Infinite Shuffle

January 16, 2010

Best of The Aughts – My list

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Well, you’ve read what everyone else had to say about the decade that was. Now it’s my turn. Here are my favorite albums and all the top singles that weren’t on one of the aforementioned discs.


  • Arcade Fire … “Funeral” (2004) … This album was different than anything I’d ever heard before. It was among the first “indie” albums I discovered as I was beginning to make my transition from mainstream fan to indie fan. From this point, there was no turning back. Their second album, “Neon Bible,” was also amazing, but this one holds a special place in my heart. … Favorite track: “Rebellion”
  • Band of Horses … “Cease to Begin” (2007) … This was an amazing follow-up to a solid debut. There really isn’t a bad track on this album, which is loaded with great songs. … Favorite track: “Ode To LRC”
  • Bloc Party … “Silent Alarm” (2005) … I used to listen to this album all the time while sitting at my desk in Virginia, churning out pages. It’s a great mix of indie-pop and electronica, and the vocals are unmistakable. This is a breakout debut disc from a band that has continued to grow and develop its sound. … Favorite track: “Pioneers”
  • Camera Obscura … “Let’s Get Out of This Country” (2006) … They had several albums before, but this is the one that helped launch them to a larger audience, which has only grown with the release of their most recent disc. The standout singles are certainly notable, but they’re really not too much different than the rest of the tracks on here, which makes this album solid all around. … Favorite track: “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
  • Neko Case … “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” (2006) … I’d heard her name before, but I’d never actually listened to her music prior to obtaining this album. Needless to say, I was blown away. With the voice of a siren, she belts out one indie/alt-country ballad after another. Seeing Ms. Case live took my appreciation for her to another level. … Favorite track: “Hold On, Hold On”
  • Death Cab for Cutie … “Transatlanticism” (2003) … I put these albums in alphabetical order so I wouldn’t have to try to actually rank them. But if I had, this would’ve been the first one listed, hands down. I’ll always remember the first time I heard this disc — sitting at my desk late one night in Freeport, listening to it via Amazon, when a co-worker mentioned owning the disc. She burned me a copy, and the rest, as they say, is history. I always have a hard time picking a favorite song, because as I listen to the album, I change my mind every time I move to the next track. Maybe that’s why my unofficial favorite is one of the last songs on the album. … Favorite track: “We Looked Like Giants”
  • The Decemberists … “The Crane Wife” (2006) … If I recall correctly, the first time I heard this band, I wasn’t necessarily sold on them. Their sing-songy, pirate shanty style was definitely not like anything else on the radio. But you can’t realize the true strength of this band by listening to single tracks. For them, it’s all about telling a story over the course of an album. This one happens to take its inspiration from a Japanese folk tale. … Favorite track: “Sons and Daughters”
  • Editors … “Back Room” (2006) … One of the themes of the past decade was the obvious repurposing of ’80s music — most notably, all the Joy Division wannabes. But Editors stand out from the crowd with their amazing vocals and instrumentation. I’m not totally convinced this was my favorite of theirs, but it was the first, so I’m including it on the list. … Favorite track: “Munich”
  • Elf Power … “Back to the Web” (2006) … The first time I heard this band/album was while standing at one of those listening stations at an independent record store in Seattle. Of all the music I heard through the headphones, this is the album that really stood out. I absolutely love this disc, even if I can’t really describe the music. My brother referred to it as something of a modern-day Simon & Garfunkel sound. I don’t know if I’m totally sold on that, but I’ll go with it. … Favorite track: “23rd Dream”
  • The Gaslight Anthem … “‘The 59 Sound” (2008) … For anybody who has any sense of history when it comes to music, there’s only one name that should come to mind when you hear this album: Bruce Springsteen. These New Jersey rockers were clearly influenced by The Boss. But that’s OK. It’s a great album. And seeing these guys live in Detroit only added to my love for them. … Favorite track: “The ’59 Sound”
  • Glasvegas … “Glasvegas” (2008) … This album totally caught me off-guard. I can still remember the first time I heard the single “Daddy’s Gone” via some online British radio station. I had to memorize some of the lyrics just to search for the title. Eventually, I downloaded the album and was absolutely blown away. Easily my favorite disc of ’08, it’s full of power pop/rock with a Scottish accent. … Favorite track: “Daddy’s Gone”
