G’s Top Albums of the Decade (Part 1)

Posted by The G on December 18, 2009 under G Reviews | 3 Comments to Read

G's favorite albums of the decade - Part 1.

G's favorite albums of the decade - Part 1.

This is the first of two installments on my favorite albums of the first decade of the 2000s. These albums are not in any particular order of greatness because I love them all.  With the invention of the Ipod, we’ve developed musical ADD.  The albums on this post and the next one (check back tomorrow) will make you want to throw your electronic devices in a tub filled with water and listen to albums in their entirety.  Check out my list after the jump.

Top Row:

Ghosts I-IV by Nine Inch Nails (2008).  Spread out over 2-cds, this 38 song set by Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails) is so hauntingly beautiful that you’ll forget this is the same person who put industrial music on the map with his classic album The Downward Spiral.  These songs (all called “Ghosts“) are more like musical sketches for ideas he put down to elaborate on at a later date.  There are of course some uptempo songs, but the most impressive tracks are the soft piano ballads that reveal a side of Trent Reznor that most people would find unimaginable.

Can’tneverdidnothin’ by Nikka Costa (2005).  On Nikka’s 2nd major label release, Can’tneverdidnothin’ is a 40 minute exercise in funk.  Her music and live performances are what would happen if James Brown and Janis Joplin had a child.  The opening track “Till I Get To You,” runs down the alphabet with each letter being a different lover she had (and discarded).  “I Gotta Know,” is a gorgeous ballad where she is willing to trade independence for the arms of a lover, if only he agrees to mutual affection.  She cover’s Nina Simone’sFunkier Than A Mosquita’s Tweeter,” and as the title suggests, it is! “Happy In The Morning” is one of the best Prince songs – not by Prince.

System by Seal (2007).  Produced by Stuart Price (who also produced Madonna’sConfessions on a Dance Floor“), this album is a non-stop dance party.  It didn’t do very well on the charts, but let’s also remember that the masses are asses.  The opening track “If It’s In My Mind, It’s On My Face,” starts off a capella and then by the first chorus, the banging beats that will be ever present throughout the rest of the album make their entrance.  The title track has Matrix-esque inspired lyrics that give suggestions on beating “the system.”  The track “Wedding Day,” a duet with Seal‘s wife Heidi Klum, is probably my least favorite track, but it gives us a chance to slow it down before the second half of the album kicks in and makes us throw our hands in the air.

Middle Row:

Speakerboxx/The Love Below by Outkast (2003).  Years after rap became hateful with stolen samples and negative lyrics, Outkast came along and made a solid 2-cd set that is considered by many as one of the greatest rap albums of all time.  Speakerboxx is basically a solo album by Big Boy while The Love Below is Andre 3000’s solo record.  Speakerboxx produced the smash hit “The Way You Move,” and The Love Below had “Hey Ya,” two of the funkiest tracks this side of the Mississippi River.  With interludes to link the songs together, both albums come together for 2 hours of perfection.

A Rush Of Blood to the Head by Coldplay (2002).  British emo-rockers Coldplay achieved worldwide success with their second album.  Tracks such as “In My Place,” and the infectious “Clocks,” became stadium anthems and luckily this album was recorded before lead singer Chris Martin married Gwyneth Paltrow.  Lyrically and musically, this album will not be remembered for breaking new ground, but it paved the way for countless other bands who took the soft-rock with a grinding guitar sound and made it their own.

Gift of Screws by Lindsey Buckingham (2008).  Guitar god Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac), notorious for taking years in between solo albums, released a pair of companion albums in the 2000s.  In 2006, he released “Under The Skin,” a mostly acoustic album that showed off his lyrical and guitar chops and at that time, he promised the release of the rock album his fans had been dying to hear.  “Gift of Screws” was exactly that.  These records are his answer to the Beatles classics “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver,” meaning that listening to them back to back will give you a wonderful and complete sonic experience running the gamut from sweeping ballads to rockin’ classics.  “Did You Miss Me,” has so much longing in his voice that I’m sure the first time Stevie Nicks (Buckingham’s former lover) heard this song, she probably wept for days.  “Bel Air Rain,” talks about the trappings of fame, but as Buckingham looks out from his mansion, he decides not to bitch too much about how taxing of an experience he’s had. “Love Runs Deeper,” is another standout track.

Bottom Row:

The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow (2008).  The British rockers Elbow have unfortunately lived in obscurity in the United States and I thought “The Seldom Seen Kid,” would break them out of that mold.  We’ll have to return to the maxim that the masses are asses.  With that aside, their sound is similar to what you’d hear if Peter Gabriel decided to make a roots/folk/alternative album!  Lead singer Guy Garvey packs a powerful punch on tracks such as “The Bones of You,” which features one of my favorite lyrics “Straight to my head like the first cigarette of the day.”  Other standout tracks include “Mirrorball” (which Peter Gabriel will be covering on a collection of covers due out next year), “An Audience with the Pope” and “Weather to Fly.”

Confessions on a Dance Floor by Madonna (2005).  Dance floor queen Madonna made a non-stop megamix with producer Stuart Price on this massively successful album.  The first time I ever heard “Hung Up,” I was instantly hooked and I played it over and over again.  This album came out in a very volatile period of my life and even though Madonna is not regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of our generation (and rightfully so), I felt a sense of encouragement about life when I would listen to the lyrics of “Jump,” that go, “Are you ready to jump, don’t ever look back.”  A major flaw of this record is that a lot of the tracks are down-tempo and are more for the after-hours crowd than being a proper album to get you in the mood to go dancing, but if you take the best tracks off this album and mix them together with the best tracks off Seal‘s “System,” you have yourself a perfect record to shake your groove thing.

Under The Blacklight by Rilo Kiley (2007).  Rilo Kiley had been making country and folk music before they decided to make a pop album.  The results were awesome as “Under The Blacklight” is a solid album from start to finish.  The opener “Silver Lining” has singer Jenny Lewis explaining that she “was your silver lining, but now I’m gold.”  “The Moneymaker” will make you shake yours.  “Dreamworld,” is the best Fleetwood Mac song never made and “Breakin’ Up” is an F-U to a former lover whose funky chorus is “ooh, yeah, it feels good to be free.”

Watch this space for the continuation of my favorite albums of the decade.

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  • Herman said,

    Nice ones! Few the same, some close. Rilo Kiley and Lindsay Buckingham almost made my list. I favour the first Nikka (I know she did some stuff before, but those albums don’t count)

    I got Nin and Outkast, I think. But I am not sure, cuz there were a lot of titles in my Top 100 of the decade. Moonbeam is posting them for me on the sticky on Music; Non-Prince, I think…

    Check them out!

  • Philip said,

    I’m so glad you put Confessions on this list. It was such a comeback album for Madge. I wish she’d work with Stuart Price again. Genius.