This has been an exceptional month for new music. Last week gave us album releases from Divine Fits, Bob Mould, Jens Lekman, and Cat Power, and today, both the the xx and David Byrne and St. Vincent put out exceptional records in Coexist and Love This Giant. And September’s only going to get better with eagerly anticipated albums from Band of Horses, G.O.O.D. Music, Ben Folds Five, Grizzly Bear, and Jay Electronica to come.
So, in honor of this fantastic September, rather than a normal 5 Albums Coming Out This Week That Don’t Suck, I’m trying something different: let’s figure out which month since 2000 has been the best month for new music. Here’s the highly scientific formula.
1. Best Ever Albums is a wonderful website that tracks which albums appear in the most year-end lists. For instance, in 2000, Radiohead’s Kid A appeared in 825 charts, the most of any release in the 2000s. This isn’t a perfect formula (for instance, Coldplay’s Parachute is #2 in 2000, with appearances in 241 charts), but it’s the only fair way of judging “strongest” without resorting to personal taste. (For what it’s worth, Mass Romantic by the New Pornographers should be A LOT higher than #35.)
2. For every Best Ever year, I only looked at selections #1-20; the charts go to #100, but I can’t convince myself that The Mark, Tom, And Travis Show is the best of anything, except perhaps the best album to rhyme “Twelve majestic lies” with “Tom has sex with guys.” Also, I only went back to 2000 because charting album release days in the 1990s, not to mention the 1970s and 1980s, is unreliable at best, a total sh*tshow at worst.
3. I went off of American physical release dates only, aka not UK or when they were available via streaming.
#8. March 2007 (there were nine months with four year-end albums, so I went with the strongest of the group — so much for not letting opinions into the piece, I know)
#7. April 2008
#6. July 2006
#5. March 2005
#4. September 2004
#3. September 2001
#2. October 2000
#1. May 2010