This is Impact’s Albums of the Decade 2000-2009: taking you through the highs and lows of the noughties music scene.

Mystery Jets – Twenty One (2008)
Mystery Jets – Twenty One (2008)

An infusion of quirky guitar riffs, unsettling siren sounds and charming lyrics sets this album off to an explosive start with ‘Hideaway’. Blain Harrison’s ethereal vocals send shivers down every listener’s spine with the beautifully crafted ‘Flakes’, providing a stunning dichotomy of sensations that run throughout ‘Twenty One’. We are lulled into a false sense of security by the tranquil ‘Veiled in Grey’, and then pulled out of it by the ghostly and mysterious ‘Behind the Bunhouse’. Although this is an album primarily based on love and heartbreak, there is no element of cliché or typicality; it expresses emotional encounters with sincerity and style. Sarah Dawood

The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever (2007)
The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever (2007)

By no means does this album aim for perfection; ‘The Cribs’ are not afraid of creating an unpolished sound. However, distinctly rough vocals, tinny riffs and witty lyrics make it a highly enjoyable listen. ‘Moving Pictures’ is a truthful and genuine portrayal of human apathy, recognised by the lyrics ‘Fakes, liars and stars of moving pictures, what’s the difference?’. ‘I’m a Realist’ takes a satirical look at human indecision and self-importance. A resolution to Ryan Jarman’s sarcasm is found in ‘My Life Flashed Before My Eyes’, a catchy and light-hearted, yet also touching exploration of betrayal. Sarah Dawood

Battles – Mirrored (2007)
Battles – Mirrored (2007)

No band this century has been this intense, intricate and precise as Battles. Math rock is not just about numbers, but complexity and details. They pull it off flawlessly and make it musically interesting to the listener. Chris Jones

 

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP (2008)

 

Folk music had usually been represented by the likes of Animal Collective in the 21st century, but Fleet Fox’s obscurity may have alienated fans of the genre. That’s until this EP and debut album, released in the same year, instantly threw them into the limelight with remarkable acappella harmonies, magical guitar rhythms and a vision that creates an enchanting landscape for the listener to indulge in. This proved so popular that they played the main stage at Glastonbury; impressively, they’re even better live. Chris Jones

The XX – XX (2009)
The XX – XX (2009)

This band have come from making music in their bedrooms to producing one of the best British albums of 2009 in just a few years. Minimalistic, pure pop mixed with soft melodies and a backing synth sets the backdrop to this marvellous and addictive album. Four 20 something youths bring an element of innocence to this ‘coming of age’ story, woven by the two singers and writers. This creates so many elements to each song, and the music has appreciable complexities along with pure simplistic addictive melodies. Chris Jones

Girls – Album (2009)
Girls – Album (2009)

What makes this album so great is that its more than just a collection of happy-go-lucky songs; there are some really sorrowful songs about love, loss and drugs. The emotion can be felt on the masterpiece song ‘Hellhole Ratrace’, a 6 minute ode to the one that got away:  a reminder that life can be cruel but you enjoyed every minute of it. There are surprising rock-your-socks-off songs that would make Nirvana fans want to tear the place down. Like Kurt’s voice, hearing someone’s pain so open and honest connects with a resonating power. Chris Jones

Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Continued (2008)
Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Continued (2008)

This double album is a rich, melodic and dense masterpiece. The albums complement each other perfectly; the first is more polished, the second organic and rough. While they have been labelled as ‘shoegaze’ due to their heavy use of distorted effects, there is so much more to this album. The mix of the softer side of Cox’s voice and the warped guitar pumps energy into the songs and justifies the legacy of a band that can stand close to My Bloody Valentine. Add some psychedelics to the mix and you have an album that is captivating and intriguing, pushing the boundaries of its genre. Chris Jones

No Age – Nouns (2008)
No Age – Nouns (2008)

