Top Records Of The Decade

My friend Rich Caccapolo egged me into doing this. So, Rich this one's for you.

I've spent the past couple weeks going back and reviewing all the music that I got into this decade. I looked at the data, my top ten posts each year, and re-listened to a lot of it. And here are ten records that define the decade for me, plus another 30ish that I considered for the top ten list. 

Aha shake heartbreak 1) Aha Shake Heartbreak – Kings Of Leon: A friend of mine who has been in the music business for thirty years said to me recently that KOL is the only rock act that broke big this decade. And if that is true, they did it on the strength of their two most recent records. But it is Aha Shake Heartbreak that is their greatest effort and without question in my mind the best rock and roll record of this decade. I penned a piece on this record on Newcritics back in 2007 that explains why I love it so much. Go give that a read and then buy the record if you don't already own it.

Yankee hotel foxtrot2) Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco: This record defines this decade for me. Let's start with how it was released. On the Internet because Wilco's label decided it wasn't good enough to put out. You all know that story. And the 9/11 references in songs written before 9/11. And the fact that Wilco is my generation's rock act. I can listen to this record anytime, anywhere. I can sing every word. And some songs still make me tear up or give me chills. 

Marshall mathers 3) Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem: At the end of the decade, it's easy to forget about how big Eminem was. His first three records were on all the time in our house. And this record was the biggest of them. The lyrics on this record are jarring and raw. The samples are creative. The record flows perfectly through the deranged mind of one of the greatest rappers of all time at the top of his game. I went back and listened to this record recently and it has not lost one ounce of its intensity and entertainment value.

A grand don't come for free4) A Grand Don't Come For Free – The Streets: I vividly remember the first time I heard this record. I was on the train out to the east end of long island. It was so packed there weren't any seats. So I sat in a stairwell and put on my iPod headphones and hit play. Roughly an hour later, it was like I was leaving a thoroughly engrossing movie. This is a "concept record", a story about a day in the life of rapper Mike Skinner that starts with him losing a bunch of money and trying to get it back. The songs are great, the imagery vivid, and it makes for one of the most original and best records of the decade.

Whatever people say i am5) Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not, Arctic Monkeys: If Wilco showed you could break a record on the Internet, the Arctic Monkeys showed you could break a band on it. And they did it with the songs that eventually came to be this record. For the better part of a year, these songs were available on MySpace, the music blogs, pretty much all over the web. And even so, when the record came out in January 2006, it became the fastest selling debut record in the UK. The Arctic Monkeys signature sound is blazing dual guitars and Alex Turner's blistering and acerbic lyrics. And as good as their subsequent records have been, it is still best experienced on this one.

Funeral6) Funeral – Arcade Fire: This decade brought us a few breakout rock bands and certainly one of them is the Arcade Fire. They've only put out two records in five years and both of them are fantastic. But their debut record, Funeral, is a masterpiece. It builds slowly, beautifully, to the epic Rebellion (Lies) and then ends hauntingly In The Backseat. I love how the vocals interact with all the different instruments being played. The result is, as one Amazon reviewer put it so well "wild, mad, and beautiful".

Is this it 7) Is This It – The Strokes:  You may wonder how I can put Kings Of Leon first and Arctic Monkeys fifth if neither would have happened without this band and this record. I don't have a good answer for that question. The Strokes took the signature NYC punk rock sound from the Ramones and the Velvets and upgraded it to the next millennium and that sound became the defining rock style of this decade. This record, the third debut record in a row on this list, showcases The Strokes at their best, young, cocky, full of talent and ambition, and showing the world how NYC rocks.

Takk 8) Takk.. – Sigur Ros: Some call this kind of music "post rock". I call it hauntingly beautiful. Some bands and records come and go and others stay with me. This one stays with me. I listen to it regularly, often when I want to write something important and need some inspiration. Although there are eleven songs on Takk.., I don't think of them as such. I can't imagine listening to this record any other way than start to finish. One of my great music regrets of this decade is not seeing the full blown Sigur Ros live show. I've heard it's mind blowingly spectacular and I can imagine why.

Yoshimi 9) Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips: I love The Flaming Lips and I love this record. Nominally about a girl's fight against robots, it's actually about life, love, and death. Heavy topics for sure, but Wayne's goofy optimism pulls it off in classic Flaming Lips fashion. Like Wilco, the Lips made two classic records, one in the 90s (Soft Bulletin) and one in this decade. Yoshimi is a psychedelic pop at its best.

