Was it really almost ten years since I cowered, trembling, expecting the Millennium Bug to cause planes to fall from the sky and nuclear power stations to go into meltdown? Where did that decade go? Whoosh... There’s been some wondrous music produced in that time period though. Having pored, brow furrowed, over Uncut’s 150 albums of the decade, I’ve drawn up a longlist of my own which, over the past few days, I’ve snipped away at and rearranged lovingly. Twenty or so (it has to be said) absolute belters have been discarded and I have constructed my Top Thirty favourite long players released since 1st January 2000. I have deliberately ignored any 2009 recordings; they are perhaps too fresh in the memory to analyse too minutely and, besides, I have the traditional album of the year to decide upon yet. This current year’s favoured sounds will be debated in December.
I shall announce my Top Thirty in three stages. Today I 'umbly present numbers thirty to twenty-one.
21. Kate Bush - Aerial
Whoops. Only three albums on the list are by womenfolk. Apologies to da sisters. Can you guess the other two, gentle reader? This is a clever-clever and compelling listen. Eccentric and eventful.
22. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Master And Everyone
See 25. More of the same but equally as inspiring.
23. The National – Alligator
Velvety tones mask dark subjects. Uplifting melancholia for hipsters.
24. Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
Epic and soaring songsmithery. Big voice and bags of charm.
25. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – The Letting Go
Breathy acoustic joy. Fabulous backing vocals. Timeless loveliness. Beards.
26. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
A surprise hit. Slow-burning classics of love and loss. Deer harmed in making of this album.
27. Beck – Sea Change
Nick Drake time-travels to 2002, has a bit of a haircut, and records fragile, wistful masterpiece.
28. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Fabulous first three songs followed by other gems. Cultured and elegant rock music.
29. Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Superb title. Electronic pastoral splendour with – shock! – guitars.
30. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Harmonic and contemplative beauty. Echoes of Laurel Canyon at its finest.