The Knife, LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar…

If you’ve not been keeping up with our countdown of the greatest albums Clash has heard since its founding in 2004, use the links below to see what records we’ve been most moved by. Here, we continue our top 10 – and words on these selections come from a variety of guest contributors.

100-91
90-81
80-71
70-61
60-51
50-41
40-31
30-21
20-11

Numbers 10-8, with Frank Ocean, M.I.A. and Animal Collective: here

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7
The Knife – ‘Silent Shout’
(Rabid Records, 2006)

Advocated by James Hamilton of Errors

“It’s difficult to talk about an album as near perfect as ‘Silent Shout’ without descending into hyperbole; calling it “near perfect” for example, but dammit, it is.

“There are few albums I can think of, off the top of my head, which flow and ebb so perfectly as a whole. It’s cold and malicious, the drums stabbing like staccato tendrils of ice throughout.

“The synths sound like some baleful nightmare Jan Hammer might have had, exhausted and nauseous after a long sleepless stretch in the studio recording the soundtrack for Miami Vice. Karin Dreijer Andersson’s pitch-skewed vocals bounce jarringly between the sound of a choir of angels lambasting your failings and some grotesque demon attempting to seduce you in a neon-lit, rain drenched Blade Runner hell.

“It’s unsettling, distant and horrific, but it’s also conversely so utterly beautiful, warm and commanding in its insistence that you stop analysing it and just dance.

“It’s a landscape, a cold and brutal tundra scattered with hot pools where mermaids entrance you to fall in love with them. It’s a throbbing, dark, smoke-filled club where everyone is just a little bit angry about something they can’t quite grasp. It’s everything that a good electronic music album should be.”

‘Like A Pen’

‘We Share Our Mothers’ Health’

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6
LCD Soundsystem – ‘Sound Of Silver’
(DFA/Capitol, 2007)

Advocated by John MacLean of The Juan MacLean:

“First albums are the collection of all your best ideas to date; ideas that have been fleshed out during the heady early days of an artist’s burgeoning music career. They are propelled by the energy of discovery and what seems like boundless inspiration.

“The second album is a wake-up call. This is when it’s time to get to work and toil with the mind-boggling questions of expectation and self-expression. The first LCD Soundsystem record is great, but it feels like a collection of tracks. ‘Sound Of Silver’ feels like a statement. I’m not sure what the statement is exactly, but it announces itself with bombast straight away with ‘Get Innocuous’. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from David Bowie or Iggy Pop: an art-tinged mission statement that defines James Murphy as a ‘rock star’.

“That the songs are truly great – every one of them – doesn’t hurt. But for me – and it would be disingenuous of me to not admit my personal ties to James as one of my oldest friends – this album is about the late coming-of-age transition from underground person of interest to iconic status. I don’t say that as a friend, I say it strictly as a fan, as this is one of my favourite albums of all time.”

‘All My Friends’

‘Someone Great’

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5
Kendrick Lamar – ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’

(Top Dawg/Interscope, 2012)

Advocated by William Hutson of LA rap crew clipping.

“‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ is clearly indebted to a lineage of autobiographical debuts that includes ‘Illmatic’, ‘Ready To Die’, and ‘Doggystyle’, but it also belongs alongside rap’s ambitious conceptual projects, like those helmed by Prince Paul, or Dan The Automator.

“The album is a thoroughly plotted chronicle of a specific day in Kendrick’s life where the consequences of one careless, hormonally-motivated choice grow increasingly dire.

“Kendrick comes off as vulnerable in a way that feels honest, portraying believable shame and confusion. Rarely does he flat-out tell the listener how he feels; rather, he presents stories and situations that the listener experiences and feels along with him.

“On top of all that, the album works as a straight-ahead rap record, too. With or without the story, it’s a near-flawless collection of tracks. Kendrick raps like a nasal-voiced offspring of Project Blowed and The Dogg Pound, tossing off clever lines with dazzling rhythmic technique.

“The industry will undoubtedly remain focused on singles, marketing songs to radio stations and dance floors, and that is as it should be. Hip-hop is dance music and the pop single format is untouchable. But for anyone looking for longer artistic statements, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d. city’ has become something of a high-water mark.”

‘Poetic Justice’

‘Swimming Pools’

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Previous entries:

100-91
90-81
80-71
70-61
60-51
50-41
40-31
30-21
20-11

Numbers 10-8, with Frank Ocean, M.I.A. and Animal Collective: here

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