Decade List: Best Albums 2000-2009

Blur: Think Tank (2004)
Blur, sadly, is no more

 

  1. Tool: Lateralus (2001)
    Tool’s Lateralus might not just be my album of the decade but my favorite album of all time or at least an album held in as high regard as Nine Inch Nail’s deeply underrated Fragile album. That admission automatically takes this list out of the realm of the objective (as if even a “good” list could be) and lands it somewhere between the idiosyncratic and the imprudent. Even so, I would classify Tool’s oft-divisive work as something I can’t get by without to this day. To even call it music seems unfair. It’s meta music, something transcendent and I mean that in the most pretentious way possible. Metal rock, prog rock, math rock, art rock, metaphysical rock, rock-um-rock, I could go on all day trying to figure out Lateralus’ complex style, strange sounds, shifting genres (not to mention time signatures) and enigmatic-to-a-point-of-parody lyrics but what would be the point of all that? Tool doesn’t make albums that can or should be understood with conventional logic or rational thinking. All that’s needed is a brain, a play button and a hefty dose of repressed childhood trauma and unexpressed rage. 
    Best Moment: Towards the end of “The Grudge” Maynard unleashes an barrage of “let go(s).” Very cathartic. Also, it’s hard to beat the alien invasion that ends the album.
  2. Beck: Sea Change (2002)
    Tool was able to tap into the primal part of our brains. Beck, however, had the emotional side of things covered. It’s hard to put this album into words. And, no, calling it a “break-up album” are not the words I or anyone should be looking for. Call it that is like calling “Citizen Kane” a break-up movie. It is but… it’s really not. Sea Change is about so much more than relationships. It’s about loss, regret, self doubt and growth. But, of course, in typical Beck fashion it is about those things without actually being about any of those things. In a lot of ways this is Beck’s most honest straightforward album. The lush production, melancholic smoothness and deeply meaningful lyrics (he actually completes full and coherent sentences in this album) hint at a totally different type of artist. For a musician that was known in the 90s as a master of gimmicks and playful funk the arrival of Sea Change signals a literal see change in the artist and rock music in general for the decade. I didn’t expect it but I also (thankfully) didn’t resist it. Above all, Sea Change is a very personal album for both the person making it and the person listening. It’s perfect.
    Best Moment: The final moments of of “Lonesome Tears.” The violins grow and grow and grow then, with a bit of uneasiness, it sounds like a plane is passing by and everything settles.  Very transcendent.
  3. Spiritualized: Let It Come Down (2001)
    I must admit that Spiritualized’s music, especially on Let it Come Down, is the closest I will ever get to having a “religious experience.” Quite appropriate considering the band’s name.
    Best Moment: The first mention of Jesus. And drugs. And Jesus doing drugs.
  4. Pulp: We Love Life (2001)
    Along with NIN, Pulp defined 90s music for me. One of the nicest surprises of the decade was Jarvis Cocker and Pulp’s ability to effortlessly carry the band’s legacy over into the new decade if only for a moment. A triumph in every way imaginable, We Love Life puts most of the music of the decade to shame. But, unlike a lot of veteran bands working in a new era (ahem, U2), it does not succeed by not a rehashing old sounds or tropes. It’s simultaneously a bold new direction and a tragic glimpse of the greatness that was surly still to come from Pulp had they not broken up. But if this this album teaches us anything it is that everything that is beautiful and thriving in this world must also eventually decay and die.
    Best Moment: The lyrics “Took an air-rifle and shot a man to the ground. And it died without a sound.” Stone cold! Also, the optimism of the song “I Love Life” preceded, of course, by the darkness of “The Night That Mini Timperley Died.”
  5. Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet (2007)
    If putting Tool at #1 almost invalidated the list then the inclusion of Porcupine Tree is the nail in its coffin. While Tool gives Porcupine Tree a run for its money nothing can dethrone this band’s status as nerdiest, whitest rock music around. Three years in and not a week that goes by where I do not listen to some if not all of this album. What can I say: I love modern prog. Blank Planet introduced me to the prolific but little heard of (in America) British band Porcupine Tree and for that reason alone it deserves special consideration. Exploring the alienation of modern culture through technology, Blank Planet is one of the most serious (and just plain best) progressive rock albums to date. It’s the kind of album that would make people rethink their inexplicable hatred of the prog genre–provide the album was actually heard by anybody, which it wasn’t. The exquisitely exhaustive 17 minute opus “Anesthetize” is the album’s showpiece and the best Porcupine Tree song of all time. That’s no surprise considering the album it’s on is nothing short of the band’s best album to date. Which is saying something. While I’ve only been a fan of Porcupine tree for three short years they have ranked more albums on this list than any other band: Lightbulb Sun, In Absentia, Deadwing, Fear of a Blank Planet and 2009’s The Incident. Either I’m obsessed or the band is really good. Maybe both?
    Best Moment: The best prog song ever recorded is the sit-come length “Anesthetize.” Also the strings in “Sleep Together.”
  6. Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles (2008)
    In terms of new music the biggest moment of the decade for me was when a a dear friend turned me on to this self-titled Crystal Castles album. Less than a minute into “Untrust Us” and I feel in love. For those of us who always wanted to know what was in those suspicious pills that Dr. Mario was always messing around with, the answer is Crystal Castles. Naturally I figured this 8bit, Nintendo on acid electronica noise album would cause a revolution. Though it has its fans, it didn’t. Not even Crystal Castles repeated this album’s winning formula with their second (also self titled) album. That makes this a one of a kind experience that easily ranks Crystal Castles up there as my favorite new band of the decade. Along with two albums listed above, this one’s still in my car’s six disk changer which, lets face it, is the mark of a masterpiece.
    Best Moment: Alice Glass says “hi” to start off the dissonant song “Alice Practice.” It’s the only intelligible lyric in the whole album. Actually, maybe not. I think I also heard her howl the word “chips,” “breasts” and something about a robot with AIDS.
  7. Radiohead: Amnesiac (2001)
    Kid A got all the glory but Amnesiac meant more–to me at least. The tone, themes and musical range in this red headed stepchild of an album is all over the place. It is viewed by most as a curious Kid A offshoot but not much else. But this is one of those rare cases where the b-sides are better, or at least more interesting, than the a-sides. Amnesiac is one of the most unique Radiohead albums ever produced because it’s more impulsive, raw and awkward. It’s also not over-thought which can be a problem with some recent Radiohead works such as Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows.
    Best Moment: Thom Yorke gets all (ironically?) pugilistic on “You and Whose Army” threatening to destroy everyone and their mothers. Aww, how cute.
  8. The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003)
    Oddly enough, the best description of how awesome (and/or silly depending on your point of view) Mars Volta is came from the movie “Get Him To The Greek.” Johna Hill’s girlfriend asked him who Mars Volta was and he answered with this. Over the last seven years I think of a lot of us prog nerds tried and totally failed at making our girlfriends dig Mars Volta. It’s just not gonna happen. Mars Volta exploded on the prog scene with this multi-layered album that is equal parts brilliant and baffling. The often mocked band banged out some of the most unique and original sounds of the decade (a single song could range from prog to jazz to full on psychedelia), something Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala could never have done (or continued to do as they have four albums later and counting) had they listened to critics or, um, girlfriends.
    Best Moment: The opening song followed by the lyrics “Noooooowwww I’mmmmmm loooooooooosssssstttttt.” VOLTA!
  9. Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero (2007)
    Just when I thought NIN was done with concept albums Trent Reznor released his most ambitious project to date. Year Zero, NIN’s final studio album, chronicles, through the band’s fitting industrial sound, the end of the world though the tragically necessary collapse of a civilization taken hostage by imperialism, ignorance, greed and religion. When Trent Reznor sings “As time is running out, let me take away your doubt. We can find a better place in this twilight” we not only feel his pain and passion but are exhilarated by his dark sense of storytelling. On The Fragile Reznor sang about a hand reaching down from the sky and crushing us all but it was more symbolic. With Year Zero it’s almost literal hand–“Some say  it was a warning, some say it was a sign. I was standing there when it came down from the sky.” Exorcising a lot of demons (political, personal and otherwise), it feels as if this album rekindled Reznor’s love of music. Perhaps mine as well. As a bonus it’s the band’s most industrial sounding album since the misunderstood “Fixed” ep.
    Best Moment: Every great song ends with a minute or two of grinding industrial sounds. The uplifting (and apocalyptic!) ending is also pretty amazing.
  10. Super Furry Animals: Rings Around the World (2001)
    Lead singer Gruff Rhys described Rings as a “cosmic rock record” and that might even be downplaying it. When you listen to this, or, indeed, just about any Super Furry Animals album you feel as if anything is possible and with songs styles ranging from psychedelic techno to death metal (“Receptacle For the Respectable”) you never know what you might hear next. Could be Auto-Tuned vitriol on songs like “Juxtaposed With You” (“You’ve got to tolerate, all those people that you hate, I’m not in love with you, but I won’t hold that against you…”) and “No Sympathy” (“you deserve to dieeeeeeeeeeeeeekasjdfkajskdfjkjdskfajskdfjkjk” the song goes just before undergoing the most amazing two minute stuttering schizophrenic music breakdown of all time), could be fluffy surf music (“Sidewalk Surfer Girl”) or tributes to Doris Day, could be a scathing commentary on modern religion on the underrated techno country (what?) track “Run! Christian, Run!,” or hell, it could just be Paul McCartney on “carrot and celery rhythm track.” Everything I love about the band is super sized on this deliberately bloated two disk explosion of eclectic oddities. After a triumphant 90s SFA created some of the most enjoyable music of this last decade and this album is what got the ball rolling.
    Best Moment: So many moments. Many are listed above.
  11. Muse: Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
    One of the most exciting NEW rock bands to emerge from the last decade released their opus in 2006. In retrospect its easy to see why this robust album made Muse popular even though it took a little while to catch on (proud to say I voted it the best album of 2005). Its one of those rare cases where (a) I dig a super popular rock band and (b) I’m happy that a band –making a prog album no less!– found mainstream popularity. Some bands are so good they need to be big so they can put everything else to shame. Rock may have died these last ten years but Muse did their best to keep it alive and they did that through strobe light political/sci-fi anthems worthy of and possibly even surpassing the best of their influences (David Bowie and Queen).
    Best Moment: The end of “Take A Bow,” “Buuuuurrrrrrnnnnn in hell, yeah you’ll buuuuurrrrnnnn in hell for your SINNNNNNSSSSSS– dum, dum, dum, dum AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” followed by “Starlight.” Definitely gets us in the mood!
  12. Puscifer: V Is for Vagina (2007)
    A hated album/band. I get that. I was also down on V the first few times I listened. Ripped from Maynard James Keenan id, Puscifer is a hard one to figure out. It’s like a junk bin full of songs that don’t belong. I was expecting Tool or at the very least A Perfect Circle. I did not expect… this. V is a funky, jokey, and totally serious underneath it all alternative (or is it prog) album with a fertility idol as a mascot. The forced imagery draws upon/creates its own pagan myth and juvenile “humor” (Maynard is as creepy as he is cool). The album is full of cult-like vagina worshiping (for real!) and country boners and that can seem off putting or dumb on the surface. But that’s not the end of it. As a vanity side project this could have gone down the same drain as Albarnn’s forgettable The Good, The Bad and the Queen but a strange thing happened, the album would not go away. I kept humming the Gregorian Monk-like chants, “wake up some of mine…,” “ho-hoooh ho-hooo,” “Je-ho-vah! Yah-weh!”etc. Long story short, the album has stuck around as much as anything released in the last few years. It was not long before I finally had to give in and admit that I love the hell out of Puscifer. In the end this underrated album is far more memorable and audacious than his popular Perfect Circle side project and ultimately worthy to be spoken of in the same breath as Tool. Give it a chance!
    Best Moment: Vaginas!
  13. Blonde Redhead: 24 (2007)
    The most ethereal and down right dreamy album of the decade. This is an album that is easy to get lost in during long drives and thinking sessions. That’s very surprising considering the band’s past work not only went for a more rock oriented sound but was not even very original at that. This is one of those cases where sounding like Radiohead is the best thing a band could do and that’s quite ironic considering it surpasses much of what Radiohead did in the 2000s.
    Best Moment: This is not really an album of moments but about broad gestures.
  14. The Knife: Silent Shout (2006)
    My love affair with the brooding synthpop Knife siblings (Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer) began here. Every bit as good as Deep Cuts (ranked 43 on this list), the release of the darker and more electronic Silent Shout is the moment when The Knife quietly became one of the best bands of the decade. I have little doubt that this album will stand the test of time. It’s a hard one to shake. As a bonus check out The Knife’s first ever live album called Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience for a whole new interpretation of this amazing album.
    Best Moment: Andersson robot voice on “Neverland.” Vader would be proud.
