Awhile back I posted my finalists for the best films of the 00s. Now I turn my attention to the best albums.
This is a harder assignment because I find my musical taste fluctuates a lot more than my movie taste. A band I obsess over today might not get much play 6 months from now. I tend to go through phases where I’ll play all of an artist’s albums for weeks at a time and then shelve them for a couple of months before revisiting them.
Also, far more so than my movie lists, I find that albums I ranked in the lower half of my top ten in a given year have surpassed those I once ranked above them.
But still, I’m giving this a shot.
My one ground rule is that I’ve forced myself to consider all of my CDs as albums rather than collections of songs by artists I like. That’s the reason for some surprise omissions on this list… for example, Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams — two of my all-time favorite artists — didn’t make the cut here. They put out a lot of wonderful material over the past nine years, but neither released an album that, on its own, rose above the 20 I’ve listed.
So without further ado, here are my twenty finalists (in
alphabetical chronological order):
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
Bob Dylan – Love and Theft (2001)
Ron Sexsmith – Blue Boy (2001)
Beck – Sea Change (2002)
Counting Crows – Hard Candy (2002)
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Rufus Wainwright – Want One (2003)
Tift Merritt – Tambourine (2004)
Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine (2005)
Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman (2005)
Josh Rouse – Nashville (2005)
Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (2006)
Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
John Mayer – Continuum (2006)
Lily Allen – Alright, Still (2007)
Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers (2008)
TV on the Radio – Dear Science (2008)
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (2008)
Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream (2009)