Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Drum roll please! I spent aaaaaages thinking about this list and finally, out of the hundred or so albums I looked at, these are my favourite albums of the past ten years. These are the albums you owe it to yourself to listen to. They are in no particular order so lets start with:

L'Arc~en~Ciel - Awake (2005)

Possibly my second favourite Laraku album, (after Ray), Awake is full of wonderful songs spanning all areas of the emotional register. Darker than most L'Arc~en~Ciel albums, it was accompanied by the anti-war themed Awake Tour 2005 which served to open the album up in new and breath-taking ways. From the beautiful simplicity of "My Dear" and sweeping "Jojoushi" to the huge catharsis of "Hoshizora", Awake is L'Arc~en~Ciel on top form.

Luna Sea - Lunacy (2000)

The final album from Luna Sea was a stunning full stop on a legendary discography. "Sweetest Coma Again", "4:00AM", "Tonight", the astounding "Gravity", Lunacy is testament to the remarkable consistency of one of Japan's kings of rock. Even X Japan can't compare in terms of regular, high-quality output.

Tool - Lateralus (2001)

The prog-metal heavyweights could easily have two albums on this list but I thought it best to restrict the list to one entry per band. Lateralus, released five years after the stunning Aenima was conclusive evidence that Tool were not one-hit wonders. The complexity and intensity of each track on the album is like an emotional sucker-punch. Tracks like "Schism", "Parabola" and the third act "trilogy" of "Disposition", "Reflection" and "Triad" are some of the greatest experimental metal tracks of all time.

Buck-Tick - Kyokuto, I Love You (2002)

This could have been 2003's Mona Lisa Overdrive or 2000's One Life, One Death so groundbreaking was Buck-Tick's music in the early noughties. Mixing alt-rock, industrial, goth, electro, acoustic, pop... Kyokuto, I Love You makes it onto the list for one song alone: "Long Distance Call", a song written by Atsushi for his dead mother, describing one of their final phone calls. Absolutely heart-breaking.

Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003)

No-one does heart-ache like Ben Gibbard. An album charting the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship, it starts of with the crashing percussion of "The New Year" before shifting gears eventually slowing to a halt mid-way through the album with the gloomy "Tiny Vessels". From here, Death Cab emerge with the title track, one of the most gorgeous lighter-in-the-air songs of the decade, an anthem that cements Gibbard as the voice of indie. Transatlanticism is a masterpiece.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (2006)

A fucking rock juggernaut. That is how I describe The Black Parade. A concept album, it tells the story of "The Patient", a cancer victim and his experience of death. Shattering the conceptions of MCR, they escape the emo tag in a hail of 70's style rock with soaring Queen-esque guitars and glam theatrics. The musicianship is also superb throughout. Another album that will live on for years to come.

Sigur Rós - ( ) (2002)

( ) is a genuinely harrowing album. It shouldn't work; it has gibberish lyrics, long periods of musical reptition and the pace of a brick but once it grabs you, it tears your emotions to shreds. the nurturing, melancholic first half of the album gives way to an underlying anger, climaxing with a song so searingly vicious for Sigur Rós , it will haunt you for days. It's dark, it's depressing but it's unrelentingly magnificent.

Linkin Park - Meteora (2003)

Linkin Park perfected their sound with this, their sophomore release. Equal parts rough and smooth, the album hurtles through it's 39minute run-time, bombarding the listener with chugging guitars, hip-hop grooves and digital wizardry as well as introducing new elements such as piano and strings, all of which combine to make a scintillating record. Meteora gave us the singles "Somewhere I Belong", "Faint", "Breaking The Habit" and probably their biggest ever hit: "Numb".

Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

What can you really say about Kid A that hasn't been said already? Kid A is when the world realised Radiohead is the greatest band of this generation. The polar opposite of Ok Computer, Kid A is a bleak, synthesized electro-rock album bristling with eccentricities. Divisive among critics and fans alike when it was first released, it now sits amongst the great albums of all time. Jaw-dropping.

and lastly...

Dir en grey - Withering to death. (2005)

I could have picked Macabre (2000), Kisou (2002), Vulgar (2003), Uroboros (2008), such is the caliber of Diru's back-catalogue, but it was 2005's Withering to death that saw Dir en grey catapult into worldwide success. Leaner than Vulgar but heavier and more melodic, it is an album of lyrical and musical brilliance, screaming at you through your speakers with killer songs such as "The Final", "Kodou" and "Saku" which famously won MTV'S Headbanger's Ball 2006.

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