You call these the best albums of the last decade?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Andy Gill takes issue with the pick of the Noughties pop selected by NME

In principle, the notion of the NME compiling a Greatest Albums of the Decade is one that should be welcomed, not least as a much-needed corrective to the overwhelmingly sales-and industry-led nature of most such lists.

After all, if there were no such place remaining to proclaim the greatness of, say, The Shins and Arcade Fire, the world would be a much more regimented marketplace. But it's hard to be particularly enthusiastic about the top 50 placings which the magazine has published, for a number of glaring reasons.

Most notable is the overwhelmingly white, male constitution of the list, with only four specifically black acts (and a sprinkling of about the same number of black musicians amongst the other bands), and an equivalent situation pertaining for female musicians – and this following what by any standard has been an unusually prolific creative period for female acts.

This is hardly a surprise – after all, it has always been a source of great frustration to NME writers that its readership is so resistant to black music styles. In the 1980s, I know from personal experience that if a black artist was put on the cover – even a high-profile artist such as Michael Jackson or Prince – there would be a slump in sales. Which is not to suggest that NME readers were in any way racist, simply that their tastes in music were strictly circumscribed in a way that the writers', on the whole, were not. Fair dos: not everybody likes classical music, either. But this list, we're told, was not a readership poll, but compiled by a panel of "musicians, producers, writers and record label bosses" – which does suggest that the voting panel itself was chosen from a very narrow cross-section of the music industry, presumably to closely reflect the magazine's readership. Which raises a further point as to the value of a periodical which so closely mirrors its readers' tastes as to render it virtually stagnant. But that's another matter.

I've no quibble with the choice of The Strokes' debut album as the NME's Greatest Album of the Decade: by their criteria, it kick-started the indie revival which is the magazine's core interest (even if subsequent releases witnessed such a sharp drop in quality they're nowhere to be seen here). Likewise for The Libertines at No 2 – although three entries for Pete Doherty is rather overstating the poor chap's artistic value. Primal Scream's Xtrmntr at three is more of a surprise – a decent album, certainly, but that good? – while the really interesting absence is Britpop, with only Blur of the major players from a few years before making it to the list – and with their least Britpoppy album, at that. Nice to see The Coral hanging in there, though I'm surprised that Radiohead haven't featured higher.

Perhaps more shocking is that, with The Strokes at the top, there is no place for Kings Of Leon, who were initially regarded as a sort of "Southern" Strokes, but have since effortlessly eclipsed their compatriots' achievements – perhaps demolishing their "cool" quotient in the process. And what of The White Stripes, who might have been expected to dominate such a list not too many years ago, but can now only just scrape into the Top 20?

Interestingly, while British and American acts seem equally well represented – though shamefully, there is not one world-music performer on the entire list – heavy metal is as poorly represented as hip-hop, with only the marginally metal Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age qualifying. And while Dizzee, Jay-Z and MIA are grudgingly granted places, there's nowhere for Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, perhaps the single most influential rap album of them all.

Musical differences: NME vs Andy Gill

The NME top 10

1 The Strokes, Is This It

2 The Libertines, Up The Bracket

3 Primal Scream, XTRMNTR

4 Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

5 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever To Tell

6 PJ Harvey, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea

7 Arcade, Fire Funeral

8 Interpol, Turn On The Bright Lights

9 The Streets, Original Pirate Material

10 Radiohead, In Rainbows

...and Andy Gill's

1 Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise

2 The Necks, Drive By

3 Ry Cooder, Chavez Ravine

4 OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

5 Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)

6 Bob Dylan, Modern Times

7 Tinariwen, Amassakoul

8 Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP

9 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand

10. Laura Veirs, Carbon Glacier

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing