Best Albums of the Decade: A Roundup of Critic Lists

  • Comments: ↓ 16 user comments
  • Publish Date: December 15, 2009

The decade ends in a list of lists

Earlier Tuesday, we released our top albums and artists of the decade, based on review data compiled at Metacritic over the past ten years. Now, it's time to check in with other publications to see which albums they have selected to represent the best of the decade.

Before we look at the individual lists, let's see which albums turned up most often.

Albums with Most Mentions in Top 10 Lists
  Album # 1's Top Ten Lists Metascore
1 Kid A by Radiohead 5 19 80
2 Funeral by Arcade Fire 2 19 90
3 Is This It? by The Strokes 3 12 90
4 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 0 11 87
5 The Blueprint by Jay-Z 0 9 88
6 Elephant by The White Stripes 1 6 92
7 Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 2 5 73
8 In Rainbows by Radiohead 1 5 88
9 Stankonia by OutKast 0 5 95
10 The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse 0 5 82
Other albums receiving at least one #1 ranking:
  The College Dropout by Kanye West 1 4 88
  White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 2 3 86
  Love and Theft by Bob Dylan 1 3 93
  Illinois by Sufjan Stevens 1 3 90
  American Idiot by Green Day 1 2 79
  Original Pirate Material by The Streets 1 2 90

#1's indicates the number of times the album appears in the top position in the top ten lists displayed on this page. Top Ten Lists indicates how many times the album appears on the lists in any position. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good).

Now, let's look at some individual lists from major American, Canadian and UK music publications and websites. Click on the name of any publication to view that publication's full list.