  15. Nine Inch Nails: The Slip (2008)
    Radiohead got all full of themselves when they pretended to release a “free” on-line album (In Rainbows). NIN actually did it. That the album is one of Reznor’s best is just the icing on the razor blades and metal shard flavored cake. It returns NIN to the raw yet melodic rock sounds that Reznor achieved on Downward Spiral and Broken.
    Best Moment: While listening to The Slip for the 100th time on I saw that on my iPhone the lyrics and artwork show up! Trent is so cool!
  16. Ladytron: Velocifero (2008)
    Velocifero surprised the hell out of me. After a lukewarm response I didn’t even expect to like 2009’s Ladytron album. Don’t get me wrong I always enjoyed this electropop band (60 4 and Light & Magic have their moments) but never knew they would capable of  something this big. A total grower. After many listens I realized that the entire album plays like a flawless best-of that most bands take years to compile. I can’t wait to see what Ladytron does next.
    Best Moment: Black Cat. I mean, when was the last time anybody jammed this hard to a Bulgarian language song?
  17. Gomez: Split the Difference (2004)
    Gomez’s best album to date! The all-over-the-place traks are unified only by the band’s willingness to experiment more and more with their already quirky brit rock sounds. I love how the members of the band work on their music  independently and come together to form, well, Gomez. The resulting madness resulted in my pick for best album of 2004. Gomez had a great decade and a case could be made for each album (except for their last, A New Tide) being their best.
    Best Moment: The messy but catchy opening three tracks (“Do One,” “These 3 Sins,” and “Silence” sets the mood for the rest of the album.
  18. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
    There was a time when the only thing I knew about The Flaming Lips is that they wrote a creepy song about jelly and made an appearance at the Peach Pit After Dark on “90210.” Then Yoshimi hit and everything changed. This celebrated album elevated The Flaming Lips into artists (at least, for those of us not fortunate enough to have heard The Soft Bulletin a few years earlier). But what’s so cool is that the band got some much earned credibility without sacrificing their sense of acid blasted fun or experimentation. This album was so special (is there any other word for it?) that it took the band a full album to recover. After selling out to every car commercial known to man and the making the confused (in a bad way) At War With the Mystics, the Lips got their groove (and integrity) back with . Oh, and they also put on what is without a doubt the best live show of the decade!
    Best Moment: Oh, has to be the moment that Unit 30021 awakens and makes a humming sound.
  19. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
    Cage replaced angry howls with a soulful gospel album. The results are maturity and refinement without the loss of that vintage dulcet doomed Cave-ness that we fans love. It is with this double album that Cave, in my opinion, perfected his craft. Soul, fury, god, sex and blood. Lots of blood. And with lines like “Karl Marx squeezed his carbuncles while writing Das Kapital/And Gaugin, he buggered off, man, and went all tropical…” his songwriting has never been better, funnier, deeper or more strange.
    Best Moment: Every second of “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” especially the song’s rousing chorus. How was that song not a single?
  20. Herbert: Scale (2006)
    Matthew Herbert’s electronic masterpiece takes from the best of electronica, Jazz and, yes, even classic Hollywood compositions. Beeps, buzzes, trickles, drips, bangs, and, if Wikipedia is to be believed “breakfast cereal, gas pumps and coffins.” But the album is not some heady and inert piece of electronic music. The everything-AND-the-kitchen-sink music technique is offset by gorgeously sweeping symphonic movements that paint a surprisingly elegant soundscape. There’s so much going on in terms of all the sounds that every listen yields something new and exciting.  It’s catchy, it’s soulful and its fun. Contributor Róisín Murphy also does some of her best work on this album. And finally, if all that wasn’t enough, the song “Something Isn’t Right” is one of the decade’s best songs.
    Best Moment: The first organic sounding blip. It’s as if we’re trapped inside the bowls of a musically inclined whale!
  21. Tool: 10,000 Days (2006)
    A bigger fan of Tool’s last two albums I find myself in minority. It seems that most Tool fans are not to fond of 10,000 days but Tool fans are not commonly fond of anything beyond the band’s first two albums (they did, after all, sell out and suck up to THE MAN). So is this lesser Tool? Objectively, that’s a hard one to answer because, again, going by critics and fans, one would think it is. It’s not. It’s a great work full of complexity and unrelenting rock passages that solidify Tool’s status as legends of modern music. It offers some of the band’s most ambitious and absurd songs to date. Often in the same song! “Rosetta Stoned” is about a hippie who takes some bad acid and is visited by aliens telling him he’s the messiah. Then he freaks out and “shits the bed.” That people still call Tool pretentious is one of the great mysteries surrounding the band’s impact (or lack thereof) on music. Say what you will about 10,000 Days but it features some of the best work by the best guitarist in the world, Adam Jones (check out his work on the song “Jambai”), drummer Danny Carey (“Intension,” “Right in Two”) and of course singer Maynard James Keenan who surprised a lot of Tool fans like me with his deeply moving “Wings for Marie (Pt 1),” and “10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2).”
    Best Moment: Easy one. “Rosetta Stoned.” Guy takes too much acid. Aliens talk to him and tell him he’s the chosen one. He freaks out and “shits the bed.” Goddamn.
  22. Radiohead: Kid A (2000)
    The best album of the decade according to many. A great Radiohead album according to me. Why is that not enough? Radiohead defined rock in the 90s and almost single handily added electronica to rock in the 00s. The fact that I’m still listening to it means that everything is indeed in the right place.
    Best Moment: “Everything in it’s Right Place.” What a perfect way to open an album like this. Hum, is everything really in the right place? OMG, Radiohead’s being ironic again!
  23. Gorillaz: Demon Days (2005)
    The best novelty band of all time. Perhaps because of that novelty aspect though the Gorillaz are not given enough credit as one of the most innovative and defining bands of the last decade. Led by Blur front man Damon Albarn, Gorillaz helped change music. The band highlights a lot of what music was about in the 2000s. They fused rap, hip-hop, rock, pop and world music better than any band, and a lot of bands tried. On top of that they a function as a gimmicky act, yes, but also a remarkably creative and robust commentary on commercial excess and even the apocalypse. Demon Days, my favorite Gorillaz album, is a full blown concept album featuring a fully animated “fake” band of primates that put most real bands to shame. That they are constantly able to adapt and evolve (hehe) is another benchmark. This new decade has already brought great promise with the new Plastic Peach album that will most certainly be featured on a list very similar to this ten years from now.
    Best Moment: Simple village people called “Happyfolk” are terrorized by corporate greed. World swallowed by the darkness that ensues. God looks up in Heaven and laughs at us. That’s Dennis Hopper’s spoken-word song “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head.” Like Year Zero, it ends the album on an apocalyptic note. As a bonus Demon Days’ epilogue is two blissfully sad tunes aided by the The London Community Gospel Choir.
  24. Super Furry Animals: Phantom Power (2002)
    SFA scores another winner! Phantom Power even ranked as my number one album of 2005. I still regard it very highly but feel that Rings Around the World is the better, more authentic Animals effort. Still, this album, more melancholy and sober than their past work, is ambitious and offers a refreshing change of direction for the oft wild band. SFA have not revisited the sounds of Phantom Power since but that only makes it all the more special. While Gruff Rhys and his fellow insane Welshmen still find time for songs about “Golden Retrievers” and turtles named Venus and Serena, Phantom Power goes on to explore unjust wars, cycles of violence and a post-9-11 culture of fear. It is an album that is hard to define that was released in an era that was even harder to figure out.
    Best Moment: Goooooolden Retriever. Go-ooh-ooh-lden Retriever.
  25. Porcupine Tree: Deadwing (2005)
    I don’t understand how anyone could dismiss this album. Porcupine Tree fans like me say this a lot. And they say it about each album. A towering achievement from a band that just gets better and better.  PTs eighth album shows no sign of the band slowing. Quite the opposite. They upped the intensity and emotional connections to their prog rock sounds on this highly cinematic “ghost story” concept album. Perhaps Deadwing is also their most mainstream album to date as well. There are so many great PT songs are in this album (“Shallow,” “Lazarus,” “Halo,” “Open Car,” “Arriving Somewhere”) that I find it impossible not to rank it high. In fact, shame on me for not getting it in the top ten.
    Best Moment: The twelve minute prog opus “Arriving Somewhere but Not Here” gives “Anesthetize” a run for its money.
  26. Daft Punk: Alive 2007
  27. …and Discovery (2001 and 2007)
    Though I have a weak spot for live albums I tried to keep them separate from the regular albums (see list below for a best live list) but this isn’t a normal live album. Daft Punk does not just present their best songs they rethink them entirely! It’s a new way of making music through artful synthesis. Mash ups are often fun but they have never been this thoughtful or cleverly implemented. Radiohead comes close when they remix their songs live but Daft Punk went one step beyond. The lovable robots looked back at their short list of songs spanning only a few albums (a few GREAT albums, notably Discovery) and, like the dutiful machines they are, reimagined them, remixed them and took them even deeper into the realm of the unreal. And they did it live! If songs like “Hard, Better, Faster, Stronger”  weren’t good enough on their own, when interwoven with a club hit like “Around the World” a whole new experience is created. One of the biggest musical marvels of the decade.
    Best Moment: Rock!……… robot bock… around the world.
  28. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
    What happened to Wilco? Well, actually, after two flawless back-to-back alt-rock winners, Yankee and A Ghost is Born, Wilco simply went back to… being Wilco. You know what, it doesn’t even matter because at least they got to make this totally original, genre bending, studio-be-damned album. All the overrated country folk rock albums in the world won’t change that.
    Best Moment: The amount of time it takes “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” to get going and the effect of how cool it is once it does.
  29. Nine Inch Nails: With Teeth (2005)
    Not one of the band’s best but certainly one of Trent Reznor’s most important albums to date. It is a victorious (and vicious) comeback album. After the soul crushing gap before and after The Fragile release it was uncertain if NIN would ever really be back. With Teeth answered that with an emphatic “yes.” Unlike most of his 90s peers that includes toothless acts like Pearl Jam, Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots (etc. etc.), Trent has gotten smarter and sharper with age rather than soft and irrelevant. He is able to redirect his trademark anger into something darkly beautiful and edgy. “The Hand That Feeds” and “Only” remain some of best 2000s singles.
    Best Moment: The spaced out “Beside You in Time” would have been the perfect note to end on but, sadly, the feelings that mostly wordless song evokes ruined by one of NIN’s worst songs to date: “Right Where It Belongs.”
  30. Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf (2002)
    I never would have imagined that Queens of all bands would have put out an album this cohesive after the good but messy Rated R. This album is epic. The kind of effort that proves a classic rock album could be made in the 00s and be made as good as anything in the past. If the term Neo-Classic Rock didn’t exist before Songs for the Deaf, it should damn well exist after it. This is the last great album Queens of the Stone Age will ever make. Even if Josh Homme brought back Nick Oliveri and Dave Grohl I doubt they could re-capture the magic of Deaf.
    Best Moment: The radio show segue gimmick shouldn’t work but it’s really cool here. My Chemical Romance does a similar thing on their new 2010 album and it’s… lets just say not as cool.
  31. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Worlds Apart (2005)
    …and you will also know this band by the bombastic sounds of this amazing (and amazingly underrated) alt-rock album. World’s takes all the magic of Source Tags and Codes only to blow it up, stretch it out and experiment the hell out of the boundaries of this music genre. It does not get the credit it deserves.
    Best Moment: The intense, almost theatrical instrumental opening followed by a woman screeching and saying “and you will know us by the trail of dead.”
  32. Weezer: Maladroit (2002)
    The hardest Weezer has ever rocked. And the funniest they’ve ever been. And the most iconoclastic (as the title would indicate). Oh, and of course the creepiest and most neurotic (the song “Love Explosion” opens with this classic Rivers Cuomo gem: “Take a listen around you/to all the people that crowd around in your house/They be wanting to kill you… in your sleep”). In a way it’s also their most confident. Maladroit is sound of Weezer hitting their peek. Sadly, it was all downhill from here. This is easily my favorite Weezer album to date and that’s mostly because I’ll never understand why Pinkerton is so trendy.
    Best Moment: The “Keep Fishing” video. Oh nothing, Weezer is just jamming with The Muppets!
  33. Neon Neon: Stainless Style (2008)
    A retro 80s concept album from the frontman of Super Furry Animals. The album is a biopic of sorts about the crazy, drug fueled life of the inventor of the Delorian. Yes, that’s the Back to the Future car guy. How cool is that? Actually, it would not be that cool at all if the album wasn’t really good. It is. Give it a shot.
    Best Moment: A small moment in the song “I Told Her On Alderon” (Han Solo’s home planet?). Gruff sings about a doctor and then does the doctor’s voice “hello, come right in.” For some reason I find that hilarious!
  34. Beck: The Information (2006)
