And just like my list of top films of the last decade, here’s the top nine albums I liked these past ten years, in order of my favorite, from least to best. Hard to pick just nine, so I included what my tenth favorite of the decade.
- The Killers “Hot Fuss” 
The first time I heard “Somebody Told Me”, it was instantly catchy. After hearing the rest of the album, I knew this was a game-changing band. Since then, The Killers have gone on to impress both on record and on stage and prove that they are a band that can make it after releasing a powerful debut album.
- Foo Fighters “In Your Honor” 
Since his days as the drummer for Nirvana to his most recent drumming duties in Them Crooked Vultures, Dave Grohl has been one of the most talented and coolest musicians in the world of rock. And his creation of the Foo Fighters has, in my mind, been the best thing he’s done. This 2005 double album of both hard rockers (disc 1) and creative ballads (disc 2) comes out on top as one of their best. Songs like “Best of You”, “Resolve” and “Another Round” are enjoyable works of music.
- Jay-Z “The Black Album” 
I don’t like too many rap and hip-hop artists. But there are a few that I consider talented. Jay-Z is one of those. Sean Carter has created a nice string of hits over the course of his music career. But his work with Rick Rubin on this album stands as his best work. Perhaps it’s because of songs like “99 Problems” and “What More Can I Say” that makes this album flow so well to the ears of this rock ‘n roll music fan.
- Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP” 
Lately, the white rapper known as Eminem hasn’t done much. Maybe it’s because he used up all of his creative genius with this ten year old album. With the exception of the song “Kim”, every track here excels into a nice range of rap, hip-hop, sampling and rhythm. My favorites here are “Stan”, “Marshall Mathers” and “Bitch Please II”, the last track including the rhymes of Snoop Dogg.
- The Arcade Fire “Neon Bible” 
I didn’t know anything about Arcade Fire, with the exception of seeing their name associated with their debut release “Funeral” The husband/wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne had a unique sound, but from what I heard, it didn’t grab me. Then in September 2007, my daughter wanted to go see them in concert. From the moment they took the stage, I was hooked. The songs on this sophomore album were brilliant. I still play “Intervention” on a weekly basis. Can’t wait to hear what they create next.
- Green Day “American Idiot” 
I’ve liked Green Day since the early days, embracing the albums “Dookie” and “Insomniac” by playing them to death. But it was their epic retort on the most recent Bush Administration that stands as their best work of the last decade. “Jesus Of Suburbia”, “Holiday” and “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” are three tracks in a row that are the meat of the story they tell in song, which gives me goosebumps each time I listen.
- Brian Wilson “Presents SMiLE” 
Those of you that are long time fans of the Beach Boys will know who Brian Wilson is. After the creation and success of “Pet Sounds”, Brian took an odd route in his life, effectively going into a drug-induced crazy state trying to complete the anticipated follow up, which he dubbed “a teenage symphony to God”. The project was never completed, and it became the most famous album to have never been released. Thirty-seven years later, a more stable Brian took his band into the studio and completed the album under his own name. “Heroes And Villains”, “Surf’s Up” and “Good Vibrations” prove that brilliant songwriting can find a resurgence years later.
- The Shins “Wincing The Night Away” 
A friend once told me that this band changed her life after hearing their work. While that change didn’t happen to me, I did embrace the sounds on this album enough to include it in my best of decade. The biggest hit that most people know “Phantom Limb” stands as the best of this creative musical journey by James Mercer.
- Radiohead “In Rainbows” 
Quite a few of the Best of Decade lists had “Kid A” at the very top of their list. And while that is a good album, it was Radiohead’s last release that was tops for me. Originally available as a digital “pay what you want” format, this album has been played here well over 100 times since I downloaded it. Tracks like “All I Need” and “Reckoner” are melded so well as they play into another. I know some call this release a ‘snoozefest’, but for me, it’s just the opposite. I never tire of tracking this album from start to finish.
.. and Number 10
- The Panic Channel “(ONe)” 
As a long time fan of Jane’s Addiction, I followed other projects by their members like Porno For Pyros. Early in 2006, I had heard that Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins joined up with a singer named Steve Isaacs. I saw them live in June of that year, more than two months before their only album “(ONe)” was released. It was then that I was hooked. Since the release, I’ve listened to this album over and over, even dedicating an entire blog post to it’s greatness. Listen to songs like “She Won’t Last” and “Blue Bruises” and you may find the treasure of this now-defunct band.