By Ryan S.

Like Ryan wrote, this is a list of my favorite albums of the decade, not the best of the decade (obviously).

25. Of Montreal- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

My vote for the most purely fun record of the decade.  I feel like David Bowie would be proud of them.

24. Caribou- Andorra

I don’t think it would be possible for any fan of the Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery-era Beatles to listen to “Eli” and say they didn’t like it.  Hence, I like this record.

23. Beck- Sea Change

I am pretty sure it has been said, but this ranks up there with Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks as one of the greatest breakup records ever.  “Guess I’m Doing Fine,” found on Sea Change and “For No One” by the Beatles are the truest break up songs I have ever heard.  Does Sea Change deserve to be mentioned alongside Bob Dylan and the Beatles?  Yes.

22. M83- Saturdays=Youth

The perfect mix of 80s pop and shoegaze.  The album cover is among my favorite of the decade and “We Own the Sky” is probably in my favorite 25 tracks.

21. Iron & Wine- Our Endless Numbered Days

Our Endless Numbered Days is the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday afternoon in July.

20. Jimmy Eat World- Futures

As you will see at #12, Jimmy Eat World has had a big impact on my life as far as music goes.  Well, Futures got me back into music after a time in which I got tired of the emo scene.

19. The Format- Interventions and Lullabies

From July 2006-March 2007, this album probably took up about 60% of the time I spent listening to music.  One of my favorite college memories is of driving through the Twin Cities with my friends as we all sang along to “The First Single” and tried to clap at the correct times during the chorus.  A great road trip album.

18. The Flaming Lips- Embryonic

Although Embryonic got good reviews, I cannot believe that it didn’t get amazing reviews.  As someone at my local record shop said, “it’s like going to the future via the past.”  In my opinion, this record is genius.

17. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

MWPP could have not been released at a better time.  Its lyrics focus on the important things in life in the midst of one of the most difficult years the world has faced in a long time.  The nearly 3 minute section from 2:27 into the end of “In the Flowers” is my absolute favorite section of music released in 2009.

16. Radiohead- In Rainbows

While the 90s established Radiohead as a great band, the 00s established them as one of the greatest of all time.  While not their best release, if I had to introduce an average music fan to Radiohead with one album I would probably pick In Rainbows, because it is more versatile than The Bends, more accessible than OK Computer, less electronic than Kid A, more varied than Amnesiac, and simply better than Hail to the Thief.  It is also great enough for me to pay for it not only on CD but then again on vinyl.  Perhaps the worst part about In Rainbows is that it was somewhat overshadowed by its pay anything you want scheme.

15. Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary

Is there a more interesting tandem in music than Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner?  I dare anyone to listen to this without at least bobbing their head.  Another great road trip record.  “I’ll Believe in Anything” is only second to the Hold Steady’s “Stuck Between Stations” as my favorite track of the decade.

14. Grizzly Bear- Yellow House

Yellow House is a great example of a band that is developing their sound.  It is almost a blend mix of the lo-fi Horn of Plenty and the meticulous Veckatimest.  While I love their newest release, I miss some of the experimentation and randomness found on Yellow House.

13. David Bazan- Curse Your Branches

I have to be honest, I did not think I was going to like this record.  I had heard some of Bazan’s other solo records was for the most part unimpressed.  This record details the loss of David Bazan’s faith and the challenge that comes with changing how you identify yourself, especially when it comes to one’s religion.  “Curse Your Branches” is an interesting look into a man who is not necessarily glad he has lost his faith, but sees too many holes in the religion he was taught to believe to make it fit together anymore.  You get the feeling that he has not given it up completely yet, but has come to the conclusion that he will never truly know any answers.  I am glad he is back to asking questions.

12. Jimmy Eat World- Bleed American

Without this record, I probably would not love music as much as I do today.  This record immediately brings me back to the carefree days of the summer after my senior year of high school, in which it was the soundtrack to the pranks and road trips of the most enjoyable three months of my life.

11. Arcade Fire- Funeral

As soon as I hear the first note of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” I still get goose bumps.  You know this record is great when over-the-hill rock stars started name dropping it to feel like they had relevance again and when Coldplay changed themselves in an attempt to mimic the band who made it.

10. Deerhunter- Microcastle

I have become a huge fan of Bradford Cox, and not just because he helped me learn about Marfan Syndrome.  Deerhunter’s blend of shoegaze and 50’s pop is infectious.

9. Brand New- Deja Entendu

It’s arrogant, raw, too honest, immature, and a great one to sing along to in the car- emo at its best.

8. Sufjan Stevens- Illinois

The best record from my overall favorite artist of the decade, Illinois is the perfect blend of Steven’s unique instrumentation, pop sensibility, and take on Americana.  “John Wayne Gacy Jr,” a haunting song about the serial killer who would dress up as a clown for the kids at his local hospital, is easily one of the best songs I heard this decade.

7. Pedro The Lion- Control

This is a record tells a story about an affair and it finds David Bazan at his best and most depressing.  Within  Control, Bazan takes on cheating spouses, corporate America, political spin, Global Warming detractors, and Christian arrogance.  Instead of offering hope, at the end he sings “Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if everything were meaningless?  But everything is so meaningful and most everything turns to shit.”  For some reason I love his honesty.

6. The National- Boxer

“Slow Show” and “Mistaken For Strangers” by themselves are probably good enough to get this record in my top 25.  When you add the perfect lyrics for my middle 20-something life and their amazing melodies and hooks you get one of my favorite records.

5. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

Veckatimest had the mixed blessing of hype before it came out.  When music sites such as Stereogum are saying that it is a “game changer and a cause for celebration” two and a half months before its release, there is really no way that any album will live up to the hype.  I admit that Veckatimest is not a perfect album, but it is a masterpiece.  Veckatimest is an album about the space between relationships, as Stereogum pointed out.  Neither melancholy nor celebratory, it is about the space that we all feel between us in all of our relationships, from perfect strangers to our closest loved ones.  This became brutally clear to me as I stood next to my ex-girlfriend as of one week as Chris Taylor performed “I Live With You” a mere five feet or so in front of us.  Needless to say it was one of the most powerful musical moments of my life and I enjoyed every measure of it.

4. Destroyer- Destroyer’s Rubies

There are very few albums I have heard on which I would not change one note.  This is one of them.

3. Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover

Random Spirit Lover literally took me two years to like, but once I got it, RSL quickly became one of my favorite records.  This is Sunset Rubdown’s weirdest record, and is full of gems.  “Winged/Wicked Things” is among the best non-religious songs on religion I have ever heard.  “Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns” and “Stallion” are my favorite songs that appear in succession on an album of the decade.

2. Radiohead- Amnesiac

I admit that my main initial draw to Amnesiac was my background in jazz music and I know that having listing this as my favorite Radiohead album of the decade may not sit well with many people, but it is honestly my favorite of theirs since OK Computer.  Due to the fact that it was recorded at the same time, I think Amnesiac unfortunately suffered from a preconceived notion that it was a record of B-sides from the Kid A sessions.  Why is it my favorite?  I am not quite sure, but it contains my favorite Radiohead song, “I Might Be Wrong” and “Pyramid Song,” “You and Whose Army?,” Knives Out,” and Hunting Bears” are all simply beautiful tracks.

1. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago

I agree with a Yahoo music critic, who wrote that For Emma…”sounds like a record that’s always existed. It was simply waiting for the right moment, and the right person, to pull it out of the nether.”  Thanks to the year that was 2008, I felt a connection to this record that I had never felt to music before.