Sunday, November 29, 2009

Times London Pick Their Top 100 Albums Of The Decade, Jay-Z, Mos Def Make The Cut

2. Back to Black - Amy Winehouse (Island, 2006)
“I told you I was trouble” — and so it proved — but Winehouse’s second album is as close to an instant classic as any this decade. The true magic of this record is in the rich melodies, and lyrics full of busted love and dark humour.

4. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below - Outkast (Arista, 2003)
The coolest hip-hop album of the decade. A sprawling, madcap collection of jazz, funk, rock, rap, dance and Southern soul music performed with impeccable wit by the polar opposites Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Hey Ya! indeed.

13. The College Dropout - Kanye West (Mercury, 2004)
Before his ego consumed him, Kanye West’s debut was a musical masterpiece. Already a sought-after producer, his aspirations to become a hip-hop star in his own right are stunningly realised on this innovative collection of old-school jams shot through with thought-provoking lyricism.

18. Kala - M.I.A. (XL, 2007)
The second album from Maya Arulpragasam, the British-based daughter of Sri Lankan refugees, redefined the meaning of world music. The jumble of Bollywood melodies, 8-bit dancehall beats and collaborations with authentic street singers was unpredictable and mind-bendingly good.

27. Maths + English - Dizzee Rascal (XL, 2007)
While Dizzee’s latest album may have spawned three No 1 singles, his third opus, Maths + English, hinted at the burgeoning pop credentials of the former UK grime heavyweight. Ignore the big-name guest turns and instead marvel at his knack for a massive hook and thrilling vocal dexterity.

30. The Ecstatic - Mos Def (Downtown, 2009)
Having spent as much of the Noughties starring in movies as he did making music, the charismatic New Yorker finished the decade with a kaleidoscopic bang, a record whose combination of doom-laden fractionalism, rosy nostalgia and prismatic optimism perfectly crystalises its times.

40. Run Come Save Me - Roots Manuva (Big Dada, 2001)
The South Londoner’s twisted, mordantly humorous take on hip-hop came of age with a longplayer that contains at least two stone-cold classics in the cavernous, synth-heavy anthem Witness and the woozy hymn to narcotic romance Dreamy Days.

44. The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem (Polydor, 2000)
Sealing his graduation from ear-catching rookie to mould-breaking superstar, Eminem’s sophomore album makes a grisly subject of fame itself, from his savage atomisation of the pop song in The Real Slim Shady to the epic stalker anthem Stan.

58. Miss E ... So Addictive - Missy Elliott (Elektra, 2001)
The US rap queen’s third album perfectly captures the moment that Ecstasy culture collided with the US hip-hop scene, as Timbaland muted his experimental inclinations in favour of hedonistic club bangers, almost delivering the scene its very own summer of love

61. Who is Jill Scott? - Jill Scott (Epic, 2000)
The star of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency authors the soul album of the decade, in which her Rolls-Royce purr is married with bullsh**-free lyrics, sung and spoken, and grooves that are by turns sweet, melancholy and utterly formidable.

67. The Blueprint - Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella, 2001)
The album that confirmed Jay-Z as the undisputed top dog of hip-hop has the slickest beats, the smartest rhymes and a palpable sense of destiny about it. “I’m the Sinatra of my day/Compadre,” he brags. There was no one left to argue.

76. Speech Therapy - Speech Debelle (Big Dada, 2009)
The hug-me hurt that radiates at the centre of Debelle’s South London memoirs of hard times found a disarmingly empathetic setting in Wayne Lotek’s autumnal, predominantly acoustic arrangements.

Read the full list from the Times London Top 100 Albums of the Decade:
Times London - The 100 best pop albums of the Noughties

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