(t5!) Albums Of The 2000s (Redux) [50 to 1]

See how my taste evolved from the last time I did this! Twenty at a time for the next two weeks, all blurbs from allmusic.com. Fight!

#50: Andrew Bird — Armchair Apocrypha
Released March 20, 2007
Fat Possum

Plasticities | Heretics | Armchairs

“It’s the first album that captures Bird’s much lauded live approach, almost as if he had hit some completely transcendental place mentally, forgotten his place in the studio, and instead just sang while in some distant reverie — the way one sings unencumbered while washing the dishes in an empty house and, unknowingly, hones his artistic blade cleaning dirty knife by dirty knife.”

#49: Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Fever To Tell
Released April 29, 2003
Interscope

Rich | Maps | Y Control

“Though this is their debut album, Fever to Tell almost feels like a transitional release; they’re already rethinking their sound in radical ways. Even when they’re uneven, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are still an exciting band.”

#48: Erykah Badu — New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
Released February 26, 2008
Universal Motown

The Healer | Soldier | Honey

“Immediately moving and yet rather bewildering, New Amerykah, Pt. 1 is an album that sounds special from the first play, yet it will probably take years before it is known just how special it is.”

#47: Basement Jaxx — Rooty
Released June 26, 2001
XL

Romeo | Where’s Your Head At | Do Your Thing

“So raw you can’t believe they spent over an hour per track, so perfect you’re glad they stopped noodling about long before most producers would, and so poppy they should get picked up by commercial radio in America as well as the rest of the world…”

#46: OutKast — Stankonia
Released October 31, 2000
LaFace

So Fresh, So Clean | Ms. Jackson | B.O.B.

Stankonia was OutKast’s second straight masterstroke, an album just as ambitious, just as all-over-the-map, and even hookier than its predecessor, [Aquemini]…”

#45: Basement Jaxx — Kish Kash
Released October 20, 2003
XL

Good Luck | Plug It In | Cish Cash

“In fact, it reveals the duo perhaps relying too much on their own formula, the jumped-up Prince production with tech-heavy percussion and effects exploding all over the mix. Granted, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe ably deflect most criticisms with this LP, shot through with high-profile collaborations — nearly all of them intriguing tracks with star turns.”

#44: Taylor Swift — Fearless
Released November 11, 2008
Big Machine

Love Story | White Horse | You Belong With Me

“Swift’s maturation is deliberate and careful, styled after the crossover country-pop of Shania Twain and Faith Hill before they turned into divas.”

#43: Yo La Tengo — And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out
Released February 22, 2000
Matador

Our Way To Fall | Saturday | You Can Have It All

“Easily one of 2000’s most accomplished albums, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out isn’t as immediate as some of the group’s earlier work, but it’s just as enduring, proving that Yo La Tengo is the perfect band to grow old with.”

#42: Lil’ Wayne — Da Drought 3
Released April 13, 2007
Young Money

Upgrade U | Get High Rule The World | Dough Is What I Got

“There’s an urge among critics to find a Lil Wayne record to fix as the canonical one — a pinpointed moment at which his id dilated, his flow sublimated, his gag metaphors burst from logical constraints, and the onetime also-ran became the foul-mouthed baby-like poet laureate of latter-day rap nerds. For all its faults, 2006’s double-disc mixtape Da Drought 3 might as well be it.”

#41: Bloc Party — Silent Alarm
Released February 2, 2005
Wichita

Helicopter | This Modern Love | So Here We Are

“Much more polished, serious, and straight-ahead than their initial EPs suggested, Bloc Party’s debut album, Silent Alarm, reveals them as a band equally informed by taut art-punk and the grand gestures and earnestness of groups like Coldplay and U2.”

#40: Jay-Z — The Black Album
Released November 14, 2003
Roc-A-Fella

Moment Of Clarity | 99 Problems | Public Service Announcement (Interlude)

“If The Black Album is Jay-Z’s last, as he publicly stated it will be, it illustrates an artist going out in top form.”

