Micro to Macro, Pt. 3B: 10 Most Definitive Albums of My Decade

Though I thoroughly reveled in working through the bottom 15 albums of my list (and just because they’re not the Top 10 doesn’t suggest they aren’t amazing, because they are!), but now I’ve come to the top 10–only albums of exceptional quality are allowed here.  I’ve been looking forward to reliving these for quite some time.  So here we go:

The Top 10 Definitive Albums of My Decade

Pet Shop Boys - YesI’ve never tired of PSB, even though they didn’t keep the album greatness going during the late 90s and early 00s, but they came back with this exceptionally strong album, chock full of potential singles with good hooks and bouncy rhythms.  Love, etc has to be one of their best tracks ever. So as I did on the 2009 list, let’s celebrate being affirmative, shall we?
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  All Over the World
4.  Did You See Me Coming?
3.  Pandemonium
2.  More than a Dream
1.   Love Etc

Beck - GueroBeck, This is the second of your albums I’ve chosen as part of my top 25 as it totally restored my faith in the your music.  The few albums between Odelay and Guero really didn’t turn my crank.  Sorry, but I’ve bottled this up for too long;  it’s the truth.  They just didn’t meet the expectations, however unjustified, I’d placed on your albums.  However, with this and the masterpiece that was its companion, GameBoy Variations, you showed me that I was wrong to give up.  And you’ve made killer albums ever since.  Just sayin.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  E-Pro
4.  Rental Car
3.  Scarecrow
2.  Que’ Onda Guero
1.  Girl

Goldfrapp - SupernatureI was introduced to Goldfrapp primarily through the creation of Supernature.  Before that, I’d only heard the name and seen the distinctive album and singles covers at HMV.  Quite a pity really given what fantastic albums both Black Cherry and Felt Mountain also are.  Probably because it was my first, I’ll always have a sentimental place in my ears for this album over all others.  Almost every track gets me excited, especially when percussion kicks in and the trademark ‘ethereality’ surrounds the electronica.  Allison’s next effort would be a return to the debut sound, so I’m hoping the next will come back to the edge of Supernature.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  Ride a White Horse
4.  Koko
3.  Satin Chic
2.  Number One
1.  Fly Me Away

Kylie - XThis is one of those rare albums (at least of artists I like) where potential tracks started leaking eons before the album was conceived.  One after another after another made its way onto music forums all over the internet.  After all was said and done, X (aptly named because of what fans had coined the collection of leaked tracks as her upcoming tenth album) had 25 released and unreleased leaked tracks!  What’s even more impressive is that none are complete duds.  Thanks to that fact alone, X is my favourite Kylie album and earns its special spot at #8 for this decade.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  All I See
4.  In My Arms
3.  2 Hearts
2.  The One
1.  Like a Drug

Flight of the ConchordsI’m late to the bus on this one, but better late than never as they say.  I’d heard about this show from a bunch of people whose opinions I respected and then it seemed to pop up everywhere in conversations.  I always felt left out, but despite having the Internet at my fingertips, not enough to ever bother downloading the series to figure out why it was so popular.  Then a friend lent me the DVD and ok, I got it.  Catchy songs, kooky storyline, hiliarity ensuing…but it’s really not until my colleague’s iPod repeated these songs endlessly at work day in and day out that I truly realized how brilliant the lyrics were.  Or maybe I’m just bugging out from it being etched in my brain.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5. Inner City Pressure
4.  Foux De Fa Fa
3.  Boom
2.  A Kiss is Not a Contract
1.  The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room

Fiona Apple - Extraordinary MachineIt’s still unbelievable for me that I actually found this album.  Normally I’d have just overlooked anything by Fiona Apple.  Definitely my loss.  With this one though, I got caught up in all the leaked tracks and drama surrounding its release throughout 2004 and 2005.  I was so into each of the demo or first versions of the tracks for this album that when the reworked versions appeared on the album itself, a slight let-down ensued.  However, over time I’ve grown to love both versions of every track and it’s only boosted this album further and further up in my appreciation.  Now that I’ve praised her, has she released anything since?
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  Waltz (Better than Fine)
4.  Better Version of Me
3.  Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song) / Used to Love Him
2.  Not About Love
1.  Extraordinary Machine (1, 2, 3)

La Roux - La RouxMy top pick for albums this year went to this one–a fantastically complete pop record with ear-catching lyrics, melodies and hooks.  For a freshman effort, she’s got to be proud of being such a solid group of songs.  If I were to make a first record, I think I’d like it to be along these lines.  Plus, she has funky hair.  Hell, track after track of catchy pop music?  Who wouldn’t want to produce such a thing?  Oh, maybe my nephew.  He likes hard rock.  But anyways, big ups to La Roux!
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  As If By Magic
4.  Bulletproof
3.  Fascination
2.  Tigerlily
1.   Armour Love

Fischerspooner - OdysseyAlthough I’d heard of “Emerge”, I can’t say it was really on my radar at the time I was searching for something new to listen to early 2005.  iTunes was open so I thought, ‘hey, try this preview thing out and see what you get’.  So I did.  I looked in the Electronic section and clicked on this album because of the pretty colours.  The first song I randomly chose was “Cloud” and thankfully iTunes uncharacteristically used a mesmerizing 30-seconds of the song to hook me.  Two minutes later, that album was mine.  Don’t love the album before or after it, but Odyssey is hardcore, pop, stiff and commercial embracing each other.  Oddly, my favourite track isn’t technically on the original release.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  Get Confused
4.  We Need a War
3.  Never Win
2.  Cloud
1.  Down Up

Dragonette - GaloreIf I had to pick my favourite of the three albums of the 00s (that caught my ears), which stemmed out of leaked demos, then revised versions (also leaked), then full albums, it’d have to be the first release from my-home-and-native-land electropop band, Dragonette.  Their superb electroclash style started from their self-titled EP in 2005 (man that shaped up to be an awesome year for music!) and culminated with Galore in 2007 (the only tragedy being that not every track from the EP was included). Listen to  “I Get Around”,  “The Boys” and everything in between; seriously check out this album.  It’s worth it.  There isn’t a bad one in the bunch.  They’re all stellar.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  Gold Rush
4.  I Get Around
3.  Another Day
2.  You Please Me
1.  True Believer

Madonna - Confessions on a Dance FloorAnyone who knows me could probably see this or something like it coming with bells and whistles blaring like a coming train.  So a surprising choice for #1?  Probably not.  Madonna said goodbye to the children’s book writer image she’d carried for a couple years and finally put together a collection of continuously mixed songs revamping disco with the electronic tools available today and out came this masterpiece.  It’s the only Madonna album that I love from start to finish, although I do replace the album version of I<3NY with the rock version to make all perfect.  This album epitomizes pop music.  Let’s leave it at that.
Top 5 tracks, you ask?
5.  Jump
4.  Let it Will Be
3.  Forbidden Love
2.  Hung Up (1, 2, 3)
1.  Like it or Not

Let me just end off with saying that I adore pop music.  I hope you do too.


About seburnt

I own 4C and teach at University of Toronto. View all posts by seburnt

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