Earlier this week, Business Insider published a list of the most critically acclaimed albums released so far in the 21st century, courtesy of Metacritic. The review aggregator site has found a niche on the web for years now with its consensus scoring system and unbiased editorial approach. And with its round-up of the most highly regarded records of the ‘00s to date, the critical consensus highlights some stellar – and also some surprising – releases spanning the complete musical spectrum.
Kicking off the century with a bang was Outkast with their 2000 modern day classic Stankonia, before being succeeded in 2001 by Bob Dylan for Love and Theft, and grime outfit The Streets for their 2002 release Original Pirate Material. From there, the likes of Brian Wilson for Smile, The Bug Life for London Zoo, and Serge Gainsbourg for Histoire de Melody Nelson rounding out the noughties.
Kick-starting the current decade of the century was Kanye West with his 2010 magnum opus release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, with some controversial choices following in the ensuing years with the likes of Ry Cooder’s Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down in 2011 and Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers in 2012 taking the top spot – both greatly dividing critics and users.
The round-up also means that, going by the critics score, the best album of the bunch is Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers – despite having the worst user score of 4.8. Meanwhile, the highest user rating of the 17 LP’s is tied between Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly – both scoring 9.0. And with two albums on the list, Lamar could make history by being the only artist to top it twice as 2017’s DAMN. is the most critically acclaimed of the year so far.
All of these albums deserve a listen, however, there’s been plenty of other fantastic releases in the past 17 years that warrant your attention too. You can find the complete list below, and here’s to 17 more music-filled years ahead!
17 Most Critically Acclaimed Albums Since 2000:
2000: Outkast – Stankonia
2001: Bob Dylan – Love and Theft
2002: The Streets – Original Pirate Material
2003: The White Stripes – Elephant
2004: Brian Wilson – Smile
2005: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
2006: Ali Farka Toure – Savane
2007: The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
2008: The Bug – London Zoo
2009: Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson
2010: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Fantasy
2011: Ry Cooder – Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
2012: Wadada Leo Smith – Ten Freedom Summers
2013: Deafheaven – Sunbather
2014: D’Angelo – Black Messiah
2015: Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
2016: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
2017: Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.