Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 14 News List

Albums that marked the noughties

From Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ to Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black,’ here’s a look back at 10 of the most influential pop and rock releases of the past decade

By Sam Reeves  /  AFP , PARIS

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RADIOHEAD

Kid A

2000

(No. 1 in Rolling Stone’s best 100 albums of the decade, No. 2 in Billboard critics’ top 20 albums of the decade, No. 14 in NME’s best 100 albums of the decade)

The vast, experimental soundscapes of Kid A marked a further shift away from the guitar-driven anthemic rock tunes of the band’s early days.

It was the first Radiohead album to make it to number one in the US, but it was anything but commercial with the traditional tools of the rock musician ditched and a vast range of influences on display from jazz to modern classical music.

“Kid A is like getting a massive eraser out and starting again,” Radiohead leader Thom Yorke told Rolling Stone in October 2000. The US magazine called the album “experimental and abstract, rooted in complex, mind-blowing electronic soundscapes.”

THE STROKES

Is This It?

2001

(No. 1 in NME top 100, No. 2 in Rolling Stone top 100, No. 3 in Billboard critics’ top 20)

The overnight success of indie-rock band The Strokes took them from a dank basement to enormous stardom in a veritable New York fairy tale.

Their urgent angst well reflected the hectic post-9/11 megalopolis and their story was marked by impossible glamour and walks on the wild side, smashing out tunes such as Hard to Explain and Last Nite which had echoes of towering predecessors like the Stooges and Television.

Britain’s NME wrote of the album: “If It is a truly great statement of intent, one of the all-too-infrequent calls to arms that guitar music can provide, one of the best and most characterful debut albums of the last 20 years.”

EMINEM

Marshall Mathers LP

2000

(No. 7 on Rolling Stone top 100, Billboard’s Artist of the Decade)

From murder fantasies to self-mutilation and drug addiction, Eminem, an angry young white man, showed us his dark side on this landmark record and confirmed his place as one of the most creative talents in rap.

The lyrics did not please some of the celebrities he insulted — even his mother has sued him for slander. And while moralists railed at his raw and vulgar lyrics, his lyrical and musical virtuosity are almost unparalleled. He was Billboard’s artist of the decade just for the number of top 100 hits he has had beating global R ’n’ B stars such as Usher and rap rivals like 50 Cent.

BOB DYLAN

Modern Times

2006

(No. 8 on Rolling Stone top 100)

Dylan’s snarl is back to its old best and with Love and Theft from 2001 he produced two of the most acclaimed albums of the decade. The 10 songs drip with the growl of a drifting cowboy and Modern Times sounds like it was cut by the guitar-toting rebel many thought had slipped irretrievably out of reach 20 years earlier.

Heartfelt lyrics pour out over painful blues and beautiful folk, fusing together perfectly. “Almost every song retraces the American journey from the country to the city, when folkways were giving way to modern times. The mood is America on the brink — of mechanization, of war, of domestic tranquility, of fulfilling its promise and of selling its dreams one by one for cash on the barrelhead,” wrote Rolling Stone.

ARCADE FIRE

Funeral

2004

(Billboard critics’ No. 1 album of the decade, No. 6 Rolling Stone top 100, No. 7 on NME top 100)

While the deathly title may repel even the most moody of black-clad teenagers, hit the play button and prepare to be enveloped in a life-affirming swirl of strings, horns and xylophones.

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