It hadn’t really occurred to me to do this, as it seemed like something of a mammoth task, until I chanced upon some message board discussion of the infamous just-published NME list. More out of curiosity than anything, I then decided to see if I could put one together – and it turned out to be rather simple, going through every album in my iTunes (since surely any record that would make a favourites list, I’d have in my collection already) and listing the ones I felt would make the cut. Conveniently, the number listed ended up being almost exactly 50 – so, rounding to that number, I then used my tried-and-tested system of going through the list alphabetically, taking each entry and moving it up the rankings until I found one above it that I felt I liked more than it, and stopping it there. Does this create unfair bias towards my #1 entry, considering it essentially sat at the top waiting for something to challenge it? I’m not sure, I don’t know how scientific the process is, but it seems as good a way as any. Elsewhere in the list the placings are somewhat arbitrary, and might be different on a different day – but I tried to be fair, and also consider albums’ relative worth (and my enjoyment of them) at the time of release as well as what I might think of them now. So here we are…

1. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)
2. Islands – Return to the Sea (2006)
3. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup (2007)
4. Ooberman – Hey Petrunko (2003)
5. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
6. The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? (2003)
7. Half Man Half Biscuit – CSI:Ambleside (2008)
8. of Montreal – Aldhils Arboretum (2002)
9. Nada Surf – Let Go (2002)
10. Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill (2004)
11. The Strokes – Room on Fire (2003)
12. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster… (2007)
13. Rilo Kiley – Take Offs and Landings (2001)
14. Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (2008)
15. Ozma – Rock and Roll Part Three (2001)
16. of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)
17. The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)
18. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
19. Clinic – Internal Wrangler (2000)
20. Muse – Origin of Symmetry (2001)
21. Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things (2002)
22. Half Man Half Biscuit – Achtung Bono (2005)
23. Islands – Arm’s Way (2008)
24. Ozma – Spending Time on the Borderline (2003)
25. The Elected – Sun, Sun, Sun (2006)
26. Ben Kweller – Sha Sha (2002)
27. British Sea Power – The Decline of British Sea Power (2003)
28. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
29. of Montreal – Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)
30. Weezer – The Green Album (2001)
31. The Libertines – Up the Bracket (2002)
32. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out Of This Country (2006)
33. Mates of State – Team Boo (2003)
34. The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)
35. Green Day – American Idiot (2004)
36. Half Man Half Biscuit – Cammell Laird Social Club (2002)
37. Ed Harcourt – The Beautiful Lie (2006)
38. The Elected – Me First (2004)
39. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American (2001)
40. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
41. Hot Hot Heat – Make Up The Breakdown (2002)
42. Graham Coxon – Happiness In Magazines (2004)
43. Apples in Stereo – The Discovery of a World Inside the Moone (2000)
44. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)
45. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of Bewilderbeast (2000)
46. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart (2001)
47. The Get Up Kids – On a Wire (2002)
48. Superstar – Phat Dat (2000)
49. The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes (2006)
50. Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer (2008)

The “noughties”, then. Better than the nineties? Looking at the list, there’s no absolutely huge album that jumps out in the way that, say, OK Computer and Different Class and Pinkerton manage to do for me – Neon Bible almost feels slightly like a “default” choice (and it could just as easily be anything in the top five or even ten, depending on my mood at the time of choosing), which I know wouldn’t be the case if I thought long and hard about the previous decade. On the other hand, I probably like a wider range of 2000s music (to give an idea, I have 3055 tracks marked as 2000s on my iPod, and only 1929 from the 1990s), and I’m not sure I would necessarily have been able to get a decent list of 50 (certainly not with some quality albums left off, as there were here) from the ’90s. The 2000s are the first decade that I’ve spent the entirety of as someone with an active interest in buying, discovering and enjoying music, so there’ll naturally be more that I experienced contemporaneously. So, swings and roundabouts.

After compiling the list, I also thought it’d be interesting to see if any year stood out as a clear “favourite” from the decade. As it happens, though, it’s fairly close on the whole – 2002 edges it with 8 entries, while 2003/04 both have 7, and 2000, 2001 and 2006 each have 6. The notable exception (considering that I didn’t include anything from 2009 – not through deliberate choice, but it does make sense when you can consider that it can take longer for records to grow, or even be discovered in the first place – plus, it simply hasn’t been a vintage year by any stretch) is 2005, with just a single entry – Achtung Bono. I actually went back to check my LJ “review of the year” (as I know it’s one of the few times I did one) to see what I might have missed, and sure enough, barely anything on it was stuff I’d really want to listen to now (I had Funeral at the top, but that’s cheating – it may have come out in Europe in early 2005, but it’s really a 2004 album). Strange, really, considering 2004 and 2006 were both fairly strong.

It’s actually quite fun/exciting looking back over a whole decade, isn’t it? Given that none of us (unless we were fantastically nerdy) had blogs ten years ago, this is all rather new and interesting – a far bigger scale of challenge than the end-of-year lists we know and love so well. I suppose I’ll have to do films next, then.

5 responses to “Arbitrary End-of-Decade Listblogging #1 : Albums of the 2000s”

  1. Ben says:

    Interesting list, with remarkably few albums that would also appear on my Top 50 of the decade. I must, however, compliment you on your choice of Arctic Monkeys album – most people would go for ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’ but I think FWN is a much more complete listening experience.

    No ‘In Rainbows’?

  2. James H says:

    The lack of In Rainbows is odd. I agree it shouldn’t necessarily be above Kid A, but it’s their best album since then, was there REALLY not space for it in the bottom 25? REALLY? REALLY??!?!

    That aside, this list emphasises one things to me: we really don’t listen to much of the same music. Our tastes diverged some time around 2001, apparently. After that there are only about 5 albums I’ve even heard, let alone would put in a top 50. Still, I might have to do my own and test that theory.

  3. Seb Patrick says:

    Re: In Rainbows, I suppose I just haven’t listened to/engaged with it enough to consider it for a list like this. It’s almost certainly technically BETTER than half the stuff in here, but do I LIKE it more? Not so much.

    And James, you may be right, but any crossover in taste we may have is more rooted in the previous decade, clearly. I think if we did ’90s lists, they’d be more similar (although still of course far from identical)…

  4. Ben says:

    You should engage more then! I hadn’t listened to it in about a year, so I dug it out last week and had it in my car, and it is truly superb.

  5. Rol says:

    That’s an interesting list. Particularly pleased to see Ooberman reach so high! Though I have to disagree about Favourite Worst Nightmare… it’s the album that almost convinced me th’Arctics were on their way out.

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