Posted by: Dave on December 30, 2009 at 7:46 pm

At the Drive-In Relationship.jpgNo artist appears on this list more than Conor Oberst, the mastermind behind Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos. With stunning lyrics and expert pop songcraft, he relentlessly released one classic album after another—both with his bands and as a solo artist—throughout the decade. No musician was more consistent or prolific, so I’m left with no choice but to declare him the Artist of the Decade, with four entries in my Top 100 Albums of the ’00s list.

Mr. Oberst didn’t release the #1 album of the ‘00s, however. That distinction belongs to At the Drive-In. In 2000, the seminal aggressive rockers released their furious masterpiece Relationship of Command, a CD that inspired hundreds—if not thousands—of imitators. Inner-band turmoil caused Relationship to be their last record, but thankfully, the two warring camps within At the Drive-In emerged out of the ashes as distinct new acts—The Mars Volta and Sparta. Both bands put out classic releases that appear on this list.

Only a handful of other artists appear in the Top 100 multiple times. The Decemberists (3), Neko Case (2 – once as a member of The New Pornographers and once as a solo artist), The White Stripes (2), The Shins (2), Blonde Redhead (2) and Interpol (2) emerged as elite acts this decade. Meanwhile, the impressive output from Stephen Malkmus (2) and Ian MacKaye (2 – once as a member of Fugazi and once as a member of The Evens) demonstrated that a couple of indie-rock veterans were still capable of creating at a level on par with the highly influential work of their past.

Notably, no hip-hop artist appears on this list more than once. The genre was far more successful than rock when it comes to sales, radio play and producing quality songs (see my Top 100 Songs of the ‘00s). And Kanye West, Dead Prez, Eminem, Outkast, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, K-Os, Nas, T.I. and several others each dropped one stellar album. But none of them could quite muster a second top-tier, full-length release.

Each selection in the Top 100 below links to either a New Music Nation album review or the Top 20 Albums of the year round-up from the year it was released. These are my picks for the most complete, well-executed, ambitious and influential albums of the ‘00s (focusing primarily on rock, hip-hop, metal, pop, electro/dance, r&b and alternative country). Enjoy.

1. At the Drive-In Relationship of Command (Grand Royal, 2000)
2. Kanye West The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)
3. Sleater-Kinney One Beat (Kill Rock Stars, 2002)
4. Bright Eyes Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (Saddle Creek, 2002)
5. Dead Prez Let’s Get Free (Relativity, 2000)
6. AFI Sing the Sorrow (Dreamworks, 2003)
7. Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP (Aftermath/Interscope, 2000)
8. Stephen Malkmus Face the Truth (Matador, 2005)
9. Bright Eyes I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek, 2005)
10. The New Pornographers Electric Version (Matador, 2003)

11. Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine (Epic, 2005)
12. Kings of Leon Youth and Young Manhood (RCA, 2003)
13. Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand (Domino, 2004)
14. My Morning Jacket Evil Urges (ATO, 2008)
15. Outkast (Big Boi) Speakerboxxx (Arista/La Face, 2003)
16. The Strokes Is This It (RCA, 2001)
17. 50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (Interscope/Shady/Aftermath, 2003)
18. Jay-Z The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella, 2001)
19. The Arcade Fire Funeral (Merge, 2004)
20. My Chemical Romance Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (Reprise, 2004)

21. John Legend Get Lifted (Sony Urban Music, 2005)
22. M.I.A. Arular (XL Recordings, 2005)
23. Conor Oberst Conor Oberst (Merge, 2008)
24. Band of Horses Cease to Begin (Sub Pop, 2007)
25. Abandon Jalopy Mercy (Stank Face Laboratories, 2002)
26. The White Stripes White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry, 2001)
27. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley Welcome to Jamrock (Universal, 2005)
28. Fugazi The Argument (Dischord, 2001)
29. The Decemberists Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars, 2005)
30. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend (XL, 2008)

