CoS Top of the Decade: The Albums

CoS Top of the Decade: The Albums

And we’re here… 2010. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed us. It almost seems like just yesterday David Fincher unearthed Fight Club to confused audiences, that Tony Hawk was only a skateboarder (and not a video game mogul), and The New Radicals were still, um, new. The truth is, 1999 doesn’t seem so far away — especially when you pop in Californication (the album, not the show) or try and remember the slasher genre, namely those beloved Scream movies. In fact, it’s hard to believe we’re in “the future.” Hell, whenever Back to the Future, Part II comes on TBS (Don’t tell me you forgot about this!), 2015 still seems far away, even though it’s at arm’s length now. Then again, maybe it all comes down to perspective. After all, when you turn to the side and think about the eight years with President Bush, the rise and decline and (somewhat) rise again of Tom Green, and the last time you bought a CD, it all feels about right.

But overall, it doesn’t feel like 2010. Instead of flying cars and video games that require you not to use your hands, we’re bogged down with age-old past times, like recessions, health insurance scares, and U2. Nothing seems futuristic, save for a trip to the Apple Store, and while we’re embracing the future with every inch that technology shifts forward, it all just sort of boils down to everyday mundane life.

That doesn’t really apply to music, though. Not at all. Each year, bands both new and old throw out album after album, stuffed to the brim with sounds that take us to yesterday, today, and, most of the time, to tomorrow. It’s here where we understand the true value of time and how far we’ve come. Artists and groups like Animal Collective, Daft Punk, and even Radiohead take us by the hand into regions that suit our wildest dreams, where things happen that will never occur in our lifetime. Then there are those that keep us grounded, that help us understand our inner emotions and thoughts today, bands like Wilco, The Arcade Fire, and The Strokes. It’s like we’re sonically expanding our own dimensions. Pretty deep, huh?

C’mon, it’s 2009! Everyone knows how vital music is nowadays, and even though we’re guilty of its absolute accessibility (e.g. the advent and success of the mp3), the past ten years have brought us new ways to celebrate its sonic brilliance. We all own iPods (or Zunes, for the five of you). We all walk and work and play with them in our ears — after all, we live for this stuff. But it’s more than that. We don’t just live for this stuff, we live with this stuff. You know, everyone has recognized again and again that albums have become just a hub for — or a collection of — songs, but few have noted that songs have become dalliances of everyday life. That’s why it’s important to go back, to look at where these songs come from, and to recognize the true power of that “hub”, or “collection”, or album!

And that we did…
-Michael Roffman, President/Editor-in-Chief






Note: Don’t believe us? Haven’t heard these albums? That’s why we’ve included streams for each of our 100 choices. But, there’s a catch — you’ll have to register at both imeem and Lala. Don’t fret, it only takes 20 seconds. Then, the rest is on us.

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74 Responses to “CoS Top of the Decade: The Albums”

  1. usually indie blogs put radiohead as number one because radiohead happens to be the best. hey, idk? just a thought.

  2. THANK YOU GOD for not putting a Radiohead album at #1! I thought that was a standard for indie rock music blogs/websites.

    Love the number one pick. Even if you say it’s not number one it is an undeniably amazing album from start to finish not only for its content, but for its content compared to everything else that was out there at the time. And for a list of albums of the 2000’s, what better choice than a record that defined/influenced what a lot of music in this decade would be.

    Also, I know everyone hates now but I felt that at least one of the first three KOL albums should’ve been on here. My personal choice would be Because of the Times, and probably a late spot for Aha Shake as well. Otherwise awesome list guys!

  3. i completely agree with consolers of the lonely. fantastic album. i have friends who are still skeptical but it’s nice to hear someone else things it’s great.

  4. you took the words out of my mouth about top selling records.

  5. Greenday - American Idiot made this list, Blink 182 - Blink 182 should have>>>

    Disagree with this suggestion. Big time. Two different records. Whereas Green Day evolved their own sound, Blink 182 adopted sounds that, while made up for an interesting and decent album, weren’t necessarily Blink 182’s music. Also, the record is so damn inconsistent that it’s hard to praise, other than in parts (e.g. “Violence”, “Stockholme Syndrome”, and “Always”). And that collaboration with Robert Smith? As a longtime Cure fan, even I was embarrassed.

