Is it really the end of the decade? It went so fast! Anyway, In no particular order:
(Edit - I've added some explanantions. Sorry for the pretensiousness ;-)
PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
I am a massive PJ Harvey fan, and am completely incapabale of objectivity where she is concerned, but this is the fabulously positive album that all non-PJ fans should own.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Their best album since the era defining albums of "The Bends" and "OK Computer" fromthe previous decade. For some reason this fact seemed to get lost amid the hype of the way it was sold. I really need to buy this album proper because owning the mp3s isn't really enough for me!
The Strokes – Is this It?
Quite simply redefined indie guitar rock for the rest of the decade. The deceptively simple blend of 2 guitars and bass blew everything else away even if it did sound a bit like Blondie and Television from the late seventies. And "Last Night" was *the* song of the summer of 2001.
The Killers – Hot Fuss
Just a really exciting indie / pop album from 2004-2005.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
The best of the second wave of NY bands that appeared after the Strokes. And Karen O is hot as well ;-)
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Mancunian local boys finally come good after years of being second best. "One day like this" is one of the most positive songs ever.
The White Stripes - Elephant
Proof that if you have some decent songs then you don't really need anything other than a guitar, a voice and some drums.
Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump
A great album with some heartbreakingly beautiful songs about the breakdown when technology meets nature. Could anybody else write a song about an alchoholic android (Ged!) and make it sound so sincere and tragic?
The Streets – A Grand don’t come for free
A rap concept album. Wtf!? But when it sounds this good...
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Such a shame that Amy Winehouse is now more famous now for being in the tabloids than for being a great singer songwriter. Check out her debut album "Frank" as well, there's some great songs on that as well.
Badly Drawn Boy - Hour of the Bewilderbeat
The hype around the Twisted Nerve record label and BDB reached such a fever pitch amongst the lo-fi cool kids (I wasn't one ;-)) in Manchester around 1998-1999, so much so that when this finally arrived in 2000, it seemed a bit of a dissappointment. In hindsight, I was wrong; it's a wonderful record. Such a shame his career hit the skids so soon afterwards.