Top Ten Albums That Prove That Not All 21st Century Music Is Bad

There are a lot of people out there who think that all modern music (especially popular music) is never up to par with music from the 20th century. And to those people I say, consider taking a listen to these albums and maybe having a change of heart. These are some of the most brilliant recordings to ever be released, and they were all released in the last ten years.

The Top Ten

1 To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

This could very easily already be the greatest hip hop album of the decade. It reaches incredibly deep, philosophical levels with such compassion, understanding, and wisdom with its lyricism and production. This album is based on a metaphor for metamorphosis and the life of a black man in America. It also focuses on other topics like racial equality, depression, and many others. The concepts in this album are so complex that I haven't even fully understood the message yet. Throughout the album, there's a spoken word interlude that repeats in between most of the tracks, but it adds a new line every time it comes up. I won't spoil what it builds up to at the end of the album, but it is just beautiful. Lamar's flow and delivery is always incredibly interesting and ambitious. The music is also mind blowing, with Dr. Dre, Flying Lotus, Pharrell Williams, and several others on production. The beats on this album are just as emotionally captivating as the lyrics, mixing elements of soul, ...more - Mard

Compared to Marvin Gaye's masterpiece; "What's Going On? "

No contest.

It's stupidly good. It's stupid how good it is. It is frustrating how gosh darn good this album is

Not just that. This proves NOT ALL MODERN RAP IS BAD. - AlphaQ

V 3 Comments
2 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West

This is an intriguing piece of masterpiece that proves rap is still a great genre. - AlphaQ

What?! Kanye West?! Really?! Yes, Kanye West. Really. I wanted to make sure that hip hop was getting a lot of focus on this list, because it's definitely the most common target for the whole "wrong generation" argument. Modern hip hop gets so much hate because everyone says that it's all about "money" and "hoes" and "cars". And while that is often true, there is so much popular hip hop music out there that is truly meaningful. Now you might be thinking, "But Kanye West is such an ass! How could this album possibly change anyone's opinions of him? " Well, in this album, he reveals himself to be... An egotistical fame whore. And on this album he is very up front and honest about it. But the thing is, he's never insulting your intelligence by kidding you or himself about his success. And, of course, like any great hip hop release, the production on this album is top notch. There is so much going on on every track, but it never feels messy ...more - Mard

3 Blurryface - Twenty One Pilots

Great album! Very interesting and bouncy. 9/10

I like how the Top 3 albums are rap and pop. - AlphaQ

Yep, And You Can't Shut Up About How Much You Hate Linkin Park, But Yet Go Praising This - VideoGamefan5

4 Donuts - J Dilla

When I tell people that this is an instrumental hip hop album, they are always very confused. "Isn't the rapping the whole point of hip hop? How do you have a hip hop album without rapping? " Well, the truth is, the music is just as important as the rapping, and at times, can be even more captivating than the rapping. J Dilla was one of the most important and innovative producers in hip hop, even before the release of this album. He's somehow able to take a 7-second loop of some old obscure 60s soul song, add a thick drum beat to it, and make it sound absolutely fantastic. I actually think that rapping would ruin this album, because the beats are just so perfect. Yes, the album has occasional chops of speech, but even those kind of connect in a way and make it seem like there is a deeper meaning to the album, even without actual lyrics. This album is jam packed with so many amazing and ambitious ideas, and it just goes to show you that instrumental music can be so much more affecting ...more - Mard

15, 20 minutes for dilla to make a beat

5 Run the Jewels 2 - Run the Jewels

Another hip hop album! Truly great hardcore hip hop is a pretty rare find these days, and this album was a big breath of fresh air for the genre. This album features two of the biggest names in modern underground hip hop, El-P and Killer Mike. The always amazing production of El-P, who has produced several other significant hip hop releases (The Cold Vein, Movies For The Blind), is just as fantastic as usual here. Killer Mike has a superb flow, and the two MC's just have a great chemistry. It's aggressive, it's catchy, and it's a modern classic of its genre. - Mard

This also proves you that some Hip-Hop from the 21 century isn't bad. - Mumbizz01

