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Ten Years of Metacritic: The Best Music of the Decade

by Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features Editor December 15, 2009

The top albums of the decade

ImageHappy to be at #1

Naturally, when you think ’00s, one artist jumps immediately to mind: Brian Wilson. Okay, so maybe the former Beach Boy seems an unlikely chart-topper for the current decade, but his 2004 album SMiLE — a mere 37 years in the making — tops our chart of the best-reviewed albums of 2000-09. Long considered one of the great lost albums in rock history, this "teenage symphony to God" proved to be equally acclaimed once it surfaced. Is it really the top album of the decade? We have a feeling there may be some comments posted below about that topic.

Beach Boys aside, the genre most represented in our list of highest-scoring albums below is "indie/alternative" (again, if this is indicative of anything, it’s of the types of albums both covered by Metacritic and favored by music critics), occupying 17 of the 40 spots. Rap was next, with nine albums (including two from OutKast, the only artist to appear twice in the top 10), followed by electronic, with seven.

The 40 Best-Reviewed Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 SMiLE by Brian Wilson 2004 97 7.9
2 Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn 2004 97 9.0
3 Stankonia by OutKast 2000 95 8.4
4 Savane by Ali Farka Toure 2006 94 8.2
5 Madvillainy by Madvillain 2004 93 8.7
6 Love And Theft by Bob Dylan 2001 93 8.8
7 Boy In Da Corner by Dizzee Rascal 2004 92 9.0
8 Elephant by The White Stripes 2003 92 8.2
9 A Grand Don’t Come For Free by The Streets 2004 91 7.7
10 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast 2003 91 9.1
11 Canto by Los Super Seven 2001 91 8.0
12 From Here We Go Sublime by The Field 2007 90 6.5
13 Illinois by Sufjan Stevens 2005 90 8.8
14 Original Pirate Material by The Streets 2002 90 8.9
15 Alice by Tom Waits 2002 90 9.5
16 Is This It? by The Strokes 2001 90 8.6
17 Funeral by Arcade Fire 2004 90 9.4
18 London Zoo by The Bug 2008 90 6.0
19 Untrue by Burial 2007 90 7.4
20 XTRMNTR by Primal Scream 2000 90 8.7
21 Z by My Morning Jacket 2005 90 8.2
22 Since I Left You by The Avalanches 2001 89 9.3
23 Rounds by Four Tet 2003 89 8.9
24 Neon Golden by The Notwist 2003 89 9.0
25 Modern Times by Bob Dylan 2006 89 8.4
26 Miss E… So Addictive by Missy Elliott 2001 89 7.9
27 HoboSapiens by John Cale 2004 89 9.5
28 Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo) by Aimee Mann 2000 89 9.4
29 Fed by Plush 2008 89 7.6
30 Last Exit by Junior Boys 2004 89 8.2
31 Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective 2009 89 8.5
32 Songs For The Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age 2002 89 9.2
33 Wearemonster by Isolée 2005 89 8.3
34 Hell Hath No Fury by Clipse 2006 89 8.0
35 Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins 2003 88 9.2
36 Yours, Mine & Ours by Pernice Brothers 2003 88 9.2
37 Hypermagic Mountain by Lightning Bolt 2005 88 6.2
38 Ta Det Lugnt by Dungen 2004 88 9.3
39 Dear Science, by TV on the Radio 2008 88 9.1
40 Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II by Raekwon 2009 88 9.0

Albums released between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009 and having 7 or more reviews in Metacritic’s database were eligible for the above list. Reissues, EPs, live albums, holiday albums, greatest hits albums, and other compilations are excluded. All Metascore data is from December 11, 2009. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). User scores represent an average of scores assigned by Metacritic.com site visitors.

Next, let’s look at the decade’s top-scoring albums in various categories and genres. We’ll start with debut albums, a group that contains some genuine classics. Note that the same fine print beneath the table above applies to all of the lists below as well.

