List

Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums, Songs Of The ’00s

By Amrit Singh / December 10, 2009 - 9:55 am

I read this New York Times piece about how we’re frantically trying to find a pithy, reductive nickname for this decade that’s closing. Some are proposing “The Noughties,” others “The Naughties,” so I’m gonna coin a phrase for this time of looking back: Noughtstalgia. Or Naughtstalgia, whatever. Music mags and sites have been framing our noughtstalgic excursions via songs and albums for the past few months (see: Uncut, P4K’s albums and songs, Paste, NME, EW); yesterday, you guys weighed in. Now it’s Rolling Stone’s turn. And as much as a list like this is a way to assess the past 10 years’ art, in this case it’s also a time to look back at the assessing institution.

RS’s diminishing sway on the listening habits of people like us parallels MTV’s, that’s not really controversial; most that frequent sites like ours look to the internet/blogs/sites-that-rank-albums-on-10-point-scales mindmeld for leads. So what’s Rolling Stone’s place in all of this? Take this 200-point list as the formalized answer: to be something to everyone. And in a time of increasing niche-ification, that could soon translate as “to be nothing to anyone.”

Not to say reaching outside the internet’s navel-gazing is without value! In theory, it’s refreshing to have an alternative to the hipster hegemony of most lists. But in reality? Rolling Stone’s top 15 albums tends toward commercial appeal and Dylan over artistic risk. I watched a Charlie Rose interview with Jann Wenner on the eve of the R&R HOF anniversary show in which the RS honcho spoke of his love for those acts that fuse the musical with the political, the artists “making a statement.” Not that Wenner got his hands dirty crafting this song rundown — it’d be heavier on the trinity-of-holy-Bs (Bono, Bruce, Bob) if so, and the official methodology included a poll of artists and “industry insiders” — but his spirit is there. Like, Randy Newman’s op-ed “A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country” coming in just seven slots below Pitchfork’s #1 song of the decade. Just like your list, right?

There’s a lot to pore over here, and it’s not without its catch-all merits — put it this way, to participate in a comprehensive conversation on “pop music,” whatever that is, you should probably know all of these artists. So just a few more notes before you cruise through:

  • There’s a six-way tie for artists with the most songs in the Top 100: Beyoncé, U2, Jay-Z, OutKast, Radiohead, and LCD Soundsystem all with three a piece. Nicely eclectic/base-covering.
  • RS and EW completely disagree on which of Cat Power’s albums is worthy of notice.
  • Kanye West’s decade is to Rolling Stone’s what Animal Collective’s was to yours: his entire four-album discography makes the list (Sung Tongs, Strawberry Jam, Merriweather, and Feels all made yours). In fairness, Ye’s actually tied with Radiohead for artist with most albums making the cut. And speaking of Animal Collective: shut out. Maybe not trying to be everything to everyone after all.
  • And the #1 thing the Gummys, P4K, and RS can agree on: Kid A.

Have at it.