Pretty Amazing - VideoGamefan5

6 Ys - Joanna Newsom

This is easily the most magical and enchanting album I have listened to an a long, long time. Every one of the five songs on the album is like a musical fairy tale. None of the songs have choruses or anything like the typical song structures, they're much more like stories. It has such an old-fashioned Renaissance sort of feel, but at the same time, it's so unlike anything else that has ever been released. One of my favorite things about this album and her other albums is her voice, but I understand that many people can't stand her voice. It's certainly an acquired taste. She has such a uniquely passionate voice, and while it still has that nasally, high pitched sort of quality, it's much more restrained on this album, which actually adds a lot more emotion. The instrumentation is fantastic with the orchestra, and Joanna's harp is as beautiful as it's ever been. This album is just like musical fantasy novel, and it's easily one of the best folk albums of the last several years. - Mard

7 The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem

Yeah it's better than most rap albums today - bobbythebrony

Awesome Rap Music - VideoGamefan5

One best hardcore rap albums ever next to straight outta compton best songs
1 Kill You"
2 "Stan
3 Who Knew
4 The Way I Am"
5 "The Real Slim Shady"
6 Remember Me
7 I'm Back"
8 Marshall Mathers
9 Bitch Please II
10 "Criminal

8 At the Edge of Time - Blind Guardian

Greatest Album of the 21st Century - christangrant

9 Hybrid Theory - Linkin Park

Depressing album that was obviously written for depressed teens. But there's some good stuff on here, if I'm to be perfectly honest. - IronSabbathPriest

One of the first albums of the 21st century. Still think it's bad? It's Linkin Park's breakthrough, you know!

Depressing album by a depressing talentless band for depressed teens. 3/10 - AlphaQ

Depressed songs by a talentless depressed band for depressed teens. 3/10 - AlphaQ

10 Kid A - Radiohead

The Contenders

11 To Be Kind - Swans

Swans are a band that have been making music since the early 80's, and have released several fantastic albums throughout their career (Soundtracks For The Blind, Children Of God). After a 14 year hiatus, in 2010, they released My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, which introduced a more post-rock / noise-rock sound that was a little different than anything else they had done. The album was decent, but then they released The Seer in 2012, which was an awesome album. There was no way that they would ever be able to live up to that release. But just like Kendrick Lamar with TPAB, Swans topped their previous album with 2014's absolutely fantastic To Be Kind. Like their last couple records, this is a very layered and detailed post-rock album with a ton of feedback and drone passages. The atmosphere of the album is made perfect by the great production, and Michael Gira's vocals are wonderful, being both calm and mild to fierce and intense. Simply put, not only is this arguably ...more - Mard

Now, be warned: this isn't an easy listen. 2 and a half hours long and very thought-provoking: but it's super rewarding. - WonkeyDude98

12 Emotion - Carly Rae Jepsen
13 Astoria - Marianas Trench
14 Illinois - Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens is without a doubt one of the most important figures in the folk revival that's been going on during the past several years, along with Joanna Newsom and others. The reason he's especially beloved, though, is the way he pushes the boundaries of the genre. Even today, most ordinary folk music is all acoustic, and while he's not the first person to experiment like this, he does it in his own unique way, with ambient, dark, and electric elements. He's also a remarkable multi-instrumentalist, playing the majority of the instruments of the album. He plays guitar, piano, bass, drums, oboe, flute, sax, banjo, accordion, and many more. His soft, high vocals do a great job of showing both happiness and heartbreak, and the emotion on this album varies a lot, going from very melancholic and gloomy to pleasant and light-hearted. This is just a wonderfully majestic, ambitious, and engaging neo-folk album, and one of the best ever. - Mard

15 Beyond the Red Mirror - Blind Guardian V 1 Comment
16 Demons & Wizards - Demons & Wizards

No bad songs on this album. Supreme modern vocals. Great riffing.
Path Of Glory, Heaven Denies, Fiddler on the Green, My Last Sunrise, Tear down the wall, Poor Man's Crusade, Blood On My Hands - Metal_Treasure

17 Madvillainy - Madvillain V 1 Comment
18 The Inevitable End - Röyksopp

Absolutely beautiful - I have this album and still love it to bits. - Entranced98

19 Horror Show - Iced Earth
20 House of Balloons - The Weeknd

The weeknd is the best! - Fireboy

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200 votes
187 listings
2 years, 155 days old

Top Remixes (16)

1. To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
2. Run the Jewels 2 - Run the Jewels
3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West
1. To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
2. Ys - Joanna Newsom
3. Sunbather - Deafheaven
1. At the Edge of Time - Blind Guardian
2. Demons & Wizards - Demons & Wizards
3. Beyond the Red Mirror - Blind Guardian

View All 16


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