The Best-Reviewed Debut Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 Boy In Da Corner by Dizzee Rascal 2004 92 9.0
2 From Here We Go Sublime by The Field 2007 90 6.5
3 Original Pirate Material by The Streets 2002 90 8.9
4 Is This It? by The Strokes 2001 90 8.6
5 Funeral by Arcade Fire 2004 90 9.4
6 Since I Left You by The Avalanches 2001 89 9.3
7 Last Exit by Junior Boys 2004 89 8.2
8 The College Dropout by Kanye West 2004 88 9.2
9 Arular by M.I.A. 2005 88 7.9
10 For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver 2008 88 9.4
11 Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes 2008 87 8.5
12 Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand 2004 87 8.4
13 The Creek Drank The Cradle by Iron & Wine 2002 87 8.9
14 Mass Romantic by The New Pornographers 2000 87 9.7
15 Mirrored by Battles 2007 86 7.9
16 Hercules And Love Affair by Hercules And Love Affair 2008 86 6.4
17 The Decline of British Sea Power by British Sea Power 2003 86 8.6
18 Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team 2005 86 8.6
19 LCD Soundsystem by LCD Soundsystem 2005 86 7.6
20 The Futureheads by The Futureheads 2004 86 8.8
The Best-Reviewed Pop/R&B Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 Robyn by Robyn 2008 86 8.4
2 Beautifully Human: Words And Sounds Vol. 2 by Jill Scott 2004 86 9.2
3 Don’t Give Up On Me by Solomon Burke 2002 85 9.3
4 BLACKsummers’night by Maxwell 2009 85 9.2
5 The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams by Me’Shell NdegéOcello 2007 84 9.1
6 Love vs Money by The-Dream 2009 83 8.8
7 New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War) by Erykah Badu 2008 83 8.4
8 Love Behind The Melody by Raheem DeVaughn 2008 83 8.0
9 1st Born Second by Bilal 2001 82 9.6
10 Cookie: The Anthropological Mix Tape by Me’Shell NdegéOcello 2002 82 9.6
11 Come Away With Me by Norah Jones 2002 82 8.3
12 Lay It Down by Al Green 2008 81 8.8
13 Back To Black by Amy Winehouse 2007 81 8.0
14 Anniemal by Annie 2005 81 8.4
15 St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley 2006 81 8.3
16 Music by Madonna 2000 80 8.8
17 Tasty by Kelis 2003 80 9.1
18 Mama’s Gun by Erykah Badu 2000 80 9.8
19 Confessions On A Dance Floor by Madonna 2005 80 8.5
20 The Scene Of The Crime by Bettye LaVette 2007 79 9.0
The Best-Reviewed Indie/Alternative Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 Elephant by The White Stripes 2003 92 8.2
2 Illinois by Sufjan Stevens 2005 90 8.8
3 Is This It? by The Strokes 2001 90 8.6
4 Funeral by Arcade Fire 2004 90 9.4
5 XTRMNTR by Primal Scream 2000 90 8.7
6 Z by My Morning Jacket 2005 90 8.2
7 Neon Golden by The Notwist 2003 89 9.0
8 HoboSapiens by John Cale 2004 89 9.5
9 Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo) by Aimee Mann 2000 89 9.4
10 Fed by Plush 2008 89 7.6
The Best-Reviewed Rap Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 Stankonia by OutKast 2000 95 8.4
2 Madvillainy by Madvillain 2004 93 8.7
3 Boy In Da Corner by Dizzee Rascal 2004 92 9.0
4 A Grand Don’t Come For Free by The Streets 2004 91 7.7
5 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast 2003 91 9.1
6 Original Pirate Material by The Streets 2002 90 8.9
7 Miss E… So Addictive by Missy Elliott 2001 89 7.9
8 Hell Hath No Fury by Clipse 2006 89 8.0
9 Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II by Raekwon 2009 88 9.0
10 The College Dropout by Kanye West 2004 88 9.2
The Best-Reviewed Electronic/Dance Albums on Metacritic.com, 2000-09
  Album Year Metascore Users
1 From Here We Go Sublime by The Field 2007 90 6.5
2 London Zoo by The Bug 2008 90 6.0
3 Untrue by Burial 2007 90 7.4
4 Since I Left You by The Avalanches 2001 89 9.3
5 Rounds by Four Tet 2003 89 8.9
6 Last Exit by Junior Boys 2004 89 8.2
7 Wearemonster by Isolée 2005 89 8.3
8 Up In Flames by Manitoba 2003 88 8.6
9 Arular by M.I.A. 2005 88 7.9
10 Kala by M.I.A. 2007 87 8.2

Finally, let’s conclude on a down note — literally — with a look at some of the artists whose Metascores trended downward throughout the decade. (There is no corresponding upward chart because there were surprisingly few artists whose scores consistently increased over the past 10 years.)

Going Down: Artists With Consistently Decreasing Metascores, 2000-09
Artist Metascores (in Chronological Order) Total Decline
The Dandy Warhols 80 73 57 46 ↓34
Jesse Malin 84 76 67 61 ↓23
Outkast 95 91 72 ↓23
Badly Drawn Boy 78 77 60 57 ↓21
The Strokes 90 78 69 ↓21
Eminem 79 75 64 59 ↓20
Jurassic 5 77 76 57 ↓20
Devendra Banhart 88 82 79 69 68 ↓20
Jet 70 62 51 ↓19
Richard Ashcroft 70 61 52 ↓18
Xzibit 75 59 57 ↓18
Bob Dylan 93 89 76 ↓17
Buck 65 85 71 68 ↓17
Busta Rhymes 77 65 64 60 ↓17
Franz Ferdinand 87 83 70 ↓17
Dizzee Rascal 92 87 78 75 ↓17
Sugar Ray 71 68 54 ↓17
Trembling Blue Stars 78 73 61 ↓17
Polyphonic Spree 84 70 68 ↓16
Asobi Seksu 80 69 64 ↓16
M83 86 76 70 ↓16
Plaid 81 72 65 ↓16
Dolly Parton 86 73 70 ↓16

Coming soon …

We’ll continue our best music of the decade coverage with a roundup of lists from top music critics and publications.

