Top Ten Albums of the Decade

–This is going to be a very personal list.  I first considered making it a list of the 10 albums I listened to the most in the last decade, regardless of when they were released.  But ultimately I settled on making a list of the ten albums released in the last decade that I listened to and enjoyed the most.  These may not have been the ten best albums of the decade.  Music is much more subjective (in my opinion) than movies.  But these are my personal choices for the 10 “best” albums of the previous decade.

1.John Mayer – Continuum:  A truly fantastic album, it has been on medium to heavy rotation for the last three years.  It also has a number of single songs that I put on playlists.  John Mayer is a ridiculous guitarist, and he shows some of his chops on this album.  Bluesey, poppy, and just plain brilliant, I love this album.

2.Norah Jones – Come Away With Me:  I remember one time that David Dalby told me that the sexiness in Norah Jones’ voice was palpable and I will always remember that, because it’s true.  This album has hook after hook, and Jones ties it all together with her amazing voice.  Come Away With Me was the second song I picked for Lacey and I to dance to at our wedding.

3.Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium:  How can there possibly be two albums chock full of 5 minute songs that are all good?  I don’t know, but somehow RHCP figured it out.  This double album alternates between rock songs, funky grooves and slow-jam classics so amazing I’m starting to rethink putting this at #1.  I listened to the crap out of this album for about a year straight.  Awesome.

4. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind:  This was U2’s big “comeback” album after the Pop album/tour debacle, and boy does it soar.  I saw them on this tour with Josh Gibbs, and it was far and away the greatest concert I’ve ever been to.  There isn’t a single note out of place on this absolute classic.

5. Green Day – American Idiot:  No matter what anyone says, this concept album works beautifully.  I love the two songs that are split into 3 parts each, and I love every song in between.  Critically acclaimed for a reason, it combines what Green Day is noted for (catchy riffs/hooks) with a more sophisticated songwriting that marks a step forward for the trio.

6. Coldplay – Parachutes:  This album is simple, understated, and downright beautiful.  It remains, for me, their most listenable album front to back.  They have definitely written better songs since this album was released, but they haven’t put them together in a better way than they did on their debut.

7. Radiohead – In Rainbows:  This is definitely their most user-friendly album of the decade, though their other three were received better by the critics.  I just can’t get past the fact that each and every song is nearly perfect, and Nude is the best song they’ve written since OK Computer – it positively soars.  They played this entire album at the concert I went to a couple of years ago, and it was absolutely amazing.

8. Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs:  I could put this on the list if only for The Luckiest, which is probably the most beautiful song (lyrically and musically) that I have ever heard, and the most accesible for basically any couple in love.  But in fact, this album is full of fantastic songs, and though I love Ben Folds, he has yet to reach this level of songwriting on subsequent albums.  Maybe some day…

9.David Gray – White Ladder:  I became a David Gray fan almost instantly after listening to this album, and I have been one ever since.  This remains his most complete collection of great songs, though I really debated between this and Life in Slow Motion for the list.  In the end, it is hard to argue with the five best songs on here versus the five best songs off of any of his other albums. 

10.Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams:  I have listened to so much JJ in the past decade, there was no way I could leave him off the list.  And this is definitely his best album.  From the first note to the last, there isn’t a song I would skip or be bored by.  Just beautiful, calming music in its finest form.

Honorable Mention:  Death Cab For Cutie – Plans; Amos Lee – Supply and Demand; Audioslave – Audioslave; The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You; Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – Once soundtrack.

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3 Responses to “Top Ten Albums of the Decade”

  1. theuberpop Says:

    This is a good list, a bit representative of the Top 40, but it’s really good Top 40 though. I appreciate the Ben Folds and David Gray as well as the Death Cab honorable mention. Looking forward to what this decade holds musically.

  2. Joshua Says:

    I’ll admit I struggled through much of this one… “White Ladder” was a good call, though. I can always listen to that one come cold weather.

  3. jmmelton Says:

    Dude, I’ve got U2, Radiohead and Coldplay on here for you, and I didn’t even include any Dave Matthews Band or Pearl Jam! What more can you ask for? Seriously though, I can say that I have struggled through your album picks so far as well, being as though I haven’t heard most of them. I guess there’s no accounting for taste. And I think I’d rather you struggle with this, much more personal list, than my movie list. BTW, sorry I had so many movies in my top ten that overlapped your top 50, but sheesh man, you listed FIFTY! 🙂

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