The best albums of the 21st century… according to Beck, Karen O and Daft Punk
This month’s edition of GQ magazine lists the “The 21 Albums from the 21st Century Every Man Should Hear”. Compiled by the mag’s editorial team the surprisingly not-shit list has Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy at #1 and also includes PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx’s We’re New Here and Beyonce’s 2013 self-titled release.
In addition to their own list, GQ asked a handful of musos to nominate their picks for best album of the 21st century. The likes of Beck, Karen O, Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake have all contributed their opinions, with some pretty interesting results. Electronic masterminds Daft Punk think that The Strokes’ debut Is This It had the “fresh and distinctive” sound the world had been waiting for over a decade; while Beck thinks M.I.A.’s 2005 record Arular is where it’s at, describing the rapper’s debut as an “incredible kaleidoscopic filters of different cultures coming together in a pure and innocent way”.
The Best Albums from the 21st Century according to…
Daft Punk – The Strokes Is This It
“Julian and his bandmates followed in the footsteps of the Velvet Underground, Television, Suicide, the Ramones, and Blondie, creating the fresh, distinctive sound we’d been waiting for for over a decade.”
Justin Timberlake – D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Radiohead’s Kid A
“It may seem ironic that I’d pick two albums released in the first year of the twenty-first century, with all the great music that has come since then. But I was 19. I was ready to listen to music in a different way. Not only were they filled with great songs, but the sound of them really affected me. They were complete pieces of work – progressive and retro at the same time. They transformed whatever world I was in at the time. And eventually led to my desire to make my first solo record. I’ll always reference them as the inspiration that got me off of my ass. I always go back to them, and they still do (get me off of my ass).”
Beck – M.I.A.’s Arular
“You could feel that album in the air a few years before she did it – just these incredible kaleidoscopic filters of different cultures coming together in a pure and innocent way. The record had a political feeling of early Public Enemy but a sense of fun and energy. She’s just a raconteur.”
Karen O – Liars’ They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument
“With gnarly absurdist hooks, it was for me the jewel in the crown of the New York music scene at the turn of the century. We questioned it then, but now I’m certain we were having an honest-to-God moment.”
Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig – The Dirty Projectors’ The Glad Fact
“Besides Stankonia? How ‘bout the Dirty Projectors album The Glad Fact. It came at this moment when people were really wondering where alt-rock was gonna head. Dave Longstreth had this uniqueness of voice – and I don’t just mean his singing voice, which is unique, but the perspective. Also: It was my one and only published music review. Ha.”
Jamie xx – The Streets’ Original Pirate Material
“It was one of the first things I heard when I decided to make music using a computer. Although I could play some instruments, I wasn’t good enough to be original. With electronic music, it was different. Each song is basically a sample, a bass line and a beat to give Mike Skinner the space to do his thing. He just speaks and tells stories. It’s set around the area I grew up in – Brixton, in southwest London. Everybody my age was listening to it. Everybody got it.”