Our Favorite Albums of the 21st Century

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

Our recent stab at picking our favorite movies of the far-from-completed 21st century put some of us in a list-making mood. Please enjoy these selections from me, a special guest blogger, and Sax. Feel free to pitch in with your own choices in the comments and/or tell us what awful taste we have.


Heartbreaker — Ryan Adams (2000)
Parachutes — Coldplay (2000)
Ode to Bobbie Gentry — Bobbie Gentry (2000)
Smile — The Jayhawks  (2000)
Bachelor No. 2 — Aimee Mann (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack — Various Artists (2000)
The Vogue Years — Françoise Hardy (2001)
Is This It — The Strokes (2001)
Tenacious D — Tenacious D (2001)
The Green Album — Weezer (2001)
Essence — Lucinda Williams (2001)
Spend the Night — The Donnas (2002)
The Last Broadcast — Doves (2002)
Up the Bracket — The Libertines (2002)
Life on Other Planets — Supergrass (2002)
Maladroit — Weezer (2002)
Funky Kingston: Reggae Dance Grooves 1968-1974 — Various Artists (2002)
Welcome Interstate Managers — Fountains of Wayne (2003)
0304 — Jewel (2003)
The Dirty South — The Drive-By Truckers (2004)
Franz Ferdinand — Franz Ferdinand (2004)
Fought Down — Ken Layne & the Corvids (2004)
The Alternative to Love — Brendan Benson (2005)
The Best of Frank Stokes — Frank Stokes (2005)
Good For What Ails You: Music of the Medicine Shows 1926-1937 — Various Artists (2005)
Best of Chris Isaak — Chris Isaak (2006)
Graduation — Kanye West (2007)
God Help the Girl — God Help the Girl (2009)
Stills — God Help the Girl (2009)
Minstrel Banjo Style — Various Artists (2009)
Brothers — The Black Keys (2010)
The Lady Killer — Cee Lo Green (2010)
Speak Now — Taylor Swift (2010)
Mama, I’ll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings 1929-1934 — Amede Ardoin (2011)
El Camino — The Black Keys (2011)
Middle Brother — Middle Brother (2011)
Passive Me, Aggressive You — The Naked and Famous (2011)
Blown Away — Carrie Underwood (2012)
Red — Taylor Swift (2012)
The Essential Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys — Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (2013)
The Bones of What You Believe — Chvrches (2013)
The Vee-Jay Singles Collection — John Lee Hooker (2013)
Volume Three — She & Him (2013)
Turn Blue — The Black Keys (2014)
Classics — She & Him (2014)
1989 — Taylor Swift (2014)
Yours, Dreamily — The Arcs (2015)
E-MO-TION — Carly Rae Jepsen (2015)
Wild Things — Ladyhawke (2016)
The Neon Demon soundtrack — Cliff Martinez (2016)

Honorable mention to these retrospective box sets that are so comprehensive and essential that it didn’t seem fair to include them in the regular list:

The Stax Story — Various Artists (2000)
The Complete Hot Fives & Sevens — Louis Armstrong (2003)
Unearthed — Johnny Cash (2003)
Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy — Uncle Dave Macon (2004)
Country Music Pioneer — Riley Puckett (2011)
The King of Soul — Otis Redding (2014)

Richard Marxist writes:


Music has been my go to escape for the majority of my life as opposed to novels or cinema. I get more out of music because I enjoy the experience of listening more than I do looking. Alternate realities begin to form out of the subject matter from the mood of an album or song. I find this is more difficult to do when watching a movie or reading a novel. In the end though, choosing which realities (albums) I escaped to the most proved more difficult than originally anticipated.

When I began to assemble this list I figured it’d be an easy task. The top 50 movies of the 21st century on UR got me wanting to do the same thing but with music. Objectivity gets thrown out the window immediately because of the pull these albums had on me throughout these years, and still do. While I can certainly explain why I think a particular song objectively sounds good — for example, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” — I can’t explain why YOU should think so too. I’ve never been one to try to force an opinion or change a mind without the facts because listening to music doesn’t require facts, just taste.

The following 50 albums constitute not only a certain taste in music, but an emotional connection to something or someone. There are albums tied to unrequited love, traveling, being drunk, and a swath of other occurrences and situations in life during the 21st century. Do they necessarily represent everyone’s experience during those years? Of course not, but it represents mine, and that is what makes them some of the best albums of the past 15 years and 9 months.

Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea – PJ Harvey (2000)
White Pony – Deftones (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack – Various Artists (2000)
Dwightyoakamacoustic.net – Dwight Yoakam (2000)
Stankonia – Outkast (2000)
Gorillaz – Gorillaz (2001)
Bleed American – Jimmy Eat World (2001)
Fever – Kylie Minogue (2001)
Amelie Soundtrack – Yann Tiersen (2001)
Songs For The Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age (2002)
Phrenology – The Roots (2002)
The Execution Of All Things – Rilo Kiley (2002)
Turn On The Bright Lights – Interpol (2002)
Decoration Day – Drive-By Truckers (2003)
Permission To Land – The Darkness (2003)
Lesser Matters – The Radio Dept. (2003)
…Burn, Piano Island, Burn – The Blood Brothers (2003)
The Dirty South – Drive-By Truckers (2004)
O.C.M.S. – Old Crown Medicine Show (2004)
Let It Die – Feist (2004)
Demon Days – Gorillaz (2005)
Frances The Mute – The Mars Volta (2005)
Robyn – Robyn (2005)
Back To Black – Amy Winehouse (2006)
Silent Shout – The Knife (2006)
Yellow House – Grizzly Bear (2006)
Fox Confessor Brings The Flood – Neko Case (2006)
Boxer – The National (2007)
Because Of The Times – Kings of Leon (2007)
Night Falls Over Kortedala – Jens Lekman (2007)
The Age Of The Understatement – The Last Shadow Puppets (2008)
In The Future – Black Mountain (2008)
xx – The xx (2009)
Actor – St. Vincent (2009)
Brand New Eyes – Paramore (2009)
Teen Dream – Beach House (2010)
Brothers – The Black Keys (2010)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (2011)
Circuital – My Morning Jacket (2011)
R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike (2012)
Fear Fun – Father John Misty (2012)
Kill For Love – Chromatics (2012)
The Bones Of What You Believe – Chvrches (2013)
Run The Jewels 2 – Run The Jewels (2014)
Saudade – Thievery Corporation (2014)
Way Out Weather – Steve Gunn (2014)
Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometime I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett (2015)
E-MO-TION – Carly Rae Jepsen (2015)
Eyes On The Lines – Steve Gunn (2016)
Everything You’ve Come To Expect – The Last Shadow Puppets (2016)

Sax von Stroheim writes:


Love and Theft — Bob Dylan (2001)
Carnival of Souls — Pere Ubu (2014)
American IV: The Man Comes Around — Johnny Cash (2002)
Inward City — The Numbers Band (2009)
Masada Rock — John Zorn/Rashanim (2005)
Welcome Interstate Managers — Fountains of Wayne (2003)
Everything Must Go — Steely Dan (2003)
St. Arkansas — Pere Ubu (2002)
A Single Sky — Dave Douglas (2009)
Super Taranta! — Gogol Bordello (2007)
That’s Why God Made the Radio — The Beach Boys (2012)
Modern Times — Bob Dylan (2006)
Barfly — Rocket from the Tombs (2011)
Pruflas: The Book of Angels 18 — Dave Krakauer (2012)

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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11 Responses to Our Favorite Albums of the 21st Century

  1. peterike says:

    Nice lists. I can’t comment on most of the selections because I don’t know them, but I’m glad to see the Dylan and Gogol Bordello items. I would add to the list:

    Warren Zevon: The Wind
    Every Wussy album of the decade.
    Every Mountain Goats album of the decade.
    Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City
    Miranda Lambert: Platinum
    The Old 97s: Most Messed Up
    Angaleena Presley: American Middle Class

    And Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods, mostly because “Jumpers” is in my top five songs of all time.

    If re-releases count, the combo release of Television’s Marquee Moon and Adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. peterike says:

    Oh, and Sufjan Stevens’ Michigan and Illinois.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. peterike says:

    Oh, and The Handsome Family’s Wilderness. The track about Stephen Foster, “Wildebeest,” is simply a marvel. Ok, I’m stopping now!

    When Stephen Foster died in a flop-house on the Bowery
    His worn-out wallet held just a quarter and a dime
    But the crocodiles, they have to eat, the crocodiles have to eat

    He smashed his head on the sink in the bitter fever of gin
    A wildebeest gone crazy with thirst pulled down as he tried to drink
    But deep down in the muddy stream even crocodiles dream their dreams.

    And as the herd galloped off he lay on that flophouse floor
    Singing, “Beautiful Dreamer” as the lions began to roar
    But we all have our beautiful dreams running through us like wildebeest….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Basileus says:

    Couple more on the metal end:

    Leviathan- Mastodon
    Vertikal- Cult of Luna

    On the Gorillaz end, I’m partial to Plastic Beach in significant part because Empire Ants is my the best song they ever did.

    And lastly, on the electronic end:

    Tron Legacy Soundtrack– Daft Punk


  5. Jack Fire says:

    Where’s Johnny Dowd’s “Picture From Lifes Other Side” or “Temporary Shelter”?
    Where’s any Wussy?
    Jayhawks “Smile” ?
    Songs Ohia “Magnolia Electric Co” or “Didn’t It Rain”?

    Thanks for the lists!

    Liked by 1 person

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