Musically, this decade has been the one that has defined me. Before this decade, I was lost in a sea of commercial pop and rock, with a little hip hop flavor added in on occasion. I was lost, adrift. But I discovered something in the 2k's. That something was taste. These 10 albums were the biggest role-players to me discovering my true musical destiny.
And so it begins...
10. College Dropout - Kanye West 2004
So maybe Kanye's a terribly flawed person with issues aplenty, but frankly, this album isn't. From start to finish, Kanye brings us my favorite hip hop album of all-time. Lyrically, rhythmically this album delivers. Anyone who can look past the man and dive into the music will be rewarded greatly. Top Track: Never Let Me Down ft. Jay Z and J Ivy (who delivers one of the most memorable verses of all time.)
9. Gold - Ryan Adams 2001
My dad has commented that Ryan Adams has a tendency to put out several songs that are not truly worthy, just to put them out. The classic quality vs quantity battle rages on. Gold, on the other hand, is nothing short of golden. 16 songs of a man pouring out his heart. This album was one I found my sophomore year of college, and have fallen in love with it since. Top Track: Somehow, Someday (a chorus potent enough to stir emotions in a statue)
8. Downtown Battle Mountain - Dance Gavin Dance 2007
This was my first experience with one of the best voices in the biz. Call screamo music a fad, a dying trend if you wish, but this album is one that will endure the criticisms. Jonny Craig has an incredible voice, and when fused with the screaming and excellent guitar work, it just works. This album captures the perfect mix. Bliss. It's a shame Jonny departed the band after this album, though the two parties still live on without each other. Top Track: Open Your Eyes and Look North (captures Jonny's talent along with the rest of the band-- great breakdowns as well)
7. Translating the Name - Saosin 2003
Yeah yeah, back to back screamo cd's. But just as the last one by DGD, this one is incredible. Another of my favorite singers, Anthony Green (now of Circa Survive, who just missed the list), leads this album to greatness. Just as with Jonny and DGD, this is Anthony Green's sole album with Saosin, and is an ep at that. This collection of songs showcases Green's incredible vocals. Top Track: Seven Years (simply incredible)
6. Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them - Murder by Death 2003
A great band who is constantly evolving with each release. Their second release, this one is the one that truly brought them into my life. With a mix of rock, folk, emo, and a cello?!, the whiskey/smoke tinged vocals bring it all together. With such a wide variety of influences, it's easy to see how they formed their own sound, and they did so perfectly. Top Track: Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue (a perfect example of them doing everything they do perfectly)
5. Full Collapse - Thursday 2001
This was the cd that originally turned me onto the whole emo scene. The first time I heard it, I was turned off by Geoff Rickley's voice (lead singer), then further disconcerted by the amount of screaming involved. This was a new concept to me. But it grew on me, and today, this remains one of my favorite albums, and I have fallen in love with his voice. Top Track: Understanding in a Crash (this is the song that opened an entire genre to me)
4. Pinkerton - Weezer 1996
This album was quite obviously not released in the 2000's, but I chose to include it anyway, because I did not hear it until 2001. I had heard of Weezer before, and really liked their songs. It's hard to top Say it Aint so or Undone (The Sweater Song), but this is the album that made Weezer my favorite band of high school. The raw songs of struggling as a geeky awkward rock star could not have been pulled off better. Top Track: Across the Sea (a true story about a fan from japan, catchy and emotional)
3. The Animal Years - Josh Ritter 2006
Wow, this guy is incredibly talented. Songwriting comes naturally to Josh Ritter. He doesn't feel the need to be elaborate, just beautiful and poetic. The album is simple and pure. Written from the heart. This alt-country masterpiece would make anyone a fan of the genre. Top Track: Thin Blue Flame (an lyrically genius song of epic proportions)
2. The Gleam 1,2 - Avett Brothers 2006, 2008
Maybe it's taking an easy way out combining the 2 ep's as one, but I'm taking it. It was an incredibly close battle for the top spot, but this masterpiece finished second. These songs are less of the raucous folk of their full-length albums, but the songs on here are so incredibly deep. They all have such deep meaning, and I relate to so many of them. A previous post on my blog (Solace in Song) is based on a song on the second Gleam. These songs show that The Avett Brothers are talented, introspective individuals who feel the same emotions we all do. They just are better at explaining them. Top Track: Murder in the City (the song my short story was based on-- beautiful song about the importance of family)
1. I'm Wide Awake it's Morning - Bright Eyes 2005
This album almost never made this list. After hearing it the first time, I hated it. He came off as pretentious and arrogant. A man who loved his own voice far too much. Upon hearing another song from a different record of his (Lover I Don't Have to Love) I gave this one a second chance. One of the best decisions I have ever made. Conor Oberst is one of the best song writers of my time, and this album is a perfect example of that. Political, emotional. You name it, he does it. Top Track: Take your pick, this shit is top-notch.