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Midnight Snack: The 100 Best Albums of the Decade according to Rolling Stone

Posted on December 28 2009 11:55 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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My choice for album of the decade.

I wrote this blog post yesterday responding to Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield’s lament for the past 10 years. The political reflection proceeded the unveiling of the magazine’s list of best albums, songs, artists, and films of the decade.

For tonight’s Midnight Snack, here’s the complete list of albums along with a few remarks on select titles:

1 | Radiohead: Kid A

I suppose this is the hip choice for album of the decade isn’t it?

2 | The Strokes: Is This It

This strikes me as a bit of an overrated choice for second best album of the decade. It’s a catchy album and is enjoyable to listen to but it’s really without much substance. It’s all style.

3 | Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

4 | Jay-Z: The Blueprint

5 | The White Stripes: Elephant

Of the albums in the top 10 this is probably the one that I would put at the top in place of Kid A. It’s a far livelier and more emotionally engaging album than the electronic Kid A.

6 | Arcade Fire: Funeral

7 | Eminem: The Marshal Mathers LP

This was one of the first rap albums I ever bought when I was in high school. I remember being shocked by how intense Eminem’s music was. It’s still pretty brutal stuff — which is why there are only a few tracks from this album that I still listen to on occasion.

8 | Bob Dylan: Modern Times

Fantastic album. Not sure if it’s top 10 worthy but it’s a great Dylan record.

9 | M.I.A.: Kala

10 | Kanye West: The College Dropout

11 | Bob Dylan: Love and Theft

This one did not impress me as much as Modern Times.

12 | LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver

13 | U2: All That You Can’t Leave Behind

14 | Jay-Z: The Black Album

My favorite Jay-Z album. Though, I prefer the DJ Danger Mouse-created Gray Album which combines the lyrics from The Black Album with music from the Beatles’ White Album.

15 | Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

16 | OutKast: Stankonia

17 | Beck: Sea Change

This is a glorious album — my favorite of Beck’s. Tender, emotional, and beautiful.

18 | MGMT: Oracular Spectacular

My friend Jimmy gave me this album this past summer. It was in heavy rotation as I prepared to make the transition from my old job to the much better one I now have. As such it will always have a place in my heart.

19 | Amy Winehouse: Back to Black

20 | The White Stripes: White Blood Cells

21 | Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head

22 | Green Day: American Idiot

23 | D’Angelo: Voodoo

24 | Bruce Springsteen: Magic

25 | Radiohead: Amnesiac

Probably better than Kid A. But you’re less cool if you say that.

26 | Cat Power: The Greatest

27 | The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

This is a fantastic record. Its creativity and its energy should warrant higher placement.

28 | Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were one of my absolute favorite bands of the decade. This is their debut record, and while it’s certainly excellent I prefer their follow-up Show Your Bones better. It’s more polished than this punk record.

29 | Sigur Rós: Ágaetis Byrjun

30 | Radiohead: In Rainbows

31 | My Morning Jacket: Z

32 | Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III

33 | Daft Punk: Discovery

34 | OutKast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

35 | PJ Harvey: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea

36 | U2: No Line on the Horizon

37 | 50 Cent: Get Rich or Die Tryin’

A very effective rap album.

38 | Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker

39 | Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak

40 | Kanye West: Late Registration

41 | Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

42 | Elliott Smith: Figure 8

This is a gorgeous record — very melodic and beautiful.

43 | The Killers: Hot Fuss

44 | System of a Down: Toxicity

45 | Kanye West: Graduation

46 | Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveSounds

47 | Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

I hate it when my mother and I love the same albums.

48 | TV on the Radio: Dear Science

49 | Fiona Apple: Extraordionary Machine

As I recall this album was rejected by Apple’s label when she first submitted it. So for some time it was only available online. I downloaded it and enjoyed it. Then it got a formal release and was re-edited.

I liked the original version better.

50 | Bright Eyes: I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning

51 | Spoon: Kill the Moonlight

52 | M.I.A.: Arular

53 | Kings of Leon: Only By the Night

54 | Norah Jones: Come Away With Me

55 | Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Raising Sand

That “Gone, Gone, Gone” song is tremendously catchy.

56 | Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend

57 | Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism

58 | Danger Mouse: The Grey Album

To all babyboomers who despise rap music, here’s the album to try if you want to give the medium a chance. It mixes Jay-Z’s the Black Album with the Beatles White Album to make a tremendously entertaining end result. I adore it. It’s not available in stores but can be easily downloaded online.

59 | Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights

A modern day Joy Division and a very strong album.

60 | Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

61 | The Shins: Oh, Inverted World

62 | Johnny Cash: American III: Solitary Man

63 | Kanye West: 808s and Heartbreak

64 | Gillian Welch: Time the Revelator

65 | Manu Chao: Próxima Estación Esperanza

66 | Antony & the Johnsons: I Am a Bird Now

67 | Björk: Vespertine

A good choice for a Bjork album for the list. Though Medulla is also a great, innovative album.

68 | U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

69 | Missy Elliott: Under Construction

70 | Sleater-Kinney: The Woods

71 | Bright Eyes: Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Eart to the Ground

72 | Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand

73 | Coldplay: Parachutes

74 | Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium

A bloated, overrated work that’s not as good as Californication.

75 | Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

76 | Sigur Rós: ()

77 | Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

78 | Sufjan Stevens: Illinois

79 | The New Pornographers: Electric Version

80 | Kings of Leon: Youth and Young Manhood

81 | Ryan Adams: Gold

82 | Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R

83 | The Black Keys: Attack & Release

84 | Eminem: The Eminem Show

This Eminem album is not as deep or as substantive as The Marshall Mathers LP but it’s much more enjoyable to listen to.

85 | Coldplay: Viva La Vida

86 | The Postal Service: Give Up

87 | Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere

This should really be much higher. It’s my wife’s favorite album and favorite band.

88 | Brian Wilson: Smile

89 | Radiohead: Hail to the Thief

90 | Amadou & Miriam: Dimanche a Bamako

91 | The Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious

92 | Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago

93 | Johnny Cash: Unearthed

94 | The Libertines: Up the Brackett

95 | Alicia Keys: Songs in A Minor

96 | The Streets: Original Pirate Material

97 | Wilco: Sky Blue Sky

98 | TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain

99 | The Hold Steady: Almost Killed Me

100 | Leonard Cohen: 10 New Songs

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