Blueprint 10) The Blueprint – Jay-Z: I love the cover of this record. Jay-Z smoking a cigar and taking claim to "moguldom". No top ten list of the decade would be right without Jay-Z on it. He is the king of hip-hop, and hip-hop is the music of the moment. I debated between The Blueprint, The Black Album, and Reasonable Doubt, and eventually decided The Blueprint best represents all that Jay-Z means to the music industry, hip-hop, and NYC. He is the next Sinatra.

In no particular order, here are roughly thirty other records that I considered for this list and all of them are excellent and worthy of picking up. You'll note that in the case of some artists, I have listed multiple records. I have not linked to them, but if I find some time later today, I'll try to do that.

Badly Drawn Boy – Born In The UK, Have You Fed The Fisher Catering

The National – Alligator

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Okkervil River – Stage Names, Stand Ins

Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Ben Kweller – Ben Kweller, Sha Sha

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha

Jamie T – Panic Prevention

Jens Lekman – Oh You’re So Silent Jens, Night Falls Over

M Ward – Transistor Radio

Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out

Killers – Hot Fuss

Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Eels – Grace Kelly Blues, Shootenany

Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise

Shout Out Louds – Howl Howl Gaffe Gaffe

MMJ – It Still Moves

Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

White Stripes – Elephant

Jay-Z – The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

Green Day – American Idiot

Gillian Welch 
Soul Journey

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium

Eminem – The Eminem Show

Shins – Wincing The Night Away

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People

Radiohead – Kid A

#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave Pinsen

    Did your kids ever try to rebel against you and Gotham Gal? I hope not, for their sake, because when Mom and Dad have Eminem on heavy rotation at home that must raise the bar for any aspiring adolescent rebel.

    1. reece

      maybe it sets the bar so the kids would rebel in the other direction?”if M+D listen to Eminem, i’m going to listen to Mozart.”

      1. fredwilson

        my daughter turned me onto Lupe and Ghostface this year. she’s not yet into Mozart.

        1. reece

          Well I know you do it for the music, but it’s an interesting strategy nonetheless – appropriating ‘rebel music’ so it no longer seems infractious.Reminds me of Doug from MTV’s sketch comedy show “The State.””a wannabe rebel and his usually pointless struggles against surprisingly permissive and understanding authority figures.”

          1. fredwilson

            Sex drugs and rock and roll can all be handled the same way. If you talk about them, explain what’s good about them and what’s not so good about them and do not demonize them, I think it works better

          2. reece

            It’s all about creating a discussion.You seem to be good at that.

          3. Richard J

            I agree with this. My parents did this and I grew up around a lot of people who turned into drug addicts yet I was able to just stay away from it and do what I needed to do to achieve my goals in life. I had one other friend who’s parents were the same way and he turned out great when 90%+ of others we grew up with did not.

        2. ShanaC

          Skip it for Steve Riech. I have no one to rebel against. I went for Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Modest Mouse, The Stroeks (Thanks to a guy named Adam, Is this It was the IT record of my High School Class circa 11th grade, Hi Adam!…) Ken Vadermark, Kronos Quarten, Ella Fitzgerald, John Adams, John Zorn, Peter Paul and Mary..The List goes on.Don’t worry about rebelling, worry about interesting music permeating the house. I just got a lot of interesting music at a young age (oddly not because of my parents), and went with it…She’ll get to the Mozart… sitting through it might be a problem though (I hate sitting though operas…classical concerts I can do, but not operas…)

    2. fredwilson

      yes, they do. and i keep telling myself that i just need to accept it and deal with it. it’s not easy, i can tell you that.

      1. karen_e

        I’m waiting for the Fred ‘n’ Joanne parenting blog. You are in the thick of the teenage years, so you have a lot to offer! Think about it!

        1. fredwilson

          OyWe are not experts by any means!

    3. kidmercury

      eminem is pseudo-rebellious. once you get as popular as he is it becomes popular to rebel against that type of popularity.

  2. David Noël

    Yes! That’s a great list. The Streets, Arcade Fire, The National and Sigur Ros would definitely make my list.I grew up listening to Hardcore and Punk so if I’d have to name one record of the decade it would be Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come. Such a masterpiece of heavy rock. Technically, it was released in ’98 but it had its impact on me for many years to follow.

    1. Edial Dekker

      No Radiohead here? haha

      1. fredwilson

        I think of radiohead as a 90s band. I did put Kid A on my list of records I considered

      2. David Noël

        I never feared to publicly say that I never really liked Radiohead.

