55 - 45 are here, the top ten are after the jump with music videos and discussion:
55. Idlewild -- Little Discourage
54. Kings of Convenience -- Toxic Girl
53. Fleet Foxes -- White Winter Hymnal
52. Kanye West -- Jesus Walks
51. Raconteurs -- Steady, as She Goes
50. Mason Proper -- Fog
49.Cold War Kids -- The Wedding
48. Kings of Leon -- Soft
47. John Vanderslice -- Exodus Damage
46. Frightened Rabbit -- Old Old Fashioned
45. Coldplay -- Don't Panic
44. DeVotchKa -- Enemy Guns
43. Interpol -- NYC
42. Andrew Bird -- Imitosis
41. Ladytron -- Light and Magic
40. Girlsareshort -- Sunshine
39. Bon Iver -- Flume
38. The Hold Steady -- Stuck Between Stations
37. Gogol Bordello -- Avenue B
36. Neil Young -- Restless Consumer
35. Nouvelle Vague -- Guns of Brixton
34. Cloud Cult -- Happy Hippopotamus
33. Jay-Z/ DJ Danger Mouse -- Moment of Clarity
32. The Killers -- Mr Brightside
31. The National -- Ada
30. The Streets -- Turn the Page
29. M.I.A. -- Galang
28. Bloc Party -- Like Eating Glass
27. Chin Up Chin Up -- Get Me Off This Fucking Island
26. Camera Obscura -- Let's Get Out of This Country
25. British Sea Power -- The Lonely
24. Modest Mouse -- Education
23. My Brightest Diamond -- Something of an End
22. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Y Control
21. Architecture in Helsinki -- The Cemetary
20. Gnarls Barkley -- Crazy
19. The Go! Team -- Feelgood by Numbers
18. Joanna Newsom -- Emily
17. The One AM Radio -- What You Gave Away
16. Constantines -- Lizavetta
15. Beirut -- Elephant Gun
14. William Elliott Whitmore -- One Man's Shame
13. Sufjan Stevens -- Chicago
12. Portishead -- Silence
11. Wilco -- Theologians
10. Machiavellian Machine --
You've never heard of Machiavellian Machine, unless you read us, really; and they broke up after a year of playing shows at the Orpheum to nobody but myself and a friend. But this was one of the best electronica acts out there, recalling Peter Gabriel, Portishead, and too many others to name. Truly a fine act.
9. Johnny Cash -- Hurt
The reinvention of a master, this was Johnny Cash back in the limelight. At the end of his life, Cash's American series was a masterwork, and this is one of the finest songs out of that project.
8. Man Man -- Engrish Bwudd
This song is absolute chaos. Wild and crashing and fierce, Man Man may not have staying power, but this song has something for me every time I listen.
7. Regina Spektor -- Sunshine
11:11 was Spektor's first album, and it presaged both the rock of Soviet Kitsch and the jazz of Begin to Hope, but with an experimental and out jazz style that goes beyond her two more popular albums. Perhaps not her best songs, but I would posit her most interesting.
6. Lady Gaga -- Poker Face
A synthesis of Andy Warhol pop-as-art/ art-as-pop art and early Madonna sexual politics updated to today's cultural milieu, that this song has gotten as big as it has is itself fascinating. The song strikes a blow for the remaining relevance of pop music. (Embedding the video is mostly disabled, so I had to scrounge this.)
5. Pale Young Gentlemen -- Saturday Night
A raggedy bunch of Madison types, Pale Young Gentlemen's Saturday Night is a great encapsulation of some of the experimentalism of the recent indie period -- nods to world music (especially Gypsy music) and raucous good times.
4. Sigur Ros -- Agaetis Byrjun
Sigur Ros is pure glory to listen to -- I don't think much more needs be said.
3. Yonderboi -- Ohne Chanteuse
An obscure Hungarian DJ going by the moniker Yonderboi put out an album of samples ranging from communist cartoons to Gypsy music to modern European samples, fusing it with rock and lounge sounds to create a really unique sound that hasn't gained much attention Stateside.
2. The Decemberists -- The Island: Come and See/ The Landlord's Daughter/ You'll Not Feel the Drowning
While not my favorite song of theirs (that would be Here I Dreamt I was an Architect) or even of this album (that would be Yankee Bayonets), this is The Decemberists' most interesting song, and fittingly one of the most interesting of the decade. It comes at a unique time for the band, as they transitioned from the quirky history nerds of their early albums into the rock stars they have become since. It presages the experiment of The Hazards of Love, building a dark story into an operatic vision. But the latter album was bloated, more a vanity project by Colin Meloy than a focused album; the Island succeeds in its focus.
1. TV on the Radio -- Blues from Down Here
TV on the Radio fused a fascinating number of elements into their sound -- the neo-soul-meets-rap of Gnarls Barkley, the updated '70s groove of The Go! Team, the grand rock'n'roll vision of the E Street Band, and more. The depth of Blues from Down Here astounds me every time I put it on.