No one could have predicted this album to transform the landscape of Lo-Fi music but it did. There were always bands in this genre keeping the name alive but this album gave it the energy and passion it needed, with signature songs ensuring that the last few years of the decade were the most exciting yet. With punk undertones and distorted ambient noises it really transcends the genre; this will be the album everyone looks back on as the start of a new musical uprising, and it has already got some great followers in the form of Wavves and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Chris Jones

Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel (2008)
Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel (2008)

What is Fantasy Black Channel? It is the sound of young people flailing around wildly with guitars and sound effects – and doing it exceptionally well. If music is food for the ears, then Late of the Pier’s animated debut is the Mad Hatter’s tea party of albums. Truly an aural feast, this is music at its most creative, unpredictable and exciting – and yet, unlike many experimental albums, it is utterly accessible. The very definition of a beautiful mess.  Stephanie Soh

Interpol – Antics (2004)
Interpol – Antics (2004)

Those who love Interpol, love them ardently. For those of you who haven’t already been seduced by their dark allure, the clandestine pleasures of Antics awaits you. Never one to dumb down or patronise, lead singer Paul Banks weaves intricate lyrical webs that tell of seething power struggles, corrupt sexual encounters and the beautifully damned. With lyrics as poetry, laid on top of a driving bass and guitars, Antics is no less than a majestic cult classic. Stephanie Soh

The National – Boxer (2007)
The National – Boxer (2007)

There’s such a well achieved state of balance running through every level of this frankly magnificent album. Musically each element is in perfect harmony; the hard marching drums keep a steady pace but without overpowering the more subtle orchestration and occasional touches of synth. Add to this the melodious fret work of the guitars and the listener is given a gorgeously layered soundscape through which Matt Berninger’s sombre and mournful vocals gracefully float across twelve tracks of beautiful alt rock perfection. Although often leaning towards the depressing side of things, there’s certainly enough of a variation in tone and expression to stop this from becoming samey. Mistaken for Strangers has a punky aggression and edginess to it, whilst the heart wrenching emotion carried in the orchestration at the end of Brainy adds a subdued sense of hope to the mix. One is left with the sense that this is the sort of album that the likes of Coldplay have spent their whole careers failing to create. Frank Jayne

Why? – Alopecia (2008)
Why? – Alopecia (2008)

This third album continued the evolution from avant-garde solo rapper to left field indie band. On this outing the Wolf brothers managed to give freer rein to the pop sensibilities that had crept into previous full length Elephant Eyelash whilst still maintaining the experimental direction of their work. The result was a catchier, more accessible album, but one that still had a unique sound all of its own. That said one can still identify the many influences drawn upon ranging from shoegaze indy and new wave punk through to folk, synth-pop and electronica. Although it’s hard to think of anyone to compare this to sound-wise; the overall feel of the album recalls the mood of bittersweet melancholy evoked by Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins, minus the teen angst. There’s something a bit more grown up to Alopecia; in part stemming from Yoni’s lyrical juxtaposition of humorous one liners with tragic and tender poetic images, that makes this album capture perfectly that transition from mature adolescent to young adult. Frank Jayne

Fatboy Slim – Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars (2000)
Fatboy Slim – Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars (2000)

It was never going to be as groundbreaking as You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby, but this was one hell of an effort. Big-beat’s biggest exponent served up 7 singles from this album, one which saw collaborations with Macy Gray and Bootsy Collins and a (posthumous) appearance by Jim Morrison. Upbeat, contemporary and still relevant, this was a good way to start the decade. Richard Dale

LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (2007)
LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (2007)

Exploding into the music scene in 2007, Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem delivers high energy, rhythmical tunes that pack so much punch you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the ring when listening to them. An exhilarating blend of electro, techno, punk and funk, on paper this mix looks like it shouldn’t work. Yet, this album does work; it works so much that you need to listen to it again…and again… and again! Rosie Kynman

Brand New – Déjà Entendu (2003)
Brand New – Déjà Entendu (2003)