    2. fredwilson

      Is refused the artist?

      1. David Noël

        Yes, Refused were from Umea Sweden and I’d consider them to be the Beastie Boys of Hardcore/Punk.

  3. reece

    Glad you’ve got Sigur Ros on your list.DO see them when you get the chance. I saw them at an old theater/former church near Harlem a couple years ago.Truly amazing show.

    1. David Noël

      If you haven’t, get your hands on their DVD “Heima”. They play ten free shows in Iceland after returning from a world tour to give something back to their people. Every show is in a different spot, it’s terrific.

      1. reece

        thanks David. i’ll check it out.

    2. rich caccappolo

      agreed – I saw them at Radio City back in 2003 or so – you would think that the venue would dwarf them, but they delivered a great experience.

  4. kidmercury

    glad to see props being given to the shady one. i’ll take eminem show over marshall mathers LP, but agreed both are classics and his finest works. too bad he’s loaded and successful now, nothing left to say at that point. (though i think there are a few decent tracks on relapse/refill where he whines about how tough it is being rich and popular) american idiot by green day also def makes my list. others i would add off top of my headdevil makes three’s debut albumthe game’s debut albumdido’s popular albumthe invisible band by travisdon’t believe the truth by oasisheathen chemistry by oasis

    1. fredwilson

      Just because you are loaded and successful doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to say.I do agree its a tough one for some

    2. jeremystein

      eminem took a few years off because he felt people werent fully appreciating his music. he could say anything on a track and people would think it was amazing. he is finally getting over that. im not a huge fan of relapse, but i think hes grown as an artist and still has plenty to say.

  5. Wesley Barrow

    A few bands that I almost certainly thought I would see somewhere on here: Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

    1. fredwilson

      Listened to all of them. Liked all of them. But none stuck with me year after yearIts worth noting that none of my top ten records came out in the past couple yearsI used the test of time to measure greatness and that puts recent releases at a disadvantage

      1. reece

        YYY’s released albums in ’03 and ’06 prior to this year’s release.just saying…

        1. fredwilson

          Good point

  6. reece

    Fred, Speaking of good music and artists breaking on the web, you might be interested in Nyles. (all his stuff is available for d/l).NYU student who made an album for each year of college (Kanye style) but used the web as his distribution. I just reblogged this video (shot in one take) that was a top 25 vimeo favorite this year.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out

  7. DonRyan

    That’s a really good list. I thought the Decemberists The Crane Wife might make it as well. That was my initial dip into indie rock (I think via the Gotham Gal’s website) and I have loved it ever since.Also, smart move with the open, honest discussion with the kids. It’s worked well with us as well.

    1. fredwilson

      You are right about crane wifeI think I also left off the new pornographers off of my ‘other 30’ and I should fix both

      1. DonRyan

        Also, Wilco (specifically Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) was the first album I bought based on your recommendation. Still gets very regular play (plus they did an awesome show here in Columbus last year).

  8. andyswan

    Good list. Would add for consideration:Norah JonesJack JohnsonAlan Jackson (Remember When and Where Were You just too good not to crossover)And a tip of the cap to Johnny Cash’s swan-song. Goes out with dignity, and inspires everyone who wonders what life CAN be like working with a broken instrument and tattered body in their final days.

    1. fredwilson

      Johnny Cash proved that musicians don’t have to become irrelevant as they age

    2. David Noël

      Oh yes, American III, IV and V would make my list too

    3. DonRyan

      Johnny Cash is a classic. The great ones go out on top.

      1. andyswan

        Yep. There was only one way for the man in black to go out.

    4. Max Kennerly

      Cash’s cover of “Hurt” is, IMHO, the best song of the decade. Best video, too.

      1. Eric Marcoullier

        Time for one of my favorite rock and roll quotes of all time. Trent Reznor on Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt:”I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore…”

        1. fredwilson

          Hmm. I woild think he’d feel like a proud father at a wedding

          1. Eric Marcoullier

            Supposedly Hurt is the most personal song Trent Reznor ever wrote. So for him to listen to that song and realize that someone else has done a more definitive version of it… I think he did feel like a proud father at a wedding.

          2. Max Kennerly

            I don’t have the quote on hand, but IIRC Reznor eventually said that the song was Cash’s now, and that he was okay with that. The two seemed to have a lot in common: popular personas of being deeply troubled misanthropes, but better adjusted than most where it matters.