    While it didn’t make my top twenty the year it came out this is one of those albums that grew and grew and grew on me until I could not deny it’s status as a masterpiece (the opposite happened with Guero for some reason). The Information combines all the eras of Beck-dom with ease and fun and a lot of funk. There’s love songs (“Think I’m In Love”) there’s old school Beck (“1,000 BPM,” “Elevator Music”), stoner beck (“Nausea”) and there’s even a new Beck: space age time travel. The final epic, a three song suite featuring Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze talking about space crafts is an moody ambient masterpiece. If the album ages any better then ten years from now it may give Sea Change a run for its money no pun intended.
    Best Moment: The last song is so trippy it defies words.
  35. Tenacious D: Tenacious D (2001)
    Call it joke album if you want but it happens to be a joke album with really good rock music. And the comedy skits that are just as good (Drive Through, Friendship Test etc.). Listening to Jables (Jack Black) and Rage Kage (Kyle Gass) double team the ladies, vanquish dragons and fight over kielbasa sausages only to make up through a song about friendship and running naked through the park is just as enjoyable to listen to today. I’ve quoted this album way too much over the years. “Yeah, that’s right, that’s a karate chop.”
    Best Moment: Don’t make me pick just one… okay it’s when JB and KG double team a woman, treating to a night of toe sucking pleasure that most of us dare not dream of. “Now we’re talking… DOUBLE TEAM!”
  36. Doves: The Last Broadcast (2002)
    After this album the Doves should never be considered secondhand Radiohead British knockoffs.
    Best Moment: The song “Words” chills me out.
  37. Robbie Williams: Sing When You’re Winning (2000)
    I was once really into Robbie Williams. “greatness.” After revisiting this playful and catchy album earlier in the year I do not regret it either.
    Best Moment: Rock DJ. What a song! The video where Robbie Williams tears off his skin and throws it to the ladies is amazing.
  38. Gomez: In Our Gun (2002)
    Gomez’s has had an astonishingly good run but the kind of run nobody even knew was in play. Still, this hot streak didn’t even start with In Our Gun. It did, however, intensify with it as it’s Gomez’s most complex album to date. An album that pointed the band in the right direction. This album got me into Gomez.
    Best Moment: The first time I heard it I was impressed by the range of singers in this band and album. That still makes Gomez very unique.
  39. Badly Drawn Boy: One Plus One Is One (2004)
    Not bad from a solo artist that many believe to be past his prime. While mostly known as a 90s artist, Damon Gough did some of his best work last decade. From the beautiful About a Boy soundtrack to 1+1 to his underrated meditation on being British Born in the U.K., this singer/songwriter is able to have fun with his never-pretentious music.
    Best Moment: Ba-by, Ba-by… buzzzsssccchhhhh.
  40. Dave Matthews Band: The Lillywhite Sessions (2001)
    The most talked about non-released album of the decade, maybe ever. After their scrapped album leaked (and was loved by fans) DMB said, okay, how about we re-record it and release a souped-up studio version minus producer Steve Lillywhite. And it sucked. Well, it didn’t suck (“You Never Know” is a DMB classic) but it was lacking the previous album’s magic. Just listen to the new/neutered version of Bartender for an example of what’s missing from the original (thankfully a great live version of Bartender is floating around). DMB was looking to have a really good decade until the Lillywhite/Busted Stuff mishap took them out of their game. The result was the abhorred adult contemporary ez-listening soft rock Stand Up. They lost their way but found it again at the eleventh hour with 2009’s triumphant Big Whiskey come-back album.
    Best Moment: Very few moments in rock match the brilliance of the song Bartender. That moment was squandered on Busted Stuff but thankfully resurrected whenever DMB plays that song live.
  41. Marilyn Manson: Holy Wood (2000)
    Manson is not cool any more. That’s stating the obvious.  Maybe he never was. I don’t know. What I do know is that Holy Wood is a very good rock album that became a victim of Manson’s annoyingly arch “goth” theatrics. That does not change the work at hand. This album is better even than his iconic 90s releases Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals. But it was too late and by the turn of the century people were really sick of him (including me) and nobody was able to look past the passé artist to recognize the art. So, yes, I will defend this album.
    Best Moment: The moment you realize a Marilyn Manson album doesn’t suck.
  42. Pantha du Prince: This Bliss (2007)
    Techno has a bad name. Like, even the word sounds cheesy and lame. The elegant minimalism offered by bands like this in albums like this are looking to change that. Bliss was made for people who would rather soak in atmosphere and think than mindlessly dance. It is, in the best sense of the word, the closest thing we have to classical music. Pantha du Prince proves that, when it comes to techno, less is better. Less says more. And less makes more of an impression.
    Best Moment: It’s hard not to fall in love with the album the moment you hear the song “Asha.”
  43. The Knife: Deep Cuts (2003)
    Not as dark as Silent Shout but, amazingly, just as good in a lot of ways. For one it’s more accessible. “Heartbeats” is easily the best pop song in years. Speaking of pop, this album taught a lot of people that euro and/or electro pop is not just for, well, Euros. Oddball Swedish siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijerget a simultaneous award for most changed band and most versatile (not only did Andersson release a solo album with her band Fever Ray in 2009 but The Knife’s live album Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience is a blast. And perhaps likely to end up in prison. The Knife also made going out in public in Venetian masks cool again.
  44. Best Moment: Lots of moments. Certainly “Heartbeats.” I also love Andersson’s voice on “Got 2 Let u,” and “You Make Me Like Charity.” Never has a singer sounded so cute while singing about “paying enough taxes.” I am particularly obsessed with the lyric “I felt the war. I felt her exposed… position.” And, no, I have no idea what that means either.
  45. Stars of the Lid: and Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)
    It’s a tossup as to which Stars album from the last ten is my favorite seeing as how both Refinement and Tired  Sounds… are equally impressive. Each album, while nuanced and changing ever so slightly, feels like an extension of this Texas ambient band’s last. Besides, we’re not even dealing with album in the typical sense of the word. More of a wandering and ethereal experience that transcends typical feeling we get from modern music. A mandatory requirement to enjoying this music is to give in to the lack of structure. Side Note: over the last few years its the album of choice to nap to and I mean that as a compliment.
    Best Moment: The moment the album ends and you start it all over again.
  46. Annie: Hey Annie (2009)
    Less than a year later and I’m upset with myself for not giving this album of the year for 2009. Oh well. Hey Annie is even better than Anniemal, the album that put the Norwegian electropop singer on the map. Sure, Annie name drops every chance she gets and even dresses crazy (lipstick necklace and all) but she is able succeed where the superficial Lady Gagas of the world failed. Annie backs up her funky and somewhat self aware (err, at least I think) dance-pop sound with something infectiously fun that also seems to have substance. Pop music hasn’t been this good in ages. I love you, Annie!
    Best Moment: Annie asks what we want for breakfast. The answer: Annie!
  47. Belle and Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
    I recently had a chance to listen to all major Belle and Sebastian albums and EPs. What a great idea!  This is so much more than an indie pop band. B&S has never released anything close to a mediocre album. I don’t think they could if they tried. This album may be their best while the same time it is the one that appropriately divides its fans. On one hand it’s certainly their most joyful and catchy work to date but what puts it over the edge is the dark lyrics that undercut the cheery facade. “I’m going deaf, you’re growing melancholy/ Things fall apart, I don’t know why we bother at all/ But life is good and it’s always worth living… at least for a while.” Ah, Stewart Murdoch, all it takes is a few tracks from this album to put me in a great mood. Thank you.
    Best Moment: Love the horns.
  48. The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Behind the Music (2003)
    An album that seems to belong to a different era. As someone who hates “classic rock” I should clarify that I mean that in a good way. Behind the Music is T.S.O.O.L.’s  best album to date. It’s full of sounds both epic and classic. There’s a lot of range and a lot of heart from this Swedish band.
    Best Moment: The brooding “In Your Veins” is a highlight.
  49. Andrew W.K.: I Get Wet (2001)
    PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!!PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!! PARTY!!!………… gasp………. PAAAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTtttttyyyyyyy…. clang, thump, thud!
    Best Moment: Party!
  50. Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004)
    A beautiful, singular album. One of those rare musical endeavors that just about everyone can agree is a defining moment for music in the 2000s. The kind of album that anchors you to the time you heard it. I’ve even tried not to like or downplay this album… until I heard it again with an objective lens. There’s no denying it’s power or place in history.
    Best Moment: Lies!
  51. Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007)
    A late addition to this list. Outside of the brilliant song “Labyrinthine Pomp” which made my top ten songs of 2007, the album Hissing Fauna did not interest me when it first came out. I found it to be annoying and over the top. I’ve learned to appreciate the quirky sounds that vacillate between high minded and frivolous. Everything just comes together perfectly here. Not in a tidy way either but in a slapdash release of funky angst way. And, really, nobody is writing lyrics like Kevin Barnes, er, pardon I mean Georgie Fruit (his Fauna alter ego). Weather it’s songs about drugs “come on chemicals,” a kick ass choirs if there ever was one, or random as hell stream of consciousness musings like “I spent the winter on the verge of a total nervous breakdown while living in Norway/I felt the darkness of black metal bands” this is a one of a kind album. The kind of crazy I can really relate to these days.
    Best Moment: Chemical-eul-eul-eul-eulaaaaaas!
  52. Coheed and Cambria: Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV (2005)
    I’m counting this one in my top fifty because Daft Punk took up two spots. I have come to regard Good Apollo as a major prog album in the vein of Rush, Pink Floyd and At the Drive In. Claudio Sanchez’s comical falsetto and heavy rock influences didn’t impress me at first but it literally did at second and it hasn’t stopped since (the follow-up No World For Tomorrow is just as good as Apollo). Coheed does not even stop at delivering amazing guitar heavy prog albums, they create a whole sci-fi world around the music in the form of comics. Really ambitious and yet also really unnecessary because the album is so good on its own.
  53. Postal Service: Give Up (2003)
    It’s rare that an artist’s side project eclipses in every possible way the band said artist is best known for. Not only did that happened with this amazingly polished electronic side project by Deathcab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard but it’s so good that I found myself annoyed with every new “Deathcab” because that meant Gibbard was not working on a new Postal Service. Note: points lost for selling out big time to to credit card commercials and Grey’s Anatomy. Seriously, Grey’s Anatomy? Soooo not cool.
  54. Franz Ferdindand: Self Titled (2004)
    Not a single weak on the whole album from this Scottish rock band. Every song rocks and every song could have been a single. What’s more improbable than that is that nearly every Franz Ferdinand song/album after this spotless self titled epic has pretty much sucked. Franz Ferdinand never needs to put out a “best of” album because they accomplished that tasked on their first try.
  55. Green Day: American Idiot (2004)
    I am not a an of Green Day/I am a huge fan of this Green Day album. It’s possible.
  56. Supersilent: 9 (2009)
    Cllllllllllllllllllllllllllliiiiinnnnnnnnggggg…. vroooooooooooooshhhhhhh… buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssshhhhhhh… weeeeeeeee… waaaahhhhhhhhh… eeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhh… berrrr… vereeeeverrrrrveeeeverrrrrr…
  57. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling (2001)
    Leave me alone, I don’t want to talk about it.
  58. Sigur Rós: ( ) (2002)
    Taps into so much energy, emotion and sadness while at the same time saying so little. An album that literally transcends language by inventing its own. The album’s empty title makes perfect sense even though it does not even begin to express the depth at work here.
  59. St-Germain: Tourist (2000)
    Jazz fusion made fun. Pop this sophisticated electronic gem in to impress your friends. Or just go into chill mode and listen away. If only St Germain made more albums.
  60. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga (2008)
    Weed. Underdogs. Japanese cigarette cases. What a delightful album. Spoon brings much needed humor and sense of fun to the pretentious, often insufferable indie rock genre. And they managed to do it in just over 30 minutes.
  61. At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command (2000)
    At the Drive-In is a faded memory at this point. This album keeps that memory alive. The band may have splintered into Mars Volta and Sparta (both good bands) but this album will carry the legacy of ATDI for years to come.
  62. Blur: Think Tank (2004)
    Blur, sadly, is no more. If the band, or I should say Damon Albarn, ever chooses to come back –and Dear Lord I hope they do– they can use the awesomeness of this album (which totally should have sucked) as an impetus to get back on the horse or back in the tank or back to modern life or back to the park or, um, 13? Whatever. Come back, guys! Oh, and if you do please remember to pick up some Graham Coxton on your way home. Okay, thanks.
  63. Porcupine Tree: In Absentia (2002)
    Did I mention I like Porcupine Tree?
  64. Dangerdoom: The Mouse and the Mask (2005)
    If all rap was inspired by Adult Swim cartoons then I would probably like rap.
  65. Jaravis Cocker: Further Complications (2009)
    Pulp may be dead but Cocker sure isn’t. Now this is how a rock star should do a solo album! Angrier, funnier, hornier and as melodic as ever. If Cocker keeps this up I may not even miss Pulp anymore.

