Is it wrong that I feel like it is wrong to call Kid A the best album of the 00's, even though almost everyone will surely declare it to be? As dumb as it is, I think it's the fact that it was released in October of 2000. It feels like it should just be a bonus album on best of the 90s lists. I'm not really sure if it captures the collective state of mind of the 00s in the way that OK Computer did for the 90s.
No, I agree. I think "Kid A" is the sonic direction a lot of people thought music in the first decade would go--maybe because it was so good, maybe because people associated 2001 with technological advancement and Kid A has that processed alienated processed sound.
But most of the best music (and most of the music in general) following Kid A sounds nothing like it, partly because making that kind of music well is hard and partly because that aesthetic wasn't the dominant one of the Aughts. It seems like this was a decade of dirty DIY basement music, blog music, garage music, bands coming from out of nowhere, gaining popularity by the merits of their music.
That's why I go with The Strokes first album, and before you sneer and say that "Is This It" was released on RCA with lots of big-company hype behind it, I would say that I'm talking about the esthetic and the spirit of the record combined with its success (and where The Strokes came from: Brooklyn) trumping the music-industrial circumstances that perhaps holds it up. It's not a very innovative album-- technologically, melodically, instrumentally, anything--but it is simply proof that well-written classical-model songs are capable of exploding in a file-sharing YouTube age.
Kid A still sits comfortably in my Top 5 and probably in my Top 3, but to refer to this decade as one of technological alienation seems disingenuous at best, or to use a less political term: wrong. Even though the year isn't over yet, the Top 10 debut of an LP by a band like Grizzly Bear seems a rather tidy bookend to a musical decade that I would posit has been defined (or will come to be defined) by the explosion of the influence of the blogopshere and file-sharing on the emergence of Indie (and more obscure) acts.