Inspired by Paul and Paul's recent posts I now have my own top 20 list. Of course I had to annotate it though. Remember these are album's not bands or songs but the best 20(ish) albums (in my humble opinion).
In no particular order..
2 Many DJs: As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2
The ultimate mix album. Featuring 45 artists. Who would have thought that you could mix Destiny's Child and Dolly Parton so well.
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm
Bloc Party's debut. Some say it feels too earnest, like the band is trying to hard but I think it came as a beath of fresh air.
Chemical Brothers: Surrender
Doesn't hit like the big beats of Dig Your Own Hole but a more cohesive fully formed album.
Dandy Warhols: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia
Courtney Taylor-Taylor's slacker rock/pop masterpiece. Every track glides along in it's own time but still manges to keep up the tempo.
Lyrically one of the most amazing albums I've ever heard. Repeated listens keep revealing more and more depth. And nothing beats The Mariner's Revenge song.
Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand
The sound of a new band confident herralding their own arrival onto a crowded new millenium music scene..
Hybrid: Wide Angle
Fusing breaks, airy vocals and symphonic orchestration hybrid redefined what could be done with electronic music, even if you couldn't dance to it.
Knife: Silent Shout
Dark, dark noise pop from illusive Swedish siblings. Don't play it too late.
Massive Attack: Mezzanine
If the knife is dark then as one reviewer said Mezzanine absorbs light. Has an album ever opened with a stronger than Angel, Risingson, Teardrop and Inertia Creeps?
Pearl Jam: VS
Yes, it all started with Ten, Nervermind and Core (remember STP?) but Vs was the sound of a band both angry and assured. With great tracks as contrasting as Elderly Woman behind the counter in a small town and Rearviewmirror Pearl Jam were not going to be some one hit wonder.
Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of the Moon
I don't think I can really add anything to this one that hasn't already been said. In many ways modern music begins here.
The album that made me listen to electronica (as it was back then) and stop raising my nose at anything that wasn't alternarock.
REM: New Adventures in Hi-Fi
On Monster, REM proved they knew how to plug their effects pedals in but new Adventures solidifies the sound to create the best road album ever.
Radiohead: OK Computer
Just (from The Bends) may have been powerful and evocative but Exit Music just leaves it for dead. Combine that with having the guts to release a 6 and a half minute leading single and you have what has been called the album of the century.
Secret Machines: Now Here is Nowhere
Prog rock taken to it's ultimate conclusion.
Sigur Rós: Ágætis Byrjun
They're from Iceland??? They don't sing in English?? (Or even Icelandic half the time). They create the most amazingly beautiful, brutal, layered music ever heard? Sign me up.
Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
The sprawling grandiose realisation of the genius of Billy Corgan. (all hail Billy) I once listened to nothing but this album for an entire week in high school.
Soundgarden prove they are more than a speed punk band on this album which basically defines 'alternative' at a time when the genre needed a leader.
Just another metal band right? Wrong. Tool create dense, complicated, (even mathematical) sonic textures for Maynard Keenan's thoughts on psychology, modern consumerism, and spirituality.
U2: Achtung Baby
Noone has ever managed to reinvent their band's sound and maintain their audience the way U2 did with Achtung Baby.
Aussie Top 6
Love Outside Andromeda: Love Outside Andromeda
Debut album from female fronted Love Outside Andromeda combines the best bits of Magic Dirt (another aussie band) and PJ Harvey
Grinspoon: Guide To Better Living
Winners of a radio competition, now a national phenomenon, their debut still towers over everything else for it's energy and originality.
Rocket Science: Eternal Holiday
Drums? Check. Guitar? Check. Harpsichord? Check. Theremin? Check. Jimmy Hendrix back catalogue? Check. Ok we're good to go.
Powderfinger: Vulture Street
The biggest band in OZ keeps getting bigger with a rockin' back to basics set of tunes.
Nick Cave: Let Love In
The dark man of aussie rock deliver a knock out set of songs with his trademark dark overtones and the huge 'Red Right Hand'.
Machine Gun Fellatio: Bring it On
100 Fresh disciples, Motherfuck on a Motorcycle and Romance cemented this album's place in Australian music but it's the gentle beauty of Unsent Letter that raises it above the rest.
Underworld: Everything, Everything
Live Electronica??? Does that really count? One listen to Everything, Everything is enough to dispel any doubts.