Jump to:1. Top Artists
  1. Top Artists
  2. Top Albums
Comments on This Article

Comment by Kevin on 12/15/09 at 12:57pm  |  Link to this

That was an awful, awful, awful list. I suppose by using Metacritic scores, it at least attempts an objective criteria. But still…pretty dreadful. Spoon might be one of the smarmiest bands around.

Comment by Robert on 12/15/09 at 1:30pm  |  Link to this

Don’t listen to the list, Bob Dylan is the best singer songwriter of the decade, but Love and Theft… better than Modern Times? Modern Times is one of the top ten albums of all time and my personal pick for THE best album of all time.

Comment by Matt on 12/15/09 at 1:32pm  |  Link to this

Relax Francis, this is a great list. Because you don’t like Spoon they must be wrong? Please. If you don’t like critics’ choices don’t come to metacritic.

One thing though- the decade does indeed end with 2009! (2000-2009 = 10 years)

Comment by Robert on 12/15/09 at 1:34pm  |  Link to this

I was just looking at reviews for modern times… this list totally sucks, metacritic doesn’t account for outliers. An album can have great reviews and be bogged down by a 47 from NOW magazine. Seriously, NOW magazine?

Comment by Mike on 12/15/09 at 2:32pm  |  Link to this

Well Robert if you would take the time to look up the formula for how metacritic rates music then you would know that Now magazine doesn’t effect the overall score as opposed to allmusicguide.com

Comment by Mike on 12/15/09 at 2:33pm  |  Link to this

Forgot to add….as much as allmusicguide.com

Comment by Sean on 12/15/09 at 3:22pm  |  Link to this

Fleet Foxes definitely has the best debut.

Comment by alex on 12/15/09 at 3:45pm  |  Link to this

While Spoon is extremely talented Radiohead and White Stripes are hands down in the 3 of this decade. MMJ ripoffs, I mean Iron and Wine do not belong on any top ten list and not sure about the Drive by Truckers ranking either.

Comment by Tye on 12/15/09 at 4:18pm  |  Link to this

Music is subjective. It also brings about strong feelings in people who are very opinionated in their music tastes, but please please stop harassing the list and just take it for what it is. They are not claiming that this list is definitive of what is truly the best music. They are simply putting together critics opinions in a well organized manner. If you don’t agree thats fine. Music wouldn’t be as powerful of an art if there wasn’t some form of individual interpretation. Just take the list for what it is. Thank you Metacritic i enjoyed reading this feature and look forward to more like it perhaps in the other mediums.

Comment by Aaron on 12/15/09 at 5:13pm  |  Link to this

very pleased to see spoon and outkast up there. these are definitely two of the most talented artists of our time and spoon is just underrated. whoever called them smarmy is just some retard looking to use the word of the day from their bathroom calendar. four tet is equally amazing.

Comment by Noah on 12/15/09 at 6:38pm  |  Link to this

It seems that there is a mistake. A quick search shows that Tom Waits released 5 albums this decade, 4 of which are “great”. His highest isn’t Alice, it’s Orphans at 92.

Comment by Simon on 12/15/09 at 6:58pm  |  Link to this

Go Tye!! I liked your little review of the reviews. I do not understand why people get so angry at Metacritic, when they obviously know how it works and it’s imperfections. Music is subjective, and Metacritic does well to cater to everyone. If you disagree with the results based on multiple points of view then go consult a magazine that fits more closely with yours! Mojo, Uncut etc.

Comment by David on 12/15/09 at 7:39pm  |  Link to this

While i personally disagree with a few things, it was pleasing to see some of my favourite albums score so highly on the lists.

Comment by Shujaat Syed on 12/15/09 at 7:43pm  |  Link to this

I was hoping Radiohead to be atleast on the top top 10. I guess the main problem comes from the critic. Many of them just listen to the record once and leave it at that. Amnesiac is an excellent album because it grows on you.

Comment by Sup Braj on 12/15/09 at 8:12pm  |  Link to this

WAAAH MY FAVORITE BAND ISNT NUMBER 1 WAAAAH

Metacritic doesn’t make these up out of thin air these are the most critically acclaimed of the decade.

