by / December 1st, 2009 /

Albums of the Decade: State’s albums of the decade – 40 to 31

Round two of our great noughties album round up finds another suitably eclectic selection from the State team, taking in hip-hop, pop punk, dubstep, Americana, dance and plain old rock. Spanning the years from 2000 right up till this the past twelve months, consider their selections and let us know what you think below.

Albums of the decade: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20 -11 | 10 -1
40. Outkast – Stankonia (2000)

With a new decade came a new Outkast. Formerly lauded for their space-age gangsta-rap with added surrealism, Stankonia is where the dichotomy of the group’s two distinct individuals in Big Boi and Andre 3000 truly meld. Three years later, we would see the stark division in the packaging of two solo albums on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below but on Stankonia the difference bleeds into a hugely creative endeavour in which the pendulum swings from Big Boi’s gangsta-leaning verses to Andre’s more feminine, scopic visions. It helps that in ‘Ms. Jackson’ and ‘So Fresh So Clean’ they had two huge radio hits while the more adventurous amongst us had our appetities sated by the explosive (no pun intended), gospel choir-featuring ‘Bombs Over Baghdad’ – a song which manages to still turn its nose up to the largely staid conventions of hip-hop. Add to that some genuinely funny album interludes which also manage to avoid cliché and you’ve got the best example of pushing the envelope in a largely conservative genre. (Niall Byrne)


39. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time (2006)

Real men cry, and when they do it’s probably to the strains of a song like ‘The Funeral’ from this, alt-country rockers Band of Horses’ debut album. The members may look like they’d whoop your ass in a bar fight, but the sweet strains of the epic yet achingly beautiful tracks on Everything… only betray the fact that they’re heart-on-sleeve-wearing softies underneath. Lead singer Ben Bridwell has the toothy grin and blurry eyes of a seasoned smoker, so it’s no surprise that ‘Weed Party’ is one of the only times that this album reaches ‘real’ country territory, extolling as it does the joys of a hazy ‘night in’ with friends. This is an album for those who like their licks fierce, their harmonies spot on and their men with fire in their bellies, scruffy beards on their chins and eyes that aren’t afraid to weep. (Aoife Barry)

38. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)

Arriving at a time when the idea of a four-guy rock band seemed to have shot its load, Bloc Party subtly pumped in inspiration from the club side of their world but never made it feel less than honest. Nothing felt forced about their 13 track debut. Seamless as an album, almost every song was either released as a single or sent to an inspired array of remixers for club play broadening the reach hugely. Any track is as likely as another to mix dark deliberate bass sounds and Kele’s grim urban fables with guitars and synth sounds that lift you through and out of the suburbs like a car chase at night. If you’re in doubt this happens tangibly just 1:01 minutes into -Banquet’. (Simon Roche)

37. Fight Like Apes – Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion (2008)

There was a time towards the end of 2007 and the first half of 2008 when it was hard to escape Fight Like Apes, near impossible even. Yet this was not success based on an overnight sensation or lack of substance. Their first two EPs immediately marked them as contenders but it was this debut long player that acted as their proper calling card. The songs managed to balance melody and menace perfectly and John Goodmanson’s production helped the band to up their game considerably. Perhaps even more notable was that it was an album that broke through the traditional glass ceiling for independent Irish bands and make considerable inroads overseas. They’ll need to avoid simply repeating the trick for next year’s album number two but this will always remain a thrilling debut. (Phil Udell)

36. Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)

When Karin Dreijer Andersson, the icy-voiced frontwoman of Sweden’s The Knife, released her debut solo album under the moniker Fever Ray this year, could anyone have predicted the itchy creepiness than underpins this slice of oddball synthtronica? Well yes they probably could have, given the originality of The Knife’s sound, but it doesn’t lessen the impact of the unique tunes that lurch languidly from this ode to postnatally-induced sleep-deprivation. If auto-tune brought a certain hollow-yet-catchy weirdness to R&B, then Dreijer Andersson’s use of -looney-tune’ pitch-shifting and vocal distortion brought an unnerving edge to the indie scene of 2009. Listening to this, one can imagine the wacky Swede wandering around a Scandinavian castle listening to cheesy 80s synthpop in the wee hours, attempting to recreate it on her computer, but only managing to make her newborn child cry with her off-kilter 3am-tinged efforts. Songs like -Concrete Walls’ and -I’m Not Done’ are deliciously disturbing/terrifying and, as if the album wasn’t enough, her penchant for freaky laser shows and masks at gigs makes her live show comparable to snorting vodka and watching Drag Me To Hell in a dark wooded area. Utterly engrossing. (Adam Lacey)

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  • Hil

    Re QOTSA

    Goodman, Niall, for acknowledging the excellent self-titled debut which few seem to do. Met one guy who swore blind to me that Songs For The Deaf was their first album and that the whole thing was Dave Grohl’s idea. When I pointed out that this was impossible as otherwise the album would have been full of double-tracked vocals, cheesey choruses and sub-emo wank, he still wouldn’t concede his ignorance.

    Anyway, I’m more of a Rated R man myself. Can I take it this is appearing further up the rankings? Huh?

    I really need a job…

  • ronan

    Great to see Steve Malkmus’s solo work getting some props. This list is going surprisingly well so far, considering the mini riot about to break out over at On The Record.

    Nice balance between genres, as well as older & newer stuff. Good work.

  • sean c

    Great list so far.
    Havn’t heard of #33 to be honest. Off to investigate now…

  • myth

    band of horses omg taking the piss now!