78. Jose Gonzalez – Veneer (2005)
– JG’s first solo album since his Zero 7 years is a haunting yet beautiful folk record.
79. Beck – Modern Guilt (2008)
– Beck drafts super-producer Dangermouse (whose impact is felt through this list)…to create an album suited for radio play in the 70s on AM…but somehow feels fresh and new for this decade.
80. The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (2000)
– The indie supergroup featuring Neko Case, A.C. Newman, Ban Bejar (Destroyer) may be the best release any of them have done. Just a solid example of what happens when great minds think alike.
81. Pete Yorn – Musicforthemorningafter (2001)
– Pete Yorn’s debut literally came out of nowhere. There was a very little buzz about this guy prior to the release…and being on Sony…there was very little thought that this might be anything more than a major label’s attempt at woeing the indie crowd. But over the past decade…Pete has remained diligent about his craft, keeping it his own. And over that period…his debut has only ripened with age. (Lose You)
82. Jurassic 5 – Quality Control (2000)
– Possibly the release that legitimized the underground hip-hop movement. Though none of their other releases…solo or as a group…came close the originality or personality of this debut, the album continues to be a heralded landmark on the hip-hop landscape. (Lausd)
83. Kings of Leon – Only By Night (2008)
– Six months ago…I may not have included this…but the album has fought and clawed its way in critical and commercial success. Something that is no small feat in today’s music industry. But that aside, it’s just a good rock record. Not as strong as maybe their last release…but their music has matured as they have.
84. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)
– Though it lacks in life and “fire” that the debut had…it’s still a collection of intensely constructed songs…dark but vibrant…morid but alive. Even when they’re a half-step off their game…they’re still a full step in front of everyone else. (Antichrist Television Blues)
85. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (2008)
– The one thing severely lacking from the 2000s are the pure old fashioned rock records. A few bands tried to carry the rock n roll torch…but very few came close. But on MMJ’s release from last year…it was like the band was harnessing the past and everything that made them what they are. It may be too early to tell how great this record is…and who knows…a couple years down the road…I could see this album hanging out near the top. (The Librarian)
86. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (2009)
– This year’s front-runner is a ecclectic mix of the future of music. Many people are struggling to grasp this album, which only means it’s one that takes time. And any album with that kind of attention needed is one that is usually worth the time invested.
87. Kanye West – Graduation (2007)
– Maybe the weakest of KW’s non-autotune releases…is still a masterful hip-hop album and a scolding lesson of what can be accomplished with smart production. And any album that samples Daft Punk should always get an honorary listing.
88. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
– ES’ last official release before his death shows the singer growing and expanding. He may have conquered on tunes that were simple bare bones kid & and a guitar folk…but Elliott wasn’t satisfied being just that. He was ready to challenge what he was capable of doing and where he could go…too bad we’ll never know what he could do. (Somebody That I Used To Know)