The Noughties been an age of great musical variety – making Rita Jacobs’ job of choosing the ten best albums a tricky one
Even I’m uneasy with the youthful vulnerability of this group, but within this ‘defect’ all the authenticity is derived. Playing with early Dylan social satire, Bright Eyes are forging an organic analogue sound. Stuttering through angsty proclamations, Conor Oberst reminds us that “in the ear of every anarchist that sleeps but doesn’t dream / We must sing, we must sing, we must sing.”
Best Tracks: ‘First Day of my Life’; ‘We Are Nowhere and It’s Now’
Republic of Loose – Aaagh! (2006)
Reasons to listen to this album: the song ‘Break’ was banned for a while in South Africa after a radio DJ proclaimed that the song promoted unprotected anal sex. Need I say more? A funky mix of deliberately dirty, misogynist and pornographic lyrics delivered by a soulful Mik Pyro. Pop, funk rock swelling with melody. You gotta love it!
Best tracks: ‘Comeback Girl’; ‘Shame’
The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)
The novelty of The White Stripes’ blistering retro style comes to life with their third installment. Jack White could almost put Robert Plant out of a job with this performance. Ranging from a twangy folk guitar to skilfully distorted riffs and edgy structures, they stormed MTV with ‘Seven Nation Army’ and concreted their position in alternative music with two Grammys. A must have.
Best tracks: ‘Seven Nation Army’; ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’
Arcade Fire – Funeral (2005)
Indie songs delivered in epic proportions from probably the biggest indie band to emerge from the noughties. This critically acclaimed debut album was universally praised for its display of rich musicianship and empowering confidence. If Carlsberg made indie bands…
Best Tracks: ‘Wake Up’; ‘In the Back Seat’
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times (2007)
One might argue that its predecessor Only By the Night is a better album, but I disagree. This album touches upon stadium rock but still bears the stains of their southern rock roots – light stains, admittedly, but a presence nonetheless. Sonically the album excels and offers the precise amount of pop for them to still maintain some of their edge. Think less ‘Sex On Fire’ and more ‘Knocked Up’.
Best tracks: ‘Charmer’; ‘Knocked Up’
Coldplay – Viva la Vida, or Death and All His Friends (2008)
Critics queued to slate this album but after a second listen, even Pete Paphides of The Times retracted his measly three-star review and proclaimed it his favourite album of 2008. This is an album by Coldplay, for Coldplay, with evident rhythm and music under the wing of Brian Eno (U2 and David Bowie).
Best tracks: ‘Viva la Vida’; ‘Violet Hill’
U2 – No Line on the Horizon (2009)
This album proves new tricks can be learned or at least provide the illusion of such a thing. A collection not exactly aimed at the charts, instead offering a character driven album. The old dogs are still growing.
Best Tracks: ‘Moment of Surrender’; ‘White as Snow’
Gorillaz – Demon Days (2004)
Packed with possible singles, this mix of glitchy beats and pop potential is an album you can’t help but return to. The bass line in the lead single ‘Feel Good Inc.’ is enough reason to have this in the top ten and also for Damon Albarn to put Blur on the backburner. Sadly it seems unlikely that Albarn’s falsetto will see a third album.
Best Tracks: ‘DARE’; ‘Dirty Harry’
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (2002)
Her critically acclaimed debut jazz album outsold Miles Davis’ jazz records. Jones’s voice is sparse but soft, making you want even more. This album dispels the noughties trend of electronic replacements and proves that people still seek a natural source of music.
Best Tracks: ‘Turn Me On’; ‘I Don’t Know Why’
Beyoncé Knowles – I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008)
Not just a guilty pleasure – pop veteran Beyoncé has truly proven her status in the world of music. After thirteen years of hits, she has only just hit her peak, and what a peak! Five number one singles from just one album.
Best Tracks: ‘Sweet Dreams’; ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)’