Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 100 Albums Of The Decade: 100-91

100. St. Germain

[Blue Note, 2000]

French jazz producer tackles downbeat club music with unexpectedly rewarding results—and impeccable taste in samples (Miles, Brubeck, John Lee Hooker) to boot.

99. Peter Gabriel

[Geffen, 2002]

A decade in the making, Gabriel’s only release of the 2000s was cryptic, confusing, and frustrating… but also densely hypnotic, and well worth the effort required to untangle its mysteries.

98. Biffy Clyro
Only Revolutions

[14th Floor/Roadrunner, 2009]

Scottish prog-rockers play it (relatively) straight and release an album equally hooky and subversive. Already a massive hit in Europe, it’s the kind of record you’ve been waiting for the Foo Fighters to release since 1999.

97. Band Of Horses
Cease To Begin

[Sub Pop, 2007]

The move from Seattle to South Carolina didn’t affect BoH one iota; the follow-up to their outstanding debut was every bit as spooky and spectral as one could hope for, an essential record for long, winter nights.

96. Girl Talk
Night Ripper

[Illegal Art, 2006]

Any fool can put a mash-up together—just ask DJ Filthy Rich—but the special talent of ADD wunderkind Gregg Gillis comes in the juxtapositions, allowing one to hear all-too-familiar music in fresh, shocking ways. Biggie and Elton… together forever…

95. Jill Scott
Who Is Jill Scott?: Words And Sounds Vol. 1

[Hidden Beach, 2000]

In a weak decade for pure R&B, this Philly native’s debut stood out for its understated craft, gorgeous vocals, and strong message of female empowerment; nine years later, it remains her definitive work.

94. Gorillaz

[Virgin, 2001]

Freed from Blur’s Britpop shackles, Damon Albarn teamed up with unlikely compatriots—cartoonist Jamie Hewlett and hip-hop producer Dan The Automator—and proceeded to fly his freak flag high. The resulting album was Albarn’s best in years (and possibly ever), while its completely unexpected success paved the way for an entire decade’s worth of left-field indie/rock/rap/electro collaborations… including, ironically, the Gorillaz’ own 2005 follow-up.

93. OutKast
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

[LaFace/Artista, 2003]

Like most double albums, it’s about a half hour too long, and the separate discs only magnify the all-too-real breakup to follow… but the sheer ambition is astounding, and its peaks—“Roses,” “Ghetto Musick,” and of course “Hey Ya!”—are monstrous indeed.

92. Ray LaMontagne

[RCA, 2004]

An ex-factory worker with a voice like a bruised angel, LaMontagne managed to record a debut that sounded like the last thirty years of music never happened—and that’s meant as a huge compliment.

91. Dave Matthews Band
Busted Stuff / The Lilywhite Sessions

[RCA, 2002 / leaked, 2001]

DMB’s best album since Crash almost never saw the light of day, until an Internet leak prompted fans to demand an official release of the Lilywhite Sessions' dark, driving tracks. Re-recorded and re-arranged as Busted Stuff, it’s a no-less-moving work for allowing the occasional crack of light to appear; maybe even more so.

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