The decade recounting started with Pitchfork handing top honors to Kid A and Uncut lusting after Jack White. Now it’s Paste’s turn to list their favorite albums of the ’00s and, as you might expect, they add some different names to the mix. For anyone keeping track, Animal Collective beats out Grizzly Bear once again. (Coldplay beats out AC as they do daily on your father’s iPod.) Otherwise, there’s a rap sighting (times three). And Gentleman Jesse loves Paste. The magazine said this about the owner of the album at the top spot: “[The] music pushed boundaries between pop and classical, and the emotional weight of [the] lyrics grounded [a] feather-light voice.” Hey, look, the Avett Brothers.

50 Björk – Vespertine (Elektra, 2001)
49 Libertines – Up The Bracket (Rough Trade, 2002)
48 Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (Interscope, 2004)
47 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino, 2006)
46 Once – Music From The Motion Picture (Columbia, 2007)
45 Radiohead – In Rainbows (self-released, 2007)
44 The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music (Lost Highway, 2003)
43 Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala (Secretly Canadian, 2007)
42 Jay-Z – The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella, 2001)
41 LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (Capitol, 2007)
40 TV on the Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain (Interscope, 2006)
39 Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Merge, 2007)
38 Gentleman Jesse – Introducing Gentleman Jesse (Douchemaster, 2008)
37 Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop, 2004)
36 Pedro The Lion – Control (Jade Tree, 2002)
35 Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino, 2009)
34 Various artists – O Brother Where Art Thou? (Mercury, 2001)
33 Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head (Capitol, 2002)
32 The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner Bros., 2002)
31 Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism (Barsuk, 2003)
30 Damien Rice – O (Vector, 2003)
29 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar, 2008)
28 Paul Westerberg – Folker (Vagrant, 2004)
27 Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day (New West, 2003)
26 Over the Rhine – Ohio (2004)
25 Sigur Rós – Med ud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL, 2008)
24 The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop, 2003)
23 Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (Bloodshot, 2000)
22 The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (Capitol, 2006)
21 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL, 2008)
20 The National – Boxer (Beggars Banquet, 2007)
19 Beck – Sea Change (Interscope, 2002)
18 Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (Universal Republic, 2007)
17 Kanye West – The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)
16 Rufus Wainwright – Want One (Dreamworks, 2003)
15 Patty Griffin – 1000 Kisses (ATO, 2002)
14 The Strokes – Is This It (RCA, 2001)
13 Josh Ritter – The Animal Years (V2, 2006)
12 Spoon – Kill the Moonlight (Merge, 2002)
11 The Hold Steady – Boys And Girls In America (Vagrant, 2006)
10 M.I.A. – Arular (Interscope, 2005)
09 The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You (Columbia/American, 2009)
08 OutKast – Stankonia (Arista/LaFace, 2000)
07 Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (Acony, 2001)
06 The White Stripes – Elephant (V2, 2003)
05 Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek, 2005)
04 Radiohead – Kid A (Capitol, 2000)
03 Arcade Fire – Funeral (Merge, 2004)
02 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch, 2002)
01 Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty, 2005)

You can read the blurbs and listen to the records at Paste. David Bazan weighs in on Spoon.

Comments (136)
  1. Jordan  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Please stop posting these.

  2. Dan  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Great list, love the inclusions of the Hold Steady, Josh RItter, Pedro the Lion, and Over the Rhine.

  3. kevin  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Nice to see someone put Josh Ritter on their list.

    • Chris  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

      Completely agree. I think “The Animal Years” was one of the most unjustly overlooked albums of the decade. 3+ years later it’s just as good as it was then.

  4. Quite a few cool picks. Original without being ridiculous.

  5. Looks like what I would expect it to look like. Nothing wrong with that I suppose.

  6. david  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    very soft core list. raises the question: was this a soft core decade we just survived?

    • Roland  |   Posted on Nov 17th, 2009 0

      With Iron and Wine, Mercury Rev, Sigur Ros, indie bands like Franz Ferdinand, the Strokes,
      this may look like a softcore decade, but……

      What to think about: Mastodon, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, The Mars Volta, Tool, Nightwish, Textures. This decades goes in all directions; from very soft to hardcore.