#39: Fever Ray — Fever Ray
Released January 12, 2009
Rabid

If I Had A Heart | When I Grow Up | Seven

“With almost tangible textures and a striking mood of isolation and singularity, Fever Ray is a truly strange but riveting album.”

#38: St. Vincent — Marry Me
Released June 10, 2007
Beggars Banquet

Marry Me | Paris Is Burning | All My Stars Aligned

“But while [Annie] Clark, who chooses to use the name St. Vincent here, does incorporate the frilly strings and horns, background choirs, and various keyboards (most of which she plays) of her past employers in Marry Me, her solo debut, she also has an edge to her…”

#37: Band Of Horses — Everything All The Time
Released March 21, 2006
Sub Pop

The First Song | The Funeral | The Great Salt Lake

“…Band of Horses is a full-on indie rock band that writes loud, raw, mid-tempo pop songs and really loves Neil Young.”

#36: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Released September 13, 2005
Wichita

Over And Over Again (Lost And Found) | The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth | In This Home On Ice

“…that’s precisely the band’s strongest suit — their ability to sound immediately familiar to everyone while, simultaneously, shrugging off any attempts at direct comparison.”

#35: Camera Obscura — Let’s Get Out Of This Country
Released June 6, 2006
Merge

Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken | Let’s Get Out Of This Country | Country Mile

“If this review could be one word long, that word would be “enchanting.””

#34: Cut Copy — In Ghost Colours
Released March 22, 2008
Modular

Feel The Love | Out There On The Ice | Hearts On Fire

“[In Ghost Colours] boasts at least a half-dozen potential summer anthems for dancefloors and headphones alike, seamlessly strung together with subdued interstitial mood pieces that help make it more of a nuanced work than a straightforward collection of relentlessly upbeat dance jams.”

#33: Junior Boys — Last Exit
Released June 7, 2004
Domino

Bellona | Birthday | Teach Me How To Fight

“The group’s ability to synthesize so many elements with such subtlety really isn’t their greatest asset; it’s that their music can be enjoyed with or without all of the analysis and context, whether you’re tucked inside a snowbound outpost or winding your way through some vast metropolis during nighttime.”

#32: Wolf Parade — Apologies To The Queen Mary
Released September 27, 2005
Sub Pop

Same Ghost Every Night | I Believe In Anything | This Heart’s On Fire

“They allow that, then purposely strip the songs of any slickness or accoutrements, so the keys and squiggly guitars and terrifically simple drums (Arlen Thompson might play just a kick drum and one big snare) teeter and balance together in a hectic and gloriously alive pop state.”

#31: Broken Social Scene — Broken Social Scene
Released October 4, 2005
Arts & Crafts

7/4 (Shoreline) | Fire Eye’d Boy | It’s All Gonna Break

“The 14-song set is as bright and moving as the band’s previous efforts, but Broken Social Scene holds more charisma, more depth, and surely more complexities.”

#30: Robyn — Robyn
Released April 27, 2005
Konichiwa

Konichiwa Bitches | Be Mine! | With Every Heartbeat

“It’s not bragging if you can back it up, and Robyn does just that, channeling all the frustration of her creative differences with her previous labels into a freewheeling, accomplished pop album that is so fresh that it could pass for a debut”

#29: N.E.R.D. — In Search Of…
Released September 28, 2001
Virgin

Provider | Run To The Sun | Stay Together

“Musically, it’s a lively affair, breaking free of the signature approximated-Prince beats, as they borrow heavily from classic soul, breakbeat aesthetics, and postmodern alt-culture, tying it together with live beats.”

#28: M.I.A. — Kala
Released August 8, 2007
XL

Bamboo Banga | Jimmy | Paper Planes

“…wildly vigorous and wholly enjoyable albums, generous with blunt-force beats, flurries of percussion, riotous vocals (with largely inconsequential lyrics), and fearless stylistic syntheses that seem to view music from half of the planet’s countries as potential source material.”

