10.) Kevin Barnes
Responsible for six LP’s and four EP’s this decade as the front man for Of Montreal. Barnes is the David Bowie of our time, constantly testing boundaries between performance and character. When all is said and done, the quirkiness of Barnes will be forgotten and the preciousness of his music will be in the spotlight.

09.) Joanna Newsom
She only released two studio albums (two demo recordings) and an EP, but Newsom is a musical force that will help define one of the best decades in music. Never before could I ever imagine a five-track album holding such power over its listener. Her music is timeless and one of the most unique collections in the last ten years.

08.) Pharrell Williams
In the end he might be remember for all the bad he put out into the world, but I can’t leave him off this list due to the quantity of impressive works he helmed this decade. Starting with his own project NERD, “In Search Of…” might be the best hip hop album of the decade. Every big hit was basically produced by Pharrell or in partnership by The Neptunes. Kanye West, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Clipse, Snoop, Jay-Z…the list goes on forever…he helped the biggest names make their best songs. The next decade might be a disaster for Williams, but he truly left his mark on this one.

07.) Matthew FriedbergerI love Eleanor, don’t get me wrong, but the Fiery Furnaces breath through the brilliance of Matt. I consider him to be the smartest musician we have working today and if you need proof, just listen to Blueberry Boat…an album that would have made classical composers blush in embarrassment that they couldn’t write such an album. He wrote eight albums this decade as part of The Fiery Furnaces, including a sadly overlooked solo album in 2006. The guy was busy, but quality never suffered.

06.) Sufjan Stevens
Yeah, he’s not going to make the 50 states but check out these numbers: eight studio albums (that’s crazy for a solo artist), over twenty Compilation appearances, short film, and helming Asthmatic Kitty, one of the most successful labels of the decade. The guy had a great decade.

05.) Spencer Krug
His work alone with Sunset Rubdown (Six albums) would have him in the top twenty…but add three albums with Frog Eyes, two with Swan Lake, one with Fifths of Seven, and three LP/three EP with Wolf Parade…it shoots him close to the top. Where does he find the time? With the exception of Wolf Parade’s “At Mount Zoomer” (which wasn’t bad…just not incredible), Krug has a perfect batting average when it comes to putting out amazing albums.

04.) Bradford Cox
Two albums under Atlas Sound, four with Deerhunter, and a combined ten EPs…and he weighs sixty pounds. Bradford Cox might just be the poster boy for this decade in music…aggressive, full of life, introspective, dark, and all the while nothing short of beautiful. This was a decade of unorganized noise that just made sense. When I listen to his music, I feel like he has a closer relationship to sound than most…it’s as if he can bend music with his mind…crafting a different shape, feel, and lasting product than most. The collection he left behind this decade is truly special.

03.) Jack White
The best guitar player we have was all over the place this decade. Five White Stripes albums, two Raconteurs, Dead Weather, work on/with Von Bondies/Loretta Lynn, Whirlwind Heat, and The Mildoons…soundtrack work on Cold Mountian, appearances in Jim Jarmusch films, playing Elvis in “Walk Hard”, and having his own documentary “It Might Get Loud”…man oh man…the list goes on forever. With the massive amount of artists out there this decade most of the people on this list can be debated/argued over…for me, Jack White is the only one who should be on every list…he did that much for the decade.

02.) Alden Penner
This is a personal pick, so don’t slam the laptop. He only has two formal releases with the bands The Unicorns and Clues. Here’s the deal. They’re both perfect. Yes, perfect. The reason why Alden is number two is that unlike other artists, in my mind he has not made an album that wasn’t a 10/10. How could I leave off an artist who in my mind is perfect? I can’t. There will be a day where Alden lends himself to a project that doesn’t hit me like the other two…but it hasn’t happened yet and in my mind he is the most flawless creator of music this decade.

01.) Jonny Greenwood
WHAT! No Thom Yorke??? Sorry, but I consider Radiohead to be one the greatest bands of all time because of Mr. Greenwood. His guitar riffs are viciously emotional and is responsible for pushing the boundaries of sound further than anyone this decade. I think Yorke is very important and amazing, but Greenwood is what makes Radiohead stand above the rest…listen to Yorke’s solo work…listen to Kid A…notice a difference? On top of this, Greenwood is responsible for one of the most haunting film scores of the decade with his work on “There Will Be Blood”. People know Greenwood, they understand he is important…I’m saying he is the most important.

Wayne Coyne fan? Karen O? Leave a comment with who you think should have made the list.


  1. Elliott Smith, Isaac Brock...come on!

  2. I'm a die hard Elliott Smith fan...but he was a 90's guy. Only had one "real" album this decade. He would have been number one or around there for my most important people of last decade.

    Isaac Brock lost me with Good News...I prefer Long Drive, Crowded West, and I would only be putting him on the list for one amazing album.

    I could see both being on other lists...just couldn't fit them in.

  3. Short list was Zach Condon, Andrew Bird, Wayne Coyne, Thom Yorke, Karen O, David Berman, Win Butler, Panda Bear, Andre 3000, and a bunch of other people who I had to cut.

  4. He is Jonny Greenwood. It's a short form of JONATHAN.

    I feel sad how people remember how to spell Thom's name and never spell Jonny correctly.

  5. hi-five for the #2 pick!

  6. @ 2nd Anonymous

    Is that really all that sad?

  7. I would argue that Brandon Flowers is one of the more important people of the decade. I love most of the people on your list far more, but my definition of important means having an impact on people that extends outside of their small fan base. Joanna Newsom is great, but has she influenced anyone? She's in fashion mags now and nobody even knows who she is. While not much of a Killers fan, they helped to start a dance rock craze.

    Also, I'd def say that Win Butler is significantly more influential than most of those in the list. As is Panda Bear, Karen O, the Kanye/Hova combo, Isaac Brock, Taylor Swift, James Murphy...and for better or worse (worse) Miley. I would say Phil Elverum is more important than Spencer. Posts like this are just inflammatory because it's simply impossible to create a list that views all music equally and personal preferences creep in and it turns into something more akin to "my favorite artists of the decade"

  8. @Cory I would agree with your take if it was called The Most Influential Musicians of The Decade. This is most important...who made timeless albums, tested musical boundaries, and left a mark on our decade that can't even be judged yet...this is me basically trying to look back on the decade twenty years from now and predicting who created music that will last.

  9. Interesting list… it would be funny to keep it in mind and see in 20 years from now how many names of your list we can remember, or who of them really made a timeless music.
    I would agree with number 10, 6, 5, 3, 4 and 2, and also I’m agree with you, Greenwood can be one of the best musicians, but come on… number 1? really?!

  10. The guy was an essential part of the greatest band of the decade and put his mark on the greatest film of the decade...that was my rational.

  11. not to mention Greenwood's other orchestral work, a lot of which made it's way into IN RAINBOWS -- see "Arpeggi"

  12. Yes, Zach, I repeat, “I’m agree with you, Greenwood can be one of the best” (actually it's a good surprised he’s in the list) but also I think -in my own opinion- he is not the number one. He deserves to be part of the list, but maybe not the number one. And I’m not telling you to include Thom Yorke (I notice the difference between Kid A and the eraser). I think that what makes Radiohead stand above the rest is not Yorke or Greenwood, but the both of them, together. But, you know, it’s just my opinion.