The Best Albums of the Decade Ever, For Me Anyway

I have been seeing all these albums of the decade lists and I felt obligated to make my own if for no other reason than to see what I would come up with.  I also want to see what other people’s lists are and I hope that maybe this would motivate others to create their own.

Obviously everyone’s list will be different, and I respect everyone’s right to enjoy a specific type of music, but I feel like the only lists I have seen are R & B lists of the decade.  Maybe it is just that the people in the positions to promote these lists are fans of that genre, or maybe the album of the decade actually is an over produced self-indulgent solo album from Usher singing about himself and the women he has had sex with*.

The rules I have arbitrarily decided are: no albums from the same artists, and no compilations or anthologies.  That’s pretty much it.  Cultural impact has no relevance in my personal list.  What I am interested in is talent, skill and musicality.  Most of my choices are based on a criteria that the mainstream music listening public doesn’t give two craps about, like talent for example.  I would like to think that these albums and bands will be recognized for their greatness someday in the future and then I will be able to casually mention how I was there in the beginning as often as I can, much like I do with Arrested Development.  Did you know I watched the pilot premiere of Arrested Development and was already jonesing for more after the first episode ended?  Oh, you just watched the DVD’s?  Well I guess that is almost as good.

So here I present to you my personal albums of the decade in a very particular order.

*I have never actually listened to an Usher album.  His songs could be about broccoli for all I know.

4.  The Mars Volta – De-loused in the Comatorium

For music so frenetic and intricate, The Mars Volta has been extrememely productive since they first started recording albums.  If the length of their songs correlate in any way to how long they take to write them, I am not sure how they have been able to put out so many CD’s in the last few years.  Their first album easily takes the cake and then comes back and takes the other cakes from their following albums.  I return to this album constantly and plan to everytime they release a new one.

3.  Radiohead – Kid A

Unlike The Mars Volta, I have actually really loved every Radiohead album, but I decided to go with Kid A because that was the one that really got my attention.  I had heard the song Karma Police and it was good, and I think I even owned the album, OK Computer first, but nothing else of theirs grabbed me like Kid A did.  The album was actually given to me by my Aunt and Uncle as a Christmas present.  I think they had just read that it was a good CD and thought it would be a good gift for a young music fan.  It took me months to actually sit down and listen to it, but when I did I had the equivalent of an “Oh shit!” moment.  I remember sitting in my room with my headphones on with my eyes closed listening to Kid A.  I could feel all my perceptions about music realigning in my head as the song Idioteque pulsed away in my ears.  Nothing was ever the same for me.  Radiohead is also the band on this list that doesn’t really fall into the, “I’m a music snob and only like music that no one else likes,” mentality I outlined in the beginning.  They are a successful band by all meanings of the word, and deservedly so.  I only hope that the other bands on this list will reach the same critical and financial success one day.

2.  Between the Buried and Me – Colors

To this day, after having a respectable metal collection, and having played in a metal band for a significant part of my young adulthood, am not really sure if I would consider myself a metal fan.  There was a time in my life where all I listened to was metal, but this band is the only one that has survived that period.  I knew I was listening to something different within a recognizable genre when I heard hand clapping in the middle of a chorus in their self-titled release, and knew I was onto something special during the melodic portion of Mordecai from The Silent Circus, and when there were chills running down my spine during the entirety of Alaska the first time I listened to it I thought, “hey, maybe these guys are the most amazing thing I have ever heard,” but nothing beat the the fifth or sixth time I looped Colors in my car, upset that I could not get my stereo loud enough.  It angers me that Between the Buried and Me are not the true life equivalent of Dethklok.  It upsets me when people don’t understand why this band is incredible.  Their newest release, The Great Misdirect is a phenomenal album that I absolutely adore, but Colors is currently their pinnacle as far as I am concerned.

1.  Karate – Some Boots

This choice on my personal list was actually really difficult to decide.  Karate released their first album in 1996 and their last true album in 2004.  Including touring before and after their first and last album releases, Karate put in 12 years of brilliant music.  Apparently the reasons for the bands dispansion had nothing to do with creative differences or anything like that, but rather ear complications with Karate’s front man Geoff Farina.  I would not put Some Boots as my personal favorite Karate album, but it is my favorite studio album of theirs that came out during this decade.  Saying a particular Karate album is not my favorite is kind of like saying red velvet cake is not my favorite type of cake.  It doesn’t matter what kind of cake you’re eating — it’s still fucking delicious.  And that is the same way I would describe any album from Karate — fucking delicious.  I fell in love with Karate with the song, If You Can Hold Your Breath, and asked them to marry me with the album, The Bed is in the Ocean, (which gets disqualified for its 1998 release) but, Some Boots, was that moment where I looked at my musical wife metaphor, and said, “you know what honey, after all these years, I still love you.  I love you so much.”  Damn, I really stretched for that analogy.  Just know that it is a good album, and one of the measuring sticks with which I measure other music.

There it is, with a record breaking two cake analogies, out there for all you of you to criticize and berate.  The short list of what I believe to be the best albums the first decade of the millennium.  To my ears anyway.  Deal with it.

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About Kyle Hilliard
I used to be a freelancer. Now I write for Game Informer magazine. Someday, when the time is right, I will grow a mustache.

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