#27: Antony And The Johnsons — I Am A Bird Now
Released February 1, 2005
Secretly Canadian

Hope There’s Someone | Fistful Of Love | Bird Gerhl

“Antony’s bluesy parlor room cadence is more upfront here, resulting in a listening experience that’s both exhilarating and disquieting.”

#26: Phoenix — Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Released May 25, 2009
V2

Lisztomania | 1901 | Love Like A Sunset

“Vocalist Thomas Mars, more bright-eyed and youthful than ever, also sounds more a part of these songs, rather than coming across as a protruding element that clashes against the instruments. Maybe they’ve just hit their stride.”

#25: Caribou — The Milk Of Human Kindness
Released April 18, 2005
Domino

Yeti | Lord Leopard | Pelican Narrows

“…he proves on The Milk of Human Kindness that his compositional powers have grown during his five years on the scene.”

#24: Stars — Heart
Released February 11, 2003
Arts & Crafts

Elevator Love Letter | Romantic Comedy | Look Up

“Stars work with bittersweet grooves, sleepy singing, and analog gurgles — which makes for a charming collection of electronic chamber pop.”

#23: Animal Collective — Merriweather Post Pavilion
Released January 6, 2009
Domino

My Girls | Summertime Clothes | Daily Routine

“…they’ve never sounded simultaneously otherworldly and approachable quite like they do on Merriweather Post Pavilion.”

#22: Portishead — Third
Released April 27, 2008
Island

Silence | The Rip | Machine Gun

“It demands attention, requiring effort on the part of the listener, as this defies any conventions on what constitutes art pop apart from one key tenet, one that is often attempted yet rarely achieved: it offers music that is genuinely, startlingly original.”

#21: The Rapture — Echoes
Released September 8, 2003
DFA

Olio | I Need Your Love | House Of Jealous Lovers 
“These flashes of greatness don’t quite add up to what could have been, but the album as a whole is still quite exceptional.”

#20: Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend
Released January 29, 2008
XL

Oxford Comma | A-Punk | Walcott

“Everything is concise, concentrated, distilled, vivid; Vampire Weekend’s world is extremely specific and meticulously crafted, andVampire Weekend often feels like a concept album about preppy guys who grew up with classical music and recently got really into world music.”

#19: D’Angelo — Voodoo
Released January 25, 2000
Virgin

Left & Right | Send It On | Untitled (How Does It Feel)

“His soulful voice is just as sweet as it was on Brown Sugar…”

#18: Kanye West — The College Dropout
Released February 10, 2004
Roc-A-Fella

All Falls Down | Jesus Walks | Slow Jamz

“…an album that’s nearly as phenomenal as the boastful West has led everyone to believe.”

#17: Kanye West — Late Registration
Released August 30, 2005
Roc-A-Fella

Heard ’Em Say | Drive Slow | Hey Mama

“On Late Registration, he finds himself backed into a corner, albeit as king of the mountain. It’s a paradox, which is exactly what he thrives on.”

#16: Eminem — The Marshall Mathers LP
Released May 23, 2000
Aftermath

Kill You | Stan | Criminal

“It is…a fairly brilliant expansion of his debut, turning his spare, menacing hip-hop into a hyper-surreal, wittily disturbing thrill ride.”

#15: The-Dream — Love Hate
Released December 11, 2007
Radio Killa

Shawty Is Da Shit | I Luv Your Girl | Purple Kisses

“Not only does it lend the album a unified sound unlike most modern R&B albums, but it has the effect of a suite, with common elements shared between tracks; some of the transitions would make any album sequencing assistant deeply envious.”

#14: Junior Boys — So This Is Goodbye
Released September 12, 2006
Domino

The Equalizer | In The Morning | Like A Child

“…this is a make-out album destined to be played most often by loners who, for whatever reason (a crippling breakup, a fear of human contact, the snowman melted, etc.), are only able to commit the act in their minds.”