    And top selling albums don’t necessarily equate into this list. Actually, I’d say that’s not the case at all. Otherwise, we would have been required to put High School Musical (1, 2, or 3) on here.

    My two cents.

  6. hybrid theory was the #1 selling album of 2001 with 24M copies sold since it’s release, it certainly belongs here.
    Blink 182 sucks live, sucks since they’ve gotten back together, and most of their music is so so. That said, Blink 182 - Blink 182 is an incredible album from a band which defined the 90’s. Greenday - American Idiot made this list, Blink 182 - Blink 182 should have.

    No reason to argue 311, like i said i felt they deserved mention, but Evolver isn’t anything super special unlike the above.

  7. 311, blink 182 and linkin park don’t belong anywhere near this list sorry.

  8. i think 311 - Evolver deserved some mention. The lack of any System of a Down album must be a mistake, Surely we could have dropped at least one radiohead album to give them a mention. Blink 182 - Blink 182 deserved mention as well. Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory is another glaring ommision. Incubus - Morning View is another fantastic album that should be here.

  9. Saturdays = Youth anyone?

  10. This is the work of many. Honestly! Every writer contributed to the exercise by submitting their own Top 20. Just 4 of mine made the cut but I’m not bitter. Besides No 94 is lovely.

  11. This, to me, looks like one person’s personal list rather than a representation of the staff’s collective taste. There is no way that Consolers of the Lonely ended up at #7 when taking everyone’s opinion into account. Seriously no fucking way.

  12. Good list. Well done COS. I think a readers poll is a good idea. Many of my favs made the list, but Relationship of Command is the one that really surprises me. Other than that, It still moves, BSS, fleet foxes, Clap your hands say yeah, return to cookie mountain, microcastle. All worthy, but not necessary.

    You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole… wheel of cheese?

  13. I think is funny how some people can’t stop hating this list. I bet if they made a list of the top 100 albums, a lot of people would be hating on them too.

    And of course, I disagree with this list (mainly because I don’t like some of these artists or have never even heard of them). But in regards as to how it was put together, from what I can see, all the staff had an input on it, bringing their preferences. Which makes you human (yes) instead of robotic, like someone said before. In that sense I’m sort of glad it wasn’t a generic list of what would be expected to be on it and in what order (I mean, people would’ve hated on that list too. Some people just love to hate).

    So i guess good job guys. But yes, i definitely would’ve gone with any of the Radiohead albums in the list as number one instead of The Strokes, especially since I preferred Room on Fire over Is This It anyways. And you should’ve definitely pulled more for ATDI! C’mon Mike, you’re the editor-in-chief! Make some threats! spill some coffee! We’d understand!

  14. Oh and… Ratatat and Classics anyone? No? OK…

  15. yeah seriously… maladroit is a great album. i have to agree with tom g about black rebel motorcycle club. great band that never gets recognized though so not shocked they missed the cut. there are lots of bands that had multiple good albums come out and we would all rank them differently. i would have cake, the defones, foo fighters and the black lips all with multiple albums in my opinion but that’s my taste. nice job guys. i love the strokes at number 1 as well.

  16. Maladroit? Seriously?

  17. Thanks for your comments, everyone! There are always going to be omissions, regardless of the number of albums one chooses to rank. That’s just the reality of the situation I suppose.

  18. Good work, CoS! I enjoyed reading the list, and I understand how difficult it is to compile something this comprehensive. I was thinking about my top 10 of the 2000’s the other day, and it’s an extremely overwhelming task. I appreciate your efforts.

    There are some really nice inclusions here. Interpol should be a lock for anyone’s list. Outkast’s Stankonia got the recognition it deserves. The underrated Sea Change by Beck was ranked quite high, which surprised me. QOTSA and YYY’s were also ranked where they should be. I’m also OK with the Strokes being #1. It was a breakthrough CD for our decade.

