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

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

Original Source →

200.

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
October 9, 2007
Critic Score
82
14 reviews
Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman returns for his genre-conquering second album, encompassing baroque pop, Northern soul, and Swedish beach-party disco. Like the Avalanches if they sang their own tunes, Lekman constructs lush, romantic worlds from vinyl-crackling LP samples, while his wry, melancholic lyrics-- his sharpest and most endearing yet-- prove him the true successor to indie's ultimate lovesick cynics, Jonathan Richman and Stephin Merritt.

199.

Drake - Take Care
November 15, 2011
Critic Score
77
31 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
February 3, 2009
Critic Score
76
22 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
April 8, 2008
Critic Score
78
17 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 and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
February 7, 2006
Critic Score
80
23 reviews
Spanning glam, soul, country, and '70s AM rock, the latest from the indie pop group is a deceptively wry, wickedly tuneful testament to the fragile beauty of faith, in deities as well as in pop.

195.

Santogold - Santogold
April 29, 2008
Critic Score
78
17 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
November 11, 2008
Critic Score
76
13 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
May 29, 2000
Critic Score
76
6 reviews
Unfortunately, the album is also contrived and makes too blatant an effort to convince the listener of Oberst's tragic wisdom. It's a record that can be enjoyable in select places and definitely shows signs of potential, yet falls victim to mediocrity when held against the work of truly developed musicians.

192.

M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
April 14, 2003
Critic Score
78
10 reviews
An album like this extends far beyond your speakers, guiding you through an impossibly rich, detailed world of sound while also giving you room to explore it yourself; you don't listen to Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, you inhabit it.

191.

Spoon - Girls Can Tell
February 20, 2001
Critic Score
81
7 reviews
But they'll never sound like just another rock band; some of their peculiarities are so engrained in their sound that they stick out even more here: the deceptively simple-sounding drum patterns, the combinations of succinct riffs that somehow miraculously fit together just so, and of course, Britt Daniel's voice, which if were up to me would be ranked as one of the classic voices in rock.

190.

Deerhunter - Cryptograms
January 29, 2007
Critic Score
76
10 reviews
This Atlanta five-piece's shimmering Kranky debut is alternately murky and ethereal, drawing equal influence from classic shoegaze, early Factory Records LPs, and the enigmatic ambient recordings with which it shares a label, shifting between impressionistic, reverb-saturated reverie and psych-heavy pop gems.

189.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
October 9, 2000
Critic Score
88
11 reviews

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

188.

The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
November 21, 2000
Critic Score
83
8 reviews
Make no mistake, The New Pornographers are a brazen bunch. Their pop is saccharine, and at times, even smarmy. It's over-the-top, but not quite beautifully absurd.

187.

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
September 9, 2003
Critic Score
80
12 reviews

186.

The Wrens - The Meadowlands
September 9, 2003
Critic Score
85
9 reviews
Bursting immediately at its seams with the serrated dual guitar blast of "Yellow Number Three" and "Built in Girls"' steam-engine roar, Secaucus welcomes with a warm immediacy rare in even the most revered pop treasures, and a density whose every layer hides another secret synth melody, jagged hook or vocal harmony. The depth of realization in this record is unparalleled: every angle is perfected.

185.

Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup
April 9, 1996
Critic Score
88
3 reviews

183.

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
July 6, 2010
Critic Score
82
32 reviews
After years of label drama and leaked tracks that hinted at something great, the OutKast MC exceeds high expectations on his proper solo debut.

182.

Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
November 28, 2006
Critic Score
87
19 reviews
Lyrically, the album is spare and incisive-- wordplay abounds but the punches are quick and devastating-- and musically, Malice and Pusha T have arguably snatched the best dozen Neptunes tracks in years.

181.

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
November 24, 2008
Critic Score
75
31 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.

180.

Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
February 8, 2005
Critic Score
80
12 reviews
Andrew Bird's latest retains his sense of songcraft but eschews straightforward storytelling, opting instead for wordplay and imagery.

179.

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

Bands like The Rapture have sent their message: The rock show was not meant to be a collegiate study. We have all stopped caring what snotty academics find acceptable, because now there is real, true, palpable fun, and it is the greatest liberation.

178.

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
March 8, 2011
Critic Score
78
24 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
May 18, 2010
Critic Score
86
32 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
November 22, 2010
Critic Score
83
20 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
October 14, 2002
Critic Score
84
7 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
February 8, 2000
Critic Score
83
8 reviews

An unrivaled classic, Supreme Clientele marked a seismic rupture with rap tradition. It’s Tony Starks, invulnerable and silvery, casting stream-of-consciousness hexes from a general who survived hell.

172.

Frank Ocean - nostalgia,ULTRA.
February 16, 2011
Critic Score
74
6 reviews

171.

Boards of Canada - Geogaddi
February 19, 2002
Critic Score
85
11 reviews
While the band continues to traffic in childhood and nostalgia, the atmosphere on this album is a shade darker than on previous releases, and comparatively tense with a noticeable thread of paranoia.

170.

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
October 3, 2006
Critic Score
79
21 reviews

169.

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
February 23, 2010
Critic Score
86
33 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
April 16, 1999
Critic Score
79
9 reviews

167.

M.I.A. - Arular
March 22, 2005
Critic Score
86
20 reviews

The closest thing to a truism about Arular is that it's a taut, invigorating distillation of the world's most thrilling music; a celebration of contradictions and aural globalization that recasts the tag "world music" as the ultimate in communicative pop rather than a symbol of condescending piety.

166.

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
February 26, 2002
Critic Score
80
14 reviews
Dense, beautiful, intricate, haunting, explosive, and dangerous, this is everything rock music aspires to be: intense, incredible songs arranged perfectly and performed with skill and passion. Source Tags and Codes will take you in, rip you to shreds, piece you together, lick your wounds clean, and send you back into the world with a concurrent sense of loss and hope. And you will never, ever be the same.

165.

Mogwai - Young Team
October 21, 1997
Critic Score
92
4 reviews

164.

The Streets - Original Pirate Material
October 22, 2002
Critic Score
90
10 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
October 9, 2007
Critic Score
76
17 reviews

162.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
June 8, 2010
Critic Score
79
25 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
January 25, 2000
Critic Score
84
5 reviews

160.

Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
November 7, 2000
Critic Score
86
8 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
January 12, 2009
Critic Score
84
22 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.

158.

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
August 23, 2005
Critic Score
82
19 reviews
The Canadian power-pop supergroup's latest full-length is its most consistent, confident, and best album to date.

157.

Fugazi - The Argument
October 16, 2001
Critic Score
85
9 reviews
For the first time ever, you can hum at least part of the melody to every song on the record. As catchy as they sometimes were, you have to admit that whistling "Bed for the Scraping" or "Sieve-Fisted Find" was never really a prospect.

156.

Silver Jews - American Water
October 20, 1998
Critic Score
81
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
October 29, 1996
Critic Score
86
7 reviews

154.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
March 31, 2009
Critic Score
80
30 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
February 26, 2008
Critic Score
74
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
November 16, 1999
Critic Score
82
8 reviews

151.

Spoon - Gimme Fiction
May 10, 2005
Critic Score
83
15 reviews
Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/peopleslist/
Comments
Sign in to comment
No one has said anything yet.
Connect with AOTY
Like Us
Follow Us

AOTY October Playlist
AOTY Discord