66 to 100ish

  • The Horrors: Primary Colours
  • Nine Inch Nails: Still
  • …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes
  • Gorillaz: Gorillaz
  • Porcupine Tree: The Incident
  • TV On the Radio: Dear Science
  • Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
  • Porcupine Tree: Lightbulb Sun
  • Belle and Sebastian: Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
  • PJ Harvey: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
  • Justice: Cross
  • Nine Inch Nails: Things Falling Apart (best NIN remix album of all time)
  • Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP
  • The National: Boxer
  • Fuck Buttons: Tarot Sport
  • Super Furry Animals: Hey Venus
  • Mastadon: Crack the Skye
  • The Rapture: Echoes
  • Mars Volta: Bedlam in Goliath
  • The Bravery: The Sun and the Moon
  • LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
  • Cake: Comfort Eagle (underrated)
  • The Strokes: Is This It?
  • Radiohead: In Rainbows
  • Neko Case: Middle Cyclone
  • Godspeed You Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists…
  • Depeche Mode: Exciter
  • Beirut: Gulag Orkerstar
  • Basement Jaxx: Rooty
  • Tom Waits: Alice
  • Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit
  • Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
  • Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights
  • Bob Dylan: Modern Times
  • Mars Volta: Francis the Mute
  • No Doubt: Return to Saturn
  • New Pornographers: Twin Cinema
  • The White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan

Favorite New Bands of the Decade:

  1. Crystal Castles
  2. The Knife
  3. Gorillaz
  4. The Mars Volta
  5. Puscifer
  6. Camera Obscura
  7. Annie
  8. The Rapture
  9. Justice
  10. The National
  11. Postal Service
  12. Sufjan Stevens
  13. jj
  14. Arcade Fire
  15. Interpol

Most “Relevant“/Innovative/Culturally Important/Whatever Bands and Artists of the Decade:
(not that I agree with all of these…)

  1. Radiohead (for the second decade in a row!!!)
  2. Eminem
  3. Kanye West
  4. The White Stripes (ugh)
  5. Arcade Fire
  6. The Strokes
  7. Outkast
  8. Gorillaz
  9. Animal Collective
  10. Jay-Z
  11. Daft Punk
  12. The Killers
  13. LCD Soundsystem

Favorite Live Albums:


  1. Daft Punk – Alive 2007
  2. Nine Inch Nails – And All That Could Have Been
  3. Porcupine Tree – Arriving Somewhere…
  4. Tool – Salival
  5. John Coltrane & Thelonius Monk – Live at Carnegie Hall
  6. Blur – All the People: Blur Live at Hyde Park
  7. Radiohead – I Might Be Wrong
  8. Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum
  9. Ladytron – Live at London Astoria
  10. Wilco – Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
  11. Dave Matthews Band – The Central Park Concert
  12. Leonard Cohen – Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979
  13. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road
  14. The Knife – Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience
  15. Porcupine Tree – Ilosaarirock
  16. Muse – H.A.A.R.P.: Live From Wembley Stadium
  17. My Morning Jacket — Okonokos
  18. Tom Waits – Glitter and Doom Live
  19. Neko Case – The Tigers Have Spoken
  20. Nirvana – Live at Redding
  21. Porcupine Tree – Coma Divine Live in Rome

Albums ranked #1 At the Time:

2009: Porcupine Tree’s The Incident (okay, so there were some better albums released that year)
2008: Crystal Castles’ Self Titled
2007: Blond Redhead’s 23 
2006: Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations 
2005: Nine Inch Nails’ With Teeth (lesser NIN but still solid)
2004: Gomez’s Split the Difference (I stand by it)
2003: Super Furry Animals’ Phantom Power  
2002: Beck’s Sea Change (right on, Greg!)
2001: Tool’s Lateralus (got it right!)
2000: Robbie Williams’ Sing When You’re Winning (woops)

One More List… Best Album of the 90s:

  1. Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile
  2. Radiohead: Ok Computer
  3. Pulp: Separations
  4. Super Furry Animals: Fuzzy Logic
  5. Nine Inch Nails: Broken/Fixed
  6. Pulp: This Is Hardcore
  7. Tool: Aneima
  8. Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
  9. Beck: Mutations
  10. Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral
  11. U2: Zooropa
  12. Pulp: Different Class
  13. Blur: Blur
  14. Nirvana: MTV Unplugged
  15. Depeche Mode: Violator
  16. Tool: Undertow
  17. U2: Achuting Baby
  18. Pulp: His n’ Hers
  19. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
  20. Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers
  21. Radiohead: The Bends
  22. Beck: Odelay
  23. The Pixies: Bossanova
  24. Belle & Sebastian: If You’re Feeling Sinister
  25. The Beta Band: Three E.P.s

Best Songs of the Decade in the next week or so… then a break for the best of 2010 then of course Best Movies of the Decade after that (whenever I’m done catching up on/rewatching all those films. Argh, too many best ofs!

Decade List: Worst Music 2000-2009

The Worst Songs of the Decade:

  1. Ke$ha – Tik Tok (…coo-coo)
  2. Creed –”My Sacrifice” and “With Arms Wide Open” (can’t pick just one)
  3. Gwen Stefani – “Hollaback Girl” (…no need)
  4. Hinder “Lips of an Angel” (…or Baba Booey)
  5. Katy Perry – “I Kissed A Girl” (…no you didn’t)
  6. The Leanover – “Life Without Buildings” (…or good songs)
  7. Los Lonely Boys – “Heaven” (…hell)
  8. Black Eyed Peas – “My Humps” (…my dumps)
  9. Amy Weinhouse – Rehab (…yes, please)
  10. Evanescence – “Bring Me To Life” (…please don’t)
  11. The White Stripes “Passive Manipulation” (…forceful subservience)
  12. Paramore – “Misery Business” (…yup)
  13. My Morning Jacket – “Evil Urges” (…eviler song) 
  14. John Mayer – “Your Body Is A Wonderland” (…NO it’s not, dick head)
  15. Dropkick Murphys – “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” (…Boston’s not far enough, how about Afghanistan?)
  16. Avril Lavigne– “SK8R BOI” (…hor8ble $0ng)
  17. The Pussycat Dolls – “Don’t Cha” (…no I don’t)
  18. Nickelback – “Hero” (…where?)
  19. Sisqo – “The Thong Song” (…put some pants on)
  20. Kings of Leon “Sex on Fire” (…song on ice)
  21. BrokenCYDE – “Freaxxx” (…Fukxxx)
  22. She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart (…woooh, look out, edgy Interpol rip-offs)
  23. The Fiery Furnaces – “Tropical Iceland” (…yay irony!)
  24. Christina Aguilera – Dirrty (…really?)
  25. Doors Down – “Kryptonite” (…what color kryptonite?)
  26. Disturbed “Striken” (…with sudden deafness)
  27. Soulja Boy Tell’em – “Crank That” (…please don’t)
  28. Stained “It’s Been A While” (…no it hasn’t)
  29. Hoobastank – The Reason (…none needed)
  30. Johnny Cash “Hurt” (…sure does)3
  31. U2 – “Get On Your Boots” (… now take them off)
  32. Super Furry Animals – “Crazy Naked Girls” (… the only time those words were not fun. Sidenote: I’m a huge SFA fan)
  33. The Hold Steady – “Constructive Summer” (…every Hold Steady song sounds exactly the same)
  34. Kanye West – Any of his “Comedy” Skits

The Worst Albums of the Decade:

1 Creed (Weathered)
2 Amy Winehouse (Back to Black)
3 American Idol Music
4 Evanescence (Fallen) 
5 System of a Down (Mesmerize and Hypnotize)
6 Nickelback (Silver Side Up)
7 Britney Spears (Woops I Did It Again)
8 Kings of Leon (Only By the Night)
9 U2 (No Line On the Horizon) 
10 M.I.A. (Kala)

