Let's make a very unnecessary list: The top 10 albums from 2001-2015

image by matt delisle.

image by matt delisle.

My friend Matt posed a question in a group text yesterday -- what are your 10 favorite albums of the last 15 years?

Unsurprisingly, this isn't an easy question to answer. It's tough to even get started on answering it. But yesterday, I went through my iTunes and made an attempt at gathering a "short list" of 50 albums from which I'll whittle out a top 10. Even getting down to 50 was surprisingly difficult. 

My list of 50 is below, in alphabetical order, but first, here's the "criteria" we kept in mind:

  • The years eligible here are 2001-2015
  • EPs count as a full album
  • You can have as many albums as you want from a single artist, if you feel the need
  • This isn't an objective "best" or "greatest" list -- it should be your favorite albums of this timeframe
  • Related to the above, that means you could wind up with an album on your list that didn't necessarily age well for you, or that you don't necessarily listen to much anymore; it was just so important during a certain time period that it makes the list
  • You don't have to rank the albums in a 1-10 order if you don't want to; picking 10 albums over the course of 15 years is already tough enough!

So, it's pretty open-ended. Jason and I are going to make our top 10 lists and discuss them on next week's Encore, which is why I'm putting this blog up now -- just to give some folks an idea of what we're doing, what criteria we're using, etc. I found I had extreme difficulty in cutting off the last three (from 13 to 10). Cataloging the process from 50 albums to 25 to 15 to, finally, 10, was easily the most enjoyable part of this exercise for me, so I'm sharing my initial list of 50 here.

A personal note on this list -- as I went through my iTunes and jotted these down, it became very explicitly clear, in a disappointing way, how little variance was present in my music taste during middle and high school. I suppose this is somewhat normal, but I do wish I was more adventurous in what I listened to back then; a lot of the hip-hop I listened to at a young age isn't in my iTunes library in the first place, which was a pretty significant issue I encountered. Through college and writing at AbsolutePunk, I've become way more interested in other genres and have started listening to more music, but that isn't well reflected in this list as most of my personal criteria revolved around ~nostalgia~ and what I listened to with friends; basically, the records with which I had the strongest raw/emotional connection. 

  1. +44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating (2006)
  2. All Get Out - The Season
  3. blink-182 - Untitled (2003)
  4. Brand New - Deja Entendu (2003)
  5. Brand New - The Devil and God (2006)
  6. Bruce Springsteen - The Rising (2002)
  7. Bruce Springsteen - Magic (2007)
  8. The Early November - The Room's Too Cold (2003)
  9. Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree (2005)
  10. The Format - Dog Problems (2006)
  11. Four Year Strong - Rise Or Die Trying (2007)
  12. Future - DS2 (2015)
  13. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound (2008)
  14. The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten (2012)
  15. Green Day - American Idiot (2004)
  16. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie (2011)
  17. The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There (2014)
  18. Jack's Mannequin - Everything In Transit (2005)
  19. Japandroids - Celebration Rock (2012)
  20. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American (2001)
  21. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
  22. Less Than Jake - Anthem (2003)
  23. Limbeck - Hi, Everything's Great (2004)
  24. Make Do And Mend - End Measured Mile (2010)
  25. Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child (2006)
  26. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing (2009)
  27. The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past (2012)
  28. Motion City Soundtrack - Commit This To Memory (2005)
  29. Moving Mountains - Moving Mountains (2013)
  30. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (2006)
  31. New Found Glory - Sticks & Stones (2002)
  32. Northstar - Pollyanna (2004)
  33. P.O.S. - Never Better (2009)
  34. Paramore - Paramore (2013)
  35. Pentimento - Pentimento (2012)
  36. Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride (2011)
  37. Red City RadioThe Dangers Of Standing Still (2011)
  38. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2 (2014)
  39. Shad - The Old Prince (2009)
  40. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell (2015)
  41. Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends (2002)
  42. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now (2006)
  43. Taylor Swift - Red (2012)
  44. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor (2010)
  45. Valencia - We All Need A Reason To Believe (2008)
  46. The Wonder Years - The Upsides (2010)
  47. The Wonder Years - Suburbia (2011)
  48. The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation (2013)
  49. Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue (2003)
  50. Yellowcard - Paper Walls (2007)