Top Five: Albums of the Decade

30 12 2009

The best selling album of the decade is James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam, which is frankly shit, so on that basis here are my five favourite albums of the past ten years.

1. Funeral – Arcade Fire

This was a frankly stunning debut from the Canadian ensemble, which flows from track to track as if it were one. The title references the deaths of relations of the band’s members in the run-up to its release in the autumn of 2004. This album provides a soundtrack that you simply can’t ignore, it’s easy to just find yourself immersed in it.

2. Infinity Land – Biffy Clyro

It’s my favourite album from my favourite band, of course it was going to make the list. The trio’s third album from 2004 was the band at their most experimental with multiple time and key changes, instrumental variation, and use of 5/4 time. The album feels quite extroverted as opposed to the melancholy of the following release of Puzzle in 2007, and so far I have never failed to love listening to it.

3. Kala – M.I.A.

2005’s Arular was brilliant, but the 2007 follow-up was exceptional. M.I.A. is famous for utilising multiple influences in her music, and the mix on this album is frankly amazing with collaborations ranging from Timbaland to The Wilcannia Mob. My favourite thing about her work is that you can tell how excited she is to be making music and sharing it. Oh, and she’s even better live than she is in the studio.

4. Kid A – Radiohead

Released in 2000, this album is seen by many to be a challenging listen, but I love it. After 1997’s OK Computer, Radiohead decided to try something new, so they put their guitars down (for the most part) and embraced a wide array of instruments as well as an electronic influence. No singles were released from the album, no video in the run-up to release, but a clever internet campaign and the leaking of the album online meant it went platinum in the first week of its release in the UK. Just like In Rainbows seven years later, Radiohead’s use of the internet was ahead of the curve. Easily the most influential album of the ast ten years.

5. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

Just like me this band claims to hail from Glasgow when they don’t really, but we’lll forgive them… and me. Mentioning this fair city, this album makes even more sense if you listen to it walking around here, trust me. Anyway, this 2004 debut was the most pop from any of the post-punk revival bands, and it’s fantastic, if you listen to the album in full and fail to smile once, there is something clearly wrong with you.

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6 responses

31 12 2009
Barrie

I think my top 5 of the decade would go thus:

The Strokes – Is This It?
I can’t do this album justice – Its short, but ultimately, it can be because you want to listen to it again as soon as you’ve heard it once. The songs are perfectly formed and its been a constant soundtrack to my decade

Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around
Its hard to find a more haunting song than the cover of Nine Inch Nail’s Hurt on this album, and if the album was just one track long and that was the track, I’d still have it on this list. But the sound of Johnny Cash, hurting, struggling to breathe, aching every day comes across in every track of this album. A stark, raw, awesome album. And the video for Hurt is one of the best I’ve seen as well…

Interpol – Antics
Doing what The Editors do, but incomparably better, and before The Editors did it too. Nary a bad song, and not one bit of filler.

Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News
The album that finally got Modest Mouse noticed. They had good albums before this, but none so complete – the addition of Johnny Marr made a more-than-slightly eclectic band sound like their eclecticism was actually commercially as well as musically viable. And that 10 second horn intro that leads into The World at Large is possibly the best intro to an album ever.

The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine
These guys are just outstanding generally, but this album is the pinnacle of their decades output – a mocking, rocking rendition of biblical tales sung with the intensity of a southern baptist preacher: God reached his hand down from the sky, He flooded the land then He set it on fire. He said, “Fear me again. Know I’m your father. Remember that no one can breathe underwater” begins the telling of Noah’s Ark – effectively the album was apolitically charged concept album designed to showcase a path of religious tyranny that America might take. And if that doesn’t sell you on it, I don’t know what will…

Barely Rejected: Grey Album – Danger Mouse (Beatles v. Jay-Z), The Empyrean – John Frusciante, Boys & Girls In America – The Hold Steady

31 12 2009
tsaritsyn

Nice and detailed. Good News for People Who Love Bad News almost made my list, as did Turn Out the Bright Lights, I think Antics has some better songs but Interpol’s debut works better as an album.

2 01 2010
Barrie

I like Turn Out The Bright Lights, on reflection, it might be a more complete album than Antics, but Antics has a more personal connection which makes it rise above in my mind…

31 12 2009
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[…] would this album defined this decade. It was different with the instrumentation and what I hear is from their live […]

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