Top 100 & Something Albums of the 00s

Many, many years ago, at the dawn of the internet (or so it seems to me now) I happened across a website which listed the Top 136 or so Albums of the Nineties. The list was put together by a mysterious figure called Ned Raggett, who I had never heard of before, but who seemed to like exceptionally good music, and what’s more, was able to write about it in a personal but authoritative manner. I was at university at the time, and Ned’s Nineties, as I thought of it, became… not quite a bible, but definitely a key text both in terms of it inspiring me to investigate a whole load of music I’d never heard of before and in inspiring me to write about music the way I do. Not to mention cementing in my head how arbitrary the scope of most “best of” lists are: why stop at 100? What if the 101st album is every bit as good as the 100th?

Fast-forward a couple of years, and I got to know Ned via the I Love Music forum and his work for AllMusic, and even commissioned him to write a few things for Stylus back in the day. I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned to Ned quite how important that website was to me way back when; he’d probably feel slightly embarrassed to find out.

Another thing it inspired was a desire to create an equivalent list of my own, in the vague hope that I could capture the memories and feelings that various records have inspired in me all in one place, for posterity and to alleviate pressure on my own memory, and also out of a vague narcissistic dream that maybe someone else would stumble upon it and find it as useful and rich a resource as I found Ned’s list.

So this is the start of that project. Nick’s Noughties: the decade that was my 20s, that saw me write about music for fun, for love, and occasionally for money. There’s a couple of years grace from the end of it now, to allow dust to settle and long-term, deep-felt favourites to emerge from initial excitation or disinterest / nonchalance / insouciance. So this is it. The top 100 and something albums of the 00s.

I’m not sure quite how I’ve chosen the records I’m writing about here – in a very real, practical sense, I went through the physical CD collection in order and pulled out every album released between January 1st 2000 and December 31st 2009 that I felt some kind of affection for and attachment to, and then went through it again and pulled out some more and pushed some back in. Some of the records I chose are embedded favourites that I loved at the time and still love now; some are things I missed back then but have come around to later; and others are things I loved at the time but haven’t listened to in years and don’t know what I think of anymore. So there’s no way that this is any attempt at an objective list of the ‘best’ records of the noughties; nor is it quite a record of the albums that soundtracked my decade: it’s just the music that I loved, or still love, or admired, or which changed my perceptions, or that I just want to tell you about because I think it’s worth listening to.

In a way, I’ve already done something similar: The Stylus Decade was a project I managed a couple of years after Stylus had folded, in the midst of end-of-the-decade reminiscence and a desire to codify the Stylus canon. But it was, of course, a joint effort, and a vaguely authorial take on writing about records, as those done under the names of publications often are. The music writing that means most to me is generally the stuff that, like Ned’s list, tells me how someone found a record, why they loved it personally, not what place it holds in whichever canon or esteem machine it may be being written about for.

More than a decade on, it’s noticeable that, despite the decline in sales of physical media, I’m still talking about albums. And so, it seems, are a lot people. There are probably as many reasons why people are doing this as there are people doing it, but for me, the album remains the most convenient, satisfying way of parsing music – it’s the main way I’ve enjoyed music since I was about nine years old. Logistically, it’s also the most logical form to write about for me – if I were to try and transpose this exercise to individual songs, it would probably be ten times the length, and seem like an insurmountable challenge that would never get started.

In terms of how this will work, my plan is to present the entire list of album titles right from the off, and then, over the coming months, write about them individually. I’m not intending to d this alphabetically or chronologically – I’ll just flit through the list and write about things as and when I want. Each time I write about an album, I’ll do it as a new blog post, and hyperlink to it from the master list on this page. I, of course, reserve the right to add albums to the list if I change my mind during the course of time. I might even delete some, you never know. I’ll also try and give each record the courtesy of listening to it before (or maybe while) I write about it! As I’ve written about many of these records before, some of them very recently, there’s every chance that I’ll lazily copy&paste old text, but I’ll always at least give it an edit to bring it up to date and into the context of this project.

