ATR Music: Several years of top 10s

At the request of my friend Thomas, I looked through all of my old archived blog posts from the last 8 or 9 years and found all of my year-end music lists, which, nowadays, are basically the only thing I make time for writing-wise (cue world’s smallest violin). Some years I listed 15 top albums, other years 50, but I culled them all down to the top 10 for these purposes. It’s interesting now to see the albums that really didn’t stick with me despite their high ranking at the time and the ones that I still count among my favorites.

So here are those lists, presented with occasional comment.


10. Ugly Heroes – Ugly Heroes

9. Danny Brown – Old

8. Lorde – Pure Heroine (this could/should have been No. 2 pushing for No. 1. I still listen to this today)

7. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

6. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

5. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady

4. Toro y Moi – Anything in Return

3. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

2. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

1. Kanye West – Yeezus (though I don’t listen to this nearly as much anymore, I still stand by this ranking. I don’t listen to much else from this year either)


10. Jack White – Blunderbuss

9. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – The Heist

8. Bob Mould – Silver Age

7. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream (still the best R&B album I’ve heard in years)

6. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (this was a great album, and should have been top three. I listen to this as much as Vacationer’s still-excellent debut and the Divine Fits record)

5. Tame Impala – Lonerism

4. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel …

3. Father John Misty – Fear Fun

2. Vacationer – Gone

1. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits


10. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

9. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

8. Childish Gambino – Camp

7. R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now

6. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

5. 9th Wonder – The Wonder Years

4. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

3. Danny Brown and Black Milk – Black & Brown

2. Fucked Up – David Comes To Life

1. Yuck – Yuck (definitely whiffed on this one. It’s a solid album, but it had very little staying power with me. On second thought, I’d probably put Black & Brown top, with Fucked Up second and maybe Yuck 10 or 11)


10. The New Pornographers – Together

9. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

8. Broken Bells – Broken Bells

7. Lightspeed Champion – Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You

6. The Roots – How I Got Over

5. Hot Chip – One Life Stand

4. Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wus Here

3. Spoon – Transference (the rare Spoon album not to take No. 1 in its year. In retrospect, I definitely still listen to it more than the Ted Leo record, but Kanye’s album was a watershed moment for hip hop)

2. Ted Leo + Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


10. Wale – Attention Deficit

9. Ian Kamau – September 9 Mixtape (I stumbled across this in my music files recently and was struck again by how well done it is. I went out and found that Ian Kamau hasn’t done a lot since this, but what else he’s done is of similar quality. I recommend this highly to thoughtful hip-hop heads)

8. Them Crooked Vultures

7. HISD – The District

6. Skyzoo – The Salvation

5. The-Dream – Love Vs. Money

4. Rashid Hadee – 808s & Hadee

3. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (this was da real MVP this year. A true classic that I still listen to regularly)

2. 14KT – Nowalataz LP

1. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest


10. Young Jeezy – The Recession

9. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark

8. Jamie Lidell – Jim

7. Justin Townes Earle – The Good Life

6. T.I. – Paper Trail

5. Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple

4. Black Milk – Tronic

3. Theophilus London – JAM!

2. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III

1. Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (this still holds up. I was listening to it the other day and wishing Dev was still doing the Lightspeed Champion thing instead of the Blood Orange thing. Blood Orange just doesn’t resonate with me the way Lightspeed Champion did and does)

2007 (this was the year I correlated each album with an ingredient on a Big Mac. A couple of the pieces are missing because they rated lower than No. 10, but you get the idea)

10. First lettuce layer: Ghostface Killah – The Big Doe Rehab

9. American cheese slice: Freeway – Free at Last

8. First beef patty: Lil’ Wayne – Da Drought 3

7. Sesame bun middle: Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

6. Second Special Sauce layer: Sean Price – Jesus Price Supastar

5. Second onion layer: Jay-Z – American Gangster

4. Second lettuce layer: A-Trak – Dirty South Dance

3. Pickle slices: Black Milk – Popular Demand

2. Second beef patty: LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

1. Sesame bun top: Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (a no-brainer then and a no-brainer now)

2006 (this was the year I compared each album to a member of the dominant late-90s Chicago Bulls. They are presented in ascending order, with Michael Jordan being No. 1, obviously)

Forward Jason Caffey: Rhymefest — Blue Collar

Guard Randy Brown: Girl Talk — Night Ripper

Guard Scott Burrell: John Mayer — Continuum

Forward Dennis Rodman: Gnarls Barkley — St. Elsewhere

Guard Steve Kerr: Justin Timberlake — Futuresex/Lovesounds

Forward Toni Kukoc: Hot Chip — The Warning

Guard Ron Harper: J Dilla — Donuts (kind of incredible to think the first posthumous album by my favorite hip hop producer ever was only fourth-best in the year it came out. Looking again, I’d probably re-rank with this at the Longley or Pippen spot, Format at Pippen or Jordan, Phoenix at Jordan or Pippen and Clipse falling to Kukoc or Kerr)

Center Luc Longley: The Format — Dog Problems (this is still one of my favorite pop albums of all time. It would definitely be at least the Pippen album today, if not the Jordan album. That Phoenix record is killer too, though, this was a super year for pop)

Forward Scottie Pippen: Clipse — Hell Hath No Fury

Guard Michael Jordan: Phoenix — It’s Never Been Like That

2005 (no order given, so the ranking here reflects how I would rank them today)

10. Shooting At Unarmed Men – “Soon There Will Be Shooting At Unarmed Men EP”

9. Matias Aguayo – “Are You Really Lost”

8. Peaches – “The Teaches of Peaches”

7. Venetian Snares – “Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits 1972-2006″

6. Electric Wizard – “Dopethrone”

5. Mirah – “Advisory Committee”

4. Boris – “Akuma No Uta”

3. Clipse “We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2″

2. Sufjan Stevens – “Illinois”

1. Spoon – “Gimme Fiction” (this was the first year I can recall doing this list and looking back I had some really weird taste. Most of this stuff I stumbled across on Pandora or found them via Pitchfork reviews. A lot of it is solid, though, upon further review. That Mirah album is nice, and Venetian Snares was a good way to get into noise. And then of course, Spoon, which I already counted among my favorite bands)

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