Comment by jeff on 12/15/09 at 9:41pm  |  Link to this

I cannot believe this list does not contain “my morning jacket”. Even though I like TV on the radio, and “spoon”?! WTF!

Comment by David on 12/15/09 at 9:42pm  |  Link to this

I gotta say, this list blows. Taste in music is so varied and ridiculous, it’s impossible to critique an album. Most of these highly reviewed bands come off as gross noise to me, and most people I talk to say I have excellent taste in music.

Comment by Zach on 12/15/09 at 9:51pm  |  Link to this

Dear metacritic: the word “decade” just means TEN YEARS. “We know the decade doesn’t really end until the conclusion of 2010″ is not only an annoying cliche, it’s completely false.

Comment by Dave Mac on 12/15/09 at 11:07pm  |  Link to this

Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ truly deserves to be there on top – a unique, creative work from a true rock legend. Keep smilin’, Brian! :-)

Comment by Tom P on 12/15/09 at 11:58pm  |  Link to this

An interesting list to say the least. Although I don’t believe them to be the BEST band of the decade, it was nice to see Spoon gain some recognition for being exceptionally consistent. I would argue that a few albums, such as The Field’s “From Here We Go Sublime”, do not have sufficient critical recognition to seriously be considered for a “Best of 2000’s” list. I would be much more impressed by (And look forward to!) a list compiling and averaging only these publication’s “Best of” lists. Improved Radiohead standings anyone? Haha, either way, well done. :D

Comment by Brandon on 12/16/09 at 2:05am  |  Link to this

You have your facts wrong. Britney Spears’s debut album was Baby One More Time NOT Oops!… I Did It Again.

Comment by Koerich on 12/16/09 at 4:23am  |  Link to this

The Arcade Fire and the Shins, two of the decade’s greatest indie bands, had 3 releases during the ’00s but couldn’t even be considered for the list because there’s no Metascore for The Arcade Fire EP and Oh, Inverted World. And Oops!… I Did It Again is not Britney Spears’ debut, as they wrote there. Fail fail fail fail.

Comment by Danny on 12/16/09 at 4:40am  |  Link to this

Good job Brian Wilson

Comment by Simmo on 12/16/09 at 4:58am  |  Link to this

Smile was originally recorded back in 1967 and would have come out nearly 4 months before Sgt Pepper. Brian Wilson had already blown everybody’s minds, including the Beatles, with his previous album Pet Sounds whom many, including George Martin, believed to be a better achievement than the fab four’s aforementioned seminal work. To then be able to produce a body of work that actually topped Pet Sounds is indeed astonishing. It shows how far ahead of his time he really was by the very fact that this work still stands up for comparison afainst all his current contemporaries some 45 years later. No work of course is “better” than another as it all depends on personal taste, but what Metacrtic does is shows that more people who review music for a living, thought Smile was better than the others up for selection. That’s all. But it is indeed a monumental achievement in song writing.

Comment by aonghus on 12/16/09 at 5:31am  |  Link to this

I thought I had trawled metacrtic well, but have found a few nice surprises in this list, thank you!

Comment by Sam on 12/16/09 at 5:59am  |  Link to this

Zach 2000-2009 is 10 YEARS! Therefore Metacritic is right! Chill out.

Comment by dp on 12/16/09 at 6:56am  |  Link to this

“Most of these highly reviewed bands come off as gross noise to me, and most people I talk to say I have excellent taste in music.”

You talk to the wrong people.

Comment by pete b on 12/16/09 at 7:45am  |  Link to this

Just because your mom tells you that you have excellent taste in music doesn’t mean it’s true. The people who have reviewed these albums have a background in music and have some platform from which to speak. Just because Avril and Fall Out Boy don’t top this list doesn’t mean the list blows.

Comment by overmatik on 12/16/09 at 8:01am  |  Link to this

Ok, so there’s no Tool with Lateralus, there’s no Tears for Fears with Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, there’s no…

The poor qualitty of mainstream music in this decade is only surpassed by the low quality of the critics.

Comment by Alex on 12/16/09 at 8:02am  |  Link to this

A little floored that Kid A didn’t make the list. As much as I hear “This topped our lists for the decade,” the publications and their ACTUAL scores for the album certainly don’t show that opinion…

Comment by Joe Rogers on 12/16/09 at 8:06am  |  Link to this

THANK YOU for giving Sleater-Kinney’s ‘The Woods’ the respect it deserves!! Most definitely a powerhouse album that deserves all the hype.