BEST SONGS
100 Damian Marley – “Welcome To Jamrock”
99 Gorillaz – “Feel Good Inc.”
98 Amy Winehouse – “Back To Black”
97 Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal”
96 Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”
95 Mary J. Blige – “Family Affair”
94 Radiohead – “Pyramid Song”
93 Snoop Dogg – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
92 Brad Paisley – “Alcohol”
91 Bruce Springsteen – “My City Of Ruins”
90 Midlake – “Roscoe”
89 Bright Eyes – “Lua”
88 Jay-Z – “Izzo (H.O.V.A)”
87 The Knife – “Heartbeats”
86 Aaliyah – “Try Again”
85 Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is The Move”
84 Clipse – “Grindin'”
83 The Gossip – “Standing In The Way Of Control”
82 Jay-Z – “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
81 Pink – “Get The Party Started”
80 Phoenix – “1901”
79 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – “Gone Gone Gone”
78 LCD Soundsystem – “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”
77 Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready To Make Nice”
76 Madonna – “Hung Up”
75 Arcade Fire – “Rebellion (Lies)”
74 TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
73 Queens Of The Stone Age – “No One Knows”
72 Kings Of Leon – “Use Somebody”
71 Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.”
70 Arctic Monkeys – “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor”
69 Santigold – “L.E.S. Artistes”
68 Coldplay – “Viva La Vida”
67 Wilco – “Jesus, Etc.”
66 Madonna – “Music”
65 Green Day – “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”
64 U2 – “Vertigo”
63 Lil Wayne – “A Milli”
62 Alicia Keys – “Fallin'”
61 Jet – “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”
60 Beyoncé – “Irreplaceable”
59 The Strokes – “Hard To Explain”
58 The White Stripes – “Fell In Love With A Girl”
57 The Shins – “New Slang”
56 Radiohead – “Idioteque”
55 OutKast – “Ms. Jackson”
54 Coldplay – “The Scientist”
53 The Rapture – “House Of Jealous Lovers”
52 Christina Aguilera – “Beautiful”
51 D’Angelo – “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
50 Beyoncé – “Single Ladies”
49 The Walkmen – “The Rat”
48 The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”
47 Green Day – “American Idiot”
46 MGMT – “Kids”
45 Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”
44 Britney Spears – “Toxic”
43 The Roots – “The Seed (2.0)”
42 Arcade Fire – “Wake Up”
41 LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
40 Kelis – “Milkshake”
39 Modest Mouse – “Float On”
38 Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”
37 LCD Soundsystem – “Losing My Edge”
36 U2 – “Moment Of Surrender”
35 Bruce Springsteen – “The Rising”
34 Coldplay – “Yellow”
33 Daft Punk – “One More Time”
32 Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
31 The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize??”
30 R. Kelly – “Ignition (Remix)”
29 Kanye West – “Gold Digger”
28 Randy Newman – “A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country”
27 The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
26 Coldplay – “Clocks”
25 Missy Elliott – “Work It”
24 Radiohead – “Everything In Its Right Place”
23 Rihanna – “Umbrella”
22 Amerie – “1 Thing”
21 OutKast – “B.O.B.”
20 Justin Timberlake – “Cry Me A River”
19 Kanye West – “Jesus Walks”
18 Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
17 Bob Dylan – “Mississippi”
16 The Strokes – “Last Nite”
15 Johnny Cash – “Hurt”
14 Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”
13 50 Cent – “In Da Club”
12 Eminem “Lose Yourself”
11 MGMT – “Time To Pretend”
10 Eminem – “Stan”
09 U2 – “Beautiful Day”
08 Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”
07 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
06 The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
05 M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”
04 OutKast – “Hey Ya!”
03 Beyoncé – “Crazy In Love”
02 Jay-Z – “99 Problems”
01 Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”

BEST ALBUMS
100 Leonard Cohen – 10 New Songs
99 The Hold Steady – Almost Killed Me
98 TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
97 Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
96 The Streets – Original Pirate Material
95 Alicia Keys – Songs In A Minor
94 The Libertines – Up The Brackett
93 Johnny Cash – Unearthed
92 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
91 The Hives – Veni Vidi Vicious
90 Amadou & Miriam – Dimanche A Bamako
89 Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
88 Brian Wilson – Smile
87 Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
86 The Postal Service – Give Up
85 Coldplay – Viva La Vida
84 Eminem – The Eminem Show
83 The Black Keys – Attack & Release
82 Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R
81 Ryan Adams – Gold
80 Kings Of Leon – Youth And Young Manhood
79 The New Pornographers – Electric Version
78 Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise
77 Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
76 Sigur Rós – ( )
75 Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
74 Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
73 Coldplay – Parachutes
72 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
71 Bright Eyes – Lifted Of The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
70 Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
69 Missy Elliott – Under Construction
68 U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
67 Björk – Vespertine
66 Antony & The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
65 Manu Chao – Próxima Estación Esperanza
64 Gillian Welch – Time The Revelator
63 Kanye West – 808s And Heartbreak
62 Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary May
61 The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
60 Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
59 Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
58 Danger Mouse – The Grey Album
57 Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
56 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
55 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
54 Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
53 Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
52 M.I.A. – Arular
51 Spoon – Kill The Moonlight
50 Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
49 Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
48 TV On The Radio – Dear Science
47 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
46 Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds
45 Kanye West – Graduation
44 System Of A Down – Toxicity
43 The Killers – Hot Fuss
42 Elliott Smith – Figure 8
41 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
40 Kanye West – Late Registration
39 Kings Of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak
38 Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
37 50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
36 U2 – No Line On The Horizon
35 PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
34 OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
33 Daft Punk – Discovery
32 Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
31 My Morning Jacket – Z
30 Radiohead – In Rainbows
29 Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun
28 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
27 The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
26 Cat Power – The Greatest
25 Radiohead – Amnesiac
24 Bruce Springsteen – Magic
23 D’Angelo – Voodoo
22 Green Day – American Idiot
21 Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head
20 The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
19 Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
18 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
17 Beck – Sea Change
16 OutKast – Stankonia
15 Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
14 Jay-Z – The Black Album
13 U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
12 LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
11 Bob Dylan – Love And Theft
10 Kanye West – The College Dropout
09 M.I.A. – Kala
08 Bob Dylan – Modern Times
07 Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
06 Arcade Fire – Funeral
05 The White Stripes – Elephant
04 Jay-Z – The Blueprint
03 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
02 The Strokes – Is This It
01 Radiohead – Kid A

Head to Rolling Stone for a list of the lists that this issue promises, and a bunch of online exclusives. I’m actually going to buy this one, if only for Rob Sheffield’s piece — that dude tends to know.

Tags: Top 100
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