Ok, here they are. My favorite albums of the past decade. I'm not claiming these are the "best" albums (always a question of taste), and they certainly aren't the best selling. Just my personal favorites, with a little explanation for each one. They are in no particular order.
1. Coldplay - X&Y. I could have picked any of their albums really, but this one captures their sound and feeling better than any other.
2. Linkin Park - Meteora. I've always maintained Linkin Park is one of the only few original sounding rock bands in the past decade, and this album shows why. It's actually their least successful in terms of sales, but it's my favorite.
3. Kanye West - Graduation. One of the only artists to write original and unique hip hop/rap music. This was his third album and a tour de force which expanded the genres of hip hop, pop and rap.
4. Jay Z - The Blueprint. Arguably the greatest pure rapper in history.
5. U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind. U2 has reinvented their sound three times in their career. First on The Joshua Tree, then on Actung Baby and then again on All That You Can't Leave Behind. There's a reason why they're the most popular band in the world.
6. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero. Brilliant musically and lyrically. Nothing sounds like Nine Inch Nails before or since.
7. Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy. An odd choice, perhaps. This album had a lot of hype, considering how long it took to make (over a decade), and received mixed reviews. Some people just can't get past the fact that it's not the original line-up. But Axl Rose is a genius and each song is well written, performed and produced.
8. Black Eyed Peas - Elephunk. If not for this band and Kayne West (see # 3), hip hop might have fallen off the map forever.
9. Paul Oakenfold - Bunkka. The artist who put Trance music on the map in the 1990's continued his groundbreaking writing/mixing/producing with this album that shakes up typical "dance" music.
10. Eminem - The Eminem Show. Say what you want about this guy, he took the rap community and flipped it upside down. In between his intentionally over the top lyrics, you'll find some of the most emotional and honest songs since Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.
Have fun with this list. I always like feedback!