31. System of A Down Toxicity (American, 2001)
32. The Mars Volta Frances the Mute (Universal, 2005)
33. Drive By Truckers Decoration Day (New West, 2003)
34. K-Os Joyful Rebellion (Astralwerks, 2004)
35. The Evens Get Evens (Dischord, 2006)
36. Menomena Friend and Foe (Barsuk, 2007)
37. Nas God’s Son (Columbia, 2003)
38. The Shins Oh, Inverted World (Sub Pop, 2001)
39. Adele 19 (XL/Columbia, 2008)
40. The Coup Pick A Bigger Weapon (Epitaph, 2006)

41. T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic, 2008)
42. The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan (V2, 2005)
43. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones (Interscope, 2006)
44. The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Brothers, 2002)
45. The Rural Alberta Advantage Hometowns (Saddle Creek, 2009)
46. The Perceptionists Black Dialogue (Definitive Jux, 2005)
47. Annie Anniemal (Big Beat, 2005)
48. Blonde Redhead Misery Is A Butterfly (4AD/Beggars Group, 2004)
49. The Killers Hot Fuss (Island, 2004)
50. TV On the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope, 2006)

51. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists Hearts of Oak (Lookout!, 2003)
52. The Shins Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop, 2003)
53. The Hold Steady Boys and Girls In America (Vagrant, 2006)
54. Clipse Hell Hath No Fury (Re-Up Gang/Star Trak/Zomba, 2006)
55. Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple (Atlantic, 2008)
56. Okkervil River The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar, 2007)
57. Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-, 2006)
58. Jane’s Addiction Strays (Capitol, 2003)
59. Basement Jaxx Rooty (Astralwerks, 2001)
60. Green Day American Idiot (Reprise, 2004)

61. Regina Spektor Begin to Hope (Sire, 2006)
62. Beck Guero (Interscope, 2005)
63. Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of Day (Motown/G.O.O.D., 2009)
64. Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose (Interscope, 2004)
65. Common Like Water for Chocolate (MCA, 2000)
66. Blonde Redhead Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (Touch and Go, 2000)
67. Gomez In Our Gun (Virgin, 2002)
68. Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador, 2002)
69. Lupe Fiasco The Cool (Atlantic, 2008)
70. The Decemberists The Crane Wife (Capitol, 2006)

71. Matisyahu Youth (Epic/JDub, 2006)
72. Badly Drawn Boy Have You Fed The Fish? (Artist Direct, 2002)
73. Red Hot Chili Peppers By The Way (Warner Brothers, 2002)
74. Roisin Murphy Ruby Blue (Echo, 2006)
75. Cursive Happy Hollow (Saddle Creek, 2006)
76. Deltron 3030 Deltron 3030 (75 Ark/Tommy Boy, 2000)
77. The Streets Original Pirate Material (Vice/Atlantic, 2002)
78. Bright Eyes Cassadaga (Saddle Creek, 2007)
79. The Chemical Brothers Come With Us (Astralwerks, 2002)
80. White Rabbits Fort Nightly (Say Hey, 2007)

81. Hot Chip Made in the Dark (Astralwerks, 2008)
82. Stephen Malkmus Stephen Malkmus (Matador, 2001)
83. Sparta Wiretap Scars (Dreamworks, 2002)
84. Interpol Antics (Matador, 2004)
85. Linkin Park Hybrid Theory (Warner Brothers, 2000)
86. Portugal. The Man Church Mouth (Fearless, 2007)
87. Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers, 2009)
88. Saul Williams The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust (The Fader, 2007)
89. Turin Brakes Ether Song (Astralwerks, 2003)
90. PJ Harvey Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (Island, 2000)

91. Aesop Rock None Shall Pass (Definitive Jux, 2007)
92. Psapp The Camel’s Back (Domino, 2009)
93. The Decemberists The Hazards of Love (Capitol, 2009)
94. Aaliyah Aaliyah (Blackground, 2001)
95. Guided By Voices Isolation Drills (TVT, 2001)
96. Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs (Atlantic, 2008)
97. The Hush Sound Goodbye Blues (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic, 2008)
98. Coldplay Parachutes (Parlophone/Capitol, 2000)
99. Queens of the Stone Age Rated R (Interscope, 2000)
100. Secret Machines Now Here Is Nowhere (Reprise, 2004)

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