  7. Is anyone else even a little bit perturbed at how incredibly milquetoast these lists are (not just Paste, although that magazine practically defines milquetoast, white-indie taste)? Not that any of these albums are bad or anything (um, OK, a few of these are), but does no one really have taste that steps outside of comfy, cozy indie confines? Has the indie counter-culture simply created the new era of adult contemporary? I like a nice softly sung, folk album as much as the next guy with stubble and a shirt from Urban Outfitters, but is there anyone else out there that fears that this generation has found its new rut? Granted, there are some adventurous and slightly out there albums on here, but it seems like the critical consensus is rather boring.

    • fearlessweaver  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

      I think the critically-acclaimed material of this decade is exciting in context. After bands like the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, Jr., The Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine, it wouldn?t be exciting or risky or original to turn up the volume, distortion, or screaming. Likewise, after Pavement and Guided By Voices, the whole low-fi, DYI, slacker vibe is seen as been-there done-that. In comparison, thoughtfully crafted, hi-fi, literate, sincere folk-pop is new terrain. As Kings of Convenience put it, “quiet is the new loud.” Soon the Zeitgeist will move on to something else; I’m thinking big, frantic, loud jazz-rock, sort of like the new Flaming Lips and some of the new material Sufjan has debuted. It?ll probably be something completely unexpected, though.

    • todd bryerton  |   Posted on Nov 3rd, 2009 0

      I agree. Wire magazine always has music content that pushes the envelope much harder, even for me, a lifelong musician w/ jaded hard-nosed bias towards anything reeking perceptibly of mainstream. What about Dub Step, Hybrid acts like Cinematic Orchestra, David Sylvian, Tony Allen, Steve Jansen, and JAZZ!?

  8. ag  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    not bad. well done putting arctic monkeys on here, though the order is quite relative if you ask me

  9. Gentleman Jesse was one of the most under rated albums pretty much… ever. I’m glad somebody, somewhere, is fiinally giving them a little credit. For some reason, the blogs didn’t pick up on it… so basically nobody else did either. BTW, check out their Halloween show pics from last Saturday at the Earl. RAWK!!

  10. Jeremiah Moon  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    It gives me joy to see Illinois at the very top of the list. :)

  11. meh  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    didn’t these people name ‘she & him’ as album of the year in 2008?

  12. avett brothers blow ass

  13. turd  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Milquetoast! Nicely put. This is a magazine made by and consumed by people in their mid-thirties who had college radio shows in 1992 and just discovered their favorite new band, Belle and Sebastian. Their collective most recent purchase: rectangular black plastic glasses frames.

  14. kevin  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Carson what albums would you prefer?

    • Well, listen, I don’t want this to be a “my musical taste is more valid than theirs” type thing – I just find that you have tried-and-true indie rock (your Arcade Fires, your Wilcos) and everything else gets a token nod (although Pitchfork has at least moved on from tokenism in certain genres over the years, making them a little bit more relevant than the rest). Even judging by the comments on this site – there’s folky, whispery indie and then there’s everything else (thankfully, Brandon’s love of metal keeps things pretty honest). It would seem that what was once a challenging and vibrant music scene has become the easiest kind of music to like. I love about a fifth of this list, but I feel that if you were to add on another 50 albums, you would get more of the same – alt-country based indie, singer-songwriter stuff, a couple more albums by Christian artists (Paste is a Christian magazine after all – not that there’s anything wrong with that) and maybe an extra album or two from Jay-Z and Kanye.

      Not that my list is that more invigorating: I have my musical biases, just like anybody. I like DC-punk, not exactly the scene de rigueur (Dismemberment Plan’s Change, Fugazi’s The Argument), and a top 20 of mine would probably fill out with Dungen’s Ta Det Lugnt, Boredoms’ Vision Creation Newsun, Hot Snakes’ Suicide Invoice, a couple Wu-Tang related albums and a couple metal albums. At the same time, my list would have a lot of what’s on here (Shins’ Chutes Too Narrow, Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, Animal Collective’s MPP, Spoon’s Kill The Moonlight).

      I just wish there were music sites and music magazines that were willing to buck the trend and be all-encompassing as opposed to semi-encompassing, allowing only the pre-approved, token “out” albums. This was the decade where the lines of musical taste were supposed to blur, but you don’t really see it on a list like this.

      • hank  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

        what if anything makes Paste a Christian magazine? I’m not understanding how that is relevant to the magazine or how it impacts the content?

