Home Music Music Lists

100 Best Albums of the 2000s

100 Best Albums of the 2000s

Radiohead Kid A

Radiohead's Kid A

All through the last decade, you’d find a lot of people insisting that the album was dead, a victim of the MP3, the iPod and a la carte downloading. But that never happened. If anything, artists doubled down on the format, resulting in a renaissance of long form artistic statements from a wide range of artists. This list of the decade’s 100 best albums includes the work of rock revivalists (the Strokes, the White Stripes), dance floor visionaries (M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem), hip-hop icons (Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West) and old standbys like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and U2, who reinvented their sound without losing touch with what made them living legends. This list is not just an argument in favor of the enduring appeal of the album format, but a compelling case that some of the best music of all time came out between 2000 and 2009.

28

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Fever to Tell’

Ladies and gentlemen, Karen O! The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' debut introduced the world outside New York to the beer-swilling frontwoman, who sounded like she'd eaten Pat Benatar for breakfast while rocking out to Siouxsie and the Banshees. The gorgeous ballad "Maps" was the surprise hit, but most of the album found O spitting fiery slogans — "We're all gonna burn in hell!" — like a crazed art-school diva. With Nick Zinner dishing thick, badass riffs and Brian Chase laying down thudding drums, this was vicious garage punk that put fear into the hearts of bass players everywhere.

Related:
Rolling Stone's Original 2003 Review

Photos: Karen O's Crazy Onstage Looks

27

The Flaming Lips, ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’

Wayne Coyne took two decades and a long, bizarre road through drug-addled metal and alt-pop before he nailed the Pet Sounds in his psychedelia. Yoshimi is a delightful iridescent bomb of buoyant electronics, imaginary Japanese animé and plaintive vocal surrender. The real war — inside the steam clouds of synthesizer and Cat Stevens echoes on "Fight Test"; under the tubular-bell sunshine of "Do You Realize??" — was between Coyne and his insecurities. The Lips' 10th album was Coyne's first as a wide-open songwriter — inviting and vulnerable — and the result was total, dazzling victory.

 

Related:
Rolling Stone's Original 2002 Review

The Flaming Lips Plan 'Yoshimi' Musical

Video: Flaming Lips Rehearse Trippy Version of 'Do You Realize?'

26

Cat Power, ‘The Greatest’

Chan Marshall's early career was defined by haunting tunes and onstage meltdowns that were literally showstopping. The Greatest marked a turning point for the Georgia native: Recording in Memphis with former members of Booker T. and the MG's and Al Green's band, Marshall delivered a sensuous, grooving masterpiece, driven by gentle funk, lilting country and a voice that sounded weathered by bad love and two packs a day. Songs like the rootsified "Empty Shell" drew you into Marshall's world, but instead of making you feel her pain they invited you to follow her dreams.

Related:
Rolling Stone's 2010 Review

Video: Cat Power's 'Furious' Vision for New Disc

Matador's 'Lost Weekend,' Day Two: Belle & Sebastian, Cat Power and More Bring Home Label's Range

25

Radiohead, ‘Amnesiac’

The greatest sequel since The Godfather: Part II. Amnesiac was the second half of the one-two punch Radiohead began with 2000's Kid A. It was smoother on the surface yet just as disorienting underneath, delivering the rock guitars that its predecessor held back, but in all kinds of warped and mutated forms: "Knives Out" soared like vintage Smiths, and "I Might Be Wrong" rode an Allman Brothers riff into the trip-hop hinterlands. The piano nightmare "Pyramid Song" remains terrifying, even if nobody has ever figured out what the hell Thom Yorke is saying — probably not even Thom Yorke.

 

Related:
Rolling Stone's Original 2001 Review

The Future According to Radiohead: Rolling Stone's 2008 Cover Story

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Radiohead