It was a decade in which we saw our leaders squander the peace and prosperity of the previous decade, Rob Sheffield writes in the new special issue of Rolling Stone. Yet music offered shelter from the storm, even if it was just for one three-minute song at a time.
RS looks back at the decade of lost chances, counting down the best albums and songs of the 2000s, as voted by a panel of experts including artists like Coldplay, Metallica and Lil Wayne, critics and industry insiders. Radiohead, the band that best summed up the era, landed our Number One album with Kid A. Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” a song whose title also well represented the times, took top honors on the singles list. The top 50 appear in our new issue; see the full list of 100 songs and albums here:
Peter Travers names his top 10 movies — the decade’s ballsiest performances, craziest effects and most unforgettable lines (“I drink your milkshake”). We also reflect on how music changed over the past 10 years, tracing the return of guitar rock, the industry’s nosedive and Britney and Madonna’s makeout session (see The Moments in Photos), plus we name the eight artists who defined the times: Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Arcade Fire, M.I.A., Jack White and U2 (find special galleries for each act here). For a peek behind our process, RS is offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the special issue, from voter ballots to a video tracking editorial planning sessions (watch it below!). See all our covers from the decade, too.
In the coming days, RollingStone.com will be unveiling more special decade-end features: a pop quiz covering 10 years of tough trivia, a countdown of the top 50 meltdowns & blowups, a look back at the stars we lost and the forgotten faces getting their second 15 minutes. We’ll also have a special roundtable discussion featuring RS managing editor Will Dana and writers David Fricke, Rob Sheffield and Jody Rosen, Matt Taibbi’s music picks and Travers’ rundown of the worst films of the decade.
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Our new issue also includes a profile on James Cameron as he tries to change the way movies are made and a look at the dire situation in Darfur, as well as the Top 10 albums and 20 songs of 2009. An expanded list of the year’s great music will run here on RollingStone.com next week.