Along with pretty much everyone else, I've decided to make a list of my favourite albums of the decade. I can't claim that such a subjective list represents the "best" of anything but these are my favourites. I'm going to break the list into four parts, not because I expect you to await my top choices with breathless excitement but because I think a list of 100 albums is a lot to wade through at once. While you may not agree with my choices, I hope you'll be reminded of some good albums that you'd forgotten and tempted to try some that you haven't heard. The links go to Spotify for those albums that are available.
76. Daara J, Boomerang (2003)
Filled with catchy songs, this Senegalese trio's third album isn't a great African hip hop album, it's just a great hip hop album.
77. Max Richter, The Blue Notebooks (2004)
Minimalist classical music with hints of electronica interspersed with readings from Kafka by actress Tilda Swinton. About fifty times less pretentious than it sounds.
78. M Ward, Post-War (2006)
Matthew Ward released several excellent albums over the past decade but this is the only one I've picked. It's a folky singer-songwriter album that's easy to listen to but which rewards repeat listens.
79. Broadcast, The Noise Made By People (2000)
Released right at the beginning of the decade, this still sounds timeless. A Warp records classic.
80. Christian Prommer's Drumlesson, Drumlesson Vol.1 (2007)
Christian Prommer gathers a bunch of jazz musicians together and has them recreate a series of electronica classics. The results are excellent.
81. Bonobo, Dial 'M' for Monkey (2003)
Simon Green's second album as Bonobo is an improvement over its predecessor. This is electronica that draws from a wide range of influences.
82. King of Woolworths, Ming Star (2001)
Sinister electonica from Jon Brooks. I'm probably the only person who would pick this as a favourite, sadly. It's well worth seeking out.
83. Roisin Murphy, Ruby Blue (2005)
Both Murphy and her producer here, Matthew Herbert, will figure higher up my list. This album nicely combines Murphy's work with Moloko with Herbert's production quirks.
84. Cody ChesnuTT, The Headphone Masterpiece (2002)
At 36 tracks, this sprawling double-album is way too patchy to truly be a masterpiece but it's noteworthy for its sheer range. ChesnuTT takes on rock, soul, R'n'B and hip hop, all recorded in halting lo-fi. It's a shame that he still hasn't followed it up.
85. The Advisory Circle, Other Channels (2008)
This is Jon Brooks, alias King of Woolworths, again. This time he turns public information films into fascinating and disturbing electronic tracks.
86. Rufus Wainwright, Want One (2003)
I think Wainwright's sequel, Want Two, got better reviews but I preferred this. It's pop music that sweeps from bombastic to sensitive and back again - often within one song.
87. Primal Scream, Xtrmntr (2000)
This is probably Primal Scream's best record. It merges their various influences - rock, reggae, electronica - into a dirty mess. Bobby Gillespie lets it down though, not least with what must be the worst rapping in history on Pills.
88. Autechre, Untilted (2005)
I was tempted to pick 2008's Quaristice but this one just edged it. It's the usual chilly electronica that Autechre do so well.
89. The Magic Numbers, The Magic Numbers (2005)
It's fair to say that this album is a little twee and somewhat backward looking but it contains a string of great songs, performed with real passion and charm.
90. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2008)
Warren Ellis makes a great foil for Cave in the absence of Blixa Bargeld. The pair turn in a storming, passionate album here. We Call Upon The Author is the highlight.
91. Fridge, Happiness (2001)
This is a little sporadic but I'm including it for the ambition and the quality of the best tracks. It's a series of post-rock/electronic experiments from Kieren Hebden and friends.
92. The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers (2006)
At the time this was one of my favourite albums of the year but I've cooled on it somewhat. It's Jack White treading water a little between White Stripes records but even treading water, Jack White is still pretty good.
93. Ellen Allien and Apparat, Orchestra of Bubbles (2006)
Two German electronica producers come together to produce one very good album.
94. Okkervil River - The Stage Names (2007)
The lyrics can be a little pretentious and the music often has the Springsteen obsession that everyone seemed to have after The Arcade Fire but there are still some very strong songs on here, particularly the suicide note, John Allyn Smith Sails.
95. Arnold - Bahama (2001)
Beautiful, dreamy Beach Boys-esque pop, with occasional blasts of noise. I've no idea why Arnold were so overlooked in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This is worth a listen if you can find it.
96. Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYoYo (2006)
Alternative hip hop/electro from this Philly rapper.
97. Hawksley Workman - (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001)
I've lost track of Hawksley Workman recently. I think Rufus Wainwright may have made him redundant. This is his best album though.
98. Skyphone - Avellenada (2008)
Soothing, jazzy electronica from Denmark.
99. Balkan Beat Box - Balkan Beat Box (2005)
Blending Israeli, Balkan, Mediterranean and US music together, Balkan Beat Box make electronica and are one of the few bands for whom the description 'world music' is accurate, rather than patronising.
100. Jump To Addis - Ethiopiques, Vol. 15 (2003)
Begun in 1998, the Ethiopiques series is almost entirely brilliant. Now running to 23 albums, most are archival recordings. However, this one, which features four European jazz musicians collaborating with local musicians in Addis Ababa, is a contemporary recording. It's one of the best in the series.