  1. Creed: Weathered (2001)
    Here it is. The worst album of the decade. If the band, or world, needs any proof of a higher power out there it’s that this mega popular, eight weeks at #1, multiple Grammy winning, Rolling Stone mag approved, douchebag turn-of-the-century rock band’s Weathered album was also, improbably, the last time we’d ever have heard from them. Praise be! I don’t know how or why that came to be but God totally did us a solid on that one! Scott Stapp, that drunk and womanizing fake Jesus loving drugged out asshole sounds like Eddie Vedder’s retarded cousin in one generic pseudo metal rock song after another. In turn, Vedder is Springsteen’s retarded cousin so I guess that would make Stapp a bad copy of a slightly less bad copy, but this was the 00s after all and that was good enough to turn a trio of hacks into the biggest band in the world for a couple of years. Stapp belts out cringe worthy lyrics like “Cause when you are with me/I’m free I’m careless, I believe/Above all the others, we’ll fly/This brings tears to my eyes… My sacrifice” on the grandiose hit single “With Arms Wide Open” which also happens to be one of the worst songs of the decade. When I hear something like that it takes the breath out of me. Here is a song from a band that means nothing and has no depth or passion or heart or craft or, ironically for that matter, soul. It’s empty, it’s shit, it’s Creed.
  2. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2006)
    Have I mentioned how much I hate that fake soul sista, Any Winehouse? Because I do. I really do! With a sound that can only be described as the world worst sounding Bond movie song, Back to Black easily scored my number one worst album of 06 award and only Creed is worse as far as an entire decade of music goes so that’s a big deal. Oh, and she also won the best album Grammy so either that means I’m totally off base or that the Grammy Awards are really lame. Am I vindicated by the fact that she’s turned into insane has-been that is more known at this point for being a mess than any work or music that she ever created?
  3. Anything by Anyone who had Anything to do with American Idol: (2002 to Present Day)
    Okay, “Since You’ve Been Gone” is a decent song but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. American Idol has the distinction of not only making music horrible but television too!  Well done, dawg.
  4. Evanescence: Fallen (2003)
    Once again we are faced with the fact that Jesus might have really bad taste in music if his followers are any indication. This band is Creed with a vagina. Awesome! Or, um, not. In the span of a decade Gothic Christian nu metal rap rock bands were a big deal (for some unexplainable reason) and at the top of the stinky heap of smoldering crap resided this tacky emp Hot Topic band. Thankfully, as the decade ended so did bands like this. In fact I’m not sure if (Rolling Stone approved) Evanescence broke up, are on haitus or if Amy Lee just realized how shitty her band was. If the latter is true than it’s the first and last time I’ll ever respect her.
  5. System of a Down: Mezmerize and Hypnotize (2005) 
    The proportion in which the band sucks to how awesome the band thinks it is is comical. The band reached their height of unlistinability with the double album. System of a Down makes very annoying music. I hate them.
  6. Nickelback: Silver Side Up (2002) 
    Further proof of the ultimate decline of rock is Nickelback’s popularity. “This is How You Remind Me” is rock’s funeral dirge.
  7. Britney Spears: Oops I Did It Again (2000)
    Pop singers have, to a certain degree, always been artificial creations. But never has the lack of talent/abundance of hype been so glaring as with Ms. Spears music over the last decade (all Rolling Stone approved). Her music got so bad that instead of reinventing herself like other talented musicians she just said fuck it and had a breakdown. That it was a public breakdown makes total sense.
  8. Kings of Leon: Only By the Night (2008)
    Moder music douchbagery in distilled in pure musical form.
  9. U2: No Line On the Horizon (2008)
    Can U2 sink any lower? The worst album of 2008… and of U2 career.
  10. M.I.A.: Kala (2007)
    The most overrated artist of the decade.
  11. Avril Lavigne: Let Go (2002)
    Forgot about this mall pop has-been? If you have you’re lucky because I sure can’t. Helllllppppppp.
  12. Limp Bizkit:Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
    Once again I’d like to point out that I hated Limp B while they were popular. It felt as if everyone had been brain washed and once that wore off (and it did quickly) everyone just went back tot heir daily lives. As with Creed fans and, for that matter, Germans soon after the second World War, I wonder if they ever feel ashamed of themselves for allowing such monstrosities to exist. By the way, Rolling Stone magazine gave it three and a half stars.
  13. Staind: Break The Cycle (2001)
    Ugh, I hate Staind. For a while there I feared these rock posers were going to pose a threat to Tool. Nine years later I realize how funny it is that I even had those fears. Hell, musically speaking, this band doesn’t even pose a threat to Nickelback.
  14. The Darkness: Permission to Land (2003)
    A joke band that many legit music sources thought were the real deal. The rest of us however were in on the joke and, not just that, we were not laughing. We are owed an apology.
  15. Anything by Reality Stars–Paris Hilton, Brooke Hogan, Katie Price, Kevin Federline, Victoria Beckham, Kelly Osbourne, Lindsay Lohan. If American Idol proved that unknowns suck at music then this crop of crap prove that knowns are also not very good at it. Oh well, at least we got plenty to laugh at.
  16. Norah Jones: Come Away With Me (2002)
    Not as bad as Weinhouse as fake soul/jazz/folk music goes but close. A reoccurring theme on this list though is how much a once popular and once hated (by me) artist has fallen into the ditch. Jones is still on the fringe of having a career in the industry but I’m grateful the hype over her crap faded after 2002.
  17. Katie Perry: One of the Boys (2008)
    Congratulations on having huge boobs.
  18. Jack Johnson: Brushfire Fairytales (2001)
    John Mayer sucks but when it comes to folk/rock/whatever even he can’t touch Johnson. This is rock for old people and young stupid people and, uh, assholes. If you took all the talent out of Dave Matthews Band you would have Jack Johnson. And people hate DMB!
  19. Ashlee Simpson: I Am Me and anything by Jessica Simpson (2005)
    The title is as redundant as her career. As with Lavigne, Spears, Creed etc. we are spared having to hear any more from the Simpson sisters so at least there’s a happy ending.
  20. Jennifer Lopez: Whatever She Put Out
    See a successful bad actress turn into a successful bad singer. Forget about how she managed to get work after Gigli, how the hell did Lopez  have a music career that lasted more than one album? The answer to that is one of many sad stains on a decade of music that proves one thing: popular music sucks!
  21. Anything by Kid Rock
  22. Anything by 50 Cent
  23. Chris Cornell: Scream (2009)
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
  24. Did Oasis make anything in the 00s? If so then it belong here. (never been a fan if you can’t tell)
  25. Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Spin Magazine (2003ish-Present Day)
    Not an album obviously but I just had to mention how bad music mags have become. I’d honestly rather read toilet paper. Did the Internet kill publishing? Yes. Am I glad? Yup.

 

Decade Lists: Best Video Games of the Decade (2000-2009)

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When considering the last decade I decided to begin my (admitadley tardy) Best of the 2000s lists with video games for the very simple reason that it’s hard to make a case for any medium showing as much innovation (technically as well as in terms of storytelling technique) and growth as that of the video game industry. Unlike almost any established art form, this booming digital medium, still dismissed by many, continues to evolve in the most unexpected yet enjoyable ways. Ways that push technology, social interactions and aesthetic possibilities. We’re in the middle of a golden era and unlike almost any other medium games are able to interact with us, challenge us, entertain us and even brings us together. Games transcend nations, ideologies and even physcial space because we can play with anyone, anywhere and, as a bonus, be called names by a ten-year-old in Arkansas. The aesthetics of a game is usually matched by one’s enjoyment of it and that, for some reason, bothers many “intellectuals” who would argue that a gorilla mashing crayons on a piece of paper is art before a game is. Games are not only art in their own right but an art form, by the way, that is more relevant than actual art and one that easily makes more money than the art of film. The bottom line is that last ten years would have gone by a lot slower for me if it were not for these amazing list of exceptional titles…

  1. Deus Ex (2000, PC)
  2. Persona 3: FES (2007, PS2)
  3. Shadow of the Colossus (2005, PS2)
  4. Ninja Gaiden (2004, Xbox)
  5. Metal Gear Sold 3: Snake Eater Substanance (2006, PS2)
  6. Portal (2007, PC)
  7. Final Fantasy XII (2006, PS2)
  8. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009, PS3)
  9. Fallout 3 (2007, PC)
  10. Half-Life 2 (2007, Orange Box version + HL Episodes)
  11. Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 (2002, PC)
  12. Perfect Dark (2000, N64)
  13. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004, PS2)
  14. Resident Evil 4 (2005, Gamecube/PS2)
  15. Valkyrie Chronicles (2008, PS3)
  16. ICO (2001, PS2)
  17. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic(2003, Xbox)
  18. God of War (2005, PS2)
  19. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001, Xbox)
  20. Advance Wars (2001, Gameboy Advance)
  21. Red Faction: Guerilla (2009, PS3)
  22. Mass Effect (Xbox 360)
  23. Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within (2004, PS2)
  24. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001, DS)
  25. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2009, PS3)
  26. Splinter Cell (2002, Xbox)
  27. Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008, PS3)
  28. Scribblenauts (2009, DS)
  29. Super Mario Galaxy(2007, Wii)
  30. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003, Game Boy Advance)
  31. Persona 4 (2008, PS2)
  32. Deus Ex 2: Invisible War (2003, Xbox)
  33. Chrono Cross (2000, PS1)
  34. Final Fantasy IX (2000, PSone)
  35. Uncharted 2: Among Thiefs  (2009, PS3)
  36. Assassin’s Creed (2007, PS3)
  37. Metal Gear Sold 2: Sons of Liberty (2001, PS2)
  38. Psi Ops (2004, PS2)
  39. Boom Bloxx (2007, Wii)
  40. Dead Space (2008, PS3)
  41. Grand Theft Auto III (2001, PS2)
  42. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003, PS2/Xbox)
  43. Ghost Recon (2004, PC)
  44. Kingdom Hearts 2 (2006, PS2)
  45. Katamari Damacy (2004, PS2)
  46. Bioshock (2007, Xbox 360)
  47. Gabriel Knight 3 (2000, PC)
  48. Final Fantasy X (2001, PS2)
  49. Smash Brothers Brawl(2008, Wii)
  50. Stubbs the Zombie (2005, Xbox)
  51. Red Faction (2001, PS2)
  52. Crysis (2007, PC)
  53. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007, DS)
  54. Resistance 2 (2008, PS3)
  55. Shenmue 2 (2002, Xbox)
  56. Odin Sphere (2007, PS2)
  57. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (2007, DS)
  58. Dead Rising (2006, Xbox360)
  59. Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (2002, PC)
  60. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005, Xb0x)
  61. Halo 2 (2004, Xbox)
  62. Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix (2002, PC)
  63. New Super Mario Brothers (2006, DS)
  64. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000, PC)
  65. Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare (2007, PS3/Xbox360)
  66. Spider-Man (2000, Playstation)
  67. Medal of Honor: Underground (2000, Playstation)
  68. The World Ends With You (2008, DS)
  69. Wii Sports (2006, Wii)
  70. Zone of the Enders (2001, PS2)
  71. Siphon Filter 2(2000, Playstation)
  72. Planet Puzzle League (2007, DS)
  73. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (2003, PS2)
  74. Assassian’s Creed II (2009, PS3)
  75. Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay(2004, Xbox)
  76. God War 2 (2007, PS2)
  77. Counterstrike (2000, PC)
  78. Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PS2)
  79. Beyond Good and Evil (2003, PS2)
  80. Crimson Skies(2000, Xbox)
  81. Silent Hill 2 (2000, PlayStation)
  82. Jet Set Radio Future(2002, Xbox)
  83. Sins of a Solar Empire (2008, PC)
  84. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002, PS2)
  85. Panzer Dragon Orta (2004, Xbox)
  86. Civilization III (2001, PC)
  87. Metal Gear Solid(2001, Gameboy)
  88. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000, Nintendo 64)
  89. Advance Wars: Dual Strike (2005, DS)
  90. Fight Night 2004 (duh)
  91. Okami (2006, PS2)
  92. Skies of Arcadia (2000, Dreamcast)
  93. Little Big Planet (2007, PS3)
  94. Sim City 3000 (2000, PC)
  95. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath (2005, Xbox)
  96. Patapon 2 (2008, PSP)
  97. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (2000, Playstation)
  98. Psychonauts (2005, PS2)
  99. Godhand (2006, PS2)
  100. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (2007, DS)

Most Shocking/Amazing/Awesome/WTF/Best Video Game Moments…
(spoilerish, obviousley…)

