Lists

List: Best Albums of the Decade 70-61

Part Five of my countdown of the top 110 albums of the decade, and we’re not even half-way there. You can find 110-101 here, 100-91 here, 90-81 here, and 80-71 here. But for now, here’s 70-61…

70. Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006)

Bruce Springsteen’s most outlandish album of his career is also one of his best. A departure from everything else he’s ever done, his tribute to legendary folk radical Pete Seeger showed that he could turn his hand to anything and be succesful. A compilation of ancient traditional songs, this was one of the best folk albums of the decade, and made us wonder how great Springsteen could have been had he been a folkie all along.

69. The White Stripes – Icky Thump (2007)

After the darker Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes returned to a more punky fuller sound on Icky Thump. It included songs that sounded like White Stripes classics such as ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)’ and newer, edgier stuff like the excellent mariachi cover ‘Conquest’. These were just some of many highlights, alongside a brilliant title track and the wonderful ‘Rag and Bone’. It’s the most recent White Stripes album, and bodes well for the next decade.

68. Sufjan Stevens – Michigan (2003)

The first of his now eternally delayed Fifty States project, Michigan was one of two fantatsic albums released by Sufjan Stevens in 2003/04. The other Seven Swans was a slower, more melodic album. This one paved the way for his masterpiece Illinois, it was a series of magnificent tales about his home state, and has more references than wikipedia.

67. Warren Zevon – The Wind (2003)

The legendary Zevon’s last album, released just two short weeks before his death, was also his best in a long time. Featuring a splendid duet with Bruce Springsteen as well as a tremendous cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’, this album featured one of the best ensemble casts of musicians ever. The fact that Zevon was able to get such respected artists as Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Dwight Yoakam, and Tom Petty just proves how respected he was, and how much he’s missed by the musical community worldwide.

66. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

Forget about the backstory with the break-ups and log cabins, the music on here would be damn good regardless of anything surrounding it. The story gets you into it, but it’s the music itself that keeps you listening. Again and again. Only nine songs long, but every one of them is hauntingly beautiful and immediately enchanting. The only problem with this is that Justin Vernon will probably never make a record like this again.

65. TV on the Radio – Dear Science (2008)

Sadly dropped the comma from the official release, Dear Science, is TV on the Radio’s masterpiece. It’s an album that should be played in clubs. It’s increidbly danceable, but sadly never hit the mainstream heights it deserved. It also showed that band member Dave Sitek was one of the finest producers around. Not a blip or beep is wasted.

64. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2005)

This was Arcade Fire’s first introduction to most of the world. Their self-titled EP had got a lot of good press, but with the release of Funeral, those wacky Canadians went from relative unknowns to worldwide superstars. It has sold millions of copies worldwide, and probably is the only alternative album to ever do so. You’ll probably see it high on many decade-end lists, higher than on here, but it sadly never reaches the peaks of its many singles. A great album, but they may have better in them. Wait and see.

63. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf (2002)

The album that confirmed Josh Homme as a superstar, Songs for the Deaf is probably one of the finest concept albums of the decade. It’s easy to forget that aside from the splendid hard-rock singles such as ‘Go With the Flow’ and ‘No One Knows’, the album underneath was a commentary on listening to various radio stations while driving across the Mojave Desert to Los Angeles. It was clever, and brilliant, but mostly it rocked. Hard.

62. The National – Boxer (2007)

The National’s fourth album is their best work so far. Singer Matt Beringer never sounded as good as he did on the dark melodies of ‘Fake Empire’, ‘Mistake for Strangers’ and the other ten fantastic songs here. It’s bleakly beautiful, but most importantly: damned addictive.

61. Muse – Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

.Muse’s 2009 album was a major disappointment. It’s the worst thing they’ve done to date. Luckily, the rest of their career is far better. This, their fourth album was a change in direction, much more spacey and out-there than their previous work. This however was no mad-scientist/UFO-sighting nonsense, but instead was a fine collection of songs (apart from the awful always-skipped ‘Soldier’s Poem’). Each of the singles is incredible, with the lead ‘Suppermassive Black Hole’ the best of them. It was totally different than anything they had done before, but also one of the most sonically pleasing, danceable tracks of the noughties.

The Countdown continues tomorrow… If I can pull myself away from X Factor, of course!

Related posts:

  1. List: Best Albums of the Decade 100-91
  2. List: Best Albums of the Decade 80-71
  3. List: Best Albums of the Decade 110-101
  4. List: Best Albums of the Decade 90-81
  5. List: Uncut’s Top 150 Albums of the 00s

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