Pingback Number One! « Cabin Essence Blog on 12/16/09 at 11:24am  |  Link to this

[...] For those who don’t know, Metacritic is a site that analyses the critics scores from a number of magazines and websites and comes up with a combined score for movies, albums etc. Clearly it is difficult to always take a subjective piece of writing and assign a score, but it is probably the most scientific way available of gauging critical opinion. And on that basis, SMiLE is the number one album of the decade! Yes, indeed. See for yourself here. [...]

Comment by Nik on 12/16/09 at 1:38pm  |  Link to this

Im pretty sure Mastodon would have made this list easily if Metacritic had even included “leviathan” (one of the most critically acclaimed albums of this decade) on its webpage, it astounds me that they dont have a rating for it.

Comment by gaddic on 12/16/09 at 1:44pm  |  Link to this

This list is utter garbage
Metacritic is a poor music critc aggregator when it comes to rapmusic
Where’s Nas on the rap artist list?
How can Rolling Stone’s “Artist of the Decade” be behind the likes of a pop sounding band like OutKast
The fact is this site use mainstream “white” music critcs that barely know anything about Hardcore rap music
Hiphop magazines like XXl HipHopDx and The Source(Sometimes) are where real non-pop audience rap heads should look to for reviews

Seriously Metacritic is only half-accurate when it comes to movies
everything else is the opposite of credible

Comment by Jeremiah on 12/16/09 at 1:45pm  |  Link to this

It’s wonderful to see Brian Wilson getting his just desserts from the critics — “Smile” is a tremendous achievement, if only because of the struggle Wilson went through to record it after 37 years. Granted, arguments could be made that it only received the highest rating due to an overwhelming number of Baby Boomer critics living out their fanboy fantasies of playing the record on their turntables back in ‘67. Regardless, “Smile” is a brilliant symphony; a love of labor by a man for whom love and mercy are more than just a peacenik slogan.

Comment by your father, from the future on 12/16/09 at 4:08pm  |  Link to this

you ipod toolbag, here’s a handy and timely list for your consumption

Comment by Ian on 12/16/09 at 4:17pm  |  Link to this

Yea I wanted to also point out the Tom Waits thing but maybe they are only counting albums albums, though really I would consider Orphans an album at 3 CDs with some songs that have already been released in the random nook and cranny maybe they considered it a “compilation” instead of an album, with Glitter and Doom being null because it is a live album. If not I assume he would be quite a bit higher though.

Comment by JM on 12/16/09 at 4:33pm  |  Link to this

I think they missed one. LCD Soundsystem had 3 releases. All scored 86. That would make them number 1. I would be interested to hear why they were left out.

Comment by Jason Dietz on 12/16/09 at 5:13pm  |  Link to this

Ian: You are correct that we considered “Orphans” to be a compilation (and thus excluded it from consideration), although that one is a really close call, and it certainly could be considered a “real” album.

JM: We excluded LCD Soundsystem’s Nike album (”45:33″), since it, too, is a compilation (it includes a re-release of the single song he made for Nike, plus three extra tracks that were previously available in other countries). Also, to be fair, some of our reviews for that album were for the Nike track only, and some were for the whole disc (with the extra tracks).

Comment by Blankshore on 12/16/09 at 6:09pm  |  Link to this

THIS is why Metacritic is a load of bull. Pretty much every music publication on the planet recognizes Radiohead’s Kid A as the decade’s best album, and as the decade’s best artist. This is a shameful list.

Comment by Dan on 12/16/09 at 6:57pm  |  Link to this

I have a question: As far as I can tell, the Animal Collective’s albums counted were Sung Tongs, Feels, Strawberry Jam, the Water Curses EP, and Merriweather Post Pavilion. The recently released Fall Be Kind EP currently holds an 87. If that was counted (technically released in 2009), what would their total score be for the decade? I think they would end up at #3 instead of #6. Just curious.

Comment by Adam on 12/16/09 at 8:09pm  |  Link to this

Blankshore…

You’re missing the point. Those lists are retrospective. This list is the opinions of the albums upon release. Which criticism is more valid is up to you, but this list is not meant to be the same as others.

Also, Radiohead is totally over rated.

Comment by Bob on 12/16/09 at 8:22pm  |  Link to this

Not a very good list, and not particularly indicative of what critics think b/c Metacritic selects a small sampling of major critics, but doesn’t really go worldwide or cast its net broad enough to get a good aggregate. In that way, this is very skewed.

Comment by TheyDidItFirst on 12/16/09 at 9:05pm  |  Link to this

Blankshore, did you even read the article? You would have seen their very logical justifications for organizing the list in the way they did. If you don’t like the idea of Metacritic, then WHY THE F*** ARE YOU ON THE SITE?

