These are not the best albums of the decade. They are not the most significant or the most popular. They don't have the best singles. These are my favorite albums.
These are the albums that I loved. These are the albums I would put on repeat at school or at work. There are slbums where I still know every word. These albums are the soundtrack to the last decade of my life. There are glaring oversights and omissions in terms of the pop music catalog of the last 10 years but I make no apologies. These are the albums I love.
The only rules are that each artist can appear only once and the album must have been released between 2000 and 2009. Calling this Part I is perhaps a little ambitious but I think at worst I can follow with a post listing the runner's up. Here are my 1st 4 chosen simply because I felt like writing about them:
Is This It – The Strokes (2001)
My freshman year of college I had my head buried in Led Zepplin and The Clash. I can't say I was hip to anything beyond “Hey Ya”. The Strokes brought me back. Weaving simple melodies into tight garage rock structures I was drawn in by the familiar sound. As I was running around drinking cheap beer and chasing girls their lyrics about NYC night life and the ridiculousness of 20-something romance became the soundtrack to my freshman year of college. "Last Nite" is still the only song in the world that can make me head bang.
A Grand Don't Come For Free – The Streets (2004)
From the first horn blasts of A Grand Don't Come For Free I knew I had found something important. For the rest of college I listened to it incessantly. None of my friends could stand it but I didn't care. Here, finally, was someone rapping about things I cared about – being lonely, awkward dates, drunken nights as a nobody in mediocre clubs, getting dumped. I was addicted to Mike Skinner's London confessional. When I visited London in 2008 I put this album on as soon as I got on the the Tube and I knew exactly where I was.
Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards Disc II (Bawlers) – Tom Waits (2006)
If I could make any type of music I would make music with a huge vibrant electronic sound like MGMT, LCD Soundsystem or Passion Pit. But realistically any music I will every try to make will sound like a poor imitation of this album. Tender and slow, dark and rootsy, these ballads uniformly eschew both hopefulness and self-pity in favor of resignation to the mercy of life's hardships. Sometimes I sing along, usually I drink a few beers. I put these songs on when I'm feeling lonely but Waits hits the mood so dead on I never feel alone.
Feed The Animals – GirlTalk (2008)
The first time I heard these tracks my jaw dropped. Steams of the tightest flows in rap history over waves of dense samples from a pop music hit parade of the last 40 years were coming at me faster then I could sort them out. This was a frankenstein of pop music on crack played back at warp speed. It was 54 minutes of non-stop hooks. Within an hour I had bought the album online as well as a physical copy. I don't think I listened to another album for 3 months.