10 More Favorite Albums Of The '00s

A little over a year ago, I counted down my top 100 albums of 2000-2009. And obviously at a certain point with a list like that, you have to make some kind of arbitrary decisions and leave out some equally great and worthwhile records just to keep it at a nice round number. I don't know if I'll ever revisit or re-order the list, but I thought it'd be nice, a year later, to look at some albums I hemmed and hawed about omitting, or instantly regretted not keeping on the list once it was done, or realized were great later on. Who knows, I might do this every year, and have a full 100 more albums by 2020.

D'Angelo - Voodoo (Cheeba Sound/Virgin Records, 2000)
I've always liked this album but I've also always kind of struggled with it, first with the disappointment that the whole thing wasn't as catchy and immediate as "Untitled (How Does It Feel?)," then with kind of annoyance at how overrated it is by some people and held up as the pinnacle of modern R&B. In a way, I put Instant Vintage by Raphael Saadiq, co-writer of "Untitled," on the top 100 list directly as a response to all that, but ultimately I do think that's a better album. But Voodoo is pretty great too, when I'm in the mood for it.

Paramore - Riot! (Fueled By Ramen, 2007)
The original top 100 had a good helping of crossover emo bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, but somehow this album, as much as I love it, got lost in the shuffle. The follow-up, brand new eyes, got a lot more love from johnny come lately critics, but this is clearly their breakthrough and is just front to back great, especially ending on a high note with "Born For This."

Lil Boosie - Superbad: The Return of Boosie Badazz (Trill Entertainment/Asylum Records, 2009)
When I finalized the top 100 last year, this album had only been out a few weeks, so I wasn't quite ready to include it, although I did put it on my top 10 at the end of '09. It's not easy to pick a single best release out of Boosie's thee official albums and a whole mess of mixtapes, which may be all we have for a while, perhaps forever, depending on how long his current jail sentence ends up being and whether he's convicted of the murder he was charged with. But more and more I feel like this album is just about the best full-length project he's done, although a couple of the mixtapes come close.

Fishboy - Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State With The Power Of Rock And Roll (Happy Happy Birthday To Me, 2007)
Fishboy is one of the many great unheralded little touring bands I stumbled across while covering local shows in Baltimore over the past few years -- one night these guys who drove all the way from Texas put on an amazing set for a handful of people in a cold basement in the old Charm City Art Space location, playing this weird awesome rock opera they'd just released, which I didn't get around to buying until a couple years later. The guy's voice is kind of Dead Milkmen-level squeaky, and the album doesn't rock nearly as hard as their live show did, but this is still a really charming and well assembled album -- the bizarre hard to follow narrative involving Texas and the ghost of Buddy Holly kind of keeps making me think about this great weird sci-fi novel I read as a teenager, Bradley Denton's Buddy Holly Is Alive And Well On Ganymede.

Sparklehorse - It's A Wonderful Life (Capitol/EMI Records, 2001)
One of my rules of thumb with the '00s list was that I'd try to cut out any records by people who'd made better albums in the '90s unless they were absolutely essential, which means that my 3rd favorite Sparklehorse album just didn't stand a chance. I felt a little guilty about that after Mark Linkous's death a few months later, because It's A Wonderful Life still is a pretty lovely album, even if its charms are a bit more mellow and sedate than the gnarled weirdness of the first 2 albums. "Comfort Me" might be my favorite Sparklehorse song of all time some days.

T-Pain - Epiphany (Konvict Muzik/Jive Records/Zomba Label Group, 2007)
For about a year or two after this album dropped, T-Pain just seemed to get more and more ubiquitous and influential and it really felt like he was becoming a driving creative force of R&B, and then the bottom just kinda dropped out. At some point his first couple albums may sound dated, but they're still pretty great and at the moment everyone's still jocking AutoTune, but he still did that shit the best.

Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual (We*Are*Free, 2008)
I had a lot of Baltimore bands on the original top 100, and I'm not sure why Ponytail didn't make the cut because this album really is just a delight, and Dustin Wong's recent solo album kinda reminded me how deliriously inventive that guy is as a guitarist. I'm not sure what the status of these guys as a band is now, but I really hope I get to see them live someday, still haven't.

Aimee Mann - Bachelor No. 2 or, The Last Remains of the Dodo (SuperEgo, 2000)
I don't have any qualms about listening to adult-contempo singer-songwriter music, but I always felt a little square about liking this album, perhaps because I got into it via the movie Magnolia and its soundtrack. But I gave this a listen recently and its held up really, really well, just a great set of songs with a nice slick production sheen, a distinctive voice and some smart, occasionally devastating lyrics. I should probably listen to Mann's other albums.

J Mascis & The Fog - More Light (Ultimatum/City Slang/Pony Canyon, 2000)
I kinda dug this album back out and reminisced about it recently when I was transcribing the Mike Watt interview I did when he was playing bass in J's band in support of this album. J's reunion with the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. later in the decade was awesome and inspiring in part just because it was great to see those guys bury the hatchet, and while the two albums they've made were very good, to be honest I actually prefer the albums J made by himself, as Dinosaur and then as The Fog. J's a brilliant drummer and it's just great to hear him playing almost every instrument (with backup vocals from Robert Pollard on a couple of the hookier songs), and this record just slams forward with anthem after anthem.

Fat Joe - Loyalty (Atlantic Records, 2002)
His recent The Darkside Vol 1 got props from some people that haven't given Joe a lot of credit for his album in the past, but Fat Joe has secretly always been a pretty solid albums artist with a great ear for beats and a penchant for lyrical introspection and real talk that gets glossed over in his crossover pop singles. And this is probably his best album, just a ton of great bangers, many of them from Cool & Dre before they blew up.
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