A little break from our regular programming and part of my "Best of the Aughts" series (I thought it foolish to make such lists at the end of 2009 without a little bit of time and distance to let various dust settle). I realized that I rarely talk about music on this blog. The reason being that my taste in music is incredibly unpretentious. For me, these are without question the 25 albums that defined the 2000s for me.
25. Common - "Be" (2005)
So, let me say something first...I don't buy into the myth of Common. I don't fancy his music some sort of intellectual experience as some do. I've said it before and I'll say it again: being light-skinned with facial hair and a hat does not make one intellectual. Not to say that I don't have a great amount of respect for Common as an artist, but don't get it twisted...where was I going with this? It sounds like I don't like him at all. I loved his 2005 release "Be." It goes down incredibly smooth and relaxes you. If only Common's movies were as good as his music...
Best Track: "Be (Intro)" Not one bit ruined by its inclusion in the horrendous It's Kind of a Funny Story.
24. Amos Lee - "Amos Lee" (2005)
One of those artists who seems to perpetually be languishing in that "ones to watch" realm, even though he's been making music for a very long time. What a soulful, arresting debut this album was, reminiscent of the best of Otis Redding, Bobby Caldwell, with a twinge of something personal and unique rolled in. His subsequent releases (particularly "Supply and Demand") definitely offer something to recommend, but this is his best by a wide margin and one of the best of the decade.
Best Track: "Arms of a Woman"
23. Missy Elliott - "Miss E...So Addictive" (2001)
Deciding exactly which Missy Elliott album from the 2000s to include on this list was tough. I'm not a huge fan of "This is Not a Test!" and even less so of "The Cookbook," but it was a pretty tight race between this one and "Under Construction." Ultimately, I feel that "Miss E...So Addictive" is her magnum opus and is (as the title suggests) quite addictive and infectious. Make no mistake. A great lyricist, Missy Elliott is not. Her songs are rarely about anything at all. But for a great producer and assembler of producers, you can't do much better that Missy.
Best: Track: "For My People"
22. Lady Gaga - "The Fame Monster" (2009)
I've already expressed my feelings about Lady Gaga on this very blog. For the record, I don't buy into the Lady Gaga myth (the artifice, the interview comments, etc.) But I'm all about honesty and honestly...I loved this album. Lady Gaga seems to get pop music more than any other artist out there. Her music is incredibly infectious and not cerebral, which is everything that pop music should be. Love her or hate her (I fall somewhere in the middle), you can't discuss music of the 2000s and ignore her impact.
Best Track: "Telephone" featuring Beyonce' (I know a lot of people would say "Bad Romance," but I like what I like. Deal with it).
21. Kanye West - "College Dropout" (2004)
This is Kanye's first appearance on this list, but it will not be his last. An album that took nearly four years to make, it was well worth the wait. Kanye West remains the most interesting thing in hip-hop to emerge from the 2000s. This album resonated greatly with me as I was just entering university when it was released. I know he's hated by many (hallmark of a great artist, by the way). Even I think he's kind of a douche...okay, a complete douche, but this was one of the most audacious, well-produced debuts I've seen from a musician.
Best Track: Gah...how to even choose? If pressed, "School Spirit"
Continued in the next post with 20-16...