My Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

Thanks Gabe, for the inspiration to review my music choices over the past decade, to give some perspective on what’s to come in future years.  As a disclaimer, very few of these would I suggest as the BEST albums of the 2000s- my limited experience certainly does not qualify me to be any sort of competent music critic.  These are simply the words, rhythms, and tunes that have become inexorably tied to the last 10 years of my life, and if you haven’t checked them out, they’re worth your time to investigate.

1.Nickel Creek
     Nickel Creek (2000)

With little fanfare and only one radio release, Nickel Creek’s first album contains all aspects of the musical genius, technical excellence, and fun-loving creativity that defined the band throughout the 2000s.

2. Linkin Park
     Hybrid Theory (2000)

Linkin Park became a household name with this release, and rightly so. Dark and introspective melodies fused Chester Bennington’s powerful voice with the unmistakable flow of Mike Shinoda. The result was the birth of NuMetal, a genre that has been widely explored by other bands ever since.
 
3. PFR
     Disappear (2001)

In 2001, the members of PFR came together for one last album before disbanding again to the dismay of loyal (and hopeful) fans everywhere.  Disappear features a more mature sound and sometimes Pink Floyd-ish guitar work that departs from PFR’s more traditional music but still lets the band’s unique vocals shine on a different backdrop.
4. Evanescence
     Fallen (2003)

Lyrical heartbreak, abundant contrast and the angelic voice of Amy Lee form the backbone of Evanescence, one of few recent bands to hit it big off of a movie soundtrack.

5. Fiction Family
     Fiction Family (2009)

The most fun album of the 2000s.  Jon Forman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek come together to create an acoustic dream accented by a beautiful and complex guitar work that results in a surprisingly blue-collar sound.
    
6. The Killers
     Sam’s Town (2006)

It was refreshing to see the Killers come off of the success of Hot Fuzz with a taste for more creativity and a throwback style, rather than pandering to the lovestruck top 40 crowd.

7. Falling Up
     Dawn Escapes (2005)

The only band to make my top 10 list twice will require some introduction to many. Falling Up started on the Christian alternative charts with their first successful album, Crashings. Comparable to other Christian alt bands of the time (Hawk Nelson, Stellar Cart, etc.) they had good sound but little distinction.  I expected little more from Dawn Escapes, and was blown away by the change in their style. They embraced an intelligent but abstract approach, and the individual tracks flowed seamlessly throughout the playlist.  The depth of their vocal harmony and exchange of heavy guitar rhythm for piano and some synth sound produced a unique and captivating musical experience bested only by their following album…

8. Hawthorne Heights
     If Only You Were Lonely (2006)

Hawthorne Heights unofficially pioneered the 2000s lunge toward what has been derogatorily termed “screamo”, but their second album focuses more on harmony both in guitar and vocals. Some of the best listening for a rainy day at home.

9. Silversun Pickups
     Carnavas (2006)

While the vocals are a love ’em/ hate ’em for most people, Carnavas nonetheless shows off their excellent bass work and a sound that is difficult to categorize but still fulfilling in it’s simplicity.

10. Falling Up
     Captiva (2008)

Captiva completed Falling Up’s masterful transition from a CCM speedbump  to an artistic wellspring.  The dreamscape that trimmed the edges of Dawn Escapes came into full focus with Captiva‘s thematic mastery.  Designed as a musical escape from the ordinary, each track carries a blend of intense harmony and otherworldly lyrics, splashed on to a canvas of nearly new-age synth work with just the right touch of modern guitar mixed in.  Captiva presents a sound that teeters between beautiful and haunting, incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced in modern music.

Honorable Mention:

Anberlin – Blueprints for the Black Market  (2003)
Armor for Sleep – Smile for Them (2007)
Michelle Branch – Hotel Paper (2003)
Paramore – Riot (2007)
Plain White Tees – Every Second Counts (2006)