AOTY 2017
Pitchfork: The People's List - Top Albums 1996-2011

Pitchfork: The People's List - Top Albums 1996-2011

Original Source →

199. Drake - Take Care

Drake - Take Care
November 15, 2011
Critic Score
80
26 reviews

Drake's worked on his own technical abilities, too, and both his rapping and singing are better than ever here

198. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
February 3, 2009
Critic Score
76
17 reviews

Like plenty of other bands in the internet era, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem poised to attract an audience that will far outstrip that of their easily identifiable precedents-- in their case, groups like Rocketship or Shop Assi stants, each obscure these days even by Approved Indie Influence standards. A few other twee/noise-pop revivalists arguably pulled off that same trick last year, but Pains of Being Pure at Heart are likely to appeal to listeners beyond online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters.

197. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
April 8, 2008
Critic Score
80
14 reviews

In Ghost Colours earns its smiles with a combination of ingenuity and easiness that you don't often come by, and for that, even in April, it already feels like a triumph.

196. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
February 7, 2006
Critic Score
80
16 reviews

195. Santigold - Santigold

Santigold - Santigold
April 29, 2008
Critic Score
78
14 reviews

Santi White used to work in A&R, which gives her put-downs on debut single "Creator" a professional air: "Sit tight I know what you are/ Mad bright but you ain't no star." As Santogold, White is putting her knowledge of star quality into practical effect. At its best, her album's cross-genre confidence is dazzling, combining dub, new wave, and hip-hop to create some of the year's freshest pop. At its worst, it feels annoyingly overthought.

194. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
November 11, 2008
Critic Score
77
12 reviews

As I was finishing an interview with Gregg Gillis in July 2006, he casually mentioned his desire to see M. Night Shyamalan's just-released fantasy movie Lady in the Water. Given the film's wretched reviews-- a pitiful 24% on Rotten Tomatoes-- and the train-wreck hype surrounding it, I thought he was kidding. He wasn't; Gillis liked some of Shyamalan's other flicks, so he wanted to check this one out. Simple. And it's this omnivorous, pleasure-seeking attitude toward pop culture that defines his work as Girl Talk. (Luckily, his taste in music is superior to his taste in film.)

193. Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors

Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors
May 29, 2000
Critic Score
71
5 reviews

191. Spoon - Girls Can Tell

Spoon - Girls Can Tell
February 20, 2001
Critic Score
82
3 reviews
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190. Deerhunter - Cryptograms

Deerhunter - Cryptograms
January 29, 2007
Critic Score
77
10 reviews

189. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
October 9, 2000
Critic Score
87
6 reviews

The Canadian nontet's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is a massive, achingly beautiful work, alternately elegiac and ferocious.

187. My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
September 9, 2003
Critic Score
83
9 reviews

186. The Wrens - The Meadowlands

The Wrens - The Meadowlands
September 9, 2003
Critic Score
94
4 reviews

182. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
November 28, 2006
Critic Score
89
13 reviews

181. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
November 24, 2008
Critic Score
72
24 reviews
The album is much larger and brasher than it would first appear-- the closer it hews to a mix of sad-sack indie pop and elegant, monied Patrick Bateman commercial 80s sounds, the better it works.

179. The Rapture - Echoes

The Rapture - Echoes
October 21, 2003
Critic Score
76
7 reviews

178. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
March 8, 2011
Critic Score
79
21 reviews

This feels like a family of songs, one whose complexion and course changes as a whole with every spin.

177. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
May 18, 2010
Critic Score
86
25 reviews

Where many concept albums run a high risk of being pompous, cryptic, and self-important, Monáe keeps things playful, lively, and accessible.

176. Robyn - Body Talk

Robyn - Body Talk
November 22, 2010
Critic Score
83
17 reviews

With Body Talk, Robyn ups the ante for pop stars across the radio dial and raises her own chances of appearing on yours.

174. The Libertines - Up The Bracket

The Libertines - Up The Bracket
October 14, 2002
Critic Score
86
6 reviews
Like The Clash before them, The Libertines draw primarily from decades of rock tradition-- blues, dub, a healthy whiff of the English countryside, and a few gorgeous rock riffs straight from the brainstem of Chuck Berry-- and fuse them into an unruly and triumphant monster of an album.

173. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele

Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
January 25, 2000
Critic Score
88
6 reviews

172. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.

Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.
February 18, 2011
Critic Score
75
6 reviews

171. Boards of Canada - Geogaddi

Boards of Canada - Geogaddi
February 19, 2002
Critic Score
84
9 reviews

170. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
October 3, 2006
Critic Score
84
16 reviews

169. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
February 23, 2010
Critic Score
83
25 reviews

The best songs feel more like conversations rather than artworks to be hung on the wall and admired from several paces away. Newsom seems to sing from somewhere deep inside of them, and her earthy presence has a way of drawing you in, bringing you closer to her music than you've been before.

168. Tom Waits - Mule Variations

Tom Waits - Mule Variations
April 16, 1999
Critic Score
77
6 reviews

167. M.I.A. - Arular

M.I.A. - Arular
March 22, 2005
Critic Score
88
12 reviews

165. Mogwai - Young Team

Mogwai - Young Team
October 21, 1997
Critic Score
93
4 reviews

164. The Streets - Original Pirate Material

The Streets - Original Pirate Material
October 22, 2002
Critic Score
86
9 reviews

Given the fact that it does, eventually, manage to overcome the horrific-sounding concept of British hip-hop, it seems pretty reasonable to give it a recommendation. Bloody good show, I say.

163. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
October 9, 2007
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

162. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
June 8, 2010
Critic Score
79
20 reviews

Ariel Pink's best songs are surprising, and there's a real sense of musical delight on Before Today; the sections sound logical but never predictable, and there are wild bridges and short bits that emerge seemingly randomly but wind up taking the song somewhere unexpected.

161. D'Angelo - Voodoo

D'Angelo - Voodoo
January 25, 2000
Critic Score
92
5 reviews

Not all music needs to be built to last, but Voodoo was designed and willed and technically optimized to be a testament for the ages; it captures empty space and heartbreak as well as it does rim shots and joy. The grooves deepen.

160. Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump

Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
November 7, 2000
Critic Score
89
7 reviews

The Sophtware Slump manages to sound reasonably fresh, yields its share of unshakable melodies, and excels in production. This is quite possibly the last great entry in the atmospheric pop canon.

159. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Fever Ray - Fever Ray
January 12, 2009
Critic Score
83
18 reviews

That the Knife's 2006 breakthrough Silent Shout didn't set the dominoes on a series of similarly grotesque and unnatural sounding imitators is less an indictment on its impact than a comment on its inimitability. The current apex of ten years' collaboration between siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, it's one of a handful of albums from the past decade that one might argue sounded like nothing before it. In the three years since, the Dreijers have treaded lightly, touring and remixing in carefully managed bursts before quietly receding back into silence altogether.

157. Fugazi - The Argument

Fugazi - The Argument
October 16, 2001
Critic Score
86
6 reviews

156. Silver Jews - American Water

Silver Jews - American Water
October 20, 1998
Critic Score
84
7 reviews

In 1998, David Berman approached perfection. Absorbed in metaphor, ennui, and isolation, the loping music of American Water didn’t seem like it was trying to be art. It just was.

155. Wilco - Being There

Wilco - Being There
October 29, 1996
Critic Score
81
7 reviews

154. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
March 31, 2009
Critic Score
81
23 reviews

She refuses to be a locus of explanation or control, keeping her lyrics generally vague and frequently losing herself in bursts of incomprehensible excitement or fervor.

153. Beach House - Devotion

Beach House - Devotion
February 26, 2008
Critic Score
75
17 reviews

Baltimore is as musically diverse as anywhere else, but in 2008, indie rockers associate the city with colorful, energetic music, from the expatriated Animal Collective to Dan Deacon's Wham City crew. The music of Beach House, the Baltimore-based duo of multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally and vocalist/organist Victoria Legrand, is a shadow narrative running parallel to this trend: Their delicate, lovelorn pop comes in the form of deathly waltzes and dark pastoral dirge s on which Legrand sings about desire, loss, and dreams as if telling a ghost story, splitting the difference between lovely and creepy.

152. Beck - Midnite Vultures

Beck - Midnite Vultures
November 16, 1999
Critic Score
80
6 reviews

151. Spoon - Gimme Fiction

Spoon - Gimme Fiction
May 10, 2005
Critic Score
82
9 reviews
Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/peopleslist/
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