Bomb 2000s Albums

This article was hard for me, because these are the albums that I grew up listening to. They basically defined my childhood, even though some of them probably weren’t appropriate for my 7-year-old self to be singing, it’s hard to deny that these albums were anything less than major BOPS. 

In the 2000s many insisted that the album was dead, a victim of the MP3, the iPod and free music downloading. But to be honest, that never happened. If anything, artists doubled down on the format, resulting in songwriters both old and new releasing amazing albums. The 2000s holds the work of rock revivalists (the Strokes, the White Stripes), hip-hop icons (Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West) and old classics like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and U2, who used this decade to reinvent their sound without losing touch with what made them living legends. This decade showed us that the album still matters and continues on, but also proves that some groundbreaking albums came out between 2000 and 2009.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Stadium Arcadium’

By 2006, the Chili Peppers critics had begun to call them "mature" – a dreaded term that has signaled the death of many great rock bands. But they fired back with their ninth album. Stadium Arcadium included over 26 songs and two CDs, this album offered up everything the band does best: cutting L.A. stories ("Dani California"), ballads about love and renewal ("Snow") and a classic Chili Peppers party anthem whose title, "Hump de Bump," says it all.

Kanye West, ‘808s and Heartbreak’

In 2008, pop went bonkers for Auto-Tune, and on his fourth album, Kanye West jumped on this bandwagon. He turned his rapping into (kinda sorta) sing the blues. (West's mother had recently died and he had just split with his fiancée.) The results were occasionally awkward, and always self-pitying. ("How could you be so heartless?" he sobbed.) But no one before or since has worked Auto-Tune the same; West sings in the voice of a man so dazed by grief that he's become not quite human. 

The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’

Hot Fuss was a masterpiece; Irresistible grooves and lyrics about dancing, jealousy and gender-bending, blasted out by Brandon Flowers in the world's greatest bad British accent. Hot Fuss was the Killers at their best, singing about boyfriends who look like girlfriends, and completely revamping dance rock.

OutKast, ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’

This album had a pretty crazy concept behind it. For their fifth record, both members of OutKast would record his own LP, little did they know this is exactly what 2000s hip-hop needed. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx allowed OutKast to explore crunk. But, The Love Below, where André 3000 tried to be Prince, Beck and George Clinton all at once, was by far the craziest side we had ever seen of OutKast. The smash hits "Hey Ya!" and "Roses," will forever be go to party songs, no matter the crowd.

Lil Wayne, ‘Tha Carter III’

Between 2006 and 2008, Lil Wayne’s amazing rasp and features on other artist’s songs earned him the “Best Rapper Alive” tag. When it came time to release a proper album, people didn’t know exactly what to expect. To our surprise, he made a pop-rap masterpiece, complete with fizzy Auto-Tune. He compared himself to Biggie Smalls and to E.T., and for some reason that just made sense to people and they went with it. "I am so far from the others," he rapped. "I can eat them for supper/Get in my spaceship and hover."

Green Day, ‘American Idiot’

The 90s most irrepressible punk band came back with a bang. They made one of the era's most notable albums, raging against political carelessness of mid-decade America. From the nine-minute epic "Jesus of Suburbia" to the punk mashup "Extraordinary Girl/Letterbomb," they zeroed in on the rock audience's political outcasts and misfits as Billie Joe Armstrong snarled, "Welcome to a new kind of tension/All across the alien nation."

MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’

Two hipster geeks from Wesleyan plugged in their vintage keyboards, and composed an album of damn-near-perfect synthesized heartache. The songs on Oracular Spectacular get even better if you listen closely to the lyrics — but you don't have to figure out a single word of "Kids" to feel the extremely sad kick of that massive nine-note keyboard hook. The whole album oddly sounds like it belongs with the Seventies psychedelic hits or with Eighties New Wave cool — but at the same time the 2000s needed MGMT more than ever, and they are exactly where they belong.