  • Green Day … “American Idiot” (2004) … This was THE album of the first half of the decade. The Bay Area punks revived their career with this defiant, political rock-opera. It included a handful of great singles and even spawned a live album. … Favorite track: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
  • Jimmy Eat World … “Bleed American” (2001) … The powers-that-be forced the band to change the name of the album following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but this album’s greatness has not relented and neither shall I. This was my introduction to the emo-pop band — I would later discover their earlier and equally great work, “Clarity” — and it’s managed to stick with me for nearly a decade. If that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does. … Favorite track: “Sweetness”
  • Norah Jones … “Come Away With Me” (2002) … I don’t listen to much R&B music, but this is a special artist. Her debut album is loaded with her soft, sultry voice, that is equally good at falling asleep to or making love to. Or I suppose you could just listen to it while you’re relaxing. Your choice. … Favorite track: “Come Away With Me”
  • Killers … “Hot Fuss” (2004) … This album came out at a perfect time for me, right in the early stages of my musical metamorphosis. Equal parts indie and pop, with plenty of electronica thrown in, this disc made for an easy transition from mainstream to the alt scene. … Favorite track: “Mr. Brightside”
  • Kings of Leon … “Only By the Night” (2008) … The first time I heard songs from this album was when the band performed on “Saturday Night Live.” I was blown away by the anthemic sound but was even more surprised to discover that they were able to capture that sound on the disc. This was one of my most-played albums in ’08. … Favorite track: “Sex On Fire”
  • Linkin Park … “Hybrid Theory” (2000) … I remember first reading about this band in Rolling Stone while I was in high school. I almost feel like I’ve grown up with these guys in the periphery. They’ve provided something of a soundtrack to The Decade With No Name. I’ve liked all their albums, but this one is my favorite for sentimental reasons. Plus, it probably has the most killer songs on it. (Interesting fact: Hybrid Theory was one of the band’s original names before it settled on Linkin Park.) … Favorite track: “In the End”
  • Lovers … “I Am the West” (2008) … I absolutely fell in love with this band when I saw it live in Las Vegas. The dreamy, almost haunting vocals are enough to give you goosebumps. … Favorite track: “Wrestling Horses”
  • The Music … “Welcome to the North” (2004) … The memory that always pops up whenever I think of this band  is of me sitting in a bar in Madison, Wis., and seeing a video for one of their songs come on TV. I guess the sound must’ve been piped into the loudspeaker, because I remember going out and buying the album as soon as I got home. And I’ve loved it ever since. … Favorite track: “Open Your Mind”
  • Postal Service … “Give Up” (2003) … This was my true introduction to indie music. Sitting at my desk in Freeport, chatting with a friend online, he asked me if I’d heard the new Postal Service. I had no idea what he was talking about and was rather confused. He sent me a link to their Amazon page, and suddenly a whole new world had opened up to me. Later that night was when I found out about Death Cab for Cutie. Needless to say, that evening will go down in the annals of history. … Favorite track: “Sleeping In”
  • Rise Against … “Sufferer & the Witness” (2006) … I kept hearing a couple songs on the radio in 2006 that I really liked, but I had no idea who sang them. Eventually, a friend helped me discover that they all happened to be by the same band: Rise Against. So I went out and bought this album and was absolutely floored. This disc would definitely rank among my top 10 all-time. … Favorite track: “Roadside”
  • The Strokes … “Is This It” (2001) … This album was like something of a dawning of a new age in rock music. It was as if everyone had had enough of all the pop and crappy boy bands from the previous decade, and we were all finally ready to get back to our roots. The fact that the video to the first single, “Last Night,” was pretty cool in its simplicity didn’t hurt things either. … Favorite track: “Last Nite”
  • System of a Down … “Toxicity” (2001) … This was one of my early discoveries upon entering college. The song “Chop Suey” was getting a decent amount of airplay, so I bought this album and just loved the intense, in-your-face stylings of Serj and the boys. … Favorite track: “Toxicity”
  • White Stripes … “White Blood Cells” (2001) … Although they released some solid albums before, this was the one that put them on the musical map and started the whole garage rock renaissance. The awesome Lego-themed video for “Fell In Love With a Girl” was also a huge hit. … Favorite track: “Little Room”
  • Abdel Wright … “Abdel Wright” (2005) … Another one of those albums that I discovered while sitting at my desk in Freeport, I heard one or two songs online via Accuradio and decided to get the disc. When I eventually found it in Madison, I was opened up to another side of reggae that I never knew existed. … Favorite track: “Dust Under Carpet”

