The decade's must-have music collection

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The Independent Culture

As the "Aughts" come to a close, National Public Radio, the US listener-supported radio which covers news and culture, selected "The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings." The long (and perhaps incomplete) list covers a full spectrum of genres, including hip-hop, pop, classical, jazz, world, folk, hard rock, and some country.

Music staff, along with listeners' input, created the selection, choosing albums that "challenge, inspire and captivate." Calling them "game-changers," the records signaled some sort of shift in the way music sounds, were especially influential or historically significant.

The decade witnessed the decentralization of music from major record labels and the closing of record stores; online distribution and word-of-mouth proved effective in getting music heard, too. The selections are alphabetically listed, from John Adams to Juanes to OutKast, Yo-Yo Ma and Amy Winehouse, with the aim to bring attention to music that stood out in a crowded field over a span of ten years.

Songs can be heard, as well as reasons why Britney Spears is on the list and Bjork is not at

John Adams: On The Transmigration Of Souls (2002)
Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)
Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004)
The Bad Plus: These Are The Vistas (2003)
Beyoncé: Dangerously In Love (2003)
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (2007-8)
Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)
Burial: Untrue (2007)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: self-titled (2005)
Kelly Clarkson: Breakaway (2004)
Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Danger Mouse: The Grey Album (2004)
Death Cab For Cutie: Transatlanticism (2003)
The Decemberists: The Crane Wife (2006)
Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)
Osvaldo Golijov: La Pasion Segun San Marcos (The Passion according to Saint Mark)
Green Day: American Idiot (2004)
Iron And Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)
Jay-Z: The Blueprint (2001)
Norah Jones: Come Away With Me (2002)
Juanes: Fijate Bien (2000)
LCD Soundsystem: Sound Of Silver (2007)
Lil' Wayne: Tha Carter III (2008)
Little Brother: The Listening (2003)
Yo-Yo Ma: Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet (2002)
Mastodon: Leviathan (2004)
M.I.A.: Kala (2007)
Jason Moran: Black Stars (2001)
OutKast: Stankonia (2000)
Brad Paisley: 5th Gear (2007)
Panda Bear: Person Pitch (2007)
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand (2007)
The Postal Service: Give Up (2003)
Radiohead: In Rainbows (2007)
Radiohead: Kid A (2000)
Shakira: Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 (2005)
Sigur Ros: ( ) (2002)
Britney Spears: In The Zone (2003)
Sufjan Stevens: Illinois (2005)
The Strokes: Is This It (2002)
The Swell Season: Once Soundtrack (2007)
Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate: In The Heart of the Moon (2005)
TV On The Radio: Return To Cookie Mountain (2006)
Various: Garden State Soundtrack (2004)
Various: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack (2000)
Kanye West: The College Dropout (2004)
The White Stripes: White Blood Cells (2001)
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Amy Winehouse: Back To Black (2006)