A million miles from their debut, Brand New astonished fans with their deviation from clichéd break-up commentaries to a darker and more introspective sound, particularly evident in hidden gem “Guernica”. The album is a hybrid of light-hearted acoustic melodies coupled with Lacey’s strong influences of The Smiths and Morrissey, witty lines and timing, ‘If looks could really kill, then my profession would staring’ and their trademark punk rock undertones. Yasemin Ozturk

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)

Back to Black was innovative for this decade: by mixing genres of blues, jazz, soul and mo-town it appealed to the masses, bringing younger people to enjoy the sounds of the past whilst including older generations to relive their youth. Samples included Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. The album has so much feeling behind the lyrics and though troubles times followed for Winehouse, her album reflected the passionate, soulful and complex nature she has in herself. Charlotte Gelipter

Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)

This album comprises of an explosive mixture of talent, innovation and diversity. With scratchy vocals, intricate violin and piano solos and a sombre – almost morbid – temperament, ‘Funeral’ makes its mark in musical history with the beautifully mastered ‘Rebellion’. The tear-jerking ‘Crown of Love’ is an indie love ballad, but the album makes a smooth transition into the soulful and powerful ‘Wake Up’. Not suitable as a sing-along album, merely because it deserves every listener’s full attention and appreciation. Sarah Dawood

The Libertines – Up the Bracket (October 2002)
The Libertines – Up the Bracket (October 2002)

Released in 2002, The Libertines’ debut album ‘Up the Bracket’ was hugely influential and set the tone for a revival of British indie music for the rest of the decade. The song-writing combination of Pete Doherty and Carl Barat and production by Mick Jones (of the Clash) proved immensely popular but despite critical success, the band’s achievements were always overshadowed by internal conflicts, leading to their split in 2004. Steven Hawkes

Sigur Rós – Takk (2005)
Sigur Rós – Takk (2005)

Describing Takk in less than eighty words is near impossible. Ethereal, transporting, elevating, depressing, breath-taking, mesmerising, simple, complex, beautiful and disturbing are but a few words to illustrate this Icelandic band’s masterpiece of an album. Jónsi Birggison’s passionate falsetto vocals are enough to put Chris Martin in his place; accompanied with intricate string arrangements, powerful bowed guitars, trancelike xylophone melodies, rolling drums and songs that are sung in a nonsensical language. The music speaks for itself. Charlotte Krol

Aesop Rock – Labor Days
Aesop Rock – Labor Days

Labor Days is everything that hip-hop should be: dark, intelligent and serious. Aesop Rock’s emceeing possesses such a well honed mixture of lyrical complexity, wit and carefully considered sound patterning, that he moves beyond the role of rapper and enters the realm of poet. Amidst the choir of uninformed voices crying out that hip-hop’s dead; Labor Days acts as firm proof that its very much alive and better than ever. Frank Jayne

System of a Down – Toxicity (2001)
System of a Down – Toxicity (2001)

Each of Toxicity’s 14 songs brings something different to the table, be it the manic bursts of energy in ‘Bounce’, the insanely powerful and political ‘Prison Song’ or the soothingly calm melodic rhythms found in ‘Aerials’ and ‘Toxicity’. However, at all times the album is intense and addictive and is characterised by their magnum opus ‘Chop Suey’. Matthew James Lambert

The Streets – Original Pirate Material (2002)
The Streets – Original Pirate Material (2002)

‘A day in the life of a geezer… Sex, drugs and on the dole’. A timeless snapshot of post-90’s Britain through the eyes of Mike Skinner in a concrete high-rise. It takes you on a journey from soothing piano loops of serotonin pumped raves to the violins of lonely paranoia and dead-end days on the sofa. It is uncompromisingly honest, gritty and inspired – pure music and brilliance. James Wynn Higgins

