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The Best of Music

O Brother Where Art Thou?

CD Cover Image. Title: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

10. Ushering in a vogue for the rootsy sounds of Americana and making Alison Krauss a household name, the soundtrack to this Coen Brothers film crystallized producer T-Bone Burnett's ability to create timeless music - something he expanded on with Krauss and Robert Plant's Raising Sand.

White Blood Cells by The White Stripes

CD Cover Image. Title: White Blood Cells, Artist:   White Stripes

9. Even as the internet atomized music audiences, this punk 'n'roots duo managed to unite the tribes: anorectic indie rockers, grizzled blues hounds, brawny metalheads, and eventually pop fashionistas found something to like about Jack and Meg White's stripped-down sound.

Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson

CD Cover Image. Title: Breakaway, Artist: Kelly  Clarkson

8. Reality TV helped define the decade, and made its mark on music as well. Kelly Clarkson's powerful pipes blew away American Idol viewers and competition on the charts with her sophomore effort Breakway -- featuring one of the decade's best breakup songs, "Since U Been Gone."

CD Cover Image. Title: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Artist:   OutKast

7. Defining the outer limits of hip-hop, this odd couple from Atlanta presaged their growing estrangement on this double-disc diamond-certified album. The trial separation birthed one of the biggest singles of the decade, the inescapable “Hey Ya!”

Come Away With Me by Norah Jones

CD Cover Image. Title: Come Away with Me, Artist: Norah  Jones

6. Her easy talent at the piano and relaxed croon soothed millions' 21 century breakdown, and inspired a multitude of singers to crack open the Great American Songbook once again. Neither rock, nor soul, jazz, nor country, Norah Jones minted her own genre, with seemingly endless appeal.

The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and Love & Theft by Bob Dylan

CD Cover Image. Title: The Rising (Special Package), Artist: Bruce  Springsteen

5. In the aftermath of 9/11 and an unpopular war abroad, rock's most hallowed messengers were duly charged. Bruce and fellow traveler Bob Dylan rose to the occasion with penetrating albums that dismissed agitprop for cold hard truths, uplifting or not. In the spirit of brotherhood, we call this one a tie.

Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

CD Cover Image. Title: Back to Black, Artist: Amy  Winehouse

4. Easily overlooked in the tabloid hysteria her every move inspired was the reason Amy Winehouse won six Grammys, was nominated for Britain's Mercury Prize, and left a raft of female soul singers in her wake. Her voice, louche and insolent as a hip-hop Billie Holliday's, was simply the most distinctive to emerge all decade. And she's a heck of a songwriter, too.

B'Day by Beyoncé

CD Cover Image. Title: B'Day, Artist:   Beyonce

3. The hardest-working woman in show business celebrated her starring role in the film version of Dreamgirls and her emancipation from Destiny's Child with the stripped-down B'Day, and proved herself "Irreplaceable" in the pop firmament.

In Rainbows by Radiohead

CD Cover Image. Title: In Rainbows, Artist:   Radiohead

2. Radiohead began turning everything we thought we knew about pop music upside down with Kid A. But the follow-up was even more radical - and not just because fans could pay whatever they liked for the initial online-only release. A sonic pot of gold that harnesses their experimental edge with pop sensibilities, In Rainbows, remains priceless.

American Idiot by Green Day

CD Cover Image. Title: American Idiot, Artist:   Green Day

1. A politically confrontational, sonically expansive, classic-rock opera about powerlessness and disaffection, Green Day's American Idiot swept away the navel gazing of the '90s. It's angry, sure, but it's catchy and resonant enough to become a musical, which it has. Tommy, can you hear them?

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