        • It’s not a “Christian” magazine, per se, but the magazine ownership certainly stems from that world (and seriously, there’s nothing wrong with that), but I think it does impact the content in some small ways (even reading the comments on the website, people were upset that the magazine ignored albums by mewithoutyou and Further Seems Forever). It’s covert, but it’s there – speaking into their banal tastes in subtle ways.

  15. Ok isn’t Sufjan’s album titled Illinoise? Seems like everyone has been spelling it just like the state. Don’t know why it’s bugging me.

    • Chris  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

      No dude, the cover say Illinoise, but Sufjan Pronounces it like the state. Honestly it doesn’t mater anyway

  16. Duh  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Whole lot of white folks

  17. kinda confusing….they picked she & him as the best last year and they didn’t make it on the list……and they picked the national for 2007 yet somehow amy winehouse is ranked higher???? so glad to see spoon and josh ritter on there!!

  18. joey  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Really? another one of these list? Music is all perspective so why do these matter?

  19. Ted Tedson  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    What a horrific pile of indie crap.

  20. sfw  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Can we please put a stop to the whole best of list? Seriously, Paste, P4K and all you other indie-blog/mags out there…this shit is tired. Music lovers who genuinely love music are smart enough to know that ranking music is subjective. If i wanted to read derivative, unoriginal music journalism, I’d read RollingStone.

  21. kbiz  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Where oh where is Hissing Fauna are you the Destroyer??

    • Rah  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

      Yes! Hissing Fauna… is a glaring omission. It easily outshines at least half of the albums on this list. Also, Separation Sunday is far better than Boys and Girls in America. Also, lists are for assholes. They are a cheap get-rich-quick scheme devised by media magnates to con people into buying more magazines. It’s the same tactic as selling a “special edition” every few months. It’s always the same garbage inside, but with a shiny cover. Except Q’s Bob Dylan special a few years ago. That was actually really informative.

  22. Good to see Bright Eyes finally making it into a Top 10

  23. jnuh  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Hey, white elephant! Let’s check and see how his label spells it. That oughta clear things up for you

    • Very confused. Because it’s always spelled/pronounced like the state, except for on the cover of the album. But whatever. I’m just gonna go with the flow. Don’t know why this always catches my attention.

      • you have to read the cover from top to bottom.
        sufjan stevens invites you to: come on feel the illinoise!
        that is obviously not the title of the album, just a clever play on words.

  24. radio zero  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    I’m glad Kill The Moonlight got some love on this list. I much prefered it to Ga Ga Ga Ga. (proper amount of Ga’s?)

  25. KevinG  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Not one album by Califone? Especially Quicksand and Cradlesnakes. That is just plain sad.

  26. James  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    There’s nothing really wrong with this list, as the magazine caters to a more adult contemporary alternative-indie crowd. Obviously this isn’t a list for everyone and leaves some bands and genres out in the cold altogether, but if I were someone who dug the kind of folk-indie-adult contemporary alternative stuff Paste covers, this would be a good summary of the decade.

  27. toto  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Keep these lists coming. I’m interested in what these various music sites put for their top 50s/100s. I don’t love music enough to visit the other websites for their opinion, so I value stereogum being a hub.

  28. yep  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Why does PASTE have such a boner for Josh Ritter?

  29. janna  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Somehow…this list seems more realistic than others. IDK.

  30. Holiday in Waikiki  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Well sir…to a large extent I would disagree…the best Shins album remains Inverted World…I know…old sneakers…

  31. ThRobert  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    paste is for the old, turtleneck, do ur work at starbucks crowd….doesnt represnt the youth at al

  32. I’m just not sure why everyone complains about Paste and who it caters to, yet still takes stock in its lists and who it chooses to like. It makes no sense to me. It’s not a magazine that covers hardcore underground grindcore hillbilly rap or some shit. It is what it is, and it covers what it covers.

    • Fair enough…but what does Paste cover then? If I were reading a metal magazine, I’d expect to see a list of just metal. If I were reading Vibe or something, I’d expect a hip hop list. Paste has never really laid claim to its breadth of coverage, but judging by its list it seems to be attempting something large and all-encompassing (Kanye, Jay-Z, The Hold Steady, Animal Collective). I don’t doubt that the magazine is essentially focused on traditional indie, but it looks to be attempting (and failing) to represent more than that. It’s not a matter of this list sucks – I just want to know: who is Paste for? And should those who it is for be patting themselves on the back for their taste in music?