  1. Solid Snake “dies” after the first level of Metal Gear 2. Feeling: What?!
  2. Choosing to blow up Megaton City in Fallout 3. From a safe distance you watch as a mushroom cloud forms and devours a thriving city full of (mostly) good people. “I almost wish there was another nuke we could detonate” you are told. To say “you lost Karma” is an understatement. So evil. So fun. Feeling: Dayyymmmmmm!
  3. The first true player choice in Deus Ex. Less than half way through the game the “terrorist” you’ve been hunting tells you that you’ve been working for the bad guys all along. Woops! Do you kill the NSF leader or trust him and let him live? Doing either changes everything. These days that kind of moral/idelogical choice is not earth shattering but it was in 2000. So much so that it not only opened the game up but changed (or maybe added) the notion of free will in all video games. Feeling: Woah.
  4. Killing the last Colossus in Shadow of the Colossus and feeling like a huge dick. Then going “hey, dude with horns from Ico!” What a game!Feeling: Awwwww man.
  5. After a short and blistering love affair in Portal, the companion cube (literally a box with a heart on it) is tragically incinerated. This moment is not only touching but funny and a great statement on emotions in video games. Feeling: Heartbroken.
  6. Paying for his sins Kratos literally fights himself at the end of God of War. A lot of himself. It’s like that scene in the Matrix where Neo fights hundreds of Agent Smith’s only a lot cooler. Feeling: ARGH.
  7. I. Am. Darth. Revan. Star War: Knights of the Old RepublicFeeling: Evil.
  8. The sad ending of Persona 3 set on top of a school building. Thinking about it still makes me sad. The ending of Final Fantasy Xis also very sad though Tidus (ah-hahahahahaha) is a bit more annoying. It was still one of the most memorable FF endings of all time. Feeling: depression(esp after playing the respective Persona epilogue The Answer and the entirity of FFX-2).
  9. Old man Snake fights old man Oscolot on top of a Metal Gear hundreds of feet in the air at the end of Metal Gear 4. Turns out Ocelot was a quadruple agent and all the bad stuff he did was, um, not so bad? Maybe. I think. I don’t know. Still, for someone who has followed Metal Gear all these years, the many codas in MGS4 is emotionally very powerful. Shirtless old men trading punches has never been so awesome. And that’s before the end-end. Feeling: nostalgia.
  10. Gordon grabs the Gravity gun in Half-Life 2. In that instance the first person shooter genre becomes fun for the first time in history. Feeling: magnetic.
  11. Beating Ninja Gaiden. Feels soooooo good. You’ve now earned the right to be called a ninja. Feeling: Bad ass.
  12. Grand Theft Auto III opens up. You can go anywhere and do anything. Games have not been the same since. Feeling: Free.
  13. The most memorable video game line of the decade: “Would You kindly.” Bioshock is so full of iconic moments I could also include the feelings that evoked when you first visit Rapture and the shocking fate of Andrew Ryan. Feeling: like I’m not myself (because I’m not)
  14. Coming up with something completely random in Scribblenauts. And it shows up! Feeling: Creative.
  15. Playing as the covenant (bad guy) soldier Arbiter in Halo 2. That moment never gets enough credit. Feeling: alien.
  16. The nuke goes off in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The American heroes die. Feeling: Wow.
  17. After many levels of cool but a bit on the dull side laser blasting you finally get a light saber in Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2. For the first time feel first hand how cool it is to wield a light saber. Add force powers and you have an unstoppable Jedi. Kyle, you ARE the man. Life feels complete now. Feeling: Unstoppable.
  18. Trashing a large building in Red Faction Gurilla. It crumbles and, no matter how many times you do this, feels so good. Except… you’re in the building when that happens. Feeling: Woops.
  19. Entering V.A.T.S… landing a headshot, watching head explode. Fallout 3. Feeling: the same feeling I get when popped a pimple.
  20. The moment when the Assassian’s Creed series becomes full on sci-fi at the end of part 2. Feeling: Confused.
  21. Batman looses it in Arkham Asylum. Damn you, Scarecrow! Feeling: out of it.
  22. Snake vs. The End in Metal Gear Solid 3. Best sniper scene ever. And don’t you dare kill him a few levels before. Feeling: old!
  23. The epic final battle in Resident Evil 5. Not a great game but, damn, it sure did feel good to kill Wesker over and over and over and then drop him into a volcano just to make sure…. only to kill him again. Feeling: victory dance.
  24. Shooting a bad guy in the head over and over in Soldier of Fortune 2. Nasty stuff. Feeling: overkill.
  25. Aliens finally show up about half way through the FPS Crysis and proceed to kick you ass. Suddenly, killing Koreans isn’t as fun as it once was. Feeling: scared.

 

Best of the Decade According to Everyone Else

IGN

  1. Half-Life 2
  2. Shadow of the Colossus (note: IGN didn’t really love it the year it came out, therefore = posers)
  3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  4. Grand Theft Auto III
  5. Super Mario Galaxy
  6. Counter-Strike (better than Fallout 3?!)
  7. Fallout 3
  8. Okami (oh, come on)
  9. Battlefield 1942 (what?!)
  10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Destructoid

  1. Shadow of the Colossus
  2. Half-Life 2
  3. Mother 3 (sequil to Earthbound. Still hasn’t come out in U.S. Thanks, Japan)
  4. Portal
  5. God of War II
  6. Beyond Good and Evil
  7. Diablo II
  8. Valkyria Chronicles (Brave choice)
  9. Super Mario Galaxy
  10. Resident Evil 4

Paste

  1. Portal
  2. Bioshock
  3. Fallout 3
  4. Shadow of the  Colossus
  5. Resident Evil 4
  6. Halo
  7. Half-Life 2
  8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  9. Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas
  10. Guitar Hero III

Game Informer

  1. Grand Theft Auto III
  2. Half-Life 2
  3. World of Warcraft
  4. Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare
  5. Resident Evil 4
  6. God of War
  7. Bioshock
  8. Diablo II
  9. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  10. Halo

GameTrailers (ugh)

  1. World of Warcraft (what?!)
  2. Grand Theft Auto III
  3. Resident Evil 4
  4. Halo
  5. Metroid Prime
  6. Half-Life 2
  7. Shadow of the Colossus
  8. Devil May Cry
  9. Super Mario Galaxy
  10. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

WIRED (“most influential games”)

  1. The Sims
  2. Grand Theft Auto III
  3. Guitar Hero
  4. World of Warcraft
  5. Brain Age
  6. Halo
  7. Bejeweled
  8. Wii Sports
  9. Geometry Wars
  10. Metroid Prime

Most Overrated Games of the Past Decade

  1. World of Warcraft–People paid a fee to play this game?! Every month?! Really?! Wait, they’re are still paying to play it?! I tried it for free when I got the game for free and I still feel like I got ripped off.
  2. Gears of War 1 and 2–“Grrr, aww shit.” Gems like that are spoken by squatty, square, filthy stupid characters fighting stupid enemies in a stupid apocalypse that we’ve seen a dozen times before in a dozon better games. Gears of War 2 is better than 1 but by such a small margin that it’s still belongs this high.
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4–Because getting constant texts to go for drinks is really fun in an open world game. This joyless, pretentious, overly dramatic but actually very shallow mess is one of the biggest let downs of the decade. It shouldn’t even be allowed to be called a GTA game. Oh, but what do I know, it’s only the highest ranked ranked game on Metacritic. All video game critics should lose their jobs.
  4. Guitar Hero and Rock Band–The music video game trend is almost worse than the reality TV show trend.
  5. The Sims–Go to work, come home, eat, and cry at your lack of friends. This isn’t a game it’s real life and we all know how much that sucks!
  6. Facebook Games Like Farmville–Why must people punish themselves with such tripe? Free does not mean fun!
  7. Wii Play–With 30 million copies sold this non-game is the highest selling console “game” of all time! If it didn’t come with a controller it still might have sold well. Personally, if it was packed with a brick of gold I still wouldn’t buy it.
  8. Resident Evil 5–This game is so bad it’s actually the best way to kill off zombies… or maybe just zombie game franchises.
  9. Zelda: Twilight Princess–Not only is this a glorified Gamecube game but it’s a glorified Gamecube game that’s not fun. Wind Waker was a lot more fun and original.
  10. Nintendogs–I’m grateful that other video game companies, you know, the ones that make real games, didn’t look at the success of crappy cash-in Nintendo titles like Nintendogs or Wii Play and give up.
  11. Ratchet and Clank (series)–There’s hardly a RaC game I didn’t try to force myself to play and enjoy. And… it just wasn’t happening. I just can’t get into these games.
  12. Left 4 Dead–I will never understand people who think this title is better than Dead Rising.
  13. Devil May Cry 1 and 2–3 and 4 were actually better.
  14. Elder Scrolls series
  15. Grand Turismo 3
  16. Jade Empire
  17. Battlefield 1942
  18. Recycled EA Sports Games (to all those into buying a new Madden game for ten years in a row, you spent $600 for the privlage buying the same game every year)
  19. Tomb Raider games
  20. Metroid Prime series

Notes on Some of the Best Games (in no specific ordr):

