Monday, December 21, 2009

My favorite albums of the decade

In trying to compile my favorite albums of the decade, I initially tried to compile a top 10 list. I hated the exercise. How do you squeeze 10 years of albums into 10 slots? When you compile a roster of the very greatest albums of the 'OOs, how do you distinguish whether one masterpiece is worthy of the #6 slot rather than the #5 slot ?

So, I resolved instead to just list some of the albums that have remained special to me, throughout the decade. I've sorted them alphabetically by artist and, as you'll see, some bands and artists have more multiple albums listed next to their names. Some artists, such as Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield), have had such an outstanding decade that I've included every release over the past 10 years. With others, I've tried to hone in on their best work.

I'll put an asterisk* next to a select couple of records that I have played over and over and over again and would carry out first in the event of a fire. (I've also marked out some of those very favorites with pictures of album covers.) I've also added hyperlinks, where possible, to my reviews of some of these records.

Justin Adam & Juldeh Camara -- Soul Science/Tell No Lies
Ryan Adams -- Cold Roses
Air -- Talkie Walkie
Amadou & Mariam -- Dimanche A Bamako
Joseph Arthur -- Come to Where I'm From*/Redemption's Son*/Our Shadows Will Remain*/Nuclear Daydream*
David Baerwald -- The New Folk Underground*
Richard Barbieri -- Things Buried/Stranger Inside
Bat for Lashes -- Fur and Gold/Two Suns
The Beta Band -- From Heroes to Zeroes
Bjork -- Vespertine*
Blackfield -- Blackfield/Blackfield II
The Black Keys -- Attack & Release
Blonde Redhead -- 23
Blue Nile -- High
Boards of Canada -- The Campfire Headphase
David Bowie -- Heathen*/Reality
Jack Bruce -- Shadows in the Air
Kate Bush -- Aerial*
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -- Abbatoir Blues + The Lyre of Orpheus/Dig Lazarus Digg!!!
Coldplay -- Rush of Blood to the Head/Viva La Vida
Shawn Colvin -- Whole New You
Crowded House -- Time on Earth
The Cure -- 4:13 Dream
Dirty Projectors -- Bitte Orca
Drive By Truckers -- Brighter than Creation's Dark
Bob Dylan -- Love and Theft/Modern Times
Doves -- Lost Souls*/The Last Broadcast/Some Cities/Kingdom of Rust
Elbow -- Asleep in the Back/Cast of Thousands/Leaders of the Free World*/Seldom Seen Kid
Engineers -- Three Fact Fader
Donald Fagen -- Morph the Cat
The Flaming Lips -- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Fleet Foxes -- Fleet Foxes
Neil Finn -- One All
Frou Frou -- Details
Goldfrapp -- Seventh Tree
Grizzly Bear -- Yellow House/Veckatimest
Imogen Heap -- Ellipse
John Hammond -- Wicked Grin
PJ Harvey -- Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea*/Uh Huh Her/White Chalk*
Jesca Hoop -- Kismet*
The Invisible -- The Invisible
Iron & Wine --The Shepherd's Dog
Keane -- Under the Iron Sea
Sonny Landreth -- From the Reach
LCD Soundsystem -- Sounds of Silver
Marillion -- Anoraknophobia/ Marbles* /Happiness is the Road*

The Mars Volta -- Deloused in the Comatarium/Octahedron
Scott Matthews -- Passing Strangers
Natalie Merchant -- Motherland
Midlake -- The Trials of Von Occupanther
Joni Mitchell -- Shine
Gary Moore -- Close As You Get
The Mummers -- Tale to Tell, Pt. 1
My Morning Jacket -- It Still Moves
No-Man -- Returning Jesus*/Together We're Stranger*/Schoolyard Ghosts*
Opeth -- Blackwater Park/Ghost Reveries
Pineapple Thief -- Variations on a Dream
Robert Plant -- Dreamland*/Mighty Rearranger*/Raising Sand* (with Alison Krauss)Porcupine Tree -- In Absentia*/Deadwing*/Fear of a Blank Planet*/The Incident*

Radiohead -- Kid A*/In Rainbows* (two-disc edition)
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- Stadium Arcadium
Rush -- Vapor Trails
Shearwater -- Palo Santo*/Rook*
Steely Dan -- Everything Must Go
Otis Taylor -- Definition of a Circle
Tinariwen -- Imidiwen: Companions
Rokia Traoré -- Tchamantché
TV on the Radio -- Return to Cookie Mountain/Dear Science
Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Suzanne Vega -- Songs in Red and Gray
Steven Wilson -- Insurgentes*

The White Stripes -- Elephant
World Party -- Dumbing Up
Thom Yorke -- The Eraser


  1. Like your choices. You may have listened to some of these, which I think you might like: Memories of Machines, Beanfield, Playground Noise, Peder, Other Lives, Nosound, Lucia Micarelli, and Thomas Otten just to start with. Thanks for posting!
    Don Sylvester

  2. Thanks for those recommendations, Don. I like the Memories of Machines album and Nosound is excellent, too. Even better is the recent Tim Bowness project Slow Winter - my most favorite Tim Bowness project outside No-Man.