Radiohead, Jay-Z, Muse and Arctic Monkeys all vie for number one...
Last week, Gigwise crowned Katie Price and Peter Andre's 'A Whole New World' as the worst album of the decade ahead of such atrocities as Crazy Frog's 'Greatest Hits' and The Jonas Brothers' 'A Little Bit Longer'. Now, we're very proud to unveil The 50 Greatest Albums of the 2000s, as voted for by Gigwise writers. See who makes number one below:
50. Vitalic: 'OK Cowboy' (2005) - The debut album from the French techno DJ was an intelligent and thought-provoking exploration of complex, emotionally-charged dance music. From the pummelling and abrasive tracks ('La Rock 01' / 'Poney Part 2') to the atmospheric and chilled-out ('The Past' / 'U and I'), the record is packed with depth. It also included perhaps the best song about a neglected pony ever committed to plastic to boot.
49. Doves: 'Lost Souls' (2000) - While The Last Broadcast may have brought them their commercial success, Lost Souls still remains the Manchester trio's true masterpiece. Rooted in a mist of brooding shoe-gaze and psychedelic tinged indie it casts a melancholic shadow over the Manchester scene of Oasis. If you're in any doubt about its sheer beauty, just take one listen to 'Cedar Room'.
48. Roots Manuva: 'Run Come Save Me' (2001) â€“ Following up 1999's 'Brand New Second Hand' would be a tall order for anyone, but Rodney Marsh managed it with the equally brilliant 'Run Come Save Me'. Lead single 'Witness (1 Hope)' is easily the rapper's finest four minutes, while the rest of the record is brimful of adventurous beats, rhymes and ideas.
47. Brand New: 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me' (2006) - Very few bands challenge themselves and improve year on year like Brand New. Having emerged in the early part of the decade this five piece from New York have gone from pop-punk also rans to one of the most vital punk bands in the world. The strength and power of Brand New is summed up no better than on their 2006 opus 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me', a sprawling and passionate piece of work that documents the romantic trials of lead singer Jesse Lacey with a dark brooding intensity. Associations with widely derided genre's like emo are a million miles short as anyone who knows will tell you, Brand New are one of the bands of the decade.
46. Slipknot: 'Iowa' (2001) - Quite simply put the best heavy metal album since Pantera's 'A Vulgar Display of Power' almost a decade earlier. With this record, named after their home State, the masked rockers categorically proved that they were much more than a gimmick; in fact they were a formidable force to be reckoned with. Relentless and packed with muscle, 'brutal' is an understatement.
45. Interpol: 'Turn on the Bright Lights' (2002) - From opener 'Untitled' all the way through to the album's closing track 'Leif Erikson', Interpol's 2002 debut 'Turn On The Bright Lights' proved to be one of the most magical releases of not only that year, but the entire decade. Praised by critics, the album blended Paul Banks' introspective and dark lyrics with music that was both uplifting and ethereal, often in the course of the same song. For an independent release, 'Turn on the Bright Lights' has sold over 500,000 copies in the US alone, perhaps testament to how damn good it is.
44. Amy Winehouse: 'Back To Black' (2006) - Now more synonymous with tabloid stories about crack-taking and, of course, Blakey, it's easy to forget that not too long ago Amy Winehouse was an ultra-talented singer who released this stunning record. Quite simply, the best pop album released by a British artist this decade and Winehouse's coming of age. It was also producer Mark Ronson's finest hour before he soiled his reputation with the hideous covers album 'Version'.
43. The Horrors: 'Primary Colours' (2009) - A prime example of how to turn critical indifference on its head and into widespread acclaim in one meticulous step. Just two years ago they were five kids with terrible haircuts who performed dodgy Cramps-inspired tracks, now they're distinguished artists. A record of gloriously brooding songs all seamlessly produced Chris Cunningham and Portishead's Geoff Barrow, 'Primary Colours' is one of the most essential records of the decade.
42. Modest Mouse: 'The Moon and Antarctica' (2000) - From the opening '3rd Planet' this is a sublime snapshot of singer Issac Brooke's inner demons before they spilled overground, screaming out to a wider world. Musically broader and lyrically more dense than their previous two records, 'The Moon and Antarctica' is undoubtedly the lofty zenith of Modest Mouse's career. Impeccable.
41. Metallica: 'Death Magnetic' (2008) â€“ When Metallica dropped the unbelievably turgid 'St. Anger' back in 2003, many thought it would spell the end for the heavy metal titans. How wrong they were. With Rick Rubin at the helm, the rockers unleashed 'Death Magnetic' on the masses â€“ a record that saw Metallica wholly invigorated and back on form. Containing such dark, creeping tracks like 'Cyanide' and 'The Judas Kiss', 'Death Magnetic' is undoubtedly Metallica's greatest work in 20 years.
