Welcome to Part 2 of the Decade’s Best Albums list. Check back tomorrow for more of this list! Thanks again for reading!
30. Microcastle by Deerhunter
It’s always nice to see a blend of noise rock and catchiness. Here, we get all the squawking feedback and loud thrashing, but it all makes sense. While especially true in Super Song “Nothing Ever Happened,” most of the songs reach this lovely status.
29. It’s Blitz by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This can be best described as Karen O’s dance diva album. Equal parts disco and pure energy, It’s Blitz is a very polished disk, featuring great songs and strong emotion. While those in “the scene” may argue in favor of their first album, I think this release finds the Yeahs at their highest point.
28. Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers
Bonus points all over the place for being so infectious. Clean guitars, clear vocals (even if you don’t know what they mean), and brilliant harmonizing make Twin Cinema a fantastic road record. Turn it up, sing along at the top of your voice, and you’re forced to smile.
27. Everything All the Time by Band of Horses
On paper, this sounds like a generic indie album. Ringing guitars, emotive lyrics, stuff like that. But Band of Horses do everything so well. It’s like a primer for anyone new to the land of indie music. Of course, having instantly memorable guitar lines (see: “Wicked Gil” and “The Funeral”) helps, too.
26. Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins
Even better than the album that many claimed would “change your life” (Oh Inverted World). Here, the production values are cranked up, the songwriting varied, and the singing bold and loud. This is a phenomenal effort across the board, offering personal insight blended with great guitars.
25. Third by Portishead
It’s unfortunate that Portishead waited so long to release their third proper album. But, the wait revealed something amazing: a band at the same powers (or greater) than when it went on hiatus. Offering a different direction from their trip-hop 90s albums, Third is an atmospheric masterpiece of minimal electronica. You will be left haunted and amazed, from start to finish.
24. Hearts of Oak by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
This is a relatively late addition to this list. Only this month have I had the chance to listen to Ted Leo. But from first note on, I knew I was in for something special. Like a more punk-rock REM, or a free-flowing Weezer, Hearts of Oak is charming and powerful. Tight melodies and pinpoint lyrics make this a rising star in my music collection.
23. Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens
Folk generally leaves me with a bad taste or just generally bored. But here is an album from a Sufjan Stevens stripped to just his guitar and banjo. Lightly plucked, Seven Swans is a powerful album, full of personal religious reflections. It’s rare to see an album this concerned with Biblical ideals outside of ironic or Christian Rock releases. Stevens weaves powerful songs, unapologetic, even if he can reach a wide audience.
22. Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth
Here lies the best Sonic Youth album this side of Daydream Nation. It’s a bold statement, but I just love the tunes on Rather Ripped. They’re faster to get at you than any other Youth release (especially the bright “Reena” and the strong “Incinerate”), but manage to stay with you just like their whole catalogue. Hear this once for the great highlights. Hear it over and over for all the details.
21. Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem
It starts off just like “Losing My Edge,” but instantly veers off, creating a new blend of dance and rock, all while considering what it is to become older. This is the home to the decade’s best song (“All My Friends”), and more memorable moments. This album is so interesting because of its dual power: all the songs are fantastic, but they work even better together.