    There were some obvious inclusions of CoS favorites (Radiohead - blah, Springsteen, Gaslight Anthem), but that’s understandable.

    Some major exclusions that disappointed me:
    - PEARL JAM - What the hell, guys and gals? Both Binaural and Backspacer are top 100 material.
    - Sonic Youth - They put out MULTIPLE records that should be on this list. Murray Street is probably one of the best CDs of all time, and Sonic Nurse and The Eternal are must haves.
    - BRMC - Wow. Not one record on the list? Not even HOWL?
    - Cave In - Jupiter. Phenomenal record that was overlooked.
    - Nicole Atkins - Neptune City

  19. I’m starting to think St. Elsewhere is the Dark Knight of music. EVERYONE loved that album at first and then since the praise was universal people started hating on it. Definitely worthy of a mention on this list.

  20. Along with David, I have to say I love to see someone pointing out the fact that our staff is flesh & bone. :)

    I too, would have liked to see Frances the Mute and some more Tool, but you can’t win ‘em all and a people pleasing list would obliterate the flesh&bone-ness of our list.

  21. Good job picking “Is This It” for the number one spot but you forgot to put “Room On Fire” and “First Impressions of Earth” in the second and third spots. You probably just made typo, no big deal but please change it. Thanks.

  22. lady gaga should have been number one on that list. you indie fags have no taste.

  23. Why on earth would you even rank Death Magnetic or Narrow Stairs???? Where is one EITS album? Or GY!BE?

  24. liked the list, except…
    - what on earth are passion pit and raconteurs doing on here.
    - where on earth are grizzly bear?

    but then everyones a critic.

  25. I love the curveball of Strokes at #1 — that album is classic and was a sick introduction into the 2000’s, bravo my friend.

    However, I will be DAMNED if there are 100 albums that are better than the debut of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah over the past 10 years — that album should be cracking the at least the Top 50 on every list that is done like this.

    And yeah, I’m sick of people using the term “laughable” as well. Were you just sitting there, laughing to yourself while you were reading the list? You found it actually funny? You chumps apparently have a shitty sense of humor then, I can just imagine your pretentious faces making smug laughs as you read the list…pussies.

    Well done Consequence of Sound, although I disagree with some of the picks/rankings of picks, it is a solid list in my opinion and I stand your Strokes pick at #1 — that shit is quite possibly the best all-around album over the past 10.

  26. @ Jess

    I respond to comments that interest me, including yours. I don’t see how I’ve really been taking it personally. I’ve been responding to stuff outside of the actual choices on the list. The NME claim, the fact that Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga wasn’t on the actual list, and that people use “laughable” way too much. Thanks for reading!

  27. I think it was an excellent list, although i dont agree with is this it being number 1, it was solid overall, and you cant expect to look at a top 100 list and agree with every single thing anyways.

  28. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga over the two previous Spoon albums is surprising to me.>>>

    It’s surprising to us too. That’s why we didn’t include it! :p

  29. This list sucks…be very ashamed.

  30. The lack of Cookie Mountain and Frances The Mute dissapointed me as well. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga over the two previous Spoon albums is surprising to me.

    This list is probably my favorite list I read so far, but I’m yet to see any respect given to Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, Santigold’s Eponymous debut, Ween’s Quebec, or Man Man’s Six Demon Bag/Rabbit Habits anywhere.

    and I’m just startled to see merriweatherpostpavillion and not Veckatimest from Grizzly Bear

  31. i agree with poop eater on this one… where are the bound stems?

  32. I side with Cap Blackard on this one, most definitely — you can never please everyone.

  33. The Grand Pecking Order? Peaceblaster? Oracular Spectacular?

  34. Farmhouse? Anyone?

  35. ATDI was on my list. Oh well.

  36. @ Skee:

    Holla and thumbs up. You just made me realize that I certainly missed ATDI’s Relationship Of Command on the list as well. It strikes hard, oh so hard.

