(Note that these aren't necessarily the "best" songs/albums per se, but are the ones that meant most to me or impacted my view of music)
Top Ten Songs of the Decade
System of a Down - Chop Suey
Only once have I ever heard people singing drown out a huge club PA. This was the song.
Rhianna - Umbrella
Any song in which Jay-Z is the weakest part has to be good. This track is so brilliantly produced as to wholeheartedly straddle any line between pop and 'real' music you could ever draw.
Idlewild - Roseability
I often state this as my favourite song of all time. My lists of this kind always change about but this will always be in my top ten songs ever.
Asobi Seksu - Nefi and Girly
A beautiful song that makes owning a cat seem like the most natural and joyful thing in the world. Loud and noisy yet angelic. Stunning in every sense of the word.
The Blood Brothers - Ambulance vs Ambulance
Do I understand a word they say? Not really, but it's magnificent nonetheless.
Killswitch Engage - My Last Serenade
Brutally heavy yet wonderfully melodic.
Skindred - Nobody
Heard Reggae-metal before? You should. One of the best live bands in the world with a song that inspires mayhem.
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
I love their first two albums, but this song takes everything good about Ladytron and dials it up.
Atreyu - The Theft
Award for the best cheesy backup vocals goes to this one, but it is still a magnificent track.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
I think this is easily the most heartfelt song of the decade, beautiful but with a guitar hook to die for.
Top Ten Albums of the Decade
System of a Down - Toxicity
If you want justification that the nu-metal wave of metal was worth it's place in history look no further than this (and the album below). Every song is loud and heavy and aggressive yet it packs melodies and hooks that pop writers would die for.
Deftones - White Pony
To my mind the best rock/metal album I have ever bought. Complex, creepy, dark and brooding. Most of my first year of university was spent with this at ear shattering volume. It's worth the deafness.
Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows
A band with punkish origins add a bit more melody and make an album that defined several years of my life. That I have a signed cd copy makes it even better. I wrote to them and waited to hear back, about 2 years later I get an envelope with marker pen scrawled on the front saying "Sorry this is so so very late, hope you still want it." I did.
M.I.A - Kala
Defining the term 'world music' in one album. Sounds like little else yet takes a huge mesh of influences and makes them work like a musical box of Celebrations. I played it again the other week and was blown away again.
My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Incredible live, this may have been the soundtrack to plenty of so called emo tantrums; but please don't let that spoil a wonderful album.
Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
You can hear the influences, you can hear the mixed up sound, but by god you can hear some brilliant songs.
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Hyped for years, I finally saw them live and was thoroughly disappointed. I nearly didn't buy this. I did, and I am so glad. A journey through electronic sound. Weird and noisy but full of hooks. So good that Timberland stole from them.
Oh My Word! - The Best Album in The World Ever (apart from KLF's The White Room)
You won't have heard this, and that is sad. A silly leap through the now departed Sheffield legends' magical brand of silliness.