  9. AlanPearlstein

    One album that I loved in the 2000’s that’s not on here is Rebirth of a Nation from Public Enemy. Their best album since the first two. Great list – there are a number of albums here I still need to check out. BTW, really liking Animal Collective – I have listened to My Girls about 20x already. Somehow this band slipped by me.

  10. ShanaC

    One album I think you should add, if you add anything, is John Adams “On the Transmigration of Souls”The entire piece is one album and won a Pulitzer. It’s not beautiful in a conventional sense. It is sad, extremely sad. It is the New York Philharmonic’s commission for 9/11, and it sounds perfect as a tonal poem for what it is. 20 some odd minutes of non-memorial memorial, very Zen, and it can make you cry. I’ve never heard a children’s choir used so effectively.Even if I prefer and love a later piece of his, The Dharma at Big Sur, I think this is a turning point of tonal poems for him, it is a critical album in the sense that it is a memorial than anyone can own which says something about the state of media, and it is incredibly beautiful.

  11. theschnaz

    Cool list, thanks for putting this together. I’ve been using and lately, but I’m finding the best music via posts like this.Where’s the Kanye love? You have Jay-Z and Eminem. Graduation by Kanye is great, give it a listen if you haven’t.Here are two other great songs:

    1. fredwilson

      good point on Kanyehe was certainly one of the top hip hop artists of the decadei just never really got into his stuff like i did with other rappers

      1. theschnaz

        I hear ya, sometimes an artist just doesn’t click. If you like Lupe,you’d probably like the two songs in my previous comment.How do you buy music? I’m using and and I’m not inlove with either one. I gave up on iTunes (too expensive, no iPod.)

        1. fredwilson

          i buy all my music on emusic (i hear they may get sold or go under) andAmazoni pay for rhapsody and use that on our sonos, but not on my laptopi often just to to hype machine to listen over the web

          1. Ric

            I’m a little worried about eMusic too … I think the mainstream deal smelled desperate. Real problem for me? – the number of albums on your “top” lists that are on eMusic but I can’t download in Australia (I know I can get around it, but that’s not the point. Creating an artificial scarcity is a suicide note on the Web.)

          2. fredwilson


    2. Aamir Virani

      Kanye defined the decade, working with Jay-Z on Blueprint, then releasing College Dropout, which lead to the rise of so much similar hip-hop. The other albums are also genius, but it starts with CD. (And 808s is a nice experiment and great.)Lupe Fiasco – Fred’s gotten me back into him, heh.

      1. theschnaz

        I don’t know about Lupe. When I hear him I think “I could belistening to Kanye instead” and then I do exactly that.

  12. jkaljundi

    Great list. Strange not to find Muse among others above. Some people need to see them live first. Give it a try, they’ll do a US tour in spring, Madison Square Garden on March 5th.And you might do a Top 10 Live Acts list as well 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i had an opportunity to see their free show they did in NYC the night of theVMAs and I blew it offbad move on my part it seems

      1. Eric Marcoullier

        Saw them a couple of weeks ago when they headlined KROQ’s Almoust Acoustic Christmas. Maybe 20 rows from the stage. Man, they were sooooo good!

        1. fredwilson

          Rub it in!

    2. Chipotle

      I agree. I’d like to see a Top 10 Live Acts list, too.

  13. justjosef

    White Blood Cells was a watershed record. Surprised to not see it on your list. No biggie, I still don’t get Grizzly Bear. I’m sure I’ll freak out over them in say 2015. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at #2 is sweet. that record still gives me the chills.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t get grizzly bear eitherwhite blood cells is great but it was Elephant that really got me into thewhite stripes

  14. scottythebody

    Great list, Fred. I missed a couple of these, so I’m mos def going to pick ’em up. These music posts are how I stumbled across your blog oh-so-many years ago and I love ’em.To me, though, Transmissions From The Satellite Heart is the Flips best album of the 90s. Even more, the Flaming Lips turned in an amazing 90s in retrospect: 3 amazing records (Transmissions…, Hit To Death in the Future Head, and Soft Bulletin) and a fourth one that was pretty good.

    1. fredwilson

      The 90s Lips were great. I do like the records leading up to the soft bulletin and yoshimi but I think those two are their best

  15. Howard Mann

    Great list. Many thanks for compiling it. I created a new Rhapsody Playlist and am enjoying the mix of ones I know and many you have just introduced to me. Too bad Rhapsody does not make it easy to share the whole playlist.Loving Takk.. in particular.

