Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted by Spinner
If the album died an unceremonious death at the hands of the MP3 in the 2000s, someone forgot to tell these people. Committed artists old and new, and a few somewhere in between, recorded thoroughly satisfying full-length collections of songs in the past decade, many of them thematically linked from beginning to end. What a concept.
50. 'O,' Damien Rice (2002)
No wonder the former Cat Stevens made a comeback in the 2000s: He'd ceded his turf to this Irish singer-songwriter's tender-hearted debut and to Rice's folky brethren Ray LaMontagne and Jack Johnson and Alexi Murdoch and ...
49. 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not,' Arctic Monkeys (2006)
The photo of the smoking bloke on the cover of this band's heavily hyped debut drew plenty of criticism for glorifying a bad habit. Punky go-go like this is mighty addictive, too.
48. 'Dimanche a Bamako,' Amadou & Mariam (2005)
Veteran couple from Mali broke out in Paris and achieved international success with this album, produced by the multilingual Manu Chao. Since then, they've shared stages with Blur and Coldplay. In any language, they're a joy.
47. 'Ash Wednesday,' Elvis Perkins (2007)
Gorgeous post-9/11 rumination (his mother died in one of the plane crashes) that manages, miraculously, to be uplifting.
46. 'The Blueprint,' Jay-Z (2001)
Released on Sept. 11, Hova's sixth album felt muy importante, with rich old R&B samples in a time of skeletal electronics, lots of input from a newcomer named Kanye and enough big-time boasting to start a war.
45. 'Girls Can Tell,' Spoon (2001)
These Austin powers put out four albums in the 2000s, and really, we could pick any one of 'em. 'Girls Can Tell' gets the nod as the band's rightful return to an indie label after a misfit with a major.
44. 'Van Lear Rose,' Loretta Lynn (2004)
Jack White wasn't yet 30 when he escorted country queen Loretta Lynn, 40 years his senior, into the studio. Even as each new White Stripes album added to his pop-up legend, this crackling collaboration made it clear he was one for the ages.
42. 'Come Away With Me,' Norah Jones (2002)
Jones's album debut for Blue Note was busy and overproduced. Fortunately for the then-22-year-old (and music lovers in general), the CEO told her to scrap it. He wanted the spare sound of her demo, and the result was 23 million and counting.
41. 'Return to Cookie Mountain,' TV on the Radio (2006)
There's a bewildering density to our lives in the Internet era –- constant input, hyperconnectivity. This Brooklyn band plugged in.
40. 'Tough All Over,' Gary Allan (2005)
Cali-born country star already had three No. 1 singles when he released this devastating album following the suicide of his third wife. Stark-raving beauties like 'Best I Ever Had' and 'I Just Got Back From Hell' prove it: Sometimes, music is our only solace.
39. 'Home Before Dark,' Neil Diamond (2008)
Rick Rubin worked plenty of magic with the late Johnny Cash in his final years. But '12 Songs,' the producer's first try with a different kind of veteran, the showy Mr. Diamond, was a hit-and-miss affair. Their follow-up, however, was truly an American Recording.
38. 'Leviathan,' Mastodon (2004)
What's the sound of a gigantic white whale furiously attacking your ship? Old Ahab himself would have appreciated this metal band's fanatical sense of purpose.
37. 'Smile,' Brian Wilson (2004)
Almost 40 years after the initial conception of the Beach Boys' aborted opus, with its bizarro songs about Plymouth Rock and eating your vegetables, the masterful man-child finished the job. Say cheese!
36. 'For Emma, Forever Ago,' Bon Iver (2008)
For his new project, indie guy Justin Vernon knew he wanted to hole up in cold weather. After three months in his father's Wisconsin cabin, he emerged with a multi-tracked mini-masterpiece he credited to Bon Iver -– roughly, "good winter." Cold is the new warm?
33. 'O Brother, Where Art Thou,' Various (2000)
By the time of the year's Grammy Awards, the weird, unexpected success of this old-timey soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film seemed like the most natural thing on Earth.
32. 'The Way I See It,' Raphael Saadiq (2008)
If it's retro, he's all action. The way we see it, the former Tony! Toni! Tone! man can tinker with the old Motown tricks any way he sees fit.
30. 'Love and Theft,' Bob Dylan (2001)
Who knows what Dylan meant by borrowing his title from a book about blackface? It just sounded like America to us, and not a Christmas carol in the bunch.
28.'Turn on the Bright Lights,' Interpol (2002)
With a name borrowed from the intergovernmental crime-fighting organization, these suave New Yorkers sounded like international men of mystery from the moment they stole onto the scene.
27. 'Stay Positive,' The Hold Steady (2008)
"Jack, tell me a story," as Eddie Murphy said to Nick Nolte in '48 Hrs.' Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn may be as gruff as Nolte, but he knows how to entertain the kids.
26. 'The Grey Album,' Danger Mouse (2004)
None blacker, Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel declared about his band's 'Black Album.' But there have been plenty blacker since: Prince's 'Black Album,' Metallica's, Jay-Z. When Danger Mouse mashed Jay's a cappella tracks with the Beatles' 'White Album,' there was no grey area –- it was a landmark in black and white.