I use the word “best” to describe my favorite 5 bands/artists of the 2000s because I respect my own opinion that much. I don’t really expect you to show it the same respect. Regardless, these are the 5 best bands and artists of the 2000s in no particular order. What you’ll find is the artist name and the albums they’ve released during this decade. Which amazingly enough is drawing awfully close to it’s end. We’ve only got about a year and a half left until the “tens”?
RADIOHEAD (Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows.)
OK, there is some order to my first listing. I think Radiohead is the best band of this decade. Amazingly enough they were also the best band of the 1990s on the strength of OK Computer & The Bends (nevermind Pablo Honey.)
There hasn’t been a band as consistently awesome Radiohead since The Beatles broke up. They don’t seem capable of making a bad album at this point. And their very best albums (Kid A & In Rainbows) set the standard. In my view they are very likely the best two albums of the decade.
BECK (Sea Changes, Guero, The Information, Modern Guilt)
Beck is another one of the top artists of the ’90s that has kept it rocking into the 21st century. In fact I think at this point I’d take his ’00s output over his ’90s (although it was really great too.) I’m not a huge fan of Guero (although it has it’s moments) but the other 3 albums he’s released this decade (include this year’s Modern Guilt) are all excellent.
AKRON/FAMILY (Akron/Family,Meek Warrior,Love Is Simple)
I must particularly recommend their debut self titled album Akron/Family released in 2005. Meek Warrior was actually somewhat of a disappointment for me (although like Beck’s Guero it has it’s moments.) But their most recent album Love Is Simple is a great trip that I do recommend. They are also really excellent live.
WILCO (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost Is Born, Sky Blue Sky)
I like A Ghost Is Born & Sky Blue Sky but Wilco it’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that really knocks my socks off. To me it’s easily one of the top 10 albums of the decade. It’s just one of those special albums that totally puts you into it’s world.
THE FLAMING LIPS (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, At War with the Mystics)
I do think that The Flaming Lips best decade was definitely the 1990s and the fact that they’ve only released two albums and only one really good album (Yoshimi) in the ’00s is something of a disappointment. It’s also disappointing that they don’t seem to be moving forward musically or in their live show anymore. If there was one thing you could count on the Flaming Lips for since they started it was that they would always be moving forward and trying something new. That really wasn’t the case with At The War With The Mystics or with their recent live shows.
All of that being said, I couldn’t leave them off this list. While At War with the Mystics is probably their worst album since the ’80s, it still has some pretty cool songs if you can get over the somewhat plastic sounding production that strangles a lot of the life out of them.
Sadly if you look at the album charts you’d think that At War with the Mystics was their big breakthrough album. It’s their highest charting album (by far) in the US (it reached #11) and in the UK (#6.)
Anyway, I would like to get to the positives of The Flaming Lips and why I included them as one of the best five bands/artists of the decade. Yoshimi is a pretty great album (although it hasn’t aged quite as well as I was thinking it would) and while their live shows have become somewhat stagnant they are still a special experience. If you’ve never seen them before, I highly recommend you catch ’em. The problem is really that they don’t change things up enough for repeat concert goers.