So, the actual list…

Aaliyah – Aaliyah (2001)
Acoustic Ladyland – Skinny Grin (2006)
Akufen – My Way (2002)
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)
Ash – Twilight of the Innocents (2007)
Asian Dub Foundation – Community Music (2000)
At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command (2000)
Augie March – Moo You Bloody Choir (2006)

Bark Psychosis – //Codename:Dustsucker (2004)
Battles – Mirrored (2007)
Beirut – The Flying Club Cub (2007)
The Beta Band – Hot Shots II (2001) / Heroes to Zeroes (2004)
Björk – Vespertine (2001)
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)
Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase (2005)
Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun (2000 / 1999)
British Sea Power – Open Season (2005)
Bows – Cassidy (2001)
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2003)
Kate Bush – Aerial (2005)

Califone – Roomsound (2001)
Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (2009)
Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein (2001)
Caribou – Up In Flames (2003) / The Milk of Human Kindness (2005) / Andorra (2007)
Cat Power – You Are Free (2003)
The Clientele – The Violet Hour (2003)
Cornelius – Point (2001)

Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
D’Angelo – Voodoo (2000)
The Delgados – Hate (2002)
Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies (2006)
The Dismemberment Plan – Change (2001)
Siobhán Donaghy – Revolution In Me (2003)
Dave Douglas – Freak In (2003)

Echoboy – Volume 1 (2000)
Elbow – Asleep In The Back (2001)
Electrelane – The Power Out (2004) / No Shouts No Calls (2007)
Missy Elliott – Under Construction (2003)
Embrace – Drawn From Memory (2000) / Out Of Nothing (2004)
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Tuesday Wonderland (2006)

Fennesz – Venice (2004)
Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)
The Field – Yesterday And Today (2009)
Field Music – Tones of Town (2007)
Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds (2006)
Four Tet – Rounds (2003)
Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport (2009)
Fugazi – The Argument (2001)

Ghostface Killah – The Pretty Toney Album (2004)
Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Out of Season (2002)
Grizzly Bear – Yellow House (2006) / Veckatimest (2009)

PJ Harvey – Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)
Richard Hawley – Truelove’s Gutter (2009)
Gemma Hayes – Night On My Side (2002)
Hood – Cold House (2001)
House of Blondes – House of Blondes (2007)

Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows (2000)
Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)
Isolee – We Are Monster (2005)

Jaga Jazzist – A Livingroom Hush (2002)
Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
Joan As Policewoman – Real Life (2006)
Seu Jorge – América Brasil O Disco (2007)
Junior Boys – Last Exit (2004)

Kelis – Tasty (2003)
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold (2006)
The Knife – Silent Shout (2006)

Lambchop – Nixon (2000) / Is A Women (2002)
LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (2007)
Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends (2007)
Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat (2006)
Liars – Drum’s Not Dead (2006)
Lift To Experience – The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads (2001)
Loose Fur – Loose Fur (2003)

Madvillain – Madvillainy (2004)
Menomena – Friend and Foe (2007)
M.I.A. – Arular (2005)
Midlake – The Trials Of Van Occupanther (2006)
The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee (2002)

The National – Boxer (2007)
The Necks – Drive By (2004)
N.E.R.D. – In Search Of (2001/02)
The Notwist – Neon Golden (2002)

Jim O’Rourke – Insignificance (2001)
Outkast – Stankonia (2000) / Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003)

Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)
Phoenix – Alphabetical (2004) / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
Polar Bear – Polar Bear (2008)
Portishead – Third (2008)
Primal Scream – XTRMNTR (2000)

Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R (2000)
Q-Tip – The Renaissance (2008)

Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
The Rapture – Echoes (2003)
Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous (2004)
Roots Manuva – Awfully Deep (2005)

65daysofstatic – The Destruction of Small Ideas (2007)
Louis Sclavis – L’Imparfait des Langues (2007)
Shearwater – Rook (2008)
Six by Seven – The Closer You Get (2000)
Sonic Youth – Sonic Nurse (2004)
Regina Spektor – Begin To Hope (2006)
Spiritualized – Let It Come Down (2001)
Spoon – Kill The Moonlight (2002) / Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
Stars Of The Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline (2007)
The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)
Studio – West Coast (2007)
St. Vincent – Actor (2009)
Super Furry Animals – Mwng (2000) / Dark Days/Light Years (2009)

Justin Timberlake – Justified (2002)
Tortoise – Standards (2001)

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (2008)
Villalobos – Alcachofa (2003)

Rufus Wainwright – Want One (2003)
Scott Walker – The Drift (2006)
Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001)
Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers (2009)
Patrick Wolf – Wind In The Wires (2005)
Working For A Nuclear Free City – Working For A Nuclear Free City (2006)

Susumu Yokota – Grinning Cat (2001)
Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000) / Summer Sun (2003) / I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (2006)
James Yorkston – The Year Of The Leopard (2006)

4 responses to “Top 100 & Something Albums of the 00s

  1. Ned is a great man – Young Gods at no. 14 for example! No Ladytron in your list?

  2. “Rock is dead because the Young Gods destroyed it and everything else here, it’s just that nobody has yet fully realized the implications. But give it time. Give it time.” – from Ned’s review of The Young Gods’ 1995 masterpiece Only Heaven.

  3. I barely listen to albums any more, but Springsteen’s The Rising (2002) has got me gripped right now.

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