you would like
to share with the class, please, by all means, have at it!
(#71 Rolling Stone)
It’s as if the band prepared for this moment by spending their entire lives listening to nothing but high-octane punk and disco records. (Is there any other kind?) Then they just got together and came up with banger upon banger, for a debut that explodes with a non-stop, uncontainable energy and oozes cool and sweat from every pore.
I’m still listening, and it knocks me to the ground to this day, unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I’m not sure if anything will ever eject it out of the top spot. If something eventually does, I can’t wait to hear it.
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Flaming Lips
(#27 Rolling Stone)
Shook me to the core by altering the way I hear music and getting me to see life through a different lens. It showed me the great power in something that could be eccentric and unconventional, and at the same time, sincere, heartfelt, and vulnerable. It truly blew my mind and encouraged me to dig deeper to find my own voice.
Three Flights From Alto Nido
A wistful song cycle about relationships lost or hoped for, and about the songwriting process itself, wrapped in irresistible melodies and deft production that gives it an attractive sheen but keeps it earthy and raw. Laswell’s voice gently compels you to listen and is like a drug that doesn’t get you high, yet you still can’t get enough.
Graham Day and the Gaolers
A snarling take on 60s rock with gobs of hooky melodies, harmonies and grooves. Day writes strictly about what he knows, like smoking, drinking, writing songs, playing gigs, and telling it like it is. So many killer songs. Barely anyone has heard it – and that is criminal.
(#56 Rolling Stone)
A crown jewel of its era, heavily influenced by Afropop, with touches of classical. There were many albums that were highly touted at the time, but personally didn’t do much for me. This one walked the walk with irresistible songs, exquisite arrangements, and an Ivy League vibe that makes upper- crust sound fun. Kind of like watching Rory Gilmore go off to Yale, before things got ugly.
Love, Save The Empty
Love her voice, her songwriting, the arrangements and overall vibe of this thing. It’s somehow big and intimate, lush and raw, perky and sad, at the same time. Every song hits.
A collage of spacy electronic sounds and infectious beats with enough hooks and vague spiritual messaging that kept me coming back for more ad infinitum. Made me want to dance and contemplate at the same time.
The Trials of Van Occupanther
Thematically rooted in the farmlands of the late 1800s, and musically rooted in laid back 70s California rock a-la Fleetwood Mac. It is both alluringly strange – and oddly familiar.
(#47 Rolling Stone)
Not sure what to say that hasn’t already been said about this mesmerizing, dreamy indie-folk masterpiece. The pure sonic beauty emanating from songs like “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” stopped me in my tracks and whisked me off to a place I couldn’t quite describe, but to where I knew I must return.
Rockin’ the Suburbs
As a piano player, no one in the rock world has made me feel like quitting the instrument more than this guy has.
His chops are out of this world phenomenal, but more than that, he found a way to unleash raw power from the instrument unlike possibly any other rock piano player I’ve ever heard.
That said, his playing never overpowers, but works in tandem with enticing melodies and chord structures, crystalline vocals and engaging observations, both wry and earnest, to just crank out one great song after another like it’s nothing.
Is this his best? I have no idea.
But it’s sickeningly good enough to send me plummeting into a spiral of self-doubt. And it has never felt better
No, it’s not a joke. This is truly and unironically a great album.
Here are all the albums on one playlist. Sorry, it’s not in the above order. I didn’t feel like fixing it. Lazy…
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