Top 10 Albums of the Decade (2000-09), Selected Music Publications
Publication Top Album / Top 10 Albums Metascore
Consequence of Sound 1. Is This It? by The Strokes 90
  2. Funeral by Arcade Fire 3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 4. Kid A by Radiohead 5. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 6. Boxer by The national 7. White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 8. Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs 9. Sea Change by Beck 10. Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs MORE...
eMusic 1. Is This It? by The Strokes 90
  2. Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady 3. The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats 4. Arular by M.I.A. 5. Untrue by Burial 6. Supreme Clientele by Ghostface Killah 7. Person Pitch by Panda Bear 8. Girls Can Tell by Spoon 9. Turn On the Bright Lights by Interpol 10. Funeral by Arcade Fire MORE...
Entertainment Weekly 1.The College Dropout by Kanye West 88
  2. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 3. Kid A by Radiohead 4. Stankonia by OutKast 5. Love and Theft by Bob Dylan 6. Home by Dixie Chicks 7. Funeral by Arcade Fire 8. I Am…Sasha Fierce by Beyonce 9. FutureSex/LoveSounds by Justin Timberlake 10. You Are Free by Cat Power MORE...
Gigwise 1. In Rainbows by Radiohead 88
  2. Is This It? by The Strokes 3. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 4. Kid A by Radiohead 5. Relationship of Command by At the Drive-In 6. XTRMNTR by Primal Scream 7. Silent Shout by The Knife 8. Funeral by Arcade Fire 9. Untrue by Burial 10. Kala by M.I.A. MORE...
Glide 1. Love and Theft by Bob Dylan 93
  2. Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady 3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 4. Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs 5. The Black Album by Jay-Z 6. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips 7. Z by My Morning Jacket 8. Kid A by Radiohead 9. In Rainbows by Radiohead 10. The Grey Album by Danger Mouse MORE...
The Guardian 1. Original Pirate Material by The Streets 90
  2. Kid A by Radiohead 3. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys 4. Is This It? by The Strokes 5. Funeral by Arcade Fire 6. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 7. Elephant by The White Stripes 8. The Black Album by Jay-Z 9. Moffou by Salif Keita 10. Untrue by Burial MORE...
Lost At Sea 1. Funeral by Arcade Fire 90
  2. Kid A by Radiohead 3. The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse 4. You Forgot It in People by Broken Social Scene 5. The Glow, Pt. 2 by Microphones, The 6. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem 7. The Woods by Sleater-Kinney 8. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 9. Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins 10. Illinois by Sufjan Stevens MORE...
Metromix 1. Elephant by The White Stripes 92
  2. Kid A by Radiohead 3. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast 4. Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem 5. One Beat by Sleater-Kinney 6. Arular by M.I.A. 7. Late Registration by Kanye West 8. Feed the Animals by Girl Talk 9 (tie). Kill the Moonlight by Spoon 9 (tie). Gimme Fiction by Spoon MORE...
NME 1. Is This It? by The Strokes 90
  2. Up the Bracket by The Libertines 3. XTRMNTR by Primal Scream 4. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys 5. Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs 6. Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey 7. Funeral by Arcade Fire 8. Turn On the Bright Lights by Interpol 9. Original Pirate Material by The Streets 10. In Rainbows by Radiohead MORE...
Now Magazine 1. Kid A by Radiohead 80
  2. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 3. Is This It? by The Strokes 4. Funeral by Arcade Fire 5. Arular by M.I.A. 6. You Forgot It in People by Broken Social Scene 7. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 8. Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem 9. Miss E…So Addictive by Missy Elliott 10. I Am a Bird Now by Antony and The Johnsons MORE...
The Onion AV Club 1. White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 86
  2. The College Dropout by Kanye West 3 Kid A by Radiohead 4.Stankonia by OutKast 5. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 6. Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady 7.The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse 8. Funeral by Arcade Fire 9.The Blueprint by Jay-Z 10. Alligator by The National MORE...
Paste Magazine 1. Illinois by Sufjan Stevens 90
  2. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 3. Funeral by Arcade Fire 4. Kid A by Radiohead 5. I'm Wide Awake It's Morning by Bright Eyes 6. Elephant by The White Stripes 7. Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch 8. Stankonia by OutKast 9. I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers 10. Arular by M.I.A. MORE...
Pitchfork 1. Kid A by Radiohead 80
  2. Funeral by Arcade Fire 3 Discovery by Daft Punk 4. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 5. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 6. The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse 7. Is This It? by The Strokes 8. Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Ros 9. Person Pitch by Panda Bear 10. Since I Left You by The Avalanches MORE...
Popdose 1. American Idiot by Green Day 79
  2. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 3. Raising Sand by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss 4. Sea Change by Beck 5. Kid A by Radiohead 6. Funeral by Arcade Fire 7. The Rising by Bruce Springsteen 8. In Rainbows by Radiohead 9. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips 10. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem MORE...
Q Magazine 1. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 81
  2. Is This It? by The Strokes 3. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys 4. Elephant by The White Stripes 5. Viva La Vida by Coldplay 6. Funeral by Arcade Fire 7. American Idiot by Green Day 8. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 9. Kid A by Radiohead 10. American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash
Rhapsody 1. Kid A by Radiohead 80
  2. Funeral by Arcade Fire 3 Is This It? by The Strokes 4. The Moon & Antarctica by Modest Mouse 5. Kill the Moonlight by Spoon 6. The Greatest by Cat Power 7. Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective 8. For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver 9. You Forgot It in People by Broken Social Scene 10. Show Your Bones by Yeah Yeah Yeahs MORE...
Rolling Stone 1. Kid A by Radiohead 80
  2. Is This It? by The Strokes 3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 4. The Blueprint by Jay-Z 5. Elephant by The White Stripes 6. Funeral by Arcade Fire 7. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem 8. Modern Times by Bob Dylan 9. Kala by M.I.A. 10. The College Dropout by West, Kanye MORE...
Spinner 1. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 81
  2. The College Dropout by Kanye West 3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 4. Discovery by Daft Punk 5. Funeral by Arcade Fire 6. The Con by Tegan and Sara 7. Kid A by Radiohead 8. Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey 9. Magic by Bruce Springsteen 10. Stankonia by OutKast MORE...
Times Online [UK] 1. Kid A by Radiohead 80
  2. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse 3. In Rainbows by Radiohead 4. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast 5. Blackout by Britney Spears 6. Is This It? by The Strokes 7. Coles Corner by Richard Hawley 8. Elephant by The White Stripes 9. Raising Sand by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss 10. The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow MORE...
Uncut 1. White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 86
  2. Love and Theft by Bob Dylan 3. A Ghost Is Born by Wilco 4.SMiLE by Brian Wilson 5. Is This It? by The Strokes 6. Raising Sand by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss 7. Funeral by Arcade Fire 8. Modern Times by Bob Dylan 9. Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams 10. Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes MORE...
Under the Radar 1. Funeral by Arcade Fire 90
  2. Kid A by Radiohead 3. Turn On the Bright Lights by Interpol 4. Let's Get Out Of This Country by Camera Obscura 5. Illinois by Stevens, Sufjan 6. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear 7. Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes 8. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco 9. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips 10. You Forgot It in People by Broken Social Scene

For more information

Billboard has comprehensive decade-end coverage, where you can check out the top-selling artists of the decade, among other things. And for an even more comprehensive collection of decade-end lists than what you see above, try Acclaimed Music.

 

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Comments (16)

  • Troels S  

    Totally agree with Kid A topping the list. One of the greatest albums I've heard! It's just fantastic. Funeral by Arcade Fire is also worthy of the 2nd place.

  • Rurp  

    Paul, you've not only missed the point of this list, you've missed the point of musical taste in general, i.e. that it's subjective. Every critic/publication listed what were, and this is the key part, /in their opinion/ the top ten albums of the decade. The publications that didn't list, as you put it, more commercial albums obviously didn't consider them to be among the best ten of the decade qualitatively. It's as simple as that. All you're doing is bashing these critics because their (entirely subjective) taste, unsurprisingly, differs from yours.

