Blogger Poll: British Albums Of The Decade

on Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Twenty or so British bloggers contributed to this list of their favourite British albums of the decade. I asked them to rank their top three albums and have listed the Top 10 (unfortuntely, the MySpace throwback of a Top 8 was scuppered). I attributed ten points to their #1 choices, seven points to their #2 choices and four points to their #3 choices.

This slightly bizarre scoring system was conconcted to emphasise albums which may have received multiple votes, considering the small sample size. Massive thanks to everyone who took part - Tim at The Daily Growl // Imran at Abeano // Will at The Cold Cut // David at It's Getting Boring By The Sea // Whiskas at Nyevsky Prospect // Sid at Music Liberation // Tim at funfunfun // Jamila at Fucking Dance // Ed at 17 Seconds // Tim at The Blue Walrus // Jehan at Shattered Satellite. And all the bloggers below, of course.

UPDATE: All the blogger choices can be found on this document and for more detailed blurbs, see here, here and here.

For a Spotify playlist of the tracks from this post, click this.

Over fifty albums were voted for, here are the top ten as voted for by 24 British music bloggers:

10TH. Bat For Lashes - Fur And Gold
Essential listening: 'The Horse And I', 'What's A Girl To Do'
2 votes - 2nd + 3rd = 11 points
"Out of all the female solo artists everyone's been hyping this side of 2000, Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes is by far the least annoying and contrived, and certainly the most lovely to listen to. This, her debut album, introduced the world to weird and wonderful songs about wizards and whirlwind romances, her delicate yet powerful vocals complimented by a mystical array of instruments old and new - harpsichord, anyone? 'Fur And Gold' may not have had that much mainstream success, but for those who heard it, this album is a treasure, almost like a secret shared between just you and Khan. Magical." (Tara, The Music Journal)

JOINT 7TH. Radiohead - Kid A
Essential listening: 'Everything In Its Right Place', 'Idioteque'
2 votes - 1st + 2nd = 17 points
"In terms of influence, impact and sheer courageous brilliance I can't really look beyond 'Kid A' by Radiohead. I remember the nervous excitement when it was released. It was thrillingly shocking - even after 'OK Computer' people still thought of Radiohead as a guitar band, for the most part, and the idea of anything that weird smashing its way into the charts the way it did just seemed crazy. It effectively blasted away the cobwebs forming around guitar-based pop music which had been accumulating since the decline of Britpop and announced in no uncertain terms that as far as music was concerned the nineties were OVER! And when I hear the likes of Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective I really do think that the effects of that album are still being felt today, irrespective of the fact that as far as I am concerned Radiohead haven't released anything even decent since Amnesiac." (Matthew, Song, By Toad )

JOINT 7TH. Life Without Buildings - Any Other City
Essential listening: 'PS Exclusive', 'The Leanover'
2 votes - 1st + 2nd = 17 points
"It may have drawn from a similar post-punk well to many of those that followed and been namechecked by Bloc Party and Maximo Park among others as key inspirations, but nobody has since come near the sheer incongruous power of this, their only album, let alone Sue Tompkins' scatter graph of a stream of conscious sung-spoken vocal style. Nearly nine years on it still sounds ultra-fresh and vital." (Simon, Sweeping The Nation)

JOINT 7TH. Laura Marling - Alas, I Cannot Swim
Essential listening: 'My Manic And I', 'Ghosts'
2 votes - 1st + 2nd = 17 points
"This album opened my eyes to British folk. Without this album I would not be blogging, I would not go to a crazy amount of gigs and I probably wouldn't be listening to any of the British music I listen to today. The album screams beauty, and her haunting voice and poetry still amazes me. This album quite literally changed by life, and especially my view on music, and this is why it is my album of the decade." (Anna, Flying With Anna)

JOINT 5th. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Essential listening: '15 Step', 'Weird Fishes'
2 votes - 1st + 1st = 20 points
"As the decade closes, illegal downloading is the singular most complex issue the established music industry has had to deal with for years. 'In Rainbows' is one of the most important albums of the decade not just because of the music, but also because of its method of sales and distribution.

