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Love and Theft

The decade with no name left behind plenty of memorable music.

Album: Under the Blacklight (Warner Bros., 2007)
Song: "Portions for Foxes" (More Adventurous, 2004)
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Spoon: An indie-rocker who always sounded more comfortable wearing his forefathers' clothing ("Fitted Shirt"), Spoon's Britt Daniel squeezed classic songwriting into today's cut-and-paste digi-music world. Whether examining the tiniest minutiae ("My Little Japanese Cigarette Case") or dealing with the deepest loneliness ("Anything You Want"), Spoon made even the smallest stakes sound not so small at all.

Album: Gimme Fiction (Merge, 2005)
Song: "The Underdog" (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007)
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White Stripes/Raconteurs/The Dead Weather: Not everything Jack White touched this decade turned to garage-rock gold, but enough did that his OCD-like need to keep starting new bands was more endearing than annoying. The gale-force guitar blasts of "Ball and Biscuit," "Black Math" and Son House's "Death Letter" proved he was a true son of Detroit, but softer moments like "We're Going to Be Friends" made him a Nashville-worthy songwriter. Still, as much as we enjoyed the Raconteurs' Consolers of the Lonely and The Dead Weather's Horehound, it's just not the same without Meg wailing away behind him.

Album: Elephant (White Stripes, Third Man/V2,2003)
Song: "Death Letter" (White Stripes, De Stijl, 2000)
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Wilco: And so here we are at the band that, front to back, soundtracked Noise's decade more than any other. Putting their alt-country past to bed on the star-crossed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Jeff Tweedy and mates cast a critical yet sentimental eye on America's post­millennial vertigo both in the headlines ("Ashes of American Flags") and at home ("At Least That's What You Said"). And they still love rock and roll, especially once amp-abusing guitarist Nels Cline came aboard. Even after Tweedy kicked prescription painkillers and cozied up to family life, songs like "Hate It Here" and "I'll Fight" were hardly the sounds of someone settling down.

Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch, 2002)
Song: "The Late Greats" (A Ghost Is Born, 2004)
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BECAUSE OF THE TIMES
Ten album titles that sum up the past ten years.

2000: We Have the Facts and We're ­Voting Yes

(Death Cab for Cutie)

2001: Know Your Enemy (Manic Street Preachers)

2002: The Illusion of Safety (Thrice)

2003: Get Rich or Die Tryin' (50 Cent)

2004: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

(TV on the Radio)

2005: Lullabies to Paralyze (Queens of the

Stone Age)

2006: Taking the Long Way (Dixie Chicks)

2007: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

(Modest Mouse)

2008: Some People Have Real Problems (Sia)

2009: Hot Mess (Cobra Starship)
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OLD SALTS
Ten albums from artists a long way from out to pasture.

2000: U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind

2001: Bob Dylan, "Love and Theft"

2002: David Bowie, Heathen

2003: Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, Streetcore

2004: Prince, Musicology

2005: Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel

2006: Tom Petty, Highway Companion

2007: John Fogerty, Revival

2008: Alejandro Escovedo, Real Animal

2009: Little Joe Washington, Texas Fire Line
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YOUNG TURKS
Ten auspicious debuts (or near-debuts) from the 2000s.

2000: Coldplay, Parachutes

2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World

2002: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Source Tags & Codes

2003: Kings of Leon, Youth & Young Manhood

2004: Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand

2005: Miranda Lambert, Kerosene

2006: Band of Horses, Everything All the Time

2007: St. Vincent, Marry Me

2008: Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes

2009: White Lies, To Lose My Life...
_____________________

FEVER TO TELL
Ten more albums we really, really liked.

2000: PJ Harvey, Stories From the City,

Stories From the Sea

2001: Guided by Voices, Isolation Drills

2002: Beck, Sea Change

2003: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell

2004: Green Day, American Idiot

2005: New Pornographers, Twin Cinema

2006: Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

2007: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand

2008: MGMT, Oracular Spectacular

2009: Decemberists, The Hazards of Love

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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