by / November 30th, 2009 /

Albums of the Decade: State’s albums of the decade – 50 to 41

When we asked for the collected wisdom of the State writers for their choices for the albums of the decade, little did we expect such a bewilderingly wide ranging response. In total, there were votes for around 250 albums – which says a lot for both that collected wisdom and the decade itself. Here begins the countdown of the top 50. There are many you’d expect, many you wouldn’t and the odd surprise. More tomorrow but in the meantime give us your thoughts below….

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

50. Justice – ‘  (2007)

There’s been a bit of Francophobia doing the rounds since Monsieur Henry’s armed robbery, but remember the French also dealt some winning hands in dance albums over the last 10 years. The first third of the decade belonged to Digital Lovers Daft Punk, Vitalic La Rocked the mid section and Justice came along in 2007 and turned the Marshall amps up to 11 with a big noisy techno headbanger. Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge pissed off the purists by taking the sleek French house blueprint and filtering it through caustic synths, distorted riffs and Godzilla-like kick drums. ‘  goes from frenzied overdriven dancefloor pile-ups (-Waters of Nazareth’, -Stress’, -Phantom’) to shiny electro and future funk like -D.A.N.C.E.’ and -DVNO’. Okay, -The Party’, featuring Ed Banger’s rent-a-rapper Uffie is Peaches-lite drivel, but it’s a tiny glitch in a rarity – a cohesive dance album that just makes you want to dance. (Conor McCaffrey)

49. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (2008)

After Elbow bagged the Mercury Prize it became popular to do one of two things: knock them as bed-wetting, Coldplay-alikes or say -Aw, they deserve it soooo much’. The former was done by those who had missed out for years on the fabulous outsider-pop of this Bury quintet; a band who were shunted from label to label all the while creating epic songs full of Guy Garvey’s distinctive vocals and the band’s accomplished, experimental musicianship, whilst garnering zero mainstream recognition despite the release of four albums, four EPs and ten top fifty singles in the UK. The Seldom Seen Kid changed all that with no compromise to their sound or work ethic. Elbow are, and have always been, an album band, and the deserved Mercury prize victory delivered to the world’s festival circuit a band with a back catalogue of incredible songs, heart-tugging, intelligent lyrics, a singer born to perform in front of huge crowds and five men who should have been a massive deal ten years ago. The album also gave us -One Day Like This’, a modern festival classic. At least they’ll have a bit of cash now but Elbow fans know the talent has always been there. (Adam Lacey)

48. Efterklang – Tripper (2004)

Efterklang compose soundtracks to movies that should exist, but have yet to be filmed. Like a reel of decaying celluloid flickering across a tattered screen, the Danish collective’s 2004 debut Tripper flutters, sighs and trembles, unspooling choral-and-brass ruminations like ‘Step Aside’ or the placidly menacing ‘Prey and Predator’. The mad murmurs of the somnambulant ‘Doppelgänger’ seems oddly transmuted from one of Pink Floyd’s better nightmares or Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, evoking a similarly unhinged, depthless melancholy. Though five core founders drive Efterklang, the band’s guest membership swells and ebbs from project to project; ten musicians (including the Amina string quartet) embarked on Tripper‘s orchestral odyssey and patiently took an entire year to record the album. Densely and delicately constructed from an electronic blueprint of jittery beats and repetitive loops, each song unfurls with chimerical, feverish abandon, flush with brooding strings, hushed vocal chants, the sorrowful exhalation of a trumpet, and even, in the case of the busily beautiful ‘Chapter 6’, a choir burrowed within a howling windstorm. One of the most astonishing and unforgettable debuts of the decade. (Kara Manning)

47. Antony & The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now (2005)

If Speech Debelle is feeling the frustration of her Mercury Music Prize success failing to propel her into the mainstream, she should take heart that she’s not the first to suffer that fate. Then again, Antony Hegarty was hardly going to be your average pop star and I Am A Bird Now wasn’t your normal hit record. A guest list including Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Devandra Banhart and Boy George could easily have overshadowed its creator, but Hegarty himself is the towering presence here, delivering the record’s successive torch songs with overwhelming power and emotion. (Phil Udell)

46. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (2009)

Shimmering guitars, ethereal barbershop vocals, and an expansive aesthetic that sounds like little else in your record collection – Veckatimest is the album Grizzly Bear have always been threatening to make. It’s a patchwork of gentle folk songs that carries a tension that builds and builds, bursting into joyous refrain on ‘Two Weeks’, or ominous anger on ‘I Live With You’. There are individual moments here when the band seem peerless, as on the cathartic chorus of ‘While You Wait For The Others’, or the delicate strains of ‘Foreground’ – but Veckatimest demands to be taken as a whole. This is undisputedly Grizzly Bear’s masterpiece. (Shane Culloty)

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  • Awesome selection! Looking forward to the rest of the albums. I think a few of these will feature in our upcoming ‘best of’ list.

  • I forgot how good that Beirut video was…

  • myth

    credit were it due ,original pirate material was genius ,but everything else mike skinner has done since is complete larger lout folly ,cant believe hes got a mention at all tbh and hes ahead of broken socail scene and beruit WTF? lol

  • untitled

    lovely stuff there! looking forward to seeing who else makes the cut!

  • sean c

    So far so good.
    Never got into a Grand Don’t Come For Free though. Always felt a bit forced to me.

  • Again, not sure about the inclusion of The Streets. Can’t believe the Guardian had them at number one.

    The Flying Club Cup is a real gem though. Sheer class.

  • *Cup Club, even.

    I believe I have been calling it the wrong name for two years.

  • myth

    lol it happens joey ,i was calling the silverson pickups second album caravans for ages 🙂 great album too (carnavas)

  • The first two Streets albums are stone-cold classics. If you’re not into them, you should be.