Graphs are fun. Here’s a look at Pitchfork’s Top 200 Albums of the Decade, broken down by year.
While poring over Pitchfork’s Top 200 Albums of the year, I got the feeling that 2000 and 2001 were popping up more than any other year. I put together a quick spreadsheet of the numbers of releases per release year. What this chart shows is that, yes, 2000 and 2001 (and 2002) had more albums on the top 200 than other years.
Looking at the dip in top 200 records in 2003 and 2004 led me to my next question: How important were the album releases from each year. To generate the next graph, each album was assigned a value corresponding to it’s ranking on the top 200. For example, Kid A was given 200 p0ints, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was given 197 points. Next, the values for each year were summed and then normalized to 100. So what you’re looking at is the contribution of each year to the best music of the decade.
What we see are that not only did a greater number of top albums arrive at the beginning of the decade but that those albums were on the whole the best of the decade. So, 2000 and 2001 were indeed the most culturally fertile of the decade. Probably the most shocking of all is that these top records, the ones from 2000 and 2001, were ALL released before 9/11.
Let’s try an argument against these albums being ranked so high. You might say, “those albums have been out for almost ten years now, their cultural significance can be fully assessed at this point.” Yes, there is merit to this argument, especially when viewing the contribution of 2008 and 2009′s albums to the best of the decade. However, we still have 2003 and 2004 to address. What happened ? The trend indicates that there was actually a cultural nadir that occurred near the middle of the decade.
Any thoughts on the best albums of the decade or the cause of the cultural nadir in the middle of the decade?