    Furthermore for those interested: I made a Spotify sampler list containing one carefully selected song from almost every album! Find it at:

  37. so glad that someone else in the world hates U2

    cos should write an article on all the reasons why they have become shit

  38. The Vines - Highly Evolved… did i miss that?

  39. I read somewhere their periods attract bears. Bears can smell the menstruation.

  40. I went into reading this knowing that Kid A probably wouldn’t be #1, but I still have an issue with it. I love Is This It? and listen to it way more than Kid A but for everything that Is This It did for indie Kid A did ten fold. Not to mention it turned a lot of people on to non dance orientated electronic.

    I’m pretty satisfied with this list although there are some SERIOUS omissions. “You Forgot It In People”- Broken Social Scene, “Third”- Portishead, “Relationship of Command”- ATDI, and “Up The Bracket” Libertines were the most notable. Third and YFIIP are top 50 if not top 20. Also wtf is consolers of the lonely doing that high? No way in hell is that more important than elephant or moon and antartica.

  41. Maybe I missed something… but where the hell are Fleet Foxes?

  42. to david’s point i actually think opiate is tool’s best album but i know i’m in the minority there. anyways good list guys i was glad to see the strokes at number 1. there are certainly things i would disagree with but i was excited to see the list posted this morning. the only album off the top of my head i would have liked to have seen recognized was “whatever happened to pj soles”

  43. This review is B.S.(S.)

    There is an album missing. YOU FORGOT IT IN this list.

    I won’t get feisty, but I hope you see what I am getting at, as I pretty much Drew it out for you…wink, wink, nudge, nudge

    All hints aside, though, pretty good list.

  44. Simple fact: no list is perfect and inevitably, every list will piss someone off somehow.

    You can bet every individual staffer here has some kind of beef with this list. That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.

  45. @zatzbatz,

    Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! We here at CoS take great pride in the initiative of human journalists as opposed to the automatons of the “hipster reich”. I, for one, appreciate you pointing such a thing out.

    For two, we need more metal on this list but the upside is a lot of reppin’ for the prog rockers!


  46. @Martin,

    Aenima>Undertow>Lateralus>10,000 Days>Opiate [EP]

    Exception: The track “Opiate” itself was potent stuff solo, but it is very derivative of C.A.D. and therefore seems like a transitional phase between C.A.D. and Tool more than cause for a seemingly scattered EP.

  47. Nice work guys! I appreciate your blog and your opinions…. you should do a readers poll on the top 50, 25 or 10 albums of the decade…. would be interesting how it all turned out.

    Keep on keeping and I’ll keep on reading and listening. Thank you.

  48. do your top albums from the 1920s! i patienly wait to see what your tastes are pre world war II.

  49. i think this list is an old old wooden ship from the civil war era.

  50. where is the bound stem’s family afloat? wtf? it’s better than half the shit up there. In other news not a bad list some questionable greenday bruce springsteen coldplay choices, but pretty interesting.

  51. @ Alex Young

    True as that may be and respecting of your personal opinion, seeing Passion Pit that high just makes me sad that you can’t see how derivative, barely original and played out they sound compared to the thousands of more original and equally enjoyable albums that were available years ahead of 2009, and influenced the creation of Passion Pit’s sound that you think is worthy of being #39. Yes, its enjoyable radio indie pop but it didn’t reinvent the wheel. It copped a bunch of influences, and that’s all there is to it.

    @ Michael Roffman

    Isn’t your name next to many of the picks on this list? Rule number one of being a music critic is that you can’t take a reader’s assessment of your work personally, otherwise you aren’t being a true critic. Yet, here you are responding to every negative comment about the list or picks as a personal attack on you and the site. It appears to me that you want everyone to respect and accept your opinions on these albums, but don’t want to give readers the same courtesy to share theirs when they don’t agree with you. What was the point of creating this list then if it didn’t incite conversation, whether it be praising or critical?

  52. Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.

  53. Any list that doesn’t have Bound Stems in it is no list at all.

  54. Even though I do disagree with The Strokes at number 1, I think the list is really interesting. Naturally I think Kid A, Funeral, Yankee, and countless others should be ranked higher, but I respect it.

    Also, I really like that you guys have Gimme Fiction ranekd higher than Kill the Moonlight. You’re the first list I’ve seen with that and I never knew why, I thought Gimme Fiction was clearly the best Spoon album. Hope to see you guys at their New Year’s Eve show.