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

Bon Iver’s debut album was recorded in three months of winter at a remote cabin in Northwestern Wisconsin. Unsurprisingly there is a sombre feel to it, but this album is my ‘happy retreat’ from my usual Rock/Metal fuelled repertoire. It’s moody, it’s dark, but somehow, despite its minimalist vocals and barely audible acoustics, it hits you full pelt. Hannah Peters

Caspa and Rusko - ‘Fabriclive 37’ (2007)
Caspa and Rusko – ‘Fabriclive 37’ (2007)

This is the definitive dubstep album, recorded live in the legendary Fabric nightclub in London. The dark, wobbly sound is interjected with sinister samples from the films ‘Snatch’ and ‘The Business’, and the expertly mixed selection blends seamlessly from filthy bass to upbeat electro sounds. This is the album that ushered dubstep into the mainstream consciousness and helped the genre conquer today’s clubs and festivals. Richard Dale

Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

Radiohead radically explored a brave new world with the release of “Kid A” in 2000. Guitars were replaced with electronic beats, synthesised chords and the hauntingly ethereal tones of Thom Yorke. An album intended to be heard as one (no singles were released from it), the hypnotic beauty of “Everything In Its Right Place” transcends the opening track and leads the listener into the undiscovered world of the 21st century. Daisy Mash

Booka Shade - Movements (2006)
Booka Shade – Movements (2006)

The appropriately named Movements showcases the tech house duo’s ability to build subtle trance-like progressions into captivatingly groovy hooks. The mysterious, bass-heavy Darko and their rework of Mandarine Girl are amongst the most outstanding tunes on this record, but neither can compete with the minimal splendour that is In White Rooms; a relentlessly refreshing track which encompasses the albums boundary breaking character.

Slipknot - Iowa (2001)
Slipknot – Iowa (2001)

Iowa is the sound of a world gone mental at the beginning of the millennium. The album breaks out of the confines of musical structure in favour of pure fury, aggression and hatred. With a pummeling three man drum section and an insane guitar tone, this album was the catharsis for music fans the world over. Ryan Neal

Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP (2000)

At the heart of this album is ‘Stan’, perhaps one the greatest rap songs ever written, produced and performed (Brit Awards). The raw emotion conveyed through ‘Stan’ along with ‘I’m Back’, ‘Kim’ and ‘Kill You’ convey Eminem’s despair, depression and deep felt anguish in life. The lyrical content of the album is both profound and highly controversial, with the beauty of Dr Dre and Mel-Man’s production allowing it to take centre stage. Angus Drummond

Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)

An album that could be described as both deep house and disco-pop; the production quality is second to none. The encapsulating retro keyboard swirls of ‘Digital Love’, the gorgeous guitar solos on ‘Aerdodynamic’ and repetitive 5-second sample that constitutes ‘Crescendolls’ all make this one that is sure to stand the test of time. Angus Drummond

CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy (2005)
CSS – Cansei De Ser Sexy (2005)

I can’t tell you much about Brazilian rock/new rave, but Cansei De Ser Sexy offer an orgasmic fusion of rocky electro-rave pop. I love listening to this album before a night out; it’s exciting, it’s different and it’s got a lot to offer, from computer game sound sampling to dodgy Portuguese-English mistranslations that are laugh-out-loud funny. Lee Shipman

Animal Collective - Feels (2004)
Animal Collective – Feels (2004)

Sprawling folk jams, breathtaking organic jingles and animal sound effects open your mind to the weird and wonderful world of Animal Collective. The collective euphoric acapella melodies augment their vision. This is the kind of album that inspires you to do great things. Chris Jones

Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner (2004)
Dizzee Rascal – Boy In Da Corner (2004)

Rascal’s debut is an exhilarating showcase of the raw talent of just one player on the UK hip-hop scene. With a delivery that is defiantly London, heavy bass lines that nod in the direction of dubstep, city life is rendered through the eyes of Dizzee Rascal. Avant-garde and unashamedly urban, the grit and energy of Boy in the Da Corner never falters. Stephanie Soh