40. Battles: 'Mirrored' (2007) - 'Mirrored', the first full-length release from US band Battles, drew wild praise by critics for its instrumental experimentation and hypnotic beats when it was released in 2007. Unlike the band's two trailblazing EPs, the album also contained the vocals of keyboard and guitarist Tyondai Braxton. To this date, it's hard to fault the dynamic sounds of the avant-garde lead single, and arguably the album's best track, the wonky ketamine trip that is 'Atlas'.
39. The Mars Volta: 'De-Loused In The Comatorium' (2003) - The pinnacle of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala's epic post At The Drive-In career; a prog-rock concept album with an impenetrable concept, that feels like it works, even though you don't fully understand it. Easily the best album about a man who attempts suicide by overdosing on morphine and rat poison ever recorded! Musically mesmerising and baffling, even the album artwork designed by the legendary Storm Thorgerson is a work of genius.
38. Muse: 'Origin Of Symmetry' (2001) - Previously dismissed as Radiohead copyists, Muse showed the world what they were really about in 2001 with 'Origin Of Symmetry', an album as aggressive as it is experimental. From the opening riff of 'Plug In Baby' to the breakdown in 'New Born' via the electronic stomp on 'Citizen Erased', this album never falls below outstanding and set Muse up as the world conqueror's they now are.
37. Wilco: 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' (2002) Amazingly, Wilco's label refused to release 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' as they believed it had little to no commercial value and would be unsuccessful. Sensing they were not on the same page Wilco split with the label and acquired the rights to the record before beating Radiohead by five years and released the whole thing online for free. The album was then picked up by another record label and went on to sell half a million copies making it Wilco's best selling album to date and showing that sometimes your boss doesn't always know best.
36. Grandaddy: 'The Sophtware Slump' (2000) â€“ Following on from 1997's whimsical 'Under The Western Freeway', Grandaddy returned three years later with a sprawling concept album about the increasingly technology obsessed world and manâ€™s futility in the face of it all. True, it may sound pretentious on paper, but in reality this is a gorgeous, very humbling record that, despite its subject matter, is incredibly human. A triumph of lo-fi indie.
35. Sigur Ros: 'Takk' (2005) - During the noughties, the Icelandic purveyors have released three defining albums of atmospheric post-rock (we'll ignore last year's turkey 'With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly'), and 'Takk' is easily the pick of the bunch. Featuring their cross-over song of sorts, the ubiquitous 'Hoppipola', alongside other spine-tingling tracks like 'Saeglopur' and 'Gong', it's little wonder that Brad Pitt named Sigur Ros as his favourite band ahead of the record's release. A jaw-droppingly brilliant record.
34. TV on the Radio: 'Return To Cookie Mountain' (2006) - One of the most influential and innovative bands of the decade, TV On The Radio, first came to wider notice with this 2006 album. Featuring fan favourite 'Wolf Like Me' and the utterly sublime 'Staring At The Sun' this album combines the deep romantic vocals of Tunde Adebimpe with guitarist Dave Sitek's trademark reverb heavy production with aplomb.
33. The White Stripes: 'White Blood Cells' (2001) - It could be argued that Jack and Meg White are a great band who lack a truly great album but 'White Blood Cells' is certainly their most consistent work to date and well worthy of their place in this list. Featuring many of the tracks that first brought The White Stripes to the worlds attention this album is home to 'Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground, 'Hotel Yorba' and the brilliant 'Fell In Love With A Girl' which many will remember from its Michel Gondry directed Lego video.
32. Joanna Newsom: 'Ys' (2006) â€“ An endlessly innovative work, it's truly frightening how such a delicate nymph-like woman as Newsom can craft something so bloody epic. It feels like this is what Joanna has had bubbling inside her forever and she needed to let out. The record rightly received blanket acclaim upon its initial release and is already sounding better with age. Whether she'll ever top this new-folk masterpiece remains to be seen.
31. The Avalanches: 'Since I Left You' (2001) - Not so much an album of separate songs, instead 'Since I Left You' is over an hour of collaged samples (from Madonna to Raekwon), insane noise and stunning tunes which combine to create a coherent and unique work. Put simply, it's a electronic music master-class. Quite whatâ€™s taking them so long with the follow-up we'd like to know. Come on, it's been EIGHT years!!