  16. Nitin Mittal

    Albums, off the top of my head, that deserve honorable mention are:U2 – All that You Can’t Leave Behind, David Gray – White Ladder, ColdPlay – Parachutes, Pete Yorn – MusicfortheMorningAfter, Ryan Adams – Gold, Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights, Doves – Last Broadcast, Damien Rice – OI need to check my iPod for others.

    1. fredwilson

      all great records. all of them should be on my “other 30 list”

      1. Nitin Mittal

        You put together a solid list. i just wanted to add my two cents. As usual, you ignited another thread that followers actively want to talk about. I am looking forward to your posts in 2010.

  17. rich caccappolo

    Thanks, Fred – I am honored to have had a role, however small, in bringing about the creation of this fine list. I believe it to be a solid, valuable reference for those looking to review the decade in music. Further, thanks for your efforts these past years in bringing great music to our attention and acting as a catalyst for discussion that rippled out and raised many talented artists and knowledgeable fans to the surface.

    1. fredwilson

      i hope it didn’t dissapoint

  18. bfeld

    I just created a Pandora station called Fred Wilson 2000 Decade consisting of the top 10 artists above. We’ll see how long that one lasts.

  19. Max Kennerly

    Kings of Leon suck. “Whiskey rock” is an appropriate term — the music is indistinguishable from drunken karaoke.Other than that lapse of taste, thanks for the lists! I’m surprised not one of Muse’s albums made it. If Jay-Z is the next Sinatra, Muse is the next Queen.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree that muse is the next queen. I don’t think saying anything sucks is right. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it sucks

      1. Max Kennerly

        Fred,Don’t you understand that my tastes are the objective product of rational deliberation and everyone else’s tastes are merely subjective flights of fancy? Moreover, since every list I’ve read online hails Kings of Leon, I feel duty-bound to plant a tiny flag for my fellow — and very few — KOL haters to take solace in.Muse is great live. Forgot to mention another one I thought was missing — Levon Helm (aka, the singer/drummer from The Band) released an album in 2007 and another in 2009. Good folk/blues, made even more poignant by the backstory: he lost his voice due to throat cancer, then sang his way to recovery at the urging of his daughter.

        1. kidmercury

          thanks for standing up for KOL haters. there was/is so much hype around them, i never understood it.i disagree on muse == queen though. muse is another band i don’t get. queen is fantastic, though, one of a kind.

          1. fredwilson

            Always gonna be haters. That’s how it works

        2. fredwilson

          I agree that KOL has gotten too big and their new stuff is less interesting to meBut those first two LPs are the closest thing to classic 70s rock that came out this decade

          1. Eric Marcoullier

            Check out Blitzen Trapper and I think you’ll find worthy contenders. They’re especially good live.Blitzen Trapper is part of an amazing Portland scene that’s gone massive in the last year or two. Sorta like Seattle in the early 90s and Athens in the early 80s. The way that Brooklyn is churning out one awesome (and perhaps overhyped) indie dance band after another, Portland is turning out one awesome (and underhyped) indie folk band after another.Four stars — Joebob says check em out!

          2. fredwilson

            I’m hip to blitzen trapper eric. Who else from that portland scene should I check out?

          3. Chipotle

            Gotta agree with Joebob. Apparently there’s something in the water in Glasgow and Portland as it seems that most of the new bands that catch my attention lately come from those 2 cities.I was in Portland in October and spent some time in a record store chatting about the local music scene. I came home with music from Loch Lomond, Horse Feathers, Yacht, Laura Gibson, Nurses, and Y La Bamba.Perhaps the most interesting group though is the Portland Cello Project. They have an excellent track they did with Thao.

          4. Eric Marcoullier

            So, to get the big names out of the way (all of whom you know well):Blitzen TrapperThe DecemberistsM WardModest MousePink MartiniThe ShinsLess well known:Blind PilotThe CavesHockeyBoy Eats Drum Machine (awesome live show even thought it’s just one dude)Portugal, The Man (yeah, guys, I know, they’re originally from Wasilla, Alaska)The Thermals

          5. David Noël

            I’m surprised not to see The Builders and the Butchers on there. Like PTM, they’re from Alaska but moved to Portland:http://thebuildersandthebut

          6. fredwilson

            Thanks. Lots of great artists on this list

          7. fredwilson


  20. obscurelyfamous

    I was just thinking that I needed new music for my playlist this week. This reminds me of some favorites I should revisit and a few new ones I should check out.

