The 100 best albums of the 21st century

"51 The Microphones

Overlapping acoustic guitars blend like plumes of smoke, and inspired snatches of melody flit by – but bursts of noise and distortion herald danger deep in the woods. Listen to the album.

50 Interpol
Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)

Theirs was the New York of Taxi Driver or Midnight Cowboy: fraught with rain and danger, energy crackling like the wires of a vandalised phone box. Like their peers the Strokes, the quartet made rhythm guitar the lead and foregrounded the bass, but cast them in sombre black suits rather than artfully distressed denim. Their ballad NYC became an unofficial civic anthem, synthesising the mix of sorrow and tenacity that defined the city in the wake of 9/11. Listen to the album."