30. Dizzee Rascal: 'Boy In Da Corner' (2003) - Looking back, it's hard to imagine that the Dizzee Rascal topping the UK charts this year with infectious pop-rap tunes is the same Dizzee that brought British grime to his knees when he emerged in 2003 with 'Boy In Da Corner'. Charting the rapper's eventful and often fraught upbringing in East London, the Mercury Prize-winning album was rightly praised by critics. Songs like 'Jus' A Rascal' and 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' were a stark wake-up call - and, in hindsight, an obvious first ambitious step for the Dizzee Rascal we know today.
29. The Streets â€“ â€˜Original Pirate Materialâ€™ (2002) - While Craig David was too busy making love every fucking day of the week, Mike Skinner was taking control of the mic and changing the face of UK Garage. 'Original Pirate Material', Skinner's debut album, brought us a grittier side of the scene through geezer tales of real street life. The fact the record is slightly unpolished and sounds as if it was recorded in a bedroom only adds to its appeal.
28. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 'Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven' (2000) - Consisting of four 'tracks', the fourth album from the secretive, apocalypse-fearing Godspeed takes on a symphonic format with the compositionâ€™s internal movements fading in and out of each other. Regarded amongst one of the heaviest albums of all time, it's a record of orchestral majesty very rarely matched. Their beguiling cover 'Amazing Grace', for one, is arguably up there with the most poignant musical moments of the decade. Awe-inspiring.
27. The Flaming Lips: 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' (2002) - Many felt that The Lipsâ€™ previous effort â€˜The Soft Bulletinâ€™ couldnâ€™t be topped, but they were wholly wrong. A wondrously constructed concept album about the adventures of a young girl named Yoshimi, itâ€™s a startling record that confirms Wayne Coyneâ€™s status as a bona fide genius.
26. Boards of Canada: 'Geogaddi' (2002) - The second full length offering by mysterious Scottish brothers Michael and Marcus Eoin takes what they started on â€˜Music Has The Right To Childrenâ€™ and goes darker. Much darker. Strewn throughout with symbolism and subliminal/subconscious messages it can be can be unsettling and fraught with paranoia at times. Yet despite the challenging nature of the record, once you immerse yourself in it fully it's impossibly rewarding. An album that's so multi-layered, you discover new things with every listen.
25. Sufjan Stevens: 'Come On Feel The Illinoise' (2005) - In an audacious move the Sufjan recorded an album for each of the 50 states in America. Paying tribute to Illinois is this effort from 2005 Stevens does so in suitably outlandish fashion with track names like 'A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons'. Behind the ostentation, however, lies Steven's heart breaking voice, inventive arrangements and innate love of melody best summed up by the song 'Chicago' which went on to feature in the Oscar winning film Little Miss Sunshine.
24. PJ Harvey: 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' (2000) - Easily Ms Harveyâ€™s most sexed up, brooding, brash and confident album, â€˜Stories from the City...â€™ is a revelation. Indeed, it's testament to how good the record is when the track Thom Yorke sang on ('The Mess We're In') is the weakest moment. Polly Jean's latest effort 'White Chalk' is stunning in its minimalism, but there's no doubt 'Stories...' is the moment of the English star's decade.
23. Queens of the Stone Age: 'Rated R' (2000) - â€œNicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcoholâ€¦ C-C-C-COCAINE!â€ howls Josh Homme on â€˜Feelgood Hit Of The Summerâ€™, the apt opener on a record that's a sheer serotonin rush from start to finish. A colossal rock record that gave the Queens the commercial success they richly deserved.
22. Eminem: 'The Marshall Mathers LP' (2000) - Whereas The Slim Shady LP showcased flashes of his raw, abrasive genius, this, his second and best album, was Eminemâ€™s talent perfectly realised. Fun ('The Real Slim Shady'), inventive ('Kill You'), ultra-controversial ('Stan') and at times overbearingly brutal ('Kim'), itâ€™s an accomplished work of great depth and one that Mr Mathers will never surpass. Arguably one of the best hip-hop records of all time.
21. Elbow: 'The Seldom Seen Kid' (2008) - Previous releases had hinted at impending greatness for Manchesterâ€™s Guy Garvey but it eventually arrived with â€˜The Seldom Seen Kidâ€™; an album made without a record contract, without, indeed, much hope at all, made it even more special. Poetically informed by the death of friend Bryan Glancy, the album conveyed humanity at its rawest: hope (â€˜One Day Like Thisâ€™), death (â€˜Friend of Oursâ€™) and fear of corruption (â€˜The Fixâ€™). Such was the quality of the material that â€˜The Seldom Seen Kidâ€™ seemed to end before it had even started.
