The best album of every year since 2000, according to critics

Kendrick Lamar
Two classic albums from Kendrick Lamar appear on the list. Mark Metcalfe/Getty

Each year in music, one album stands out from the crowd as the most critically acclaimed work of the year.

Since the turn of the new century, review aggregator Metacritic has compiled an annual list of the years’ most well-received albums, by assigning scores based on their composite critical reception.

We selected the top album from each year, starting with 2000 (and including the best album of 2017 so far). The resulting list includes appearances from great artists like Kendrick Lamar, Bob Dylan, and Kanye West, as well as a few lesser-known but incredible LPs.

Check out the best album of each year in the new century so far:

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permalink=”/#2000-outkast-stankonia-1″
title=”2000: Outkast —  ‘Stankonia'”
content=”Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.9/10

What critics said: ‘Stankonia reeks of artful ambition rendered with impeccable skill — or as one song title so concisely has it, ‘So Fresh, So Clean.” — Entertainment Weekly

Notable songs: ‘So Fresh, So Clean,’ ‘Ms. Jackson,’ ‘B.O.B.’

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[slide
permalink=”/#2001-bob-dylan-love-and-theft-2″
title=”2001: Bob Dylan —  ‘Love and Theft'”
content=”Critic score: 93/100

User score: 8.8/10

What critics said: ‘The remarkable achievement of ‘Love and Theft’ is that Dylan makes the past sound as strange, haunted and alluring as the future.’ — Rolling Stone

Notable songs: ‘Mississippi,’ ‘Bye and Bye,’ ‘High Water (For Charley Patton)’

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source=”Columbia”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2002-the-streets-original-pirate-material-3″
title=”2002: The Streets —  ‘Original Pirate Material'”
content=”Critic score: 90/100

User score: 8.9/10

What critics said: ”Original Pirate Material’ is England’s first great hip-hop record mostly because it isn’t a hip-hop record. It’s hard to say exactly what it is.’ — Village Voice

Notable songs: ‘Has It Come To This?,’ ‘Let’s Push Things Forward,’ ‘Weak Become Heros’

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[slide
permalink=”/#2003-the-white-stripes-elephant-4″
title=”2003: The White Stripes —  ‘Elephant'”
content=”Critic score: 92/100

User score: 8.6/10

What critics said: ‘This is not garage rock; this is art rock. And that’s a compliment.’ — Spin

Notable songs: ‘Seven Nation Army,’ ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself,’ ‘Ball and Biscuit’

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source=”XL”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2004-brian-wilson-smile-5″
title=”2004: Brian Wilson —  ‘Smile'”
content=”Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.0/10

What critics said: ‘The end result is a great album, albeit one more lighthearted than its myth would suggest.’ — Pitchfork

Notable songs: ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘Wonderful,’ ‘Heros and Villains’

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source=”Nonesuch”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2005-sufjan-stevens-illinois-6″
title=”2005: Sufjan Stevens —  ‘Illinois'”
content=”Critic score: 90/100

User score: 9.0/10

What critics said: ‘A brighter, bouncier counterpart to its wintry predecessor ‘Michigan,’ ‘Illinois’ contains some of the most beautiful pop you will hear all year long’ — Billboard

Notable songs: ‘Chicago,’ ‘Casimir Pulaski Day,’ ‘John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’

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source=”Asthmatic Kitty”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2006-ali-farka-toure-savane-7″
title=”2006: Ali Farka Toure —  ‘Savane'”
content=”Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.4/10

What critics said: ‘This is an African classic.’ — The Guardian

Notable songs: ‘Erdi,’ ‘Savane,’ ‘Banga’

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source=”World Circuit”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2007-the-field-from-here-we-go-sublime-8″
title=”2007: The Field — ‘From Here We Go Sublime'”
content=”Critic score: 90/100

User score: 6.6/10

What critics said: ‘This is one of those rare albums that makes you wonder how you ever got by without it.” — BBC

Notable songs: ‘Over The Ice,’ ‘Everyday,’ ‘From Here We Go Sublime’

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source=”Kompakt”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2008-the-bug-london-zoo-9″
title=”2008: The Bug —  ‘London Zoo'”
content=”Critic score: 90/100

User score: 6.4/10

What critics said: ”London Zoo’ provides the perfect showcase for its colourful menagerie of MCs and singers. And the Bug’s no-nonsense clank and grind production fosters a rare intensity of focus.’ — The Observer

Notable songs: ‘Angry,’ ‘Freak Freak,’ ‘Skeng’

