Clash recently concluded counting down the 100 greatest albums of its 10-year lifetime. No genres off limits, no restriction on the number of times the same artist could feature. Kanye West appeared three times overall, solo, and as one-half of the ‘Watch The Throne’ LP – and it was his ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ set of 2010 that we decided should be crowned as the very best LP that Clash has heard, so far.
Alongside our internal discussions, we asked you lot to send in your own favourite albums of the past 10 years. And you did – thanks! The many and varied votes have been counted, and we can now reveal the top 10 albums of Clash’s lifetime, according to the people who really matter: the people who actually read the bloody thing we work so bloody hard on.
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LCD Soundsystem – ‘Sound Of Silver’
In our list: in at six. But it’s top of the pile according to you lovely lot. And why not – it’s a wonderful record (pictured, main), a very human dance collection that still comes on like a warm hug from a cherished friend. When it’s not screaming about scum, of course. (Here’s John MacLean of The Juan MacLean on your number one.)
‘North American Scum’
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Arcade Fire – ‘Funeral’
(2004, Merge/Rough Trade)
Number three on the Clash team’s countdown fares one better here. ‘Funeral’ is one of those debuts that still stands as its makers’ best LP, where every idea clicks and nothing feels superfluous – sadly not qualities that came through clearly on following sets, although it must be said that the Canadian act’s pretty excellent third album, ‘The Suburbs’, also attracted a good few votes. (Here’s The Twilight Sad’s James Graham on ‘Funeral’.)
‘Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)’
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Titus Andronicus – ‘The Monitor’
(2010, XL Recordings)
Didn’t even make our 100, anywhere. Clearly we’re idiots, as you love this, the second studio set from ambitious New Jersey ‘punks’ Titus Andronicus. Sure enough, the American Civil War-themed (ish) LP was well received on release – 8.7 on Pitchfork, 9/10 on Drowned in Sound – but it evidently missed our radars enough to have not come up in the editorial conversation at all. Oh well!
‘A More Perfect Union’
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Animal Collective – ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’
This one, we expected – and we have it in our own top 100, right up there at eight. Still this experimental act’s most compelling collection, ‘Merriweather…’ is a modern psychedelic masterpiece. (Here’s Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley on it.)
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The National – ‘Boxer’
(2007, Beggars Banquet)
Nice one, guys. We love The National, but opted for ‘High Violet’ in our countdown – and, to be honest, we placed that a little low down at 34. ‘Boxer’ is a tremendous album, though, and it’s pleasing to see a record from before this band’s mainstream breakthrough getting some (substantial) love. Songs like ‘Mistaken For Strangers’, ‘Fake Empire’ and ‘Start A War’ are amongst the best that The National have ever produced, and the reviews for this fourth album really do speak for themselves.
‘Mistaken For Strangers’
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Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’
(2010, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
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Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’
(2007, self-release/XL Recordings)
There’s plenty of love for ‘Kid A’, of course, but something about ‘In Rainbows’ just makes it click as a more cohesive experience. It’s certainly the best album this Oxford five-piece has put out since ‘Kid A’ – which obviously doesn’t qualify for inclusion here – and sets a standard that the band’s next record, expected later this year, will have to be pretty special to match. Our number two, your number seven: this is an album for the ages. (Moby and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning talk ‘In Rainbows’.)
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Burial – ‘Untrue’
A game-changer in electronic circles: the first darkly dubstep LP to breach mainstream circles, primarily because of its nomination for the 2008 Mercury Prize. The mystery that surrounded its maker, subsequently revealed as Londoner Will Bevan, played a part in the initial intrigue surrounding ‘Untrue’ – but even with the veil dropped, this music stands on its own terms as truly spellbinding fare. It’s in our list at 19, but sits comfortably in this top 10.
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Janelle Monáe – ‘The ArchAndroid’
(2010, Wonderland Arts Society)
You’ll hear no arguments from us. ‘The ArchAndroid’, Kansas City singer Monáe’s first studio album ‘proper’, felt like a revelation on release – and while it didn’t feature in our top 100, it’s a certifiable classic of its kind. Rich in conceptual detail, and effortlessly empowering in its combination of deep soul and sensational psychedelica, ‘The ArchAndroid’ is one of those multi-guests sets that consistently sticks the spotlight on its cover star. Universally acclaimed, and the foundation of a modern superstar talent, you’ve got to wonder how this missed our list.
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Frightened Rabbit – ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’
Frank Ocean – ‘channel ORANGE’
(2012, Def Jam)
The same number of votes, two wildly different LPs – we didn’t want to deny one a place here, so we’re including both. Cheating? Maybe, but this is what the votes have told us. Frank’s album we included at 10 in our countdown, but the second set from Selkirk-formed, Glasgow-based foursome Frightened Rabbit got nowhere near. But it’s a pleasure to have them – Clash began in Scotland, so it’s only right that one of our own ranks so highly amongst our readership. (BadBadNotGood discuss Frank's fantastic set here.)
Frightened Rabbit – ‘Head Rolls Off’
Frank Ocean – ‘Pyramids’
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Thanks to all of you who voted.