By Ryan

This is my list of my personal favorite albums, which means that these aren’t necessarily what I think the 100 “best” albums of the decade were, though there’s obviously some overlap, because I have great taste.



100. Battles – Mirrored

Though technically an experimental outfit, Battles seems pretty calculated in terms of output, as Mirrored remains their only full-length in the band’s seven-year existence.  Still, it’ll be tough to ever top the balance of crunchy guitars and electronic loops on their amazing debut.

99. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time

This is one of those albums where a band does nothing you haven’t heard before yet still manages to sound completely necessary, high praise in a decade filled with unnecessary acts.

98. Santogold – Santogold

Santi White’s debut album is equal parts Gwen Stefani and M.I.A., a confident effort by an industry insider.  Plus it makes Bud Light Lime commercials somewhat bearable.

97. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

It wears thin with repeat listening, and I’m not sure that Justin Vernon is much better lyrically than Chris Carrabba, but For Emma hit a lot of folks in that emotional void that music used to speak to on a regular basis.  Bon Iver may never hit that spot again, but for one album few could match him.

96. Sean Lennon – Friendly Fire

Given the credentials, it’s hard to believe that this guy isn’t much more popular.  And given the popularity of his particular brand of twee-indie (Garden State, Juno soundtracks, Death Cab) this decade, it’s inexcusable that this remarkably-consistent album got overlooked.

95. !!! – Myth Takes

!!! has always been a band you could count on for half an album’s worth of solid tracks every time out, but Myth Takes saw them go 10-for-10.  I dare you not to dance.

94. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire

The only time I’ve seen Stars live was in a theatre setting, and that makes perfect sense.  The band seems fit for the stage, crafting their songs in sweeping movements that transition like acts in a play.  This album remains their best, highlighted by the magnificent “Ageless Beauty.”

93. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

MBAR has since dismissed his debut, writing it off as glorified demos, which probably explains why his second record was over-produced.  On his first album, though, he trotted out some killer hooks, funny stories, and twentysomething angst to earn him a “new Dylan”-club membership.

92. Feist – The Reminder

Broken Social Scene fans always knew she could sing, but it wasn’t until The Reminder that Feist became the Canadian Norah Jones, except that Norah would kill for a collection of songs this varied and compelling.

91. Andrew Bird – Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs

He wouldn’t breakthrough until his next album, but The Mysterious Production is where Bird really grew into the sound he is now so well known for.  Some songs feel like works-in-progress, but it only adds to the beauty in gems like “Fake Palindromes.”

90. Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll

Art Brut are like a less-palatable version of The Hold Steady: you either love ‘em or hate ‘em.  If you loved ‘em, though, Bang Bang was and is pure joy throughout.

89. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

As the years go by I become more and more convinced that the emo explosion of the early 2000s ruined Jimmy Eat World’s career arc.  They were always more of a Weezer/Foo Fighters hybrid anyway, but they got lumped in with less talented acts and were written off post-“The Middle.”  But go listen to Bleed American and tell me that it doesn’t hold up.  This is what 2001 sounded like for me, and it always will.

88. Stephen Malkmus – Face The Truth

Listening to this now, it’s hard to hear any huge thing that would lead you to conclude that 2005’s “Malkmus has returned to the Pavement sound” rumors were confirmed.  Instead, Face The Truth just outpaced his first two solo efforts in terms of quality.

87. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

More accessible than A Ghost Is Born, more immediate than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and certainly better than Sky Blue Sky, this album proves that Wilco has a lot more to give us before they’re through.  And while their three album stretch from Summerteeth to A Ghost remains the gold standard, the first half of this record approaches that standard, even if the later half stumbles slightly.

86. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers

Jack White always said that this was going to be Detroit’s answer to Nevermind.  Well, no.  But it was pretty damn good, and gave Jack room to play when many felt he had painted himself into a corner with The Stripes.  And Brendan’s no slouch, either.

85. Radiohead – Amnesiac

Thom Yorke famously said that this album and Kid A “cancel each other out,” but the relationship between the two always felt overstated to me.  Amnesiac seemed like the OK Computer follow-up, and Kid A the “new direction” album.  While the later is more important, the former just might be more fun, as evidenced by the popularity of its singles.

84. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

One of the few albums one could listen to with their grandfather and reasonably expect both parties to enjoy it.  So timeless, I guess?  It sounds clichéd, but Fleet Foxes really did hit something special on their stellar debut.

83. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

I’ve gone through periods with every Coldplay album where I definitively decide that, “Yes, this is my favorite Coldplay album.”  But for all the freshness of Parachutes and intrigue of Viva La Vida, this is the band’s standout record, a beautifully-sequenced, fully-realized dream of the Coldplay sound.

82. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

Silent Alarm is the rare U.K.-originated album that holds up post-hype in a decade filled with hyped U.K. artists.  I still think there’s something about it that appeals perfectly to indie kids in 2005 looking for an answer to The Stokes and not ready for TV on the Radio.

81. Further Seems Forever – The Moon Is Down

Before Chris Carrabba formed Dashboard Confessional, he helmed a Florida band bent on figuring out how to make The Promise Ring and Weezer sound like one band.  In that sense, you could argue that this album was a few years too late, but the reality is that it may have been a few years too early: if this album comes out towards the middle part of this decade, it probably becomes a defining piece for the kids who instead turned to Fall Out Boy and Panic At the Disco.  As it stands, it’s simply a great unheard pop-punk effort that deserves a second look.

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