Best Albums of the 21st Century (So Far)

People who like to make lists have little patience, so it’s not surprising that even though our century is less than two decades old, I was able to find a bunch of “Best Music of the 21st Century” lists online.  Most of the lists focus on popular genres such as pop, rock, hip hop, R&B and alternative, so there is little or no jazz, classical or even country in this meta-list. For fun, I have also appended my personal five-star albums of the century so far (to match the meta-list, I’ve excluded classical and jazz).  Here are the albums on two or more of the original source lists I collected.

NOTE: Most of these lists were made long before 2017 – one of them is from 2009  and a few are from 2012 and 2013 – so there is a definite bias towards the first decade of the century.

On 10 “Best Music of the 21st Century” Lists
Elephant (2003) – The White Stripes

On 7 Lists
Stankonia (2000) – OutKast

6 Lists
Kid A (2000) – Radiohead
Is This It (2001) – The Strokes
Discovery (2001) – Daft Punk
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) – Kanye West

5 Lists
Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) – Arctic Monkeys
Sound of Silver (2007) – LCD Soundsystem
In Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead
Fleet Foxes (2008) – Fleet Foxes   

4 Lists
American Idiot (2004) – Green Day
Back to Black (2006) – Amy Winehouse
Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey
Channel Orange (2012) – Frank Ocean

3 Lists
The Blueprint (2001) – Jay-Z
Vespertine (2001) – Björk 
Up the Bracket (2002) – The Libertines
Songs for the Deaf (2002) – Queens of the Stone Age
Original Pirate Material (2002) – The Streets
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco
Fever to Tell (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Savane (2006) – Ali Farka Touré
xx (2009) – The xx 
Lost In The Dream (2014) – The War On Drugs

2 Lists
Relationship of Command (2000) – At The Drive In 
The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) – Eminem
Rated R (2000) – Queens of the Stone Age
Weezer [The Green Album] (2001) – Weezer
Lateralus (2001) – Tool
Radio Tisdas Sessions (2001) – Tinariwen  
Time (the Revelator) (2001) – Gillian Welch
American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) – Johnny Cash
( ) (2002) – Sigur Rós 
The Black Album (2003) – Jay-Z
Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004) – My Chemical Romance
A Grand Don’t Come for Free (2004) – The Streets
Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004) – Kings of Leon
College Dropout (2004) – Kanye West
I Am A Bird Now (2005) – Antony and the Johnsons
Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike (2005) – Gogol Bordello
Sam’s Town (2006) – The Killers  
Donuts (2006) – J Dilla
Untrue (2007) – Burial 
Raising Sand (2007) – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) – Bon Iver
Sky Blue Sky (2007) – Wilco
Dear Science (2008) – TV on the Radio  
808s and Heartache (2008) – Kanye West 
The ’59 Sound (2008) – The Gaslight Anthem
The Hazards of Love (2009) – The Decemberists
Good Kid, m.A.A.d City (2012) – Kendrick Lamar  
AM (2013) – Arctic Monkeys
Black Messiah (2014) – D’Angelo
To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) – Kendrick Lamar

And, for those who care, here are the albums from 2000 to present that I rated five out of five stars, in chronological order (excluding classical and jazz):

I Am Shelby Lynne (2000) – Shelby Lynne 
Fado em Mim (2000) – Mariza  
Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000) – PJ Harvey
All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000) – U2 
Sweet Tea (2001) – Buddy Guy     
The Id (2001) – Macy Gray  
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco    
Sea Change (2002) – Beck 
One Beat (2002) – Sleater-Kinney   
Fever to Tell (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs   
Electric Version (2003) – The New Pornographers     
Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire   
Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005) – Petra Haden
Illinois (2005) – Sufjan Stevens   
Z (2005) – My Morning Jacket      
Boys and Girls in America (2006) – The Hold Steady
Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006) – Camera Obscura
Neon Bible (2007) – Arcade Fire
Challengers (2007) – The New Pornographers
Once: Music From the Motion Picture (2007) – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
White Chalk (2007) – PJ Harvey    
Hold On Now, Youngster… (2008) – Los Campesinos!     
Bird-Brains (2009) – Tune-Yards         
The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire      
Majesty Shredding (2010) – Superchunk      
Cannibal Courtship (2011) – Dengue Fever       
Bad As Me (2011) – Tom Waits
Yuck (2011) – Yuck
The King Is Dead (2011) – The Decemberists 
Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey
Visions (2012) – Grimes
Pedestrian Verse (2013) – Frightened Rabbit
Sleepwalker (2013) – Angel Olsen  
Alvvays (2014) – Alvvays  
My Woman (2016) – Angel Olsen   

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