With two weeks left in The Decade with No Name — Seriously. what will the people of the future call the first decade of the 21st century? Did we ever come up with a name for the years between 1900 and 1909? — ’tis time for the compiling of “best of” lists. Here are my picks for the ten best from the last ten years in order of release date.
Agaetis Byrjun, Sigur Ros (Early 2000): OK, so it was actually released in 1999, but it wasn’t until Y2K safely passed that people began to embrace its sublime mellowness. Buy one now. Iceland needs your hard currency.
Kid A, Radiohead (Oct. 2, 2001): Under pressure to follow up 1997’s OK Computer, Radiohead deconstructed itself in order to assemble an astonishingly smooth record that doesn’t sound like it was made by a rock band.
White Blood Cells, The White Stripes (July 3, 2001): No bass player? Brother and sister or ex-husband-and-wife? Didn’t matter. She was the mute timekeeper and Jack White was quietly announcing that this was going to be his decade.
This Is It, The Strokes (Sept 25, 2001): Yes, several of the Strokes were trust-fund private school kids, but that certainly didn’t stop them from making a street smart record that really kicked off the decade’s fascination with indie rock.
Songs for the Deaf, Queens of the Stone Age (Aug. 27, 2002): Josh Homme out front, Dave Grohl on drums. In retrospect, the ancestor of Them Crooked Vultures.
A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay (April 1, 2003): Parachutes was a fine record, but it certainly didn’t hint towards the superstardom that would come rushing in with the next album.
Elephant, White Stripes (April 1, 2003): Seven Nation Army and the Hardest Button to Button cemented Jack White’s rep as the guitar god of the ‘00s.
American Idiot, Green Day (Sept. 21, 2004): Aging punk rockers mount comeback with a punk rock opera. Didn’t see that coming.
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not/Arctic Monkeys (Feb. 21, 2006): They went from getting guitars for Christmas to the biggest new band in the U.K. in just a couple of years. And Alex Turner has become one of the decade’s best lyricists.
In Rainbow/Radiohead (Oct. 10, 2007): Ask people to pay what they think the album is worth? Good luck with that.