Panda Bear - Person Pitch (2007)
Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)

Hands down, my favourite album of the last ten years. The rhythmic sounds that transcend the genre of sampled music, sampling anything from a train to a hooting owl, are layered with harmonious jives so full of live life it becomes its own entity. Noah Lennox’s personal lyrics about drug addiction in Take Pills and the epic 12-minute Bros both develop harmony and tranquility. Chris Jones

Honorable Mention:
Rock/Metal/Indie/Lo-Fi
Sleater Kinney – The Woods (2005) | Spotify
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (2006) | Spotify
Jamie T – Panic Prevention (2009) | Spotify
The Horrors – Primary Colours (2009) | Spotify
Guillemots – Through the Windowpane (2006) | Spotify
The Postal Service – Give Up (2003) | Spotify
Deerhoof – The Runners Four (2005) | Spotify
TV On the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain (2006) | Spotify
Joanna Newsom – Ys (2006) | Spotify
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) | Spotify
Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica (2000) | Spotify
Spoon – Kill the Moonlight (2002) | Spotify
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005) | Spotify
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It in People (2002) | Spotify
The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America (2006) | Spotify
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007) | Spotify
Arctic Monkeys- Whatever people say I am that’s what I’m not (2006) | Spotify
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times (2007) | Spotify
No Doubt – Rock Steady (2001) | Spotify
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003) | Spotify
Muse – Absolution (2003) | Spotify
The White Stripes – Elephant (2003) | Spotify
Kasabian – Kasabian (2004) | Spotify
Alexisonfire – Crisis (2006) | Spotify
The Strokes – Is This It? (2001) | Spotify
Coldplay – Parachutes (2000) | Spotify
Beck – Guero (2005) | Spotify
Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory (2000) | Spotify
Trivium – Shogun (2008) | Spotify
Machine Head – The Blackening (2007) | Spotify
Bullet – The Poison (2005) | Spotify
The Long Blondes – Someone to Drive You Home (2006) | Spotify
The Young Knives – Voices of Animals and Men (2006) | Spotify
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005) | Spotify
Verbal Deception – Aurum Aetus Piraticus (2006) | Spotify
We Are The Ocean – We Are The Ocean (2008) | Spotify
Zebrahead – MFZB (2003) | Spotify

Rap/Hip Hop
Sean Paul – Dutty Rock (2002) | Spotify
Devin The Dude – Waitin’ To Inhale (2007) | Spotify
Madvillain – Madvillainy (2005) | Spotify
Dalek – Absence (2004) | Spotify
Atmosphere – God Loves Ugly (2002) | Spotify
Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004) | Spotify
Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000) | Spotify
Jay Z – Blueprint (2001) | Spotify
Burial – Untrue (2007) | Spotify
M.I.A. – Kala (2007) | Spotify
Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury (2006) | Spotify

Electronica
Ital Tek – Cyclical (2008) | Spotify
M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts (2003) | Spotify
The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2001) | Spotify
Fennesz – Endless Summer (2001) | Spotify
Hot Chip – The Warning (2006) | Spotify
Portishead – Third (2008) | Spotify
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours (2008) | Spotify
The Field – From Here We Go Sublime (2007) | Spotify
Caribou – Up in Flames (2003) | Spotify
Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair (2008) | Spotify
Cosmosis – Psychedelica Melodica (2007) | Spotify
Justice – Cross (2007) | Spotify
Dubfire – Global Underground Taipei (2007)| Spotify
Style of Eye – Duck Cover and Hold (2008) | Spotify
Harmonic 313 – When Machines Exceed Human intelligence (2009) | Spotify
Boys Noize – Oi Oi Oi (2007) | Spotify
High Contrast – High Society (2004) | Spotify
Girl Talk – Don’t Feed the Animals (2008) | Spotify
2 Many DJ’s – As Heard on Radio Soulwax (vol. 2) (2003)| Spotify