  • Deus Ex (PC)
    This game pretty much defined the decade that was to come. Open levels that can be approached in almost any way you want, freedom of choice, dynamic game play, mods, RPG stats with all the action of a first person shooter, huge levels with brilliant designs and a cyberpunk neo-noir story so engaging that it easily matches the best novels and movies in the same genre. For its time it was perfect. Deus Ex may look dated now (that’s what kept it from ranking higher on others best of the decade lists) but it’s still a blast to play and, if you can believe it, still yet to be surpassed in terms of innovation and totality of vision. You can thank Warren Spector for that (god knows I have). This game brought out the nerd in me like no other except for perhaps Metal Gear Solid. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or just a sad thing but, either way, playing Deus Ex ranks up their in my fondest memories of the the last several years.
  • Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
    Those who knew this game was special, like REALLY special, should take this moment to pat ourselves on our collective backs for supporting SotC when it came out. I am proud (and annoy people every chance I get to declare) that it was my GOTY in 2005 because it stands apart from most games released last decade. I would say all games if it weren’t for Ico and it is no coincidence that the same people made both games. Critics at the time really lets us down by dismissing this monster hunting fantasy as something good but not great. Sure, everyone in the press liked it but also keep in mind that Halo 2 got most GOTY awards that year and try not to puke in your mouth. The upside is that, like most classics that are ahead of their time, WAY AHEAD, history is being very kind to Shadow as is reflected in almost everyone’s best of the decade list. The game evokes mystery, grandeur and otherworldliness without ever seeming to try to hard. Its existence is somehow pure. Which is not to deny its darkness and rich moral ambiguities. With a story about a boy on a quest to save a girl (it’s thatsimple!) the game has a timeless feel. It is open world yet not cluttered with side quests or superfluous stories. There’s you. There’s a sword. There’s a monster. And there’s the (empty) promise of victory. This is, in fact, the most streamlined game ever made.
  • Persona 3: FES and Persona 4 (PS2)
    Gotta love JRPGs. Never heard of em’? That’s probably because America stopped caring about quirky, only-in-Japan worlds where the magic and the weird collide in a glorous mess of WTFness. Sure there’s the giant Final Fantasy franchise that, until XIII reared its ugly head, was not a total joke, but in the last ten years JRPGs have made way for the more blunt shoot first/ask (menu driven) questions later. I love American RPGs like Fallout and Mass Effect as well but at the same time I have trouble calling them true RPGs BECAUSE YOU SPEND ALL YOUR TIME SHOOTING IN FIRST OR THIRD PERSON. Thankfully this decade saw one of the most original and innovative RPGS of all time, a Final Fantasy killer if ever there was one. Persona 3 didn’t climb up to my number 2 spot randomly. It’s a perfect role playing game that beautifully blends intense dungeon-crawling with real life social situations like dating, cooking and studying for exams, something very few RPGs have done successfully (if at all) before. The monsters and save-the-world story is the stuff classic JRPG mythos but it’s the human qualities that tug at your heart and make the more identifiable than every other wacked out, crazy haired game in the same genre. The grand debate is not how good this series has become (anyone who’s played knows as much) but rather which is better, 3 or 4. Many say 4, citing improvements in the dungeon and battle system department. I admire that game for rolling a tight mystery story into a tighter RPG genre but Persona 3 will always be my favorite. The new portable version for the PSP lets you play as a female protagonist. And, yes, that includes going out on dates with dudes.
  • Ninja Gaiden (Xbox)
    I must have played through this game more than any other on the list. In fact, I’m playing it right now! And it’s still kicking my ass! The perverted genus Tomonobu Itagaki’s Gaiden is something of an obsession and now that the obsession is over I can be more objective. It’s not the best game ever but that’s the worst thing I could say about it. The central fighting mechanic is flawless to this day and has yet to be improved upon (and that includes Ninja Gaiden II). It has that classic, always fun presentation that that fighting games like Final Fight and Double Dragon possess. This game is nothing less than the stuff of blood soaked dreams. Also, thanks to Ninja Gaiden nerds finally got to know, and I mean really know, what it’s like being a ninja. And, you know what, it’s awesome!
  • Metal Gear Sold 2, 3 and 4 (PS2/PS3)
    My favorite franchise of all time is HideoKojuma’s Metal Gear. It helped define the 8bit era and made an even bigger impact on modern gaming.  This game pretty much changed the way stories were told and integrated with gameplay. It would be hard to live in a world without Snake. With three big Kojima-canonized releases and a few handheld gems (Metal Gear Solid for the OG Gameboy is a lost classic!) the 00s were kind to this franchise. The third Metal Gear, Snake Eater, is a game that, when it came out, was respected by all. It is now loved. The second is a game I personally enjoyed the hell out of until I realized, with a childlike sense of abandonment, that Snake was not coming back. That’s like James Bond ditching a Bond movie. How odd is it that the best selling Metal Game of all time is the Snake-less number 2 (7 million copies sold!). Underneath the initial shock and horror of, well, Raiden, and his weird trip into VR land is actually a very good title; one of the most self contained and high energy games in the series with a meta twist that people are still talking about. Its bad reputation is understandable but not quite fair if you play it objectively. 
    Come to think of it, Metal Gear 3 also did not feature the same “Snake” we grew up with. The Snake we know/knew and love/loved was actually a clone all along and you play as his big daddy, um, also called Snake so it technically isa Snake game. Getting to play as the eventual big bad of the series provides a lot of dramatic tension, more so perhaps than watching Anakin before he turned into Vader. The game is full of classic Metal Gear storytelling and set pieces epic beyond what words can describe; the sniper fight, showdown with the coolest Metal Gear ever and bittersweet big(ger) boss dual set in a field of flowers are all pivotal Metal Gear moments. As an origin story you couldn’t ask for or even imagine anything better than what Kojima and co. came up with. On top of that, Snake Eater: Substance is revolutionary. The updated and dare I say perfected version of an already great game is the better way to play because it included a much needed third person view rather than that clunky top-down POV that has its place in the past but thankfully not the future of the series. Snake Eater is a perfect game in every way right down to the near-RPG customization. Well, maybe not totally perfect, the title really could use some work. A lot of work actually.
    Oh, yeah, as for the Metal Gear 4 movie game: it not only put the PS3 on the map but feels like the perfect “ending” to a perfect series.
  • Orange Box (Half-Life 2, Half Life Episodes, Team Fortress 2 and Portal)
    Sure I played the first Half-Life in the 90s but I didn’t realize how brilliant, innovative and versatile the Half-Life universe could be until I found myself lost in all of these game after buying the Orange Box at Amoeba for like ten dollars. Dollar for dollar that’s the best video game deal of all time or at least a tie with Super Mario All Stars for the SNES. HL2 set a new standard for sequels, then for expansions (which were not only like full games but better than most full games), then for multi player games (I play Team Fortress 2 more than I do CODMW2) and, oh nothing, a fps puzzle solving game called Portal managed to be one of the best games ever made (my #1 of 2007). And that was just a bonus game! As with Deus Ex, the test of a truly great game is how well it holds up ten or so years later. Well, I’m still playing all these games so, yeah, it holds up.
  • Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
    Where’s  the hate coming from? This game, set in the world of Final Fantasy Tactics, easily became the best FF game since VIII and, why not, lets just call it one of the best RPGsof all time. Yet its not a popular Final Fantasy game. IX and X have hardcore fans (mostly kids and girls) while XII have a small group of people who sheepishly say they prefer this game. People who worship X are like aliens to me but at least X is playable. The most recent FF, XIII is a unholy and joyless mess that required the player to do little else than press forward and tap the x button every once in a while while watching hours of annoying cinemas with characters that are hard to like (except for Lightening). In comparison, XII contains a living, breathing, fully realized and NON-LINEAR world that brings the world to life in a way no other Final Fantasy game has. It’s characters, story, graphics, open world maps, fast battles and maps are all top notch and yet to be surpassed by any role playing game. This is one of those cases where the styles of American and Japanese games combine into a perfect synthesis. When I look to XIII I see the death of the franchise. When I look back at XII I see hope.
  • God of War (PS2)
    An American action game so good even the Japanese guy who made Devil May Cry/Bayonetta had to say, yeah, it’s pretty much perfect. It’s only flaw is that it popularized quick time events and spawned the tiresome God of War 3. Kratos’ anger may feel like a parody these days but it was never edgier than with the first game came out. Here was a protagonist that, by the end of the series, you could argue is the ultimate antagonist and that not so subtle turn is something few games are brave or skilled enough to pull off.
  • ICO (PS2)
    A horned freak and a tall majestic beauty walk around. That’s the game! Icocame at a time when the PS2 had absolutley nothing going for it and video games in general were a stagnting medium. So many fond memories, and so much haunting beauty as the two explore labyrinthian structures that are void of all life except for menicing shadows. Nobody captures the surreal feeling of traversing a ruined city better than Team Ico. Something horrible must have happened in the world of Shadow of the Colossus and Ico and while we may never know what, we also may never want to. And who could have guessed that one of the all time best games ever made expects you hold a girl’s hand for the majority of your playtime. Yup, this game taught many virgin nerds what it would be like to have a girlfriend except no girl could ever match up to Yoruda. But that’s another facit of this game’s beauty. In a way ICO is about the vast differences betwene men and women who, although speaking incompatable languages and life goals, are able to bond on a spiritual level. Team Ico have the market cornered on unique gameplay, undefinible sadness and stunning yet isolated environments that draw you in and keep you away at the same time.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andres (PS2)
    My favorite open world game of all time (until Red Faction Guerrilla and Just Cause 2 came along). It may just be the apex of the genre (popularized in the 00s) in terms of size, writing and sheer amount of things you can do. There’s so much you could actually call GTA:SA a RPG and not be laughed out of the room. One prominent feature emerged from this game: fun. That San Andres retains its sense of wonder and silliness is also why it’s so dear to me. I will never forget grabbing some fried chicken, getting myself fat, strapping on a Jet pack to good old PJ and flying my way to a version of San Francisco to kick it in one of the awesome houses I just bought. GTAIV was, in every way possible, a step down from the very simple and very ambitious sense of wonder that San Andreas (and to a slightly lesser degree Vice City and the original GTAIII) offers.
  • Perfect Dark (N64)
    A game I might argue is better than Goldeneye. I mean let’s be honest, Goldeneye didn’t have aliens.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 (PC)
    The best Star Wars game ever made. No easy task considering how important the Tie Fighter and X-Wing games are to me and, you know, video game history. The key to success is simple but not so simple that it’s easy to recapture. Basically, has any Star Wars game before or since had such perfect or satisfying light saber controls? No. I’ve never had so much fun being a Jedi and don’t get me started on Forced Unleashed a game where being a Jedi feels like a job. The level design, story and weapons are a blast no pun intended. Star Wars games are almost always fun (yeah, even Force Unleashed) but this one stands above them all and proceeds to force lift, choke and throw them to the side.
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)
    Beats Symphony of the Night and Castlevania II for the NES to become best Castlevania game ever made! And it’s hard to believe Aria achieves that honor on a teeny tiny Gameboy screen and without the use of a whip!
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
    This ip, the Metal Gear of Batman games, is a beaconof hope for big franchise titles. They don’t necessarley all have to suck. They can be thoughtful, tell good stories and full of action. Batman is one of the most enjoyable open world adventures, fighting games, and detective games ever made. It’s also the best game of 2009, one of the ten best of the decade and flat out the best Comic Book game ever made as well. Oh, and it’s easily the best Batman game!
  • Gabriel Knight 3 (PC)
    Yes, it’s very sad that point and click adventure are basically dead. But Gabriel Knight 3, full of atmosphere, culture and mind bending puzzles, should have been the game that ushered this floundering genre into a new era of open world puzzle games. Alas, it did not and America is doomed to play first person shooters for another ten years.
  • Kingdom Hearts 2 (PS2)
    Disney + Final Fantasy seems like an obvious video game pairing now but who could have ever imagined that this totally random East meets West collision of beloved franchises would work. Not only did it succeed at being a good game in its own right but it didn’t alienate either fanbase. Personally I would love a KH game that’s a little more Final Fantasy than Disney (like, how about traveling to some cool Final Fantasy worlds? wouldn’t you love to see Sora and co. take a trip to Midgar or Ivalice?) but that’s a superficial criticism of a very good game. The series has the stuff to last for years. As good as the first KH game was, 2 boasted a deeper and more emotionally involving story. Sorry, but Roxas > Sora.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Sands of Time (PS2)
    The first rekindled my… our… love of platforming. It did a masterful job of blending Ico type aesthetics and level design (games as art, blah blah blah) with more mainstream action. The ability to rewind time in a modern three dimensional setting is so good and so intuitive to the game play style that I’m amazed it was never done so well before or after for that matter (and, yes, I’ve played the overrated Braid). Ah, but it did succeed after. Just once though and for the second PoP. Warrior Within did all that the first did an added a darker tone, a cool metal soundtrack and a flawless through-line that has your hero being chased by an unstoppable m0nster, Resident Evil 2-style, for the entire game! I cannot, for the life of me figure out why fans hate the second PoP so much.
  • Okami (PS2)
    Okami does what Zelda has been afraid or unwilling or unable to do for years. Innovate. I may not love it like I love Zelda but I appriciate the ways it elevates the action-adventure genre. Quite beautiful as well.
  • Halo (Xbox)
    For better or worse (usually better) this is the most iconic game of the decade. I must admit that while multiplayer is fun I never got into it like everyone else. The sequels are also fun but never captured the “wow” of the first. Who can forget tearing ass with a Warthog at the end of the game?
  • Advance Wars (GBA)
    It’s the only Gameboy Advance game I still play to this day.
  • Splinter Cell (Playstation)
    Poor, poor Gabe Logan. He’ll never be as cool as Snake. Even the salt and peppa haired geezer Sam Fisher can run laps around him. Ah, yes, but neither can tazer a dude from miles away and hold the voltage until they burst into flames. And then keep holding it. Good times! That there is the best unintended weapon bug in history. I hope that one day they make the stealth action video game version of “The Expendables” but even then Gabe might not even make the list. Poor, poor Gabe.
  • Fallout 3 (PC)
    Ranked number 1 the year it came out. After logging over 200 hours into this beast I still play it. Only New Vegas will put it to rest. Part action, part first person shooter and all fun, Fallout 3 proves that the apocalypse genre in the video game medium is as good if not better in a lot of ways than its cinematic and literary counterparts. And it does so with a great range of humor, drama, action, and storytelling. Shooting wasteland mutants has never been so fun (espically when you do so in the game’s esquisit combat V.A.T.S. mode) but it has also never been so personal. This is not a game we played but a game we entered. It is complete in almost every way. Almost–the only chink in this amazing game’s armor is the persistent and often game ending glitches. Even the beyond lame non-ending that we were initially stuck with was corrected in the expansion games and included on the uber addicting GOTY edition. Fact is, very few games could match the feeling you got when you first left the underground vault at the begining of the game. The world you enter is literally blinding and once you regain your sight and senses the things you see make you wish you were blind again. But you’re stuck here and you better make good use of the time you’re given. Oh, and I sure did.
  • Chrono Cross (PSone)
    One of the best role playing game of all time hampered by the sad fact that it follows/is slightly worse than/has nothing to do with an even better role playing game, Chrono Trigger. If Chrono Cross was called, I don’t know, Infinite Unknown Galaxy of Resonance  or some other JRPG-ish title, more people would have respected this game.
  • Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
    I’m still trying to forget RE5. The upside to 5’s near parody levels of suckyness is that it actually does a lot to prove how great 4 is. It’s basically the same… except it’s not. It’s soooo not. 4 is, in my opinion, the first fully realized, fully playable and fully/finally fun Resident Evil game to date. Uh, sadly it’s also the last in the sense that Konami could not replicate or refine what 4 did and may never be able to. Either way, it was fun while it lasted.
  • Wii Sports (Wii)
    Included because it’s a benchmark title that offered players a new way of playing with themselves at home (hehe). Also included because bowling with the Wiimotes is so damn satisfying. This game joins the ranks of Super Mario, Sonic and Super Mario World to prove that it pays to bundle a really fun game with a system. I’m not sure why so many companies (I’m talking to you Microsoft and Sony) fail to realize this. When the game first came out dear friend got so into Wii Sports that she smashed my new high def television with a full contact tennis swipe. It was almost worth it.
  • Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
    I don’t like Fable. I don’t like Jade Empire. And I don’t even like KOTOR’s sorry excuse for a patched together sequel. In other words, Xbox role playing games are hit or miss. Star Wars however is a hit. So is Mass Effect. Both are set in space and proved that traveling the cosmos and encountering alien races (before destroying them in most cases) is perfectly suited for the role playing genre. Both games revolutionized what you could do (which is a lot) in American role playing games but also expanded the realms of gritty and epic sci-fi storytelling. By blending combat with sophisticated dialogue trees and experience building these games proved that menus are from a long, long time ago in a country (er, Japan) far away. JRPGs are still superior but if this trend keeps up I’m not so sure I’ll be able to say that ten years from now.
  • Scribblenauts (DS)
    The most innovative game of the decade. There, I said it. Scribblenauts does this in such a simple and fun way that it’s easy to miss how revolutionary it actually is. By using anything in your imagination to solve puzzles the game (and its vast lexicon) never fails to amaze. Due to the amount of things WE bring to this game it’s one of the most obvious go-to desert island games ever made. The game’s only major flaw (other than wonky controls) is the imagination of the person playing it.
  • Dead Space (PS3)
    This monsters in space survival horror game has the potential to be the Resident Evil of the next decade. Given how bad Resident Evil 5 is, that predictions almost guaranteed. The torch has been passed and I’m okay with that. Haunted space ships are the new haunted houses! Bring on part two!
  • Boom Bloxx (Wii)
    How sad is it that the best use of the immensely popular Wii motion control system occurred in Boom Bloxx in which all you basically do is throw balls at blocks. Not as sad as it sound because doing so feels so good… and, oh why not, works exactly as it should which is not always the case with a Wii game. What’s sad however is it, as sporty, get your friends together titles go, the gimmicky (yet always fun) Wii Sports and basic (yet never fun) Wii Play sold about a billion more copies. This game used strategy and finesse, those just treat you like kids.
  • Uncharted 1 and 2 (PS3)
    The adventure genre was lacking in the cinemas (sigh, Indy 4) but thankfully received a new golden age in video games. The Uncharted series offers a perfect blend of adventure, puzzle solving and combat that surpasses anything seen in testosterone shooting games like Gears of War, games that are all and only about combat. The Uncharted games go the extra step with great scripts, funny dialogue and a lovable lead character so awesome that video game people actually know Nolan North’s name. This game series, like Drake, effortlessly manages to walk a dangerous tightrope of realism and fantasy. When it tips too far into one the other creeps in much to our delight. And does so without the giant inflatable boobs and dual wielding guns of Tomb Raider.
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
    Galaxy proves that having fun requires no age limit. And, really, does a game always need to be more than just fun?Among “gamers,” it’s heresy to say so but Mario was one of the few games of the decade to be fun with no qualifiers, no story, no gimmicks. Just. Sure it’s kind of sad how few new ideas Nintendo really has if you think about it (mute Mario retro games, mute Link retro games, mute Donky Kong, mute Samus etc.) but this game reminded me of Mario 64 in that it re-revolutionized the use of 3D space, only Galaxy perfects the promises made by Mario 64. There are really no limitations in this 3D Mario adventure. It’s also proves that the Wii maybe doesn’t suck that hard. Well… it still does but it made owning the system (almost) worth it and it gave us a chance to wipe some of that dust off our systems.
  • Deus Ex 2: Invisible War (Xbox)
    People poo-pooed the hell out of this sequel and that breaks my heart. Yes, it’s disappointing in many ways (it’s smaller, simpler and more gun heavy than the first due to the limitations of the Xbox) but its biggest flaw is that it was following in the genetically modded silent footsteps one of the greatest games ever made. That’s the trend of a lot of games on this list by the way. In a perfect world this game could be played beyond the hype, the legacy and the baggage of the franchise name. Give it a chance, it’s better than just about any other fps. Due early next year, Deus Ex 3 can’t come soon enough.
  • Katamari Damacy (PS2)
    That game where you roll a bunch of crap into a ball. Start with everyday household items like paper clips, end with planets. The more junk you attach to your big ball of sticky fun the more you progress. And there’s even a story, er, or something like a story–you’re a prince trying to bring order to the cosmos. It makes no sense but does so while rolling a giant ball of cars, mice, traffic cones, shrubs and people down the street. Only the Japanese could make a game this crazy, this addicting and this innovative. After this game video game companies, from all countries, started to allow developers, both indie and corporate, to break the mold and experiment more with the form of the medium.
  • Assassin’s Creed (PS3)
    Gets enormous love for being a historical video game and fun at the same time. Not many games take chances this big but the chance paid off and turned into a whole franchise. If stealth action during the crusades can sell maybe anything can? Assassin’s Creed trusts gamers to enjoy a game world that’s set in space or Liberty City. But even in that respect it does not fall back on anything predictable because it throws a whole side game/story involving virtual reality and recovered DNA memory. That’s the kind of crazy usually reserved for Japanese games.
  • Panzer Dragon Orta (Xbox)
    One of the most beautiful and ambitious and sadly unfulfilled series of all time, Panzer Dragon is good and dead at this point but, still, this action-y version of Dragon is one hellava way to go out. It was also one of the first original Xbox games that proved the system was capable of more than just shooting and racing. Because this game lets you both! On a dragon! Sweet!
  • Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
    This puzzle centric series is bringing back “smart” point and click adventures with style. And by “style” I mean an awesome tophat.
  • Splinter Cell (Xbox)
    I still remember when this game came out. I, of course, was a total Metal Gear-head who scoffing at what I thought would be just another Clancy military deal. But I was secretly checking it out from the corner of my eye. Of course I finally cracked and bought the big ugly black block known as the Xbox, a system I went on to love almost as much as that old PS2 thanks in large part to this series. Skipping past Halo I honed in on Splinter Cell and after many hours of sneaking around with a giant gun in tow (just in case I F-up, which I always did) I realized how it was possible to love both Metal Gear and Splinter Cell for completely different reasons–stealth realism vs stealth fantasy. Chaos Theory, the third Cell, is clearly the better title (it is also the moment the series peaked because it has not been good since–blah on Double Agent and Conviction) but it this is one of those cases where I can’t forget the first time experience of crouching in the shadows with just the three dots of my night vision showing from behind the back of some poor sap I’m about to close the lights on.
  • Psi Ops (PS2)
    This is as good as any game to end my rambling thoughts on. In a very quiet and unnoticed way this third person cult shooter influenced, in part (or maybe just in my head), lot of big games in the years since. The lift and zapping powers of InFamous, the force powers of Star Wars: Forced Unleashed and all that psi object lifting of Dead Space. Ops, in turn, owes a lot to Jedi Knight II and that’s a good game to build on. Like a Jedi living in a non Jedi world this game gives you super psychic abilities and lets you loose in a fertile battleground full of dummy soldiers that you can abuse with your mind, platforming sections where you have direct control over the platforms(!), cool bosses, full on mind control and straight up shooting. Ops will never get the credit it deserves but to me it’s proof that not every great game is an obviously a great game.
  • and because I got nothing better to do…
    Best Games of the 1990s

