Tomorrow I’m actually writing. Dave’s reign here at everydaymusic continues today. It’s the second part of the Top Albums of the Decade. In case you missed #10-6, go read it. Then read about #5-1 below.
A lot happened in the 2000s. This is a cultural/artistic review of the decade and the year 2009.
2009 was a particularly bad year for the arts but I put together lists anyway, often with numbers 10 through 4 being begrudging fillers. Some of these lists don’t have explanations because I either didn’t care enough to justify the list or I had already written an expanded list elsewhere.
Happy New Years, everyone! Onward to the 2010s! God bless!
The Top Albums of the Decade
5. Stankonia by Outkast (2000)
ATLiens put Outkast on the map but Stankonia will be remembered as the too-short-lived hip-hop duo’s finest album. The album’s chaos, displayed by the legendary “B.O.B.”, contrasts nicely with the smoother verses of songs like “Ms. Jackson”, all while retaining the Dirty South’s unique sound.
4. Renegades by Rage Against the Machine (2000)
Although Rage was barely a factor in music in the 2000s, Renegades is an incredible reimagining of classic songs by other artists spanning all genres. We needed Rage this decade during the Bush years and we didn’t have them, so we can only hope that they return stronger than under the reign of a Democrat.
3. The College Dropout by Kanye West (2004)
Between incredible music and high production values, The College Dropout is an incredible hip-hop album. However, Kanye West made a huge cultural impact this decade in taking hip-hop in a different direction than the crunk subgenre made famous by Ludacris and Lil Jon or the thug-rap of 50 Cent. The College Dropout is a middle class hip-hop album that rocks a polo and jeans, rather than a chain and baggy pants. The frequent skits and often-introspective lyrics round out the decade’s third best album.
2. Kid A by Radiohead (2000)
It is almost appropriate that Kid A was one of the first major albums leaked onto the internet because it’s like a prophecy for the technological revolution of the 2000s. Kid A’s style of combining jazz and rock elements with electronica left us with an album that could never have foreseen how representative it was of the decade as a whole. Music went online in the 2000s, and Kid A sounds like the internet.
1. The Blueprint by Jay-Z (2001)
The Blueprint brought the sample back into hip-hop. It’s a decade-defining album in terms of its impact on hip-hop—launching Kanye West as a producer, reviving Nas’ career, cementing Jay-Z as the most important artist of the decade, paving the way for thug-rap like 50 Cent, etc.—and all of its songs are amazing. It’s the best album of the 2000s.