  33. jim  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Please ThRobert enlighten us with your taste in music.

  34. I see where a lot of commenters are coming from. This list is generally light and predictable. When I see a list what I’m looking for is artists or albums I’ve never heard of or listened to. “Really, that album is #7 of the year? I gotta check that out.” If you don’t like these lists, I’d suggest taking the numbers associated with placement off. Then you just see a list of albums someone or some collective liked.

    I think these lists are very interesting, though. Especially since music magazines are virtually dead. This is 2000-2009 in music according to Paste, so check out what’s on here, and try not to focus on what’s absent from here. If nothing else, you realize something about Paste’s taste.

    Moreover, guys, we’ve only just begun with these decade lists! Come on — I can’t be the only one that’s a little bit excited . . .

  35. Griffin  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    I’m slightly less embarassed about loving the “Once” soundtrack so much, but why does the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah debut get zero love from these lists? I just did a quick scroll of the Pitchfork top 200 and I’m pretty sure it’s not there. Correct me if I’m wrong. What is that?

    • Bryan  |   Posted on Nov 4th, 2009 0

      ditto about the clap your hands say yeah omissions. wtf? i still listen to their debut record all the time. the only other records I can say the same about from that era is animal collective’s “sung tongs”, exploding hearts and “dear catastrophe waitress”. (not arcade fire, because frankly I’m sick and tired of it by now. these days you walk into urban outfitters, trader joes, fucking combination pizza hut/taco bell and it’s ALWAYS playing) Returning to these albums again and again is what these lists should be about, so therefore no best of ’00s list will be very good for another 5 years.

  36. Hugh Manatee  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Huge fan of the Avett Brothers but they are way out of their league, even on this list…

    • It seems like if you were going to include an Avett Brothers album though, you’d go with Emotionalism. At least that’s what I would have done.

  37. ouchmytoe  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    Paste is for your mom. Or your hopelessly out of touch college professor. Or anyone who still isn’t sure how to download music. Obviously.

  38. Radiohead’s Kid A should be numero 1.

    …and no Grizzly Bear? ?!

  39. Nashville thunderpussy  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    PAUL WESTERBERG IS GOD, folker was pretty uneventful though..

  40. poopy  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    this sucks. no dirty projectors or GB?


  41. matthew  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    list is decent for the most part. No Turn On the Bright Lights or Yeah Yeah Yeahs?

  42. You Forgot it in People…?

  43. (ben)  |   Posted on Nov 2nd, 2009 0

    the fact that Control is on that list = WIN

  44. The point of these lists is not to dictate what you should be listening to.
    It is to expose you to knew music.
    If you have to be told what kind of music to like, then you don’t like music.

  45. i’m glad paste gave dcfc a nod unlike pitchfork.

  46. No Grizzly Bear? Wow. Oh and if you’re wondering the validity of Paste, consider that their 2008 choice for album of the year was She & Him and it is not found anywhere on this list. Whoops, eh Paste?

  47. joe  |   Posted on Nov 3rd, 2009 0

    the single most overlooked album of the past decade: streetlight manifesto’s everything goes numb. that album is truly a work of art, musically and lyrically. the fact that it does not get any recognition on these lists completely blows my mind and makes me wonder what type of credentials the people who make these list have. dont get me wrong, there’s some good albums on this list, but if you are going to be so bold as to make a top 50 list of the past decade, do a little research and take a step outside of the indie box. oh and M.I.A. in the top ten? come on now.

  48. Sean  |   Posted on Nov 3rd, 2009 0

    No David Dondero or Mountain Goats? “The Transient”, “South of the South”, “Tallahassee” or “All Hail West Texas” could all four easily be on this list?

    The fact that Josh Ritter is 13th tells you something…

  49. Shivers92  |   Posted on Nov 3rd, 2009 0

    I’m actually quite okay with this list.
    But what’s really annoying me, is that lack of bloc party on any of these lists.
    Silent Alarm is one of the best albums of the decade for sure!

  50. Yes, it’s milquetoast, kinda makes me glad MMJ did not make the list. A little surprising though considering Pastes ‘audience. MMJ is missing from most of these list so far. Was Evil Urges really that unforgivable? Maybe they’ll get a consolation prize for best live album of the decade…ahh,list…whatev…

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