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source=”Ninja Tune”
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]
[slide
permalink=”/#2009-serge-gainsbourg-histoire-de-melody-nelson-10″
title=”2009: Serge Gainsbourg — ‘Histoire de Melody Nelson'”
content=”Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.7/10

What critics said: ‘Frequently labelled as a lecherous rogue or public provocateur, Gainsbourg is also one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and this masterpiece is the proof.’ — Tiny Mix Tapes

Notable songs: ‘Melody,’ ‘Ballade de Melody Nelson,’ ‘En Melody’

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Note: ‘Histoire de Melody Nelson’ was originally released in France in 1971. The album was released for the first time in North America in 2009.
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[slide
permalink=”/#2010-my-beautiful-dark-twisted-fantasy-kanye-west-11″
title=”2010: ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ —  Kanye West”
content=”Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.9/10

What critics said: ”My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ is his most maniacally inspired music yet, coasting on heroic levels of dementia, pimping on top of Mount Olympus.’ — Rolling Stone

Notable songs: ‘Power,’ ‘Monster,’ ‘Runaway’

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source=”Def Jam”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2011-ry-cooder-pull-up-some-dust-and-sit-down-12″
title=”2011: Ry Cooder — ‘Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down'”
content=”Critic score: 92/100

User score: 6.8/10

What critics said: ‘The humour is often savage — a sprightly accordion heralds a story of damaged troops — but Cooder’s aim is true. He’s become a Woody Guthrie for our times.’ — The Observer

Notable songs: ‘No Banker Left Behind,’ ‘Quick Sand,’ ‘Dreamer’

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source=”Nonesuch”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2012-wadada-leo-smith-ten-freedom-summers-13″
title=”2012: Wadada Leo Smith —  ‘Ten Freedom Summers'”
content=”Critic score: 99/100

User score: 4.8/10

What critics said: ‘In four and a half hours, Wadada Leo Smith writes one of America’s defining events in sound, and the story is all of ours.’ — PopMatters

Notable songs: ‘Malik Al Shabazz and the People of the Shahada,’ ‘September 11th, 2001: A Memorial,’ ‘The Freedom Riders Ride’

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source=”Cuneiform”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2013-deafheaven-sunbather-14″
title=”2013: Deafheaven —  ‘Sunbather'”
content=”Critic score: 92/100

User score: 8.3/10

What critics said: ‘Deafheaven’s second outing is wondrous celebration of boundless ambition and pure artistic vision.’ — Sputnik Music

Notable songs: ‘Dream House,’ ‘Sunbather,’ ‘Irresistible’

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source=”Deathwish Inc.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2014-dangelo-black-messiah-15″
title=”2014: D’Angelo — ‘Black Messiah'”
content=”Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.7/10

What critics said: ”Black Messiah’ confirms that music holds the power to challenge and comfort, to take us someplace spiritual, political, and existential. It’s beautifully, devastatingly human.’ — The AV Club

Notable songs: ‘Sugah Daddy,’ ‘Really Love,’ ‘Back to the Future (Part 1)’

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source=”RCA”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2015-kendrick-lamar-to-pimp-a-butterfly-16″
title=”2015: Kendrick Lamar —  ‘To Pimp A Butterfly'”
content=”Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

What critics said: ‘(A) bravura masterpiece. There is no sugar rush of digital synthetic beats and radio-friendly hooks. This is a dense, intricate mesh of free-flowing jazz, deep Seventies funk and cut-up hip hop.’ — The Telegraph

Notable songs: ‘Alright,’ ‘King Kunta,’ ‘The Blacker The Berry’

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source=”Top Dawg/Aftermath”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2016-nick-cave-and-the-bad-seeds-skeleton-tree-17″
title=”2016: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — ‘Skeleton Tree'”
content=”Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

What critics said: ‘No other record released this year will provoke such conflicting emotions in you. ‘Skeleton Tree’ is both beautiful and harrowing, hard to listen to but even harder to look away from.’ — NME

Notable songs: ‘Jesus Alone,’ ‘Rings of Saturn,’ ‘Skeleton Tree’

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source=”Bad See Ltd.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#2017-kendrick-lamar-damn-18″
title=”2017: Kendrick Lamar — ‘DAMN.'”
content=”Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.8/10

What critics said: ‘Damn. is a brilliant combination of the timeless and the modern, the old school and the next-level. The most gifted rapper of a generation stomps into the Nineties and continues to blaze a trail forward.’ — Rolling Stone

Notable songs: ‘HUMBLE.,’ ‘DNA.,’ ‘ELEMENT.’

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source=”Interscope”
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[/slideshow]