  21. Wesley Barrow

    Alright, here’s my decade post for you to check out. Thanks so much for motivating me to sound off on my favorites!Hope you enjoy…

  22. Chipotle

    As my taste skews slightly country (although Girl Talk’s Feed The Animals would probably be on my decade list) I’ll add Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator), The Avett Brothers’ Emotionalism, and Ryan Adams’s Heartbreaker for consideration.

    1. fredwilson

      I like revelator but soul journey and the other one she put out (can’t remember the name right now) are my favorite gillian welch records

  23. Steve Zimmerman

    Excellent list Fred. You’ve nailed the records which will stand the test of time. Very interesting reading.

  24. kuldeepk

    glad to mostly agree with u :)there are lot of records in those other thirty, which I’m mad about…like “Transistor Radio”, “Kid A”, “Good News For People Who Love Bad News”…they would be definitely in my list…plus i wudn’t leave Travis aside from any of my lists

    1. kuldeepk

      im also glad to see a record from Sigur Ros…i dont get to see lot of Sigur Ros fans around…I hated it when i couldnt make it to their one of concerts in boulder…

  25. mbrosen

    Some others worth noting:The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely (“Salute Your Solution” is the riff of the decade, IMO).!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Myth Takes (Going on record now as saying that it will be, for me, to the Aughts what My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult’s Hit and Run Holiday was to the 90’s: an under-appreciated and complete gem of an album(!) that never fails to satisfy.Coldplay – Rush of Blood to the Head (Been mentioned. Parachutes is stunning, as well).Been compiling a Best of the Aughts list of tracks. Complete, good-from-start-to-finish albums are/were hard to come by.

  26. dgulbran

    Awesome to see Andrew Bird on your “other 30” list… another great live act if you have the chance.I do think if “Hot Fuss” made the “other 30” list that “Turn on the Bright Lights” should have been there, too…Disappointed not to see TV on the Radio on the list.. they rock so much harder than KOL ever will. Not that KOL are bad, they just seem a tad over-rated to me.Great lists, though. Keep ’em coming!

    1. fredwilson

      Agree about TV on the Radio. Saw them live a few years ago. Great band.KOL was great live a few years ago. Not so much now that they’ve gone all U2 on us

      1. devahaz

        Thanks, thanks, thanks for all these lists (and music throughout the year), love them! Especially the range from alt-country/folk to indie rock to hip-hop to TV on the Radio, I’ve seen a couple of their live shows and they are just amazing, but their recorded stuff never holds up to tons of listens for me. If you make a live bands list, I def think they are near the top.I’m a little surprised to not see any Rilo Kiley or Jenny Lewis mentions in your lists (pretty sure you’ve posted about her in the past). I really loved both her solo albums and her shows. Also saw her the same week as Neko Case (who is great) and thought Jenny Lewis performance blew her away.Probably not quite list-worthy, but give the Wrens a listen if you haven’t.

        1. fredwilson

          I saw Jenny/Rilo Kiley warm up for someone at madison square garden. It was not a good venue for them. I’d love to see them in a typical rock club or small theaterAgreed on TVOTR. They are way better live

          1. daryn

            you must have caught an off night, I’ve seen every combinations of Jenny with RK, the Watson Twins, her backing band, and completely solo, live and never left less than completely in love 🙂

          2. fredwilson

            MSG is too big for them and it wasn’t their crowd. They were a warm up act

  27. Medisoft

    I must be really old or really out of touch, I hadn’t really heard of many of these records.

  28. Brandon Kessler

    Nice, though surprised you didn’t put Midlake “Trials…” as a contender. So good.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t even know that record I’ll fix that asap

  29. Harrison Hoffman

    Great list Fred! I have to put Kid A and White Blood Cells in my top 10 though. They are just albums that have dominated my listening this decade and are classics already for me. I completely agree with the rest of the list though. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is definitely one of my favorites. It’s really tough to narrow it down to 10 albums.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes it is. You are the second person to list white blood cells over elephant. I might have to do a back to back relisten of those two

  30. Richard Jordan

    It’s amazing how after the doldrums of the late nineties early noughties the music scene picked up in the second half of the decade. Not quite at the heights of the late eighties early nineties indy boom, but some cracking stuff out there and if you watch live music you’ll see a lot more coming up.Props for Sigur Ros, I recommend everyone watches Heima – the movie with them touring Iceland. The Streets were a great discovery this decade – I love the album Everything Is Borrowed. Passing over Franz Ferdinand is shocking though!Still – couple more bands for your consideration: I was rewarded for stumbling upon British Sea Power but more importantly Glasvegas exploded out of my iPod with their eponymous first album and seeing their live tour of the US was a highlight of 2009. Seriously, if you haven’t done so already get Glasvegas and listen to Geraldine and Daddy’s Gone from the album if nothing else.

