12 Albums From The Past Decade That Are Way Better Than Is This It

Categories: Lists, The Strokes


...despite these black marks, Is This It was a decade-defining record that set the agenda for how rock sounded and even looked throughout the aughts. More importantly, Is This It remains (takes deep breath, steels self for commenter rage) the single best album released in the past 10 years."

Oh, Taylor Clark. Honey. No. I mean, I can get into why your assertion that the Real Rock Revivalists Who Almost Saved New York's "11-song fireball that showed [them] to be musicians with a real artistic vision"* is the best record of the past decade is flat-out wrong, but it will likely involve me jumping up and down and flailing and using the r-word and getting all sweaty. So instead, I'll just supply a dozen refutations to your argument. I'm sure our commenters will think of more! Because, real talk, Is This It is mayyyyybe somewhere in the mid-200s on the great albums of the '00s list.

12. Marnie Stern

11. Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux

10. Kanye West, 808s And Heartbreak

9. Beyoncé, 4

8. Tracey Thorn, Love And Its Opposite

7. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

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77 comments
sonic_the_ak
sonic_the_ak

Hahahahaha oh god. This isn't supposed to be legit, right ? Nah Maura Johnston you are just fucking with us xD sick prank.

DAFAQ
DAFAQ

How can you hate on the Strokes? What the hell Maura Johnston.

Richard Roe
Richard Roe

Way to completely discredit yourself by listing the worst Kanye album.

jvkla
jvkla

I love it when one guy with horrible taste makes fun of someone else with horrible taste.  Fall Out Boy?!?  Come on, you out-of-it squares...

Anonymaus
Anonymaus

Just saw this, as a serious ex-FOB fan I'd be reticent to pick Folie as their best album. Probably Cork Tree or TTTYG. Folie has too many clunkers, best songs are Urie folk collab, that wedding band one and lullaby b-side.

On the other side of the coin Cork Tree has max 3 filler songs (Ativan, Slept, that single with the vampire video) but TTTYG has 2 of the best pop-punk songs of all thyme (Patron Saint, Grenade Jumper).

Early 2000s emo is due for critical reevaluation, I will happily write a column for you about it. "Lets Get Warped: Wading Through the Emo/Pop-Punk Storm of the Early 00s"

Connor
Connor

Uhm, if you are going to put Kanye West on here, why choose his weakest album? I think that Late Registration would be a better argument against the Strokes Is This It, primarily because the music in Late Registration is absolutely perfect and Jon Brion as co-producer out the album way up on my list. His instrumentation put against Kanye West's beats, magnificent.

Marsea Truan
Marsea Truan

Extraordinary Machine was insanely good. I'll forgive you for liking Fall Out Boy because you recognized this forgotten masterpiece. I had it on repeat for months.

*marsea truan, contributing writer, Rosebud Magazine. click on my name to see my work*

Michael Bednar
Michael Bednar

Some guys can have such boring taste in music. Gawd, don't you ever want to deviate from your white boy guitar raaawk?I'll add Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, anything by Neko Case and Impossible Dream by Patty Griffin to the mix.

Dc
Dc

I completely agree with your statement that "Is This It" should not be the number one album of the 2000's, however, your list does not have ANY albums actually better than the Strokes. Is this a joke? You managed to list Kanye's worst album he has ever put out. You listed a FALL OUT BOY album?! A NE-YO album?! the NEW BEYONCE album?! Ddi you get money for writing this?

Jordan
Jordan

Franz Ferdinand is shit and fuck gayass fallout boy 

James Temple
James Temple

Whoever wrote this watches way too much MTV!  Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Kanye? What a joke. How old are you 12?