Comment by jonny on 12/16/09 at 10:00pm  |  Link to this

Hey…On the Best Reviewed Pop/R&b Artists, shouldn’t Shakira be in the top 10 list? Her three albums were rated 71-74-79, which is an average of 74.66, enough to be on the top 10

Pingback The critics have spoken (for the last 10 years) « acme eclectic on 12/16/09 at 11:34pm  |  Link to this

[...] For those not interested in keeping track, there is Metacritic and its Best Music of the Decade. [...]

Comment by Jason Dietz on 12/16/09 at 11:39pm  |  Link to this

Jonny: You are correct about Shakira; her new album did not make it into our calculations. The pop/r&b artist list will be revised accordingly. Good catch!

Comment by Nicko on 12/17/09 at 4:57am  |  Link to this

Hell Yeah!! My faith in Metacritic’s system is restored! I’ve also loved many of the aforementioned artists and albums – but there can only be one winner. I cannot think of a more apt band to recieve this accolade than the immensly talented and hardworking spoon. Anyone puzzled by this choice need look (or listen as the case may be) no further than girls can tell, kill the moonlight, gimme fiction and ga ga ga ga ga.Brilliant!!

Comment by Mike on 12/17/09 at 5:07am  |  Link to this

No Wilco, at all, anywhere? I know many critics find them overrated, and the backlash was expected, but seriously, nothing? Yes, I’d say it’s pretty flawed

Comment by rb on 12/17/09 at 5:41am  |  Link to this

Nice to see the Super Furries ranking so highly, one day a wider audience will appreciate their brilliance. Well done Go-Betweens and Yo La Tengo too! Thanks Metacritic, consider the myopia of subjectivity when reflecting on the majority of comments here! Not many end-of-decade lists will feature both Bob Dylan and Outkast.

Comment by Peter on 12/17/09 at 6:23am  |  Link to this

Where is Amy Winehouse?????

Pingback The Best Movies of the Decade - Metacritic on 12/17/09 at 7:31am  |  Link to this

[...] Ten Years of Metacritic: The Best Music of the DecadeDecember 15, 2009 [...]

Comment by Dylan Liakousis on 12/17/09 at 7:51am  |  Link to this

How come you guys didn’t score reviews for “Leviathan” by Mastodon? I bet if you did they’d be one of the top artists of the decade. I mean, it was released in ‘04 so I think it’s a bit unfair to leave it out.

Comment by James on 12/17/09 at 9:29am  |  Link to this

Cool lists, I like to see how things rated based upon reviews at time of release. Very interesting to see how things when nostalgia comes into play. Thanks for all the hard work, Metacritic.

One thing I’d like to mention: I am a bit bothered that Tom Waits’ Orphans wasn’t included; that it was considered a “compilation”. None of the songs on there were released as part of his other studio albums. It’s almost completely new music. It wasn’t recorded just before its release, and is a grouping of other songs that were recorded – is that why you called it a compilation? Brian Wilson’s SMiLE was mostly recorded decades ago, and there are many albums on here that have songs which were brought in from other places (EPs and what not). I do not think Tom Waits’ Orphans qualifies as a compilation at all. Would you be willing to reconsider?

Comment by Matt on 12/17/09 at 9:41am  |  Link to this

How cool is it that Dylan can be in such a list, which if it had been around would be for the 5th decade running? (80s are debatable I guess, but other than that!)

Comment by Anuj on 12/17/09 at 9:57am  |  Link to this

“Madvillainy” is the album name but “Madvillain” (without a Y) is the artist. You’ve spelled it wrong. Not a big deal to most people, but for DOOM fanatics that drives us nutsss…

Comment by Maxim Legrand on 12/17/09 at 10:47am  |  Link to this

I guess Rock and Metal don’t exist as genres?

Metacritic is fantastic and right on point for movies, but for music it really is worthless. You very rarely see very disparaging music reviews and there certainly aren’t 30+ reviews for most albums. So you get pretty much everyone falling into the 60-80 range… even when it’s rubbish.

Comment by Jason Dietz on 12/17/09 at 11:05am  |  Link to this

Anuj: Thanks for catching that — it has been corrected.

Comment by Israel on 12/17/09 at 1:51pm  |  Link to this

SLEATER-KINNEY rocks!! i miss them so much
Ladytron have the debut of the decade if you ask me
c-mon everybody loves SPOON

Comment by Aaron on 12/17/09 at 8:33pm  |  Link to this

Brother Ali released four albums this decade, three of which are compiled on Metacritic with scores of 86, 83, and 74 – an average of 81. He should appear somwhere on the rap list.

Comment by Aaron on 12/17/09 at 8:37pm  |  Link to this

Sorry, he’s released five albums: Shadows on the Sun, Champion, The Undisputed Truth, The Truth Is Here, and Us. Only the latter three have been compiled, however.