    1. fredwilson

      I need to spend more time listening to glasvegas

  31. RAuguste

    Great list Fred!I have Wilco’s, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel in the top spot (I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, documentary just adds to the aura & magic). Flaming Lips would have ranked higher. (I still regret missing that Wilco/Lips 2004 New Years Eve Show combo).Radiohead- Kid- A is a Top 10.Honorable mentions:Elefant- Sunlight Makes Me ParanoidCold War Kids- Robbers & CowardsBeck-Sea ChangeThe Kills – Midnight BoomCommon – Be

    1. fredwilson

      I was telling my kids today that my biggest musical regret of the decade was missing that wilco/lips new years eve show at msg

      1. RAuguste

        Nice to hear someone else shares my pain about missing that show.Enjoy your vacation with your family & happy holidays.

  32. CamiloALopez

    Hey Fred,You don’t seem like a gangster rap type of guy, but nice to see that you listen to many genres.Disfruta Argentina, el tango, la carne asada y el verano de la plata.Feliz Ano a ti y tu familia!-CPS If you have time, visit Colonia in Uruguay, 45 min by boat from B.A. It is beautiful and very peaceful.

    1. fredwilson

      I wish we had time to visit uruguay this trip. We did that last time we were down here

  33. Portman Wills

    I’m not a music buff, but I did spend this decade living and working in 4 continents (USA, Uganda, Cambodia, Peru). To call Kings of Leon the “only rock act that broke big this decade” is completely missing how freaking HUGE, on a global scale, Coldplay is.I’ve heard Coldplay blasting in Congo in 2003, Viet Nam in 2005, Costa Rica in 2007 and Sweden in 2009. I can’t think of any 2000-era rock act that even approaches Coldplay in global reach.

    1. fredwilson

      You know what. You are right. His exact words were ‘since coldplay’. I stand corrected. Nice call

  34. awaldstein

    Thnx for putting this together Fred. It is opening up my ears to new sounds. Most appreciated.

  35. Christian Brucculeri

    Fred,Nice list- thanks!I’m surprised Ryan Adams is nowhere to be seen. Heartbreaker is quite a record.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve got issues with ryan adams. I’ve tried to like him. But I don’t

      1. Christian Brucculeri

        Fair enough. I feel the same about Wilco. By all accounts I’m supposed to love them, but somehow don’t. I completely agree on KOL– their last record gives me a case of the happies, for sure.

  36. daryn

    wow. first of all, this reminded me what a long time a decade is! secondly, these lists are always a lot of fun, as i agree with some choices, am shocked by others, and am pleasantly reminded of things long forgotten. here are the first few albums take crossed my mind that didn’t make these lists:Ryan Adams – Gold Postal Service – Give Up Death Cab – TransatlanticismShins – Oh, Inverted WorldCat Power – The GreatestBand of Horses – Cease to BeginJohnny Cash – The Man Comes AroundJenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur CoatThanks again for spending the time to write this list, there are a bunch of great records that aren’t in my collection – luckily rhapsody and amazonmp3 are just a click away!

    1. fredwilson

      All significant records I just missed

  37. csertoglu

    I’m surprised that the Decemberists did not make your list.

    1. fredwilson

      Should have at least made the other 30. Crane Wife in particular. I was so disappointed by their release this year, I think I subconsciously shut them out

  38. Funkstop

    Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is one of my favourite releases of the decade – it broke hip hop boundaries (it’s still only one of two hip hop albums to have won the Grammy for Best Album). But I’m surprised they’re getting so little love on decade lists that I’m seeing.perhaps a bad move to not release an album in the last half the decade so they’ve kinda gone into the shadows?Great list – there are a couple there that are new to me but I’m going to try them out now.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree with you about that outkast record. I should have included it. At least on my ‘other 30’

  39. @musicmatterseth

    impressive list, thanks Fred.

  40. Terry J. Leach

    I’m a huge fan of the Flaming Lips. Your right the two albums are classics, of the two “Soft Bulletins” is my favorite.

