When I sat down to compile my list of my Top Ten Albums of the Decade for 2000-2009 I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was always going to be difficult, but I didn’t think it would feel so much like killing off my dearest friends.
I decided a brackets chart (think sports play-offs) was the best way to fairly come up with a Number 1. I began with a list of 64 albums and pulled them from a hat (not even a joke) to randomly fill out the first row of “challenges”. This first elimination round was the easiest although I did feel bad for some albums; for instance, Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle (2006) which in and of itself is a great album, but really stood no chance up against Idlewild’s The Remote Part (2002).
I tried to divide my decisions equally between My Favourites and The Best, which is trickier than it may sound. This is where my guilty pleasures fell to the wayside often to be trumped by greater, but perhaps less listened-to albums. I’m sorry Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! (2005).
I suppose this is the time for “without further ado”, so here you go:
My Top Ten Albums of the Decade
10. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004)
9. Our Lady Peace – Spiritual Machines (2001)
8. Snow Patrol – Final Straw (2003)
7. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
6. Kings of Leon – Only By the Night (2008)
5. Idlewild – The Remote Part (2002)
4. The Libertines – Up the Bracket (2002)
3. The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004)
2. Razorlight – Up All Night (2004)
1. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
And because I always like to know who the runners-up were:
11. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)
12. Muse – Absolution (2003)
The Arctic Monkeys steal the show with their brilliant debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006). Not every track is a stunner, “Riot Van” and “Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…” aren’t very good at all, actually, but even including those two tracks this album is, by far and away, the best that modern (Indie) music can ever hope to be. In my opinion. It gets underneath the skin of the noughties youth culture and pushes the most sordid moments into glaring light. Alex Turner’s lyrics are so brutal and honest they will forever stand as an almost photographic view of the UK at the beginning of this century. The crowning glory of this album is, of course, their first single; “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” which will undoubtedly pack the floor with dancers on the quietest nights in the loneliest clubs 10 years from now. Don’t believe the hype, indeed.
For those of you interested in the rest of my choices the full brackets chart (from 32 onwards) can be found here: The Great Album Debate.
In the end I was doing a track-by-track comparison. The Libertines would have ranked higher if it weren’t for “Radio America” which is one of the worst songs ever written. The Killers are let down by “Andy, You’re A Star” and the fact that “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” was only an album track in the UK and not the USA. I nearly broke all the rules and rocketed Idlewild to the top position simply because someone once asked me whether I was a builder, but I had to play by the rules.
It was a great decade for music and I am very glad that it was also MY decade for music. If I had been born any earlier or any later then I may have missed it. Even one year could have thrown this list in a completely different direction.
I am also going to list my top ten tracks of the decade but I think that might be an even harder decision because even the thought of where to start makes my brain hurt. Wish me luck.
So, what about you? What were your Top Tens of the decade? Do you agree or disagree with my choices?
Also, although I am loathe to admit it, I may have forgotten something. I took great pains to avoid this sad outcome, but if you think I have failed to include something in my Big Album List please, PLEASE let me know. I can’t imagine I’ve forgotten something that would make it into the top ten, but you never know. I’m not perfect.
I’m off to play “Red Light Indicates Doors are Secured” at top volume. I suggest you do the same.
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