    1. Metal Gear Solid (PSone)
    2. X-Com: UFO Defense (PC)
    3. Xenogears (PSone)
    4. Final Fantasy VIII (PSone)
    5. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    6. Street Fighter 2 (Arcade/SNES)
    7. Sim City 2000 (PC)
    8. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
    9. Grim Fandango (PC)
    10. Super Punch Out!! (SNES)
    11. Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo 64)
    12. Crusader: No Regret/Remorse (PC)
    13. Final Fantasy VII (PSone)
    14. Gabriel Knight (PC)
    15. Space Megaforce (SNES)
    16. Super Mario All Stars (SNES)
    17. Doom (PC)
    18. King’s Quest VI (PC)
    19. NBA Jam (Arcade/SNES)
    20. Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)
    21. Super Mario Brothers 3 (NES)
    22. Final Fantasy VI (called FF III in U.S.)
    23. Star Wars: Tie Fighter (PC)
    24. Tetris Attack (SNES)
    25. Dune II (PC)
    26. Super Metroid (SNES)
    27. Yoshi’s Island (SNES)
    28. NHL 93 (Genesis only!)
    29. Command and Conquer (PC)
    30. TMNT 4: Turtles in Time (SNES)
    31. Metal Warriors (SNES)
    32. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
    33. Tetris (Gameboy)
    34. Worms 2 (PC)
    35. System Shock 2 (PC)
    36. Flashback (Genesis)
    37. Shadowrun (SNES)
    38. Half-Life (PC)
    39. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (PC)
    40. Earthbound (SNES)
    41. Contra III (SNES)
    42. Grandia (Playstation)
    43. Pilotwings 64 (Nintendo 64)
    44. Secret of Mana (SNES)
    45. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
    46. Battletoads (NES)
    47. Fallout (PC)
    48. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSone)
    49. Gunstar Heroes (Genesis)
    50. Quake (PC)
    51. Star Fox (SNES)
    52. Space Quest V (PC)
    53. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
    54. Bomberman (SNES)
    55. Oddworld (PC/Playstation)
    56. Sninobi 3 (Genesis)
    57. Out of this World (Sega CD)
    58. Road Rash 2 (Genesis)
    59. Panzer Dragon (Saturn–yes I owned a Saturn)
    60. Streets of Rage II (Genesis)
    61. Super Mario RPG (SNES)
    62. Mortal Kombat II (Arcade)
    63. Final Fantasy V (II in U.S.)
    64. Crash Team Racing (PSone)
    65. Command and Conquer Red Alert (PC)
    66. Resident Evil (PSone)
    67. ActRaiser (SNES)
    68. Civilization II (PC)
    69. Lemmings (PC)
    70. Twisted Metal (PSone)
    71. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
    72. StarOcean: Second Story (Playstation)
    73. Starcraft (PC)
    74. Jungle and/or Desert Strike (Genesis)
    75. World of Illusion Starring Mickey and Donald (Genesis)
    76. Tecmo Super Bowl (NES)
    77. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Genesis)
    78. Gokojou Parodius (SNES)
    79. Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64)
    80. Ecco the Dolphin (Genesis)
    81. Super Mario World (SNES)
    82. E.V.O. Search for Edan (SNES)
    83. Syndicate (PC)
    84. Secret of Monkey Island 2 (PC)
    85. Zombies ate my Neighbors (SNES)
    86. Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64)
    87. Thunder Force III (Genesis)
    88. The Lost Vikings (PC)
    89. Megaman X (SNES)
    90. Stunt Island (PC)
    91. Warcraft 2 (PC)
    92. The Dig (PC)
    93. Super Puzzle Fighter 2/Bust a Groove (Arcade)
    94. Strider (Genesis)
    95. Populous (SNES)
    96. PaRappa the Rapper (PSone)
    97. Metal Slug (Arcade)
    98. Darkstalkers (Arcade)
    99. Sim Tower (PC)
    100. Ridge Racer (PSone)