Comment by marko65 on 12/17/09 at 10:05pm  |  Link to this

Artist of the decade?

No brainer!

Dan Bejar.

7 fantastic Destroyer albums this decade.
4 fantastic New Pornographers albums this decade.
2 fantasic Swan Lake albums this decade.

Wow!

Comment by Kain on 12/17/09 at 10:45pm  |  Link to this

I suppose I can respect that these are the most critically acclaimed artists. However, it’s hard to imagine a list without THRICE. These guys have put out some of the most masterful music of all-time (much less the decade). Thrice is not just a good band- just listen to the music, the lyrics, the evolution. It’s magic :)

Comment by Dude on 12/18/09 at 3:00am  |  Link to this

I’m a little disappointed a this list and metacritic in general. It completely ignores the not so mainstream genres of music, aka my favorite ones. No metal? Not even hard rock? Not only does the list not include a single metal album (as other people have pointed out that it should with Mastodon), but metacritic doesn’t seem to even care about sources that review them. Baroness just barely got the seven reviews it needed to join the ranks of best albums of the decade, and it’s being praised by every reviewer of that kind of music. This is why I never bother at looking at metacritic music. It completely shits all over all of the music I like. Just because it’s not in Rolling Stone doesn’t make it any less valid!

Pingback Someone Finally Gave Spoon An Award For Never Writing A Bad Song | The Tripwire on 12/18/09 at 7:16am  |  Link to this

[...] released their Best Music of the Decade list this week. They chose Spoon as their artist of the decade, calling them the “most [...]

Comment by colbeagle on 12/18/09 at 7:59am  |  Link to this

hey dude,RS did review Mastadon and gave them 3.5 stars!

Comment by _epb_ on 12/18/09 at 9:29am  |  Link to this

Obviously Spoon is not the artist of the decade. It’s Radiohead. This shows that the metascore is useful but has its flaws.

Comment by alone in boston on 12/18/09 at 9:30am  |  Link to this

Why is Elliott Smith not on the list. Ok he is dead but he has published 3 albums in the respective timeframe and all are above 81. Is it because 2 albums are published posthumously ?

Comment by Sgt. Pepperjack on 12/18/09 at 2:52pm  |  Link to this

Against Me! would be somewhere up there if their worst album wasn’t the only one of theirs on Metacritic. They have to be the best slightly under-the-radar punk rock band of the past decade.

Comment by Kyle on 12/18/09 at 4:57pm  |  Link to this

I’m sorry, and I have a ton of respect for your website, but that is a joke of a list! To place System of a Down above U2 is just blasphemy. Not even mentioning Ryan Adams in the singer/songwriter category. And Radiohead?? Were they not the best of this decade…period! I think that these lists are so slanted towards indie and obscure artists that doesn’t even make sense. Where is Bruce Springsteen? U2 recorded, “All That You Can’t Leave behind”, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” and “No Line on the Horizon” and weren’t even mentioned in the all-time top 25. Ryan Adams released I believe five albums in the last 10 years and “Cold Roses”, “Jacksonville City”, and “29″ which were masterpieces in the span of a year, and to not even be on the chart for singer-songwriter makes anything on this list null and void. Why not go on user reviews or give some weighted system rather than using the so-called “experts”. It makes a mockery out of music. You all have been hung up on TV on the Radio for years.

Sigur Rós is nice to see in the top 10 but where is Muse? And Bjork is irrelevant. I don’t even know a single person who’s ever heard of Lightening Bolt and I run in circles with a lot of people, who know their music even better than me. British Sea Power?? Who?? And seriously, no Bruce Springsteen, no Ryan Adams, no Alison Krauss. Need I go on? I still give you credit for collecting the scores and doing a lot of research which has helped me decipher between good albums and albums, but at some point album sales should be calculated as well.

Comment by Kyle on 12/18/09 at 5:01pm  |  Link to this

“Cool lists, I like to see how things rated based upon reviews at time of release. Very interesting to see how things when nostalgia comes into play. Thanks for all the hard work, Metacritic.”

Great point. A lot of artists have staying power while other artists drop off the face of the map. I do thank all of you for your hard work, and of course you will never please everyone, but there are some serious omissions.

Comment by PCP on 12/18/09 at 7:03pm  |  Link to this

Hey I noticed that J Dilla isn’t on the top 10 rap artists of the decade when his average was clearly above 80. The man deserves some credit for his tremendous work.

Pingback The Best Cover of All Time – The Stragglers | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen on 12/18/09 at 7:45pm  |  Link to this

[...] other worthwhile music links: First, Metacritic says that Spoon’s albums were the best-reviewed of the decade, which is fitting, because [...]