However, once the excitement of what Radiohead were doing with In Rainbows subsided, what we are left with is the music. This is where In Rainbows stands the test of time. From the floating ambience of 'Nude', which gathered further fame by being used in haunting and visually sexual trailer for the TV show 'Skins', to the beguiling ghost blues of 'House Of Cards', 'In Rainbows' is a beautiful album that remains their simplest and warmest piece of work. You cannot put a price on beauty." (Robin, Breaking More Waves)

JOINT 5TH. Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight
Essential listening: 'I Feel Better', 'Keep Yourself Warm'
2 votes - 1st + 1st = 20 points
"For the past few years the music blogosphere has been dominated by namecheck-friendly American bands such as The National, Band Of Horses, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Wilco and TV On The Radio. But 'Midnight Organ Fight' changed all that and finally ensured Britain had a group who would be revered - globally - for their creative talents. The record confirmed Scott Hutchison as a devastatingly sharp songwriter and Frightened Rabbit as a pop band like no other." (Jason, The Pop Cop)

JOINT 3RD. The Libertines - Up The Bracket
Essential listening: 'Time For Heroes', 'Death On The Stairs'
3 votes - 1st, 2nd + 3rd = 21 points
"Though I may have listened to the follow-up a lot more, the debut still rings true. of course, the slew of terrible bands trying to copy the formula soon followed, as well as Pete and Carl later trotting out several boring records, but the energy and excitement is still all there. I barely still listen to it, but there's no way that this isn't one of the most important albums of the decade, like it or not." (Matthew, The Pigeon Post)

JOINT 3RD. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Essential listening: 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor', 'When The Sun Goes Down'
3 votes - 1st, 2nd + 3rd = 21 points
"OK, so it's a bit obvious. But what's not to like about a debut that had top tunes combined with the some of the most incisive and hilarious lyrics put to paper since Mozza was in his prime with his old band. It proved once again that its not so grim up north." (JC, The Vinyl Villain)

2ND. The Streets - Original Pirate Material
Essential listening: 'Let's Push Things Forward', 'Stay Positive'
4 votes - 1st, 1st, 2nd, + 2nd = 34 points
"What I love about this record is that it's quite literally the record dreams are made of. Anyone who has even a passing interest in music, has thought to themselves ".....I love that tune, wish I could do something like that" but they've always been a bit too shy to ask someone for help, or opinion, so they stay in their bedroom working on their "music". But 'Original Pirate Material' changed the game, and with the advent of modern technology, making well produced records in bedrooms was no longer the impossible dream.

Original Pirate Material doesn't answer any of the great questions of life. It's just an album about smoking weed, London Underground Travel Cards, bangin' garage nights, and 64's and Playstations. Simple aspects of modern life that we can all relate to. Sadly for the majority of us, it's pretty hard to make something this good, that's this simple, but for Mike Skinner, the everyman poet, the quiet Brummie kid of the Barrett Homes class, a true diamond geezer, it would appear it wasn't that hard at all." (David, And Everyone's A DJ)

1ST. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
Essential listening: 'So Here We Are', 'Banquet'
5 votes - 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd + 3rd = 35 points

"The Quintessential indie album of the 00's and probably the one I've spent the most time listening to. 'This Modern Love' and 'So Here We Are' still give me shivers, 'Banquet' and 'Helicopter' still make me want to just lose it." (David, Separated By Motorways)

"From the spiky, angry "why'd you have to get..." refrain of 'Positive Tension' to the modern day festival anthem of 'So Here We Are', it's not got a dud track on it." (Phil, There Goes The Fear)

"Angst and nothing but; Bloc Party's debut is a glorious, rarely flawed debut effort with so much energy and emotion it never has and never will be topped by the band." (Jamie, Music Fan's Mic)


So there you have it. I genuinely expected one of the Radiohead albums to top this poll. Turns out they've made too many good albums so bloggers couldn't decide which to choose as their first choice. I should point out that disregarding my vote in this poll (as well as using a more obvious scoring system) would elevate 'Original Pirate Material' to the top spot.

All the bloggers' choices will be put up on the blog shortly, complete with blurbs (if provided). A more wide reaching poll (over 200 contributors) will be published over the weekend, with any luck.

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