by / December 2nd, 2009 /

Albums of the Decade: State’s albums of the decade – 30 to 21

As we approach the business end of our albums of the decade poll, some of the major names of the past ten years make their first appearance alongside some less familiar faces. There’s a string showing from one of the most acclaimed Irish albums of recent years, a hip-hop classic and one of the biggest selling records of the era…

Albums of the decade: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20 -11 | 10 -1

30. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary (2005)

In 2005 Wolf Parade offered their most sincere Apologies To The Queen Mary after being banished from an ocean liner of the same name for breaking down the doors of a ballroom and performing a violent séance. It’s a tale befitting of an album that is a fantastical flight of the imagination through dilapidated grandeur and timeworn whimsy. Unusual musical arrangements and eccentric instrumentation are entwined with unstoppably emotive vocals, creating an enchanting hotchpotch of idiosyncratic love songs and surging, winsome choruses. Spencer Krug’s brainsick, opulent inventions (‘Fancy Claps’, ‘Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts’) segue seamlessly into Dan Boeckner’s equally compelling if slightly more orthodox offerings (‘It’s A Curse’, ‘Shine A Light’) in a compendium of heartfelt songs that radiate with charm and ramshackle romanticism. (Sophie Elizabeth Smith)

29. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (2009)

Greil Marcus once said: “Rock ‘n’ Roll is a combination of good ideas dried up by fads, terrible junk, hideous failings in taste and judgment, gullibility and manipulation, moments of unbelievable clarity and invention, pleasure, fun, vulgarity, excess, novelty and utter enervation.” Baltimore’s Animal Collective have managed to touch upon all these things, at one time or another, in their long career. With MPP, the Hipster Runoff’s favourite altbros took the Wilson-esque harmonising perfected on Panda Bear’s solo jaunt, dived into the deep blue with their man-bags of samplers, laptops and glowsticks and pumped rapturous hybrid-techno from the ocean-floor to the salivating masses. This is music as it should be: beguiling, euphoric and sexually rhythmic – a triumphant melange of cohesive musical experimentation and a synesthete’s paradise. Released in January, this was immediately hailed as album of the year by many and now, as the cold fingers of winter prod at our flesh, the warmth and enveloping bliss of Animal Collective’s ninth album is as welcome as it has been since that first knock-your-head-off listen. A modern masterpiece. (Adam Lacey)

– Read the State interview here.

28. M.I.A. – Arular (2005)

M.I.A. (known to her family as Maya) burst onto the scene in 2005 in a whirlwind of fierce beats, neon and political righteousness. Her turbulent upbringing is laid out bare in her debut Arular, which brazenly runs the gamut of genres from dancehall to grime, and back again via bhangra with a dash of punk and sprinkling of movie soundtrack tunes lashed in indiscriminately. At times a confusing whirlwind mish-mash of, well, everything, Arular in some ways set the precedent for all underground urban music thereafter. Shifting easily from sampling the Rocky theme tune on ‘Bucky Done Gun’ to melding eerily sultry grooves with political rhetoric on ‘Sunshowers’, it’s easy to see why Maya became the all-conquering force she is these days. It would be churlish to deny that Arular is one of the defining and most important albums of the past decade. (Sophie Crowther)

27. Four Tet – Rounds (2003)

Rarely was a record so aptly named. Like merry-go-rounds, or mantras, the compositions on Kieran Hebden’s third full-length move in beautifully assured circles. While the album was given the reductivist tag of ‘folktronica’ on its release, the individual elements of its tracks demonstrate a musical sensibility just as tuned into jazz, or indeed, hip hop. But why bother dissecting something so seamless and complete? While it perhaps wields a subtler influence than other albums on this list, there is no denying that Rounds set the high water mark for a certain quiet type of electronic album. It’s a minor masterpiece. (Darragh McCausland)

26. Jape – Ritual (2008)

I don’t know how many times, Jape was asked when Ritual was coming out’¦but it was a lot. I mean, it had been over four years since his last release and in that time, Jape’s sound had changed considerably. Incorporating samplers, synths and sequencers into the live show, did a lot to liven things up and as the new set list grew, a bolder and more exciting sound slowly began to emerge. After some troubles with labels, Ritual, was finally released on Co-Op Records, and by golly, was it worth the wait. It’s as close to a perfect Irish indie/electro/dance/pop record, as one could wish for, with gems like ‘I was a Man’, ‘Streetwise’ and ‘Christopher and Anthony’ sounding as great on record as they did on the dancefloor. At the same time, the anthemic ‘Phil Lynott’ and tender sounding ‘At The Heart Of All This Strangeness’ showcased Richie’s growing skills as a talented songwriter and storyteller. Ritual‘s brilliance was rewarded when the album picked up this year’s Choice Music Prize and confirmed Richie’s spot as one of Ireland’s most exciting songwriters. With the talk of new material for 2010, even now the questions are already starting, ‘So, when’s the new album coming out’¦?’ (Julian Clancy)

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  • Good to see Joanna Newsom in there. I really think that that album will be studied in schools in fifty years time. A masterpiece.

  • I agree completely Rob, and she’d be right near the top of my personal list. What’s next from her? She should have new stuff out next year. Exciting.