What follows is a list of my favorite albums of the last 10 years, sort of. In order to avoid some of my self-admitted myopia, I've only allowed one album per band, with one justifiable exception. For the most part, these are the albums I've listened to the most in the last 10 years, and for the most part I love each entirely. This list has much more to do with love than with greatness (in the rock critic sense), as I am no "expert," if such a thing exists. That said, there is no arguing with me, here.
Toxicity / System of a Down
Rockin' the Suburbs / Ben Folds
Comfort Eagle / Cake
With Teeth / Nine Inch Nails
Them Crooked Vultures / Them Crooked Vultures
10. Speakerboxx/The Love Below -- Outkast
These guys make more interesting sounds than anyone doing the rap/hip-hop thing. I still don't know which half of the double album I love more. Go back and listen to Hey Ya! for the first time in a couple of years and you'll remember how much you loved it before you heard it 47,000 times on 9 different radio stations. Also, if you listen to Ghetto Musick on a decent set of headphones you'll be equally blown away--the high/low dynamics are almost unsettling. Awesome record(s).
9. Demon Days -- Gorillaz
"Feel Good, Inc." is one of my favorite singles of the last decade, and the rest of the album shines just as brightly. Weird, sad, hopeful futuristic pop music at its finest. Great videos, too.
8. The Bedlam in Goliath -- The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta guys apparently don't remember all the details of the experience of recording this album. It explains a lot. The album starts with a scream at a thousand miles an hour and doesn't really let you breathe until halfway through the album, and its only a brief reprieve. If you like this song, you'll like the rest.
7. Elephant -- The White Stripes
Jack White kind of owned this decade, huh? I wanted so badly to not like this band, and in fact avoided liking them until Elephant came out, and with it "Seven Nation Army," the grooviest goddamn four minutes since QOTSA's "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret." The whole album is terrific. Jack White is an awfully good songwriter, and does a really good job of keeping shit simple.
6. Lateralus -- Tool
Before this album, I thought hard rock meant Godsmack. Needless to say, Tool has enlightened me. Tool fans are among the most annoying in all the world, but this does not change the fact that this is an absolutely remarkable allbum. Parabol/Parabola is a pretty good illustration of the sound of the CD (impatient types should skip to about 3 and 1/2 minutes in), though by no means does it encapsulate everything. The best Tool has yet produced. The follow-up was good, but did not approach the masterpiece that is Lateralus.
5. By the Way -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
For all the continued commercial success of this band, I think people often overlook just how good they are. And I love them. Like a brother, is how I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The moments of transcendence on By the Way are many for me--I still get chills listening to "Midnight" and "I Could Die for You," and "Venice Queen," the last song on the album, is my favorite Chili's song ever.
4. Sea Change -- Beck
Call me crazy, but I think this is Beck's best album yet. He's a crazy scientologist type, maybe, but he's a brilliant dude, too. The saddest, most beautiful 50 minutes of his career. So good.
3. Songs for the Deaf -- Queens of the Stone Age
In terms of just straight rock records, this is the best one of the decade, hands down. Start to finish fast, hard, and with all the requisite kinetic QOTSA energy, it's still their best effort. Besides, is there anybody any fucking cooler than these guys?
2. Kid A/Amnesiac -- Radiohead
It's cliche to say these guys are the Pink Floyd of our generation, but that's what they are. I include the two albums as one because I don't think I could choose Amnesiac without giving credit to Kid A, too. They were made at the same time, released less than a year apart--and both brilliant. Maybe my favorite song from both albums, but hard to say.
1. Machina/The Machines of God -- The Smashing Pumpkins
This is my favorite album of all time, so of course it tops this list. The album opens with a kick in the face and closes with one of my favorite songs ever, "Age of Innocence." I guess I understand why people didn't appreciate this album, but I don't understand the hate so many people have for Billy Corgan now. I don't know if anything will ever replace this album on my favorites list, because I don't know that I'll ever again be in such a position to be so affected by an album as I was when I heard this one. It's kind of hard to explain, but if you know what I'm talking about than I guess you know what I'm talking about. Man, do I love me some Pumpkins.
Pretty solid list, if I may say so myself. Let me know what you think!