    Good list.

  55. 100-51 was so random and misplaced. I dunno who writes this, but it would seem to me like you guys have never collectively met each other.

  56. I’m just laughing at the originality of the comments. Let’s see if we can get a few more uses of “laughable”, folks. C’mon!

  57. I haven’t looked through the whole list; but At The Drive In - Relationship of Command should definitely been in at least the Top 40…

    probably be in my top 5

  58. Haven’t looked at whole list yet but did see The Strokes as #1 and that is more then laughable.

  59. In regards to Passion Pit, I think it is important to remember that this list had to take note of what the top albums of 2009 will be. Obviously, Passion Pit’s Manners is at the top of many people’s lists, including ours.

  60. This list is very cute, as a few others noted it reflects real people’s “personal” tastes rather than the same old “critical” tastes. I just can’t help laughing about Passion Pit at #39, though. That album shouldn’t even crack a top 1000 of the decade, nevermind the top 100. Thanks for the lulz CoS, but I think your site’s real strength is in its festival outlook work.

  61. strokes album is def a number one. is this it is SOO GOOD

  62. I’ll second zatzbatz…. I WANT to hear the personal opinions of other people, even if it’s not always suited to my taste. Great list guys, and good reviews on several albums that I clearly need to catch up on! (out of 100 albums I was bound to miss a few)

  63. Good job being actual people with actual(if questionable(-:. ) tastes.>>>


  64. This list is a pile of Lols, especially 100-50, but it at least clearly represents the personal tastes of actual people. Good job being actual people with actual(if questionable(-:. ) tastes. As much as I might disagree, I second that this is why I read your blog and not other ones that are clearly written by robots and/or monkees with rabies.

  65. did you guys get “inspiration” from the nme list and just chicago it up?>>

    The answer is a definitive “NO”. We’ve had this list in the cards for the last two weeks. To be honest, we’re pretty surprised with their list.

  66. Ok, first of all… NO (TOOL - 10,00O DAYS) and Lateralus is way to high on the list, so as Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights and Muse absolution is to high.

    Tool albums should be in the top 10, Interpol TOTBL is one of the best albums of the decade.

  67. wait…where is ST. ANGER????

  68. did you guys get “inspiration” from the nme list and just chicago it up?

    props to you for having sigur ros further up the list though.

  69. Anything but Kid A at #1 = epic fail

  70. I would have liked to see Tomahawk or Peeping Tom to be perfectly honest, and Mastodon most definitely, but overall I am pleased.

    With the exception of The Strokes — sorry, The Blueprint, YHF, and In Rainbows all three beat that out of the park. On the other hand, it did send a wave of garage and lo-fi through our midst so it’s understandable to a degree and we are thankful.

    Three cheers for The Hives and Harvey Danger, though (yes, I said it).

  71. Excellent list ladies and gentlemen!! This list shows exactly why I love your site. We have very similar taste in music. As for your top pick, I would probably rank it in the top 15 but no way is that album better than Yankee Hotel, Kid A,In rainbows, Dear Science, or Funeral. Great job guys!!

  72. well I don’t agree with The Strokes being number 1…but I understand your reasoning. Glad to see Fever to Tell in the top ten.

  73. the strokes are number 1?


  74. While I haven’t heard a lot of these albums, I feel there are a few omissions that were definitely unexpected. First, I was surprised TV On the Radio’s Dear Science was picked over Return to Cookie Mountain. Second, where’s Mastodon? Crack the Skye and Blood MOuntain were instant classic metal albums to me, while I know Leviathan was a highly acclaimed album. Same with Dredg. Any of their albums qualify for this list. I also feel that Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute deserved serious consideration, as well as Tomahawk’s self-titled debut or Mit Gas albums. Same goes for Band of Horses. Either of their albums so far deserve consideration, as does any album by Zero 7, with the exception of their latest release. I didn’t see any Pearl Jam either. Not that I care for any of their albums that much this decade, but I was surprised they weren’t on the list.

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