  • Gloone  

    The first 2 albums at least I agree with, though maybe I'd have switched them round. Kid A was like nothing else before, and incredibly beautiful, though it took a lot of getting used to. Arcade Fire was patently incredible, I know of very few albums where every single song is brilliant in itself.

    I'll have to check out my gaps in that list some time.

  • joe  

    I think Paul has a little too much free time to be writing such lengthy rants. If this is wrong then what is the best of the decade?

  • Paul  

    Teh Boss, what don't I understand? That Metacritic panders to a few and buries the truth in the fine print? It's true, I missed in the Best Albums and Artists of the Decade description where they said they mainly focus on Indie and Alternative and only have about 700 out of the year's 20,000 albums in their database. What a representative sampling! The point is that they weren't honest and didn't call the lists what they are. The "Best Indie and Alternative" lists. Why not? Are they ashamed to say that? If they had done that - and dropped the facade that the only reason they even index the major publications is to make them look more inclusive and, supposedly, more legitimate - they wouldn't have received nearly as much criticism as they did. Again, why try to pull the wool over people's eyes? There's plenty of mainstream sources they could have accessed if they REALLY wanted to do a comprehensive survey. The truth is that they slapped something together that they knew would appeal to their marketing target and put a phony title on it, pretending it was comprehensive.

    As I said, in that other article, it's really surprising how lazy and deceptive they are on music, when they produced a best and worst movie list of the decade that was impressively exhaustive and thorough. Maybe they need to put the same emphasis on hiring music editors as they do movie editors.

    As to my importance, Teh Peon, I'm sure when you wrote that you called up the stairs from your basement apartment to tell Mom how you really burned some guy on line. Then your Dad called down, "You're 30 years old, when are you going to get a job and move out?", and Mom called down, "and a girlfriend?", and you whined "Parents" and went back to your video games. I don't want to get into a flame war, but you should be prepared to take shots if you're going to give them, instead of engaging in intelligent debate.

    But, I guess, one of us really understands what's going on and one of us doesn't. (BTW, I've done a little work in the media and have seen this all before.)

  • Teh Boss  

    Paul, I don't think you understand just what it is Metacritic does. Also, I don't think you understand how extremely unimportant you are.

  • Paul  

    This breakdown just illustrates my criticism over in the "top albums and artists of the decade" section. Metacritic isn't trying to cover the whole range of music. It's just trying to appeal to a particular fad. In this case, the indie/alternative crowd, which is just a subset of the music scene, no matter how many time critics bleat it's "the music of the future". Look at the sources. Many of these critical lists are from incredibly narrow sources. (And thanks Han for the embarrassing revelation that Metacritic may have ignored Rhapsody's main list and posted the Alternative list instead.) For example, many of these lists remind me of the pre Michael Jackson days of MTV, where RWB was a crime. RWB? Recording While Black. Compare those clique lists to the lists from main stream sources, like EW and Rolling Stone. Heck, EW even gave props to the Dixie Chicks. You couldn't get some of these "pander to little, unpopular, white, pimply faced punks who think they're artistic and 'special' " sources to do that if you pointed a gun to their heads. (I mean, jeez, the UK Times even sited Britney Spears!?! Ridiculous, but it at least takes some courage.)

    In other words, for these other fraudulent "sources", there can not possibly be any ground breaking or extremely satisfying happenings in music unless it's part of the hallowed "alternative" music scene, instead of the EVILLLLLL commercial music industry. (Not to mention the apparent impossibly of any worthwhile albums in, say, jazz or classical.) What a howl! As if everybody in the huge "Indie/Alternative" industry did it all for free. ROTFL! Yeah, right! It's all "monopoly money". And all of them live in lofts in NYC and not mansions in LA. LOL!

    The sad truth is that real mavericks are rare. Kids who say they're rejecting the mainstream and being "unique" are often just joining a smaller clique to get back at the larger clique who rejected them. They're still sheep. It's just a smaller flock. It's a shame Metacritic doesn't have the courage to buck this crowd, and instead panders to it. Sheep!

    Like I said in your best music of the decade "list", when you decide to do a REAL list, please let us know.

  • bitalicious  

    Meh...

  • Jayrad  

    Arcade Fire - Funeral is the Greatest album of all time. and Radiohead deserved that spot SOOOOO much.

  • Michael  

    I wish you'd organise your Critics List for 2009 the same way you've done this one. Here, you've included them in order of appearance on lists, not by the number of firsts. On the 2009 list, one-off mentions for U2 and others have bumped Bitte Orca and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs entirely off the accumulative total list, despite both being chosen by nine critics in their top ten!

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