Pop
Justin Timberlake – Justified (2002) | Spotify
Robyn – Robyn (2005)
Girls Aloud – The Greatest Hits (2007) | Spotify
Avril Lavigne – Let Go (2002) | Spotify
Girls Aloud – Out of Control (2008) | Spotify
Lady Gaga – Fame (2009) | Spotify
Kate Nash – Made of Bricks (2007) | Spotify

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9 Comments

  1. Angus
    February 5, 2010 at 17:25 — Reply

    Of course any list is bound to cause disagreement and dispute, but I can’t believe that Interpol’s Antics made it into the list and ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ didn’t even get a mention. For me, Interpol’s debut album outgunned their sophomore effort in every way- it was dark, ambitious and captivating, and although Antics captured some of this, it lacked the grit that made Turn on the Bright lights so special. For me, this is up there with album of the decade.

    Also surprised that Is This It only gets honorable mention given its overwhelming impact on the decade as a whole.

  2. Stephanie Soh
    February 6, 2010 at 01:35 — Reply

    I think the lack of grit in Antics is not an awful loss – for me, it marks a natural point of departure for Interpol, and is replaced by huge ambition – as audible in songs like Evil, Narc and Take You On A Cruise, the brilliance of which I am still in awe of. Although I can’t say that I prefer Antics to their debut – it could easily have been Turn On The Bright Lights that made it onto this list. Or preferably, both!

    And agreed about The Strokes – massive influence on an entire generation, whether people realise that or not.

  3. Chris Jones
    February 7, 2010 at 17:14 — Reply

    Whilst to some Is This It may be regarded as the most influential album of the decade, these are the albums which people writing for Impact decided to write about. It it not to say that the ones in the honorable mentions list are not good, its just that we had limited space in the magazine and we wanted to get a variation of style, genre and bands so some albums were not written about.
    We also thought it would be appropriate to have a one album per artist rule to give more variation to the list, that is why Turn on the Bright lights isn’t on the list, but by hearing Antics it will open people up to listening to their other albums.
    And I am sure everyone who reads an end of the decade list will see Is This It pretty high up anyway.

  4. James
    February 8, 2010 at 12:02 — Reply

    Humm, I’m not certain about Interpol being on the list at all, IMO they’re albums have done little more than repeat a formula of general ‘angst-rock’ as perfected by Joy Division, The Cure and so forth afterwards. Not a bad set of albums but certainly not some of the top records of the decade. That said, this is the point of this sort of list, that we all have different preferences and different ideas on whats good.

    I’m glad to see LOTP getting a bit of a mention-one of the best albums of 2007 and has been under appreciated…

    Overall a good list 😀

  5. Stephanie Soh
    February 8, 2010 at 13:25 — Reply

    The ‘Interpol are Joy Division’ analogies really are vapid and unjustified.

  6. James
    February 8, 2010 at 13:34 — Reply

    I’m afraid no Steph, really they’re just peddling a tired old formula without any real imagination or zest. I’m not saying they’re not a decent band, just dull and uninspired. Next thing we know people will be putting The Rakes on these sorts of lists.

  7. Chris Jones
    February 8, 2010 at 20:10 — Reply

    Sadly James, the Rakes were on the list, but I had to draw the editorial line somewhere. I still wake up in the middle of the night wondering if it was right to put Kings of Leon on the list.

    But if you would like to contribute your musical knowledge then please get in touch with me at [email protected] we are always looking for new music and varying styles.

  8. Angus
    February 9, 2010 at 00:07 — Reply

    shame the editorial line wasn’t drawn under The Cribs’ album… now there’s a band truly peddling a tired old formula…

  9. Marco Liam Guariniello
    February 10, 2010 at 03:01 — Reply

    I must say, this list is possibly one of the most complete reviews I have recently encountered. Its effectiveness easily matches any high quality music magazine review I have read for a long time. Well done Impact.

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