Jamie P
Jamie P

The Woods is one of my favorite albums OF ALL TIME. I will admit that I'm not so on board with some of the pop stuff, but I realize that's entirely subjective. Just because it hits my ears in a terrible, horrible way doesn't mean I think I can build a case for Why Rock Is Objectively Better. Our ear-brains are just wired differently, I think.

kippy87
kippy87

I quite like The Strokes and it makes me sad when someone would put Is This It? on the top of "best of" and it would placed them in a situation where people would say "Oh Hell No, __album is". The other day I was listening to our local radio and the dj was doing this 10 year anniv thing ---- "Under-appreciated albums released in 2001 that were better than ITI".The dj mentioned "the disastrous, megaflop, worst ever album of Pulp, "We Love Life" is > than Is This It?" I agree, but I doubt he really knew Pulp's farewell album. He just wants to belittle the NY band's achievement. The Strokes' peers voted ITI as one of the best in the 00's, placing second to Radiohead's Kid A. Their peers - including Jarvis of Pulp (then again, his Rolling Stones ballot was partial to all things Rough Trade and also listed the Baja Men). A commenter on the Slate article listed several albums that were better than ITI, albums from The White Stripes, LCD, Joanna Newsom, Sulfjan, Phoenix, Arcade Fire, YYY - bands who benefited from The Strokes success. C'mon, let's give them credit. The Strokes single-handedly slayed the likes of Limp Bizkit, Hoobastanks, Creed, and so on. For that, they should be awarded Nobel Peace Prize for the ears. But we're not talking about influential. Were the 12 albums mentioned by Maura better than ITI? My answer is: Haven't heard, Maybe, Yes, Not sure and I like "4", Yes, Yes, Haven't heard, yes, =, Yes, YES, Yes. There, I think I'm gonna write an article on why Is This It is the 26th best album of the decade.

tru2blu
tru2blu

…um, I think the point might be that such assertions are kinda silly on the face of it, no? I almost don't even care what's on this list, though I'm glad, say, LCD Soundsystem didn't come up. That might make MY head explode. I do think TV On The Radio and Arcade Fire made kinda game-changer albums somewhere in the middle of the dec, but whatever….

Jamielikesyou
Jamielikesyou

Is This It was a fine album, some choices here are fine as well. But I feel there were better albums released with broad appeal, like Arcade Fire's Funeral that far outperformed (and that wasn't even the best imo of the decade).

Chris 'Cj' Jordan
Chris 'Cj' Jordan

havent heard of some of the stuff on here but will deffo be checking some of it out! agree with the sentiment and the concept of this list, i'd have transatlanticism by death cab on here and maybe songs for the deaf and live it out by metric too

but good list anyway! i like! :)

Graphis
Graphis

What about 'Dear Science'? and...

I'm going to get mocked for this one (considering their latest album is a complete embarrassment) but I love 'The Black Parade'.

Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski

The Futureheads' first album, Franz Ferdinand's second album (so underrated), LCD Soundsystem's "Sound Of Silver," Idlewild's "The Remote Part," Sleater-Kinney's "One Beat," Jack's Mannequin's "Everything In Transit," Cat Power's "You Are Free," Maxeen's "Maxeen" and Year of the Rabbit's self-titled album. And I co-sign with Fall Out Boy. 

Greg
Greg

You start your argument with Marnie Stern? Critic, please. 

GianfrancoZolaJesus
GianfrancoZolaJesus

Why would you pick 808's? When you were thinking about Kanye, I imagine that you couldn't remember the names of every one of his other records (save Graduation) that is exponentially better?

pat
pat

Maura Johnson has somehow turned the Village Voice into her own diary. What a terrible idea for an article and further, a horribly one-sided list of albums. Sleater-Kinney, Fiona Apple, Beyonce and Tracy Thorn all on the same list? I know she threw in an Outkast to somehow try to balance it all out, but man....terrible. Why read this junk.

Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson

Reading comprehension is at an all-time low. Maura isn't saying that these albums are necessarily the best of the decade (but there's no doubt she likes them), she's saying that these are albums that are better than Is This It. Not better than everything else that came out this decade.

Bronson
Bronson

Maybe Franz Ferdinand, maybe. The rest are not even close. Not saying there aren't better albums out there but come on...these are your picks?

Michael Tedder
Michael Tedder

Not only is Room On Fire a better album, but the biggest mistake this band ever made was not releasing "Under Control"* as a single. That should have been a prom night smash. 

*Perhaps a remix where it didn't sound like Julian was singing through an intercom.

epicharmus
epicharmus

Yes, GAWD: there are smart people who like Fall-Out Boy. Try and repress your debilitating shock, solipsoids. Plus you clowns probably can't even PRONOUNCE "Siobhan Donaghy."

