So, if anyone is qualified to give a "top ten albums of the decade," it is probably not me. I have no pretense of knowing jack about music, but I DO listen to a lot of it! Now, I'm not saying that these are the BEST albums of the decade, but they're the ones I probably listened to the most (the WHOLE album... not just the two best singles or whatever. Singles are a whole other story.)
Now, while I wouldn't assume that anyone would give a rats ass what albums I listened to the most, back when I was making mix CDs, some crazy kids were actually into them, so maybe... just maybe... you suckers want to know. If you don't, well, at least I can use this for my own future reference.
Now I can't really rank these into "favorites" because favorite-ness tends to wax and wane and appear and disappear on the waves of time and mood, so I'm just gonna organize them chronologically...
1. Antony and the Johnsons - Antony and the Johnsons - (2000)
This album is all kinds of beautiful and melodramatic and gay, all of which I like. It's really quite lovely and kind of like a christmas album if christmas were about masochistic transvestites instead of Jesus. I still listen to this one all the time.
2. The 6ths - Hyacinths and Thistles (2000)
This album is also full of beautiful, melodramatic gay songs AND YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THAT! I think I just about listened this album to death in the early '00s. A compendium of love songs by various vocalists which are cute and clever and romantic and all that jazz.
3. Gorillaz - Gorillaz (2001)
This album is one sweet groove from beginning to end. I'm assuming that everyone knows this album, since it swept the nation when it came out and was being playing in coffee shops far and wide. I feel like this is one of the decade's quintessentials.
Another project by Dan the Automator (who also produced the above Gorillaz album), with the sultry vocal stylings of Mike Patton and the chick from Elysian Fields, this album is one big, sexy, trip-hop jam. If I were going to have an orgy, I would just throw this on, bust out the flavored massage oil and get BIZ-ZAY. I'm not going to have an orgy, though, so it's the thought that counts.
5. Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet (2001)
I remember when I first heard this album back in 2002 and proclaimed that I had "rediscovered the joy of rock" and was "born anew" and that he "deserves a bajillion dollars for being so delightful." Seriously, though, this album showed up on the doorstep of the 00's like a tsunami to wash away the angst of the 90's. It is a ridiculously over-the-top onslaught of feel-good party rock songs which are more fun than music should be allowed to be. A classic.
6. The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
The album is another "coffee house" classic of the 00's. This is just a solid indie-pop album that you can listen to again and again.
7. Electric Six - Fire (2003)
Speaking of tsunamis washing away the angst of the 90's, this album is a non-stop party of flippant booty-shaking disco-rock. If the only tracks you've heard are "Gay Bar" or "Danger! High Voltage," I assure you, the entire album is that much fun.
8. The Submarines - Declare a New State! (2006)
So I went to see this band at Joe's Pub with one of my old friends who is friends of them and I thought they were actually pretty great, which was nice because when I met them after, it was a relief to be able to express genuine appreciation instead of faking it to be polite. The next day I bought this album and listened to it until I knew the words to all the songs. This is another solid indie-pop album which is thematically a break-up album, but is more ambivalent than depressing.
9. Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills (2007)
Okay, this band is Swedish and therefore awesome, but this album was probably the stand-out for me. I think the best assessment of it I heard was something to the effect of "Yeah, this is basically a Cure album, but it's a GOOD Cure album." And, you know, this decade needed a good Cure album because the Cure wasn't going to do it.
10. Magnetic Fields - Distortion (2008)
Basically, this is my favorite thing Magnetic Fields has done since "69 Love Songs" which was a masterpiece. The "wall of sound" thing gives the album an enjoyable overall sound as it traverses back and forth from indie-pop to melodramatic and gay, BOTH OF WHICH I LIKE!
Ten more! Because it's hard to leave these out:
The Faint - Danse Macabre (2001): This feels very quintessentially 00's, what with the electro-retro-dance and whatnot.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - No More Shall We Part (2001): This was my fave Nick Cave album since "The Boatman's Call" which is one of my most-listened-to albums of all time.
Sometimes I need a little mellow, folky stuff. When I do, these two are usually where I turn.
Dragonforce - Inhuman Rampage (2006): This is some delightful, shred-tastic epic fantasy metal that makes you want to fight giant robots with laser-swords while flying on a pegasus in a tornado or some shit.
Nouvelle Vague - Bande à Part (2006): Sultry bossa-nova covers of 80's New Wave songs. That is all it is and all it need be.
The Mary Onettes - The Mary Onettes (2007): This music is like all my favorite gothy-new-wave bands of the 80's put in a blender, sent to Sweden, and then sent back to me gift-wrapped.
Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion (2007): This was a solid, enjoyable, catchy pop album.
Lady Gaga - The Fame (2008): This album is a party. If you tell me you never got "Poker Face" stuck in your head this year, you are a damned liar.
Andrew W.K. - Premium Collection-The Japan Covers (2009) This is an album of Andrew W.K. covering J-pop hits, which is pretty much as awesome as it sounds. After I got this, I couldn't listen to anything else for weeks.