    Honorable Mention

    • Apples In Stereo … “New Magnetic Wonder” (2007)
    • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah … “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” (2005)
    • The Frames … “Burn the Maps” (2005)
    • Forward, Russia! … “Give Me a Wall” (2006)
    • Great Lake Swimmers … “Lost Channels” (2009)
    • MGMT … “Oracular Spectacular” (2008)
    • The Magic Numbers … “The Magic Numbers” (2005)
    • The National … “Boxer” (2007)
    • New Pornographers … “Challengers” (2007)
    • Pearl Jam … “Pearl Jam” (2006)
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers … “Stadium Arcadium” (2006)
    • The Sounds … “Dying To Say This To You” (2006)
    • Sugar Ray … “Sugar Ray” (2001)
    • We Are Scientists … “With Love and Squalor” (2006)
    • Various Artists … “Garden State” soundtrack (2004)


    • Band of Horses … “Funeral”
    • Bat For Lashes … “Daniel”
    • Kelly Clarkson … “Breakaway”
    • Eve 6 … “Here’s To the Night”
    • Franz Ferdinand … “Take Me Out”
    • M83 … “Kim and Jessie”
    • Modest Mouse … “Float On”
    • Peter Bjorn & John … “Young Folks”
    • Damien Rice … “9 Crimes”
    • Young Knives … “Turn Tail”

    Honorable Mention

    • Evanescence … “My Immortal”
    • Gomez … “Notice”
    • Matt & Kim … “Daylight”
    • Nickelback … “How You Remind Me”
    • Katy Perry … “Hot n Cold”
    • SUM 41 … “Fat Lip”
    • Uncle Kracker … “Follow Me”

    One thing you may have noticed on these lists is the total lack of anything by Radiohead or Wilco — often regarded as two of the most important bands of the past 15 years. The reason for that is because, for some unknown reason, I’ve only listened to about one album all the way through from each band. This is unacceptable. I realize that.

    In order to rectify the situation, I will be launching a couple special features in the coming months in which I go back and give repeated listens to each and every album from these two bands. I’ll write a review of each album as well, so you can follow along in my musical awakening.

    Stay tuned.



      1. I feel largely responsible for your evolution as a music listener, and I’m disappointed that it was not noted. Your list also cannot be taken seriously without any knowledge of Radiohead … though you did mention in a recent review that the band had a similar sound to Radiohead’s Bends. How can you even make that comparison without having heard The Bends?

        Comment by SJ Powers — January 31, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

      2. I’m exactly the same with radiohead and also plan on doing a feature at some point for the same reason lol

        I feel like i’m missing out on something that everyone else seems to get. I listened to a few of their albums before I went to sleep a few months ago and they do seem to occupy a different mind space to other bands.

        Thanks for giving a heads up for my blog 😀

        Keep up the good work!


        Comment by Simon — February 5, 2010 @ 7:20 am

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