Barry Bailey
Barry Bailey

BTBAM - Colors, and Bear v. Shark - Terrorhawk.

Paul
Paul

One obvious exclusion here (The Avalanches) and one not-so obvious exclusion (Life Without Buildings), but yes...I would listen to everything listed here gladly before I'd put on a copy of Is This It.

Guest
Guest

Seriously, 808's and Heartbreak? Fallout-Boy? Justin Timberlake having the second BEST album of the entire decade? I thought this list was a joke, but apparently it's not. 

Britt Alderfer
Britt Alderfer

Oh my, look at the pop music backlash in the previous comments! How surprising! I admit though, I raised an eyebrow at the Fall Out Boy album you included (why not Cork Tree?!?! if you're gonna go there) but Siobhan Donaghy's Ghosts is a great choice. Criminally underrated everywhere.

nick
nick

'year of the gentleman' is great and all, but would you say that ne-yo has a REAL ARTISTIC VISION? and does 'year of the gentleman' have REAL ANALOGUE WARMTH? 

CheetahDeals Blog
CheetahDeals Blog

Beyonce's 4 is not from the same decade as Is This It. (I disagree [as is one's wont and sort of the point of this piece, I suppose] very strongly with a lot of the selections, but that would merit an entirely you know different venue of response, I think, and more effort/time than I have right now. So I dont mean to derail any discussions happening here, but thought I'd indicate that, respectfully.)

James Temple
James Temple

I'll take any of your picks over any of the writers picks. I'm surprised Katy Perry is not on her list. Fall Out Boy? Marnie Stern? Beyonce? Please people, there's a world of great music out there beyond the junk on mtv, the pop charts and commercial radio.

Chris Molanphy
Chris Molanphy

Maybe not Top 10 of the decade but I'll totally back you up on The Black Parade.

maura
maura

First of all, it's Johnston.Second of all, what do you mean by "horribly one-sided"? "Not enough white males with guitars"?Third of all, the whole POINT of this piece was that I could name 12 albums off the top of my head that are better than the so-called "best album of the past 10 years." And I invited every person reading to do so as well! I'm trying to take a stand against shitty canon-building here.

Chris Molanphy
Chris Molanphy

Great question: Why read it? You don't have to! Commenting, however—that, you like doing.

Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski

I used to see that Life Without Buildings album everywhere used for like a dollar. I always wanted to buy copies of it and give them away to friends, it's so good. (And I bought it randomly in London at Rough Trade! Best random buy ever.)

Innajunglestylee
Innajunglestylee

Good call on Life Without Buildings - sadly not available for streaming via Spotify, but the live LP is. I know what I'm queuing up next. 

maura
maura

ooh, see, this is what i meant by 'the top of my head'! that life without buildings record is amazing.

maura
maura

it really is a lost masterpiece.

Innajunglestylee
Innajunglestylee

Read closer: Slate's writer took the position that "Is This It" is the best album of the last ten years, not of the decade. Since that pegs the start date for "the last ten years" as the October 2001 US release of the LP, Beyonce's "4" squeezes in under the wire.

If you're gonna troll, RTFA.

KT
KT

I'm not sure you know who Marnie Stern is, based on this comment, which makes me question your authority to call out Maura.  I notice you offer no counter-examples, yourself, which was the entire point of the post.  And re:  your previous comment, those people are barely on MTV, anymore, which makes me think you're even further ill-informed.  How old are you?  50?

Lorin
Lorin

I got your back, Maura. Folie a Deux is classic status.

CheetahDeals Blog
CheetahDeals Blog

Also, when the word "decade" is used in the sub-title of the linked-to article, quoted matter at the top of this piece, in its first paragraph, and the phrase "great albums of the '00s list" is used, I think it's reasonable to assume the decade of 2001-2010 is being discussed. I didn't make a frigging comment on the Slate article, and I didn't care to read it.

CheetahDeals Blog
CheetahDeals Blog

WOW IS ANYTHING ANYONE SAYS "TROLLING" TO YOU? WHAT AN IMPOVERISHED WORLD YOU MUST LIVE IN BASED ON YOUR VOCABULARY.

Innajunglestylee
Innajunglestylee

Again: if you didn't read the article and made an ill-informed remark, that's on you. 

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