20. MGMT: 'Oracular Spectacular' (2008) - Rarely has an albumâ€™s name so aptly described its content. This 10 track rollercoaster sound tracked the past twelve months everywhere from the grimy streets of London to the grassy fields of Glastonbury. â€˜Oracular Spectacularâ€™ was bursting with acid drenched psychedelic anthems which made the rest of the music industry seem like dreary clones. Wouldnâ€™t life seem that much worse if we werenâ€™t blessed with the 80s keyboards of â€˜Kidsâ€™ or the Utopian bliss of 'Time to Pretend'?!
19. Daft Punk: 'Discovery' (2001) - The word 'pioneer' is oft overused in the world of music, but it can firmly be attached to Daft Punk who have taken dance music to more places than many thought it could go. 'Discovery' is their tour-de-force of the millennium so far, with each track taking the listener on a new, unexpected journey. Some have criticised the record for relying too heavily on samples, but we'd disagree with such qualms; instead the Parisian duo spin the tracks into something as essential as a heartbeat.
18. LCD Soundsystem: 'LCD Soundsystem' (2005) - Sounding like a curious hybrid of Talking Heads and Kraftwerk, the unlikely-looking musical genius that is James Murphy borrowed from the old to create something new and fresh. In fact, 'LCD Soundsystem' was the sound of 2005 for any discerning music aficionado. Repetition has truly never sounded so good.
17. Lil' Wayne: 'Tha Carter III' (2008) - Tipped to be the 2008's hottest hip-hop album before it even dropped, Lilâ€™ Wayne was under a lot of pressure to deliver. Many rescheduled release dates later 'Tha Carter III' finally arrivedâ€¦ and boy was it something special. Featuring Kanye West, Robin Thicke, and Jay-Z, Wayne lyrically assassinated everyone in his weight category and above. The record that made Lil' Wayne.
16. The Libertines: 'Up The Bracket' (2002)- They imploded almost as quickly as they arrived, but few could argue about the impact The Libertines â€“ and especially their 2002 debut 'Up The Bracket' â€“ had on the British music scene in the 2000s. For a riotous and energetic post-punk album, 'Up The Bracket' captured the nomadic, Albion-enthused souls of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty in perfect harmony. It's just a shame that their friendship, tarnished by Doherty's ongoing drug addition, didn't prove to be so cordial.
15. Outkast: 'Stankonia' (2000) - Like us, you're probably amazed that a whole decade has elapsed since the release of Outkast's stunning 'Stankonia' in 2000. Thanks to diverse songs like 'Ms Jackson', 'So Fresh, So Clean' and the abrasive 'B.O.B', the hip-hop duo's fourth album was the first to give them genuine commercial acclaim. To this day, the record still plays prominent role in countdowns of the best albums of all time â€“ it's not hard to understand why.
14. Arctic Monkeys: 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' (2006) - From Sheffield they came and conquered. The fastest selling British album of all time (until Leona Lewis came along), 'Whatever...' is a blitzkrieg of ridiculously good tunes, killer riffs, astonishingly grown-up observations and lashings of humour. Considering how dull their third album 'Humbug' is, 'Whatever...' is sheer indie perfection.
13. Fleet Foxes: 'Fleet Foxes' (2008) - In 2008 the whole music community went suitably rustic as the beardy Fleet Foxes ditched their razors for platinum records and took the world by (gentle) storm. Their self-titled debut album is a harmonious acoustic lullaby inspired by golden oldies like Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as The Beach Boys that thanks to their now iconic vocal harmonies has a unique edge. Taking the template laid by the likes of Midlake and My Morning Jacket this young Seattle band took the alt. Americana sound to the masses and created a classic album for modern times.
12. Animal Collective: 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' (2009) - Having spent the previous ten years experimenting wildly and honing their sound, 2009 saw Animal Collective release their definitive record 'Merriweather Post Pavillion'. Still packed with the trio's usual sonic barrier pushing what set's 'Merriweather...' apart is the pop sheen of the songs resulting in modern classics such as 'My Girls' and 'Summertime Clothes'. Euphoric and lovestruck, 'MPP' is one of the decade's most interesting acts' career highlight.
11. The National: 'Boxer' (2007) - The Brooklyn indie-rockers had a lot to live up to following the general brilliance of previous effort 'Alligator' in 2005, but thankfully 'Boxer' far from disappoints. Something of a grower it can take several listens before you unearth the downbeat and mysterious brilliance entrenched in teh record. Once you've grown to love it, you'll never let 'Boxer' go.