Comment by oneafter909 on 12/19/09 at 5:30am  |  Link to this

Dear Metacritic,

You do good work. The decade ends in 2009, not ‘10. The “rest of the internet” isn’t “impatient”, they’re on the ball. Otherwise the year 2000 would’ve been a bit of a freebie, wouldn’t it?

Comment by Marcel0 on 12/19/09 at 9:20am  |  Link to this

I’ve been saying Spoon was the band of the decade for a couple of years now. I’m glad Metacritic’s got my back!

Comment by Irf on 12/19/09 at 10:01am  |  Link to this

Terrible list

Comment by Kyle on 12/19/09 at 10:41am  |  Link to this

one more SERIOUS omission — WILCO!!

2002 — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
2004 — A Ghost Is Born
2005 — Kicking Television (Live in Chicago)
2007 — Sky Blue Sky
2009 — Wilco (The Album)

Comment by Brad on 12/19/09 at 1:21pm  |  Link to this

Why is it I can’t get through 3 comments in a row without someone whining like a 5-year old about how THEIR choice for #1 isn’t #1 on this list, or something similar? This isn’t YOUR list. These aren’t even Metacritic’s choices, you morons. They are based on a variety of different publications’ reviews. So slam Pitchfork, Paste, Rolling Stone, Variety, GQ, whatever. And if you’ve got an issue with it, maybe you shouldn’t be putting so much stock in what other people say about albums. Oh, that’s right – you don’t care. That’s why you’re here.

Good grief, what a bunch of pretentious jackasses.

Comment by Paul on 12/19/09 at 6:04pm  |  Link to this

This is the best music? No jazz category, blues, country, bluegrass, folk, Americana, classical, so forth? Leading off with Indie/Alternative. No slaves to fashion you guys! No dedicated followers of the trendy! Nooooo, not Metacritic! To some of us, Alternative Music should be renamed Alternative to Music. And let’s see, Alternative is innovative, even though much of it’s influences go back to the 70s, 80s, and early 90s? Shh, let’s not admit that most Alternative just apes what went before. Not to mention most rap. There’s no formula in those genres. No attempts at commercialism. Indie/Alternative is one of the best selling genres but not commercial? ROTFL! How can you come up with such and extensive list of movie genres and such a myopic list of music? Let us know when you really do a best music list of the decade, will ya?

Comment by Jim SEO on 12/20/09 at 7:37am  |  Link to this

Critics’ lists and picks are fine for learning about music that is not mainstream but in the end I want to hear my favourite music that speaks to me personally, not albums that are technically better or more ‘original.’ Another thing about music critics is that they never, ever criticise awful singing. I mean, Tom Waits? Bob Dylan? Jack White? Seriously? When you think about it, what the hell is with that?

Comment by Matt on 12/20/09 at 1:31pm  |  Link to this

I thought this list was great! The list showed us bands that have a couple of albums and all of them were pretty good. At first, I was like “where are Peter Bjorn and John?” but then I realized, that some of their albums have kinda sucked. I don’t think an artist like that should be included. It asked for best overall artists, and not best albums.

Comment by Matt on 12/20/09 at 1:36pm  |  Link to this

btw, rage against the machine would have OWNED in this list if they had been around a bit longer (and stayed consistent in their awesomeness).

and to people complaining about the listing order where U2 is below something like animal collective, well it wasn’t taking in to consideration popularity.

Comment by Matt on 12/20/09 at 1:39pm  |  Link to this

The best thing about this list is how it’s causing me to double take at some bands that I passed up a few years back. COMPLETELY forgot about Four Tet and Super Furry Animals

Comment by Matt on 12/20/09 at 1:44pm  |  Link to this

okay…time to complain:

of montreal? it’s unfair since they’ve made TONS of albums. 1 of them is bound to be below 80.
wilco?
interpol? their 3rd album did fall off :(

Comment by Rebecca on 12/20/09 at 4:02pm  |  Link to this

Yes, yes, Radiohead is awesome, but Spoon is as well… Kudos to the boys for not putting out crap and being consistently great. Underrated is right.

Comment by Aaron on 12/20/09 at 4:35pm  |  Link to this

C’mon people, don’t complain. Lists like these are obviously inherently flawed. It’s interesting to see who gets the highest scores sometimes, but you can’t go around saying things like “WTF my favorite band isn’t #1?!?!” It’s pretty much just opinion. For me, Radiohead has to be my favorite of the decade. Kid A was a fantastic and truly unique record. I can’t find anything like it, and believe me, I’ve looked. But just because this list says otherwise doesn’t mean I am wrong. the list can’t be “wrong” either. I think we should stop whining that our favorite bands aren’t high on the list and just use things like these to find new artists.

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