#13: Radiohead — In Rainbows
Released October 10, 2007
Self-Released

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi | All I Need | Reckoner

In Rainbows will hopefully be remembered as Radiohead’s most stimulating synthesis of accessible songs and abstract sounds, rather than their first pick-your-price download.”

#12: Arcade Fire — Funeral
Released September 14, 2004
Merge

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) | Neighborhood #2 (Laika) | Wake Up

“…the Arcade Fire’s emotional debut — rendered even more poignant by the dedications to recently departed family members contained in its liner notes — is brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre’s more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger.”

#11: Daft Punk — Discovery
Released March 3, 2001
Virgin

One More Time | Digital Love | Something About Us

“…packed with excellent productions and many of the obligatory nods to the duo’s favorite stylistic speed bumps of the 1970s and ‘80s.”

#10: The Avalanches — Since I Left You
Released November 27, 2000
Modular

Since I Left You | A Different Feeling | Frontier Psychiatrist

“…the Avalanches remind you of a point in your life when you could blissfully hang upside down from monkey bars and just dangle.”

#09: The xx — xx
Released August 17, 2009
Young Turks

VCR | Crystalised | Shelter

“These tracks are so sleek, they’re practically sculptural, and they boast impeccably groomed arrangements. The beats pulse rather than crash; the guitars are artfully picked and plucked; and the vocals rarely rise above a wistful sigh.”

#08: Broken Social Scene — You Forgot It In People
Released October 15, 2002
Arts & Crafts

Almost Crimes | Looks Just Like The Sun | Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl

“According to one of the members of this incarnation of the group, trying to determine ‘who did what’ on this album would warrant an entire review in itself, as everyone took turns playing different instruments and the whole project was built from the ground up in a very collective fashion.”

#07: Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
Released July 4, 2005
Asthmatic Kitty

Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois | John Wayne Gacy Jr. | Jacksonville

“The lush (yet still distinctly lo-fi) indie pop melodies draw as much from classic rock as they do progressive folk.”

#06: LCD Soundsystem — Sound Of Silver
Released March 12, 2007
DFA

Get Innocuous! | Someone Great | All My Friends

“All the jagged frays have been removed, replaced by a slightly tidier approach that is more direct and packs more punch.”

#05: Jay-Z — The Blueprint
Released September 11, 2001
Roc-A-Fella

Takeover | U Don’t Know | Song Cry

“So when Jay-Z opens The Blueprint dropping rhymes about ‘runnin’ this rap sh*t,’ it’s not so much arrogance as it is a matter of fact.”

#04: Interpol — Turn On The Bright Lights
Released August 20, 2002
Matador

Untitled | Obstacle 1 | Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down

“This record is no fun at all, the tension is rarely resolved, and — oh no! — it isn’t exactly revolutionary, though some new shades of gray have been discovered.”

#03: Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Released August 20, 2002
Matador

Kamera | Jesus, Etc. | Reservations

“Few bands can call themselves contemporaries of both the heartbreakingly earnest self-destruction of Whiskeytown and the alienating experimentation of Radiohead’s post-millennial releases, but on the painstaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco seem to have done just that.”

#02: Bon Iver — For Emma, Forever Ago
Released February 19, 2008
Jagjaguwar

Flume | The Wolves (Act I And II) | Blindsided

“[Justin] Vernon’s falsetto soars like a hawk and when he adds harmonies and massed backing vocals, it can truly be breathtaking.”

#01: Radiohead — Kid A
Released October 2, 2000
Parlophone

Everything In Its Right Place | How To Disappear Completely | Idioteque

“This emphasis on texture, this reliance on elliptical songs, means that Kid A is easily the most successful electronica album from a rock band: it doesn’t even sound like the work of a rock band, even if it does sound like Radiohead.”

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