10. M.I.A.: 'Kala' (2007) - Even by her own lofty standards, Maya Arulpragasam blew all expectations out of the water with 'Kala'. Already a classic despite its relatively recent release, this album is the sound of an artist running wild with her influences and creating something essential. Never a dull moment, this record has it all, be it The Clash sampling brilliance of 'Paper Planes' or the bonkers sound-carnival of 'Boyz'. Inspired production from Switch and a guest appearance from Timbaland were icing on the cake.
9. Burial: 'Untrue' (2007) - Little is known of Burial other than the DJ prefers to remain anonymous and rarely makes live appearances. This changed in 2008 however when 'Untrue' was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the British tabloids set about discovering who the mystery man was. As rumours built that it was in fact Fatboy Slim behind the moniker, Brixton based musician William Bevan was forced to admit that he was in fact Burial. Silly business aside 'Untrue' remains one of the most subversive and influential albums of the decade and mixes underground dance sounds with samples from a wide variety of sources including Aaliyah, the David Lynch movie Inland Empire and the computer game Metal Gear Solid.
8. Arcade Fire: â€˜Funeralâ€™ (2005) - They may hail from the country that gave us Brian Adams and Celine Dion - Canada - but everything about Arcade Fire wreaks of grandiose brilliance and touching poignancy. Seemingly out of nowhere they delivered a debut album of astonishing brilliance, that tugged at the heartstrings of millions. Follow-up 'Neon Bible' was nice, but they'll always struggle to top the beauty of 'Funeral'.
7. The Knife: 'Silent Shout' (2006) - Abandoning the kitsch, dirty electro-pop of their previous effort â€˜Deep Cutsâ€™, The Knife travelled down much darker electronic avenues with their ground-breaking third album. On the first spin itâ€™s baffling, second itâ€™s intriguing, but many listens in and you realise that Karin and Olaf Dreijer have concocted a masterpiece of their genre.
6. Primal Scream: 'XTRMNTR' (2000) - Released in the very first month of the new millennium, â€˜XTRMNTRâ€™ is very much a landmark album that arguably tops the dizzy peaks of â€˜Screamadelicaâ€™ a decade earlier. Undoubtedly the band's finest hour, the futuristic punk-rock, electro-fuelled masterpiece was confrontational, politicised, soulful and unpredictable â€“ everything that you want an LP to be really.
5. At The Drive-In: 'Relationship Of Command' (2000) - Inventive, challenging and invigorating, nine years on and â€˜Relationship of Commandâ€™ is still a howling beast of a record that in an unassuming way has carved its own, cult niche in rock history. It may not have shifted as many units, nor had the transparent influence of â€˜Is This Itâ€™ and 'The Blueprint' for example, but it gets the pulse racing like no other release this side of millennium.
4. Radiohead: 'Kid A' (2001) - Partly inspired by the bandâ€™s obsession with the Warp label, and partly as a direct reaction to the overbearing critical acclaim of OK Computer, Radiohead divided their fans with this experimental opus. A true grower, the record has aged like almost no other this side of the millennium. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, â€˜Kid Aâ€™ is inescapably one of the most important albums of recent times - yet another for the inimitable Oxford outfit.
3. Jay-Z: 'The Blueprint' (2001) - Fusing Jay-Zâ€™s dexterous rhymes with soul samples, slickly produced grooves and a genuine positivity, â€˜The Blueprintâ€™ is a triumph in every possible sense. Ranging from the inspired diss track 'Takeover' which skilfully berates Nas and Mobb Deep, to the unadulterated pop of 'Izzo (H.O.V.A.)' to the animalistic 'Girls Girls Girls', 'The Blueprint' is an eclectic multi-layered work of genius. An album that's been copied by many aspiring hip-hop artists, but has never been topped.
2. The Strokes: 'Is This It' (2000) - Receiving the kind of blanket critical acclaim that Radioheadâ€™s timeless â€˜OK Computerâ€™ received four years earlier, â€˜Is This Itâ€™ quickly became a defining album of recent times. As well as putting skinny jeans back in fashion, the New York five-piece almost single-handedly made guitar music cool again and paved the way for countless other bands. An irrefutable classic.
1. Radiohead: 'In Rainbows' (2007) â€“ Ten years had passed since their masterpiece 'OK Computer' shook the music world to the core - a time in which Oxford's finest veered into more experimental realms â€“ when they returned with this beautiful, unadulterated record. 'In Rainbows' originally stole the headlines for the pioneering 'pay-as-you-want' download release method, but the true triumph here was the music. Tracks like 'Nude', 'All I Need' and 'Reckoner' are easily amongst Radiohead's greatest moments, while the record as a whole is completely flawless.
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