1. Mike Johnson – What Would You Do?
2. Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio – Customs
3. The Clipse – Lord Willin’
4. Ratatat – Classics
5. Hillfolk Noir – Diggin’ Songs
6. Buddy & Julie Miller – S/T
7. Sarah Harmer – You Were Here
8. Finn Riggins – A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer
9. Danger Mouse – The Grey Album
10. Melissa Auf Der Maur – S/T
11. Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
12. The Universal – Everything Is Everywhere
Ok. So I cheated. 12 instead of 10. Boo. But I am not kidding. And I stand by the order as well. I have made top ten lists for this store for a long time, and I think all of these albums stand up really well to repeated listening. And they were all on top tens of the past. Look it up!
The top two albums go back and forth, and are interchangeable in my heart. All of their albums are indispensable to me, but What Would You Do is so solemn and heartfelt, it’s gravitas is timeless. His musings on the themes of loss and heartbreak are monumental and timeless. Customs is not easy listening, although very listenable to me. His songs are about external pressures, duty and tasks. Joel is a genius.
Even though the subject matter contained in rap CDs makes me physically ill, The Clipse and Atmosphere got a lot of play throughout the decade, and still are enjoyable listening. The Danger Mouse mash up of the White Album and Jay-Z increased my appreciation of both of those albums, although I still prefer The Grey Album to both of its sources, as well as anything Brian Burton has released since then.
The Hillfolk Noir, Finn Riggins and Universal albums are on this list because I believe them to be worthy of inclusion, not because of my high regard for them personally. Their CDs deserve to be heard. So, listen to them, go see them live, they really deliver.