    1. fredwilson

      Mine too. Its a bit stronger start to finish than yoshimi

  41. lauraglu

    I don’t think my comment came through before, but FYI Reasonable Doubt is from last decade/century. (1996)Great list overall 😀

    1. fredwilson

      Hmm. I got that way wrong. Good thing I opted for blueprint

  42. Keane

    This is a great post. Really brings back memories. Thanks for the reminder!Keane

  43. Adrian Palacios

    omg i am so glad to see sigur ros’ “takk” on your top ten. also really glad to see broken social scene’s “you forgot it in people”; it’s a sentimental record for me. my friend burned a copy of it for me and it became a gateway to the world of indie music :Di’m surprised with all the mentions of radiohead in this thread, but no one speaking of “in rainbows”. i thought there were at least four standout tracks on that.i just don’t get the hoopla for “night falls over korteda”; i feel like the “oh you’re so silent jens” was much suggestion: lovedrug’s “pretend your alive”. ok, well, two suggestions: mute math is good also. the self-titled album is better than the newer “armistice”, so i’d start there (if you already haven’t). even if their not quite what you fancy, one of the things you should definitely do is see them live if you have a chance. there’s a fair amount of concert excerpts on youtube to check them out.

  44. Ajay Mehta

    Great, varied, list. I would have put The Strokes at #1, but I adore Is This It.Did you listen to any Of Montreal this decade? Even earlier, what about Outkast? They had some great stuff in the early 00’s.

    1. fredwilson

      Of Montreal and Outkast were lapses on my part. Both put out great records this decade

  45. Donnovan Andrews

    Good selection however, I never see any reggae here …Please take a listen to Jehro – this is his first album… a real gem.lots of latin influence … lots of stamps.…also, and oldie but real goodie -Delroy Wilson – Better Must ComOne of the crown jewels of Jamaica.Be well.

  46. petekazanjy

    Fred,Which is more epic on Funeral? Rebellion (Lies) or Wake Up? Tough call imho. ; )We listen to Funeral, Yankee Hotel, and This Is It at least once a week in the office.

    1. fredwilson

      I want to work in your office!

  47. Robert Greenberg

    What a great list. Well, I suppose it’s great because my list would look pretty much the same. But, what about Robbers & Cowards from the Cold War Kids?

    1. fredwilson

      We gotta have something to debate!

  48. Guest

    Good list, not sure if KOL deserves #1 but they do deserve some recognition. Saw them live last year and they were amazing.I’m a Radiohead fan through and through, Kid A is (in my opinion) one of the greatest albums ever made. Ever. Not just this decade. This is #1 on my list.Honorable mentions that I fell in love with include: Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards, The Postal Service – Give Up.. Too tired to list them all, but Modest Mouse, Vampire Weekend, The Kooks, Spoon and Jay-Z also deserve to be there with the best of.I do see a fatal flaw in your list, where is the Daft Punk? I don’t know if it was as big a part of your decade as it was mine, but I could not leave Discovery or Human After All off a list of my own just because of the pure enjoyment I got from these.

  49. David Noël

    Forgot to add this in my first comments but for the record, I’m adding Beck’s Sea Change

  50. RAuguste

    FYI, since I know you are a Wilco fan. I just got my Bowery Presents update email & Wilco is playing at The Wellmont Theatre April 2nd & 3rd & The XX is playing March 31 @ Webster Hall. Great week for live shows.Challenge is that the tickets go on sale at the same time this Friday. I guess it is a good problem to have.

  51. Dan Epstein

    Great list. I don’t know a lot of the music in your top 10, but it gives me some new stuff to check out. Putting it in perspective, would any (or many) of your top 10 for the decade make your top 10 of all time?Also, kudos for recognizing albums. Seems like a lot more emphasis is on the single nowadays.

    1. fredwilson

      a few of them mightAha Shake and Yankee Hotel are both candidates

      1. Dan Epstein

        Here’s 4 albums that didn’t make your top 30, but that did spend a lot of time in my cd player. 3 new releases / 1 compilation. Not saying they should’ve been in your top 30, but it’s some of my favorite stuff from the past ten years. Posted links to a couple of representative tracks on lala.Gorillaz – Demon DaysDirty Harry – Days – Anastasio – The Horseshoe CurveTube Top Tony – Sack and Pumps – Shadow – The Private Press You Can’t Go Home Again – Income – Sides Vol. 1 (compilation)All Over Again (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) – of My Heart (Erma Franklin) –

        1. fredwilson

          I only know a few of these so I now get to listen to new stuff (to me)Thanks