One way to tell if an album stands as a true monument in musical history is through its ability to withstand the test of time and maintain prevalence in the musical world. As decades come and go, musical styles fall in and out of popularity, and eventually gets lost in a sea of of antiquated hits and trends. Below one can find a selection of albums that forwent this tragedy and have maintained, if not increased, popularity in the span of a decade. This is the top 10 albums turning 10 in 2017.
10: Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem
Best known for reinventing the indie dance-pop scene of the late 2000’s, LCD soundsystem burst into the mainstream with their sophomore effort. The album received mass critical acclaim for singles like “Someone Great,” “North American Scum” and “All My Friends,” and even received a Grammy nod. Most importantly, Sound of Silver paved the way for the group’s third and final album, and inspired a generation of musicians with their re-imagining of the modern synth-pop genre.
9: The Con by Tegan and Sara
Canadian rock duo Tegan and Sara were relatively unknown before releasing The Con. While the four albums that preceded it maintained relative success in their native country, this fifth album propelled them to international success. Hits like “The Con” and “Back into Your Head” played across North American radio stations which garnered Tegan and Sara a massive following, especially in the LGBTQ community. The Con debuted at #34 on the Billboard Top 200.
8: Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails
Year Zero represents a proof of concept for long-time industrial artist Trent Reznor and his group Nine Inch Nails. Acting as a concept album, Year Zero is Reznor’s way of criticizing American political policies of the time through a dystopian depiction of the near future. Upon its release the album sold over 100,000 copies and reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200. Above all else, Year Zero proved the band could shift away from moody, personal reflection and focus on more political matters and maintain its success.
7: Icky Thump by The White Stripes
Icky Thump holds a bittersweet memory for many White Stripes fans, as the album would end up being the band’s last release. Upon release, the album sold over 200,000 copies and debuted second on the Billboard Top 200. Most notably, Icky Thump brought the White Stripes back to their punk and garage-rock roots, especially with songs like “Icky Thump” and “Rag and Bone.”
6: It Won’t be Soon Before Long by Maroon 5
Already riding on a wave of massive success from their debut album Songs About Jane, pop-rock band Maroon 5 struck gold again with their sophomore effort. It Won’t be Soon followed the group’s first album from a stylistic perspective, but was more refined and better produced. This showcased Maroon 5’s evolution, and resonated with critics and fans alike. Upon release the album sold over 400,000 copies and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
5: For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver
Justin Vernon, the musical mastermind behind Bon Iver, showed the power of human emotions with his debut album. At the time of its recording, Vernon harbored a terrible liver infection, and sought solitude in his father’s old hunting cabin deep in the Wisconsin wilderness. It was there that he spent the winter months of 2006 and early 2007 recording For Emma. This isolation and emotional distress shows throughout Vernon’s first album, as each song feels as if it came straight from the artist’s soul and put on display for the world to bear witness. After the album received exposure through the Jagjaguwar record label, it would go on to sell over 500,000 copies, with singles like “Skinny Love” acting as the vanguard for such success.
4: Wincing the Night Away by The Shins
Genre: indie pop
No word better describes The Shins than innovative. Already riding on the success of their first two albums, which garnered massive amounts of praise in their own right, James Mercer’s indie-pop outfit struck gold once again with this third album. The title, which is a play on words from a Sam Cooke song, references Mercer’s crippling insomnia. This theme carries throughout the album and makes every song endearing. Wincing the Night Away stands as an introduction to indie music, and this shows in the multitude of indie artists that came to fruition in the early 2010’s.
3: Graduation by Kanye West
Before Kanye West became the international symbol for narcissism and shock value, he was an up-and-coming rapper with incredible flow and style. The self proclaimed “Yeezus” showed the world just how valuable he is with Graduation, his third studio album. While his second album, Late Registration, gave the world gems like “Gold Digger” and “Touch the Sky”, it was Graduation that showed everyone how talented West could be, and hinted at the diverse nature of his work that manifested in his next album, 808’s and Heartbreaks.
2: In Rainbows by Radiohead
Radiohead’s musical prevalence represents the definition of transcendental. Since their debut in the early 90’s, the British alternative group constantly reinvents themselves with each album, and In Rainbows represents this perfectly. Embracing a more electronic feel, In Rainbows feels more intimate than previous Radiohead albums, and takes listeners on a lucid trip through tales of seduction and lost love. Most importantly, In Rainbows proves to longtime Radiohead fans that the group can still maintain prevalence well into the new millennium.
1: Neon Bible by Arcade Fire
It is hard to describe Canadian indie-pop band Arcade Fire as anything less than iconic and visionary. The group practically defined what modern indie music stands for, and their second album represents a perfect example of this. Recorded in an old church in Quebec, Neon Bible incorporates classic Arcade Fire instrumentals as well as an organ and violin section. Fitting along with the album’s title, the 11 song track list focused on religious devotion, whether in the form of an intimate connection or blind faith and fear. Hits like “Intervention,” “No Cars Go,” and “Black Mirror” tugged at the heartstrings of listeners and redefined the definition of songwriting and lyrical poetry in modern music. If not for the influence of Neon Bible, and Arcade Fire as a whole, the indie music genre would disappear from the mainstream music scene.
Music is an ever-changing medium, and like all things, follows a constant ebb and flow. Sometimes, an album transcends the common rabble and stands as a testament to the powerful nature of music. The above albums did just that, and stand as